The Serpent In Our GardenErwin W. Lutzer | October 15, 1995
Selected highlights from this sermon
After his fall, Satan moved against humanity. He comes to us in disguise, spewing lies, misrepresenting God, and downplaying the consequences of sin. He even leads us down the road of false religion.
But God’s plan was not foiled when Adam and Eve fell. Satan’s end was made perfectly clear, and the way of redemption was unveiled. In this message, Pastor Lutzer gives us insight into the mind of Satan, but also shows us how God has already dealt with the serpent.
Satan is a wily, intelligent creature, and misery loves company. Misery loves company. No sooner had he fallen from the heights of glory than he began to recruit others for his assault on God. According to Revelation 12, one-third of the angels fell with him. But that meant that for every angel that was mouthing support for Lucifer, two were still worshipping the living and the true God.
But we can imagine what it must have been like for Satan (and that’s what we will call him now that he has fallen) to watch God create the world, and then create these creatures on the earth. The world, of course, was created earlier, as we explained in the last message, but now creatures—human beings—are created. And as he looks at them he begins to realize that they are more like God than even angels are, because they are created in the very image of God. As he overhears God’s instructions to them, he is astounded by the generosity of God. God is saying to them that they have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the animals. And then God is saying, “Of all the trees of this beautiful garden, you may freely eat. Eat from all of them. Enjoy their fruit, except for one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. From it you shall not eat because if you eat of it, you will surely die.”
Satan is there watching all of this taking place, and he is now going to try to get mankind to side with him, and it appears as if he succeeds. And the story, of course, is found in the third chapter of the book of Genesis. Genesis 3 is where we have the story of how Satan beguiled Adam and Eve, and they ended up being on his side. At least it appeared that way, though eventually God would redeem them out from under the power and the authority of the evil one.
What I’d like us to do in this very important passage is to realize that we now have a glimpse into the satanic mind. We begin to see how Satan really does operate, how he thinks, and how he gets us to think so that we fall into his traps.
Now, whenever you think of Satan you should always think of lying, because Jesus said that he is the liar and the father of lies. When he speaks, he speaks a lie because there is no truth in him. If he ever speaks the truth it is only because he intends to deceive. He is always a liar. And that’s why, when you are watching a television program, you should teach your children how to look for the lie. When you think of false religions you should always be looking for the lie, because if you are perceptive you will see that Satan uses lies, lies, lies, lies! And today we’re going to uncover some of them.
How does he go about tempting Adam and Eve? Well, first of all, his strategy is this: He lies about himself. He doesn’t come as the devil. He doesn’t come revealing himself and saying, “Here I am in all of my fury and all of my hatred, and in all of my anger.” He comes under the disguise of a serpent. Now he didn’t have the ability to create creatures, and so he took a creature whom God created, a beautiful creature, and he inhabited that creature and began to use its body and mouth because, you see, it was very important that Eve and Adam not fear this creature. And he had to remain hidden. That is to say, Satan had to remain hidden because he always comes in the form of a disguise.
When my wife and I were first married we lived in an apartment that had a mouse. And we set a mousetrap. And I remember setting the mousetrap beside the fridge, and then I was sitting next to the mousetrap, hoping that the mouse would come and get into the trap. I wanted to see it happen. (laughter) But that mouse came under the fridge, saw me sitting there, and then whizzed back under the fridge at a terrific speed. And then it dawned on me that if I wanted to catch the mouse I had better hide, using this piece of cheese that would be very interesting and very attractive to the mouse, hoping that the mouse would not understand such things as springs and the power of a trap. And sure enough, as long as we hid, we were able to catch the mouse.
Satan always hides. He always hides. He doesn’t come to David in the Old Testament and say, “David, I hate you and I have a nasty plan for your life. It is my intention to ruin your family and to ruin your kingdom, and what you need to do is to commit adultery with Bathsheba first, and you will be knocking over one of those pegs in the line and the sequence, and as a result of those dominoes you will eventually end up desolated and despised and ruined. That’s my intention. Now, you go ahead and you hit the first domino.” He doesn’t say that.
He says, “Just look at the pleasure for the moment and if there are any consequences, you can always handle those consequences. In fact, they are well within your power to control.” That’s the way he comes to us. He is always disguised. The Bible says that he is an angel of light.
If you are a Roman Catholic and you are expecting an apparition, he will come to you as Mary or one of the saints. If you are a Protestant and you want a revelation, he will come to you as Jesus Christ. If you are a Hindu he will come to you as Krishna. He will come in whatever way will not make you afraid, but his real agenda will always be hidden. He will never tell you the whole story. He lies about who he is and what his agenda is.
