Passing The Buck

Jun 11, 2003 11:34 AM EDT

Genesis 3:1-13 (NRSV)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent tricked me, and I ate."

The soul who sins is the one who will die. . . . The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

-- Ezekiel 18:20 (NIV)

HAVE you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" God asked Adam. "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it," Adam replied (Gen. 3:11-12). In short, it was the woman's fault - or maybe even God's fault, for giving the woman to him. Eve's response was, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate" (Gen. 3:13). Adam and Eve could no longer be honest with God. Instead of admitting their sin and asking for forgiveness, they became geniuses in passing the buck.

We fallen and fallible humans often refuse to believe that our troubles are of our own making. The blame lies somewhere else. Shifting blame, however, does not make anyone blameless. The healthy way to deal with our sins is to confess them and ask for forgiveness. When we repent and trust that Jesus has freely taken the blame for all our sins, God will not deny forgiveness. Jesus' words on the cross, "It is finished," could also mean, "Your debt is paid." Because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, we don't need to make excuses for our sins. God has provided a wonderful eraser for sins -- the blood of Christ.

Prayer: Dearest Lord, often we feel overwhelmed by our sins. Help us always to remember that because Christ takes away our sins, we can let go of guilt and blame. Amen.


Christ releases us from the penalty for our sins.


To see our need for forgiveness

By Jose B. Fuliga, California