Well, there’s a second lie here. You’ll notice that he also lies about God and who God is. We pick up the text: “The serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field, which the Lord God had made, and he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said that you shall not eat from every tree of the garden?’ (The Hebrew word can be any or every.) The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it lest you die.”’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die, for God knows that in the day that you eat your eyes will be opened. You will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”
Do you understand what’s happening here in the text? He’s calling into question the Word of God, and the very character of God. He’s saying, “Adam and Eve, you have to understand something. God is not here to bless you. God is here to ruin you. He has not come to enrich you. He has come to rob you. He wants to prevent you from eating of this tree because He knows that if you do, you will be fulfilled. You will be like Him. But He wants to hold you back so that you can’t develop your full potential. He wants to limit your experience. He wants to rain on your parade. He wants to take the fun out of life. And if only you understood that, you would see that God is not on your side.” That’s the message.
Now listen up, teenagers. Isn’t that the number one problem in your heart? It was in mine when I was a teenager, and that wasn’t as long ago as you think. Namely, we look at the world and we think to ourselves, “We’ve been gypped.” I thought to myself, “Because I am a Christian there are some things I can’t do. If only I weren’t a Christian, then I could do them.”
But think this through. There were hundreds of trees from which Adam and Eve could freely eat. There was only one from which they could not eat, and that’s the one that is exploited. That’s the one that is pointed to. That’s the one that is emphasized, and that’s the one that becomes a stumbling block to the generosity and the love and the mercy and the wonder of God’s grace. So while the people in the world go out and have a good time and do all those things that you as a Christian can’t do, you have to be staying home, tied to the oceans of God’s limitless grace, love and mercy. Isn’t that a tragedy?
That’s what Satan is saying here. That’s what he’s saying. He’s saying, “The way of God is not the best,” and is it not true that you and I have sometimes thought that? That is, of course, his strategy. He lies about who he is. He never tells you the whole agenda. Then he lies about who God is, and then he lies about the consequences of disobedience. He says, “If you disobey God, then your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.” And just think that through, because that’s exactly what he wanted to be as we noticed in the last message. He wanted to be like God: “I will be like the Most High, and you can be like the Most High. All that you need to do is to rebel against God and eat of the fruit of the tree.”
Now I have a question for you. When he says that if you eat of the fruit of the tree your eyes are going to be opened and you are going to have enlightenment, was this progress? If you know anything about New Age literature, whether it is from Shirley MacLaine’s point of view or other points of view, you will know that oftentimes it is Satan and the woman that are presented in New Age literature as the great liberators of humanity. They are the saviors. Why? It’s because the argument is that this was something that needed to be done. Without eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man would have just been a slave of God, and now he’s enlightened. He knows good from evil, and a whole new universe of experience is opened up to him. And so Satan (Lucifer) and the woman are honored as the deliverers and as the savior.
Well, I want you to know today that when they ate of the fruit of the tree, this was not a fall upward. This was a fall downward into sin, and from that time on everything we touch will be tainted.
And so he lies. He lies about himself. He lies about God. He lies about the consequences. He says, “You shall not surely die,” and all of these are lies that are put in the best possible context. In passing you should know this. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 2 that Eve was deceived but Adam wasn’t. Now, Adam was with her there in the garden. The Hebrew scholars tell us that he was right beside her. And he did not take responsibility to keep her from this decision, which he should have done. The first sin may not have been Eve eating the fruit of the tree, but Adam standing there watching her do it without intervening.
And so that’s what the text is saying, but Adam, the Bible says, ate knowingly. Eve was deceived. Now, do you realize what that means? That means that Eve thought that this serpent was a messenger of God. That’s what she thought. She thought that this was a messenger of God who was clarifying what God had said earlier, reinterpreting what God said earlier, or bringing a revelation which superseded the original revelation from God. She thought that she was listening to the voice of a servant of the Most High God. She was deceived, but that’s what she thought.
Now, I don’t need to tell you that evangelicalism today is still divided over the question as to whether or not we need additional revelations from God other than what is in the Bible. All evangelicals believe that if there is a revelation that is different from what the Bible says, it should be rejected, though some people have actually believed that they have had revelations that are better than the Bible. But what about revelations that are consistent with what the Bible teaches? What about those kind? Well, there’s a great debate about that because just because a revelation may even say something that is biblical, that in itself still does not prove that its origin is of God.
Now we’re a little bit ahead of this because in this series we’re going to be talking about issues such as this. But about a month ago I received a letter from parents who were very concerned about their child who evidently had a demon. He was speaking demonically, and there were certain symptoms of demonic possession. And then the mother, who wrote to me, said that after that ended, he began to speak under the inspiration of another spirit that were verses of Scripture and items of encouragement regarding the Christian faith. And she said, “Now we believe that he is no longer possessed by a demon. He is possessed by an angel.” Well, I wrote back and said several things. Number one, angels never inhabit individuals. They respect the human body too much. Demons do because they are usurpers, but angels don’t. And number two, just because there is a revelation that is even consistent with the Bible, sometimes, as I mentioned, Satan may speak the truth in order to deceive. The fact is that that, in itself, still does not prove the revelation to be from God.
Well, I don’t plan to solve all these issues today, but the question is still there. Do we need dreams, aberrations, revelations, prophecies and words of knowledge, or is the Bible sufficient and completely sufficient? That’s the question.
It is interesting, in passing, that the first time that Satan appears on Planet Earth, that there is a record of it, he comes talking. He loves to talk. And he comes talking and pretending to be talking on behalf of God. And ever since that time he has sought to deceive people to give them revelations that would derail them from the revelation that God has already given to us.
Now, those are the three lies. That’s the strategy. But what does he replace the truth of God with? And the answer is false religion. I want you to know today that atheism is not the great enemy of God. It is false religion. And all of the seeds of occult religion are found in these verses that I have already read to you. They are already there, whether in the New Age movement, or in the eastern occultism. You can look at all of the religions of the world that are occultic, and they have different doctrines, but they invariably have these basic seed thoughts as their fundamental teaching. And they are there.
What are they? Let me only list them because if I were to comment on each that would be a separate message, and I just want you to note them. Let’s read them together. It says in verse 4, “And the serpent said to the woman…” And you’ve heard me say this jokingly, and I’ll say it one more time for those of you have haven’t heard it. But I have said that I think that Satan here is speaking directly to Shirley MacLaine because he says, “You surely shall not die.” (laughter) That’s the first lie in false religion. Is it possible to believe that you will not die? No, there are too many cemeteries. Some of us have attended too many funerals.
The only way that you can make that lie believable is to believe in reincarnation, because in reincarnation they say that nobody ever dies. You just keep being recycled. Like Shirley MacLaine says, “It’s like shooting a movie. You do it over and over again until you get it right.” Reincarnation says that when I die, that is when my body disintegrates, but I don’t really die. I don’t have a God before whom I stand. I do not have to give an account. I just get recycled into another body and I get a chance to do it again, and again, and again until I get it right. But there is no death. “The great message that needs to be preached,” says the New Age movement “is that death simply does not exist.”
I spoke to a woman who believes in reincarnation and she said that her husband no longer is with her, but she would not use the word death. She said he didn’t die. He just went on to his next cycle of existence coming up, because you know, our souls play a kind of musical chairs, and we inhabit one body to another. And wherever you have reincarnation you have outbursts of suicide, like that couple at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco who left a note saying that the excitement of wondering what they’re going to be like in the next existence was more than they could take so they decided to hold hands and jump off the bridge together.
First of all, reincarnation. Secondly, “For God knows that in the day that you eat from it (notice it there in the text) your eyes will be opened.” Your eyes will be opened. What is that? That is esotericism. Esotericism says that there is an enlightenment. There is a transformation of consciousness. Marilyn Ferguson, in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, says that there is such a thing that is taking place, a shift in thinking, where people are actually being converted into a new level of understanding and enlightenment. Here it is. It is Satan’s most dazzling deception. What he wants people to do is to have a spiritual religious experience that they think is an experience with God, and actually it is an experience with him. It is his most dazzling deception. It is the counterpart to the new birth. Jesus said that unless we are born again we shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. And he (Satan) is saying that unless you have this experience of enlightenment, you will not be a member of the initiated.
When my wife and I were on that boat last year—that trip to Alaska—there was a lecture given regarding the Indians up in Alaska, and how they work people through the process of conversion and spiritual enlightenment. And everyone needs the experience if they are going to have power, we were told. Well, that’s the second lie.
Then there’s the lie of pantheism. You will be like God. Nobody can think that we are going to be like God in the sense of being the creator of the sun, the moon and the stars. There’s only one way to be like God, and that is to say that everything is God. God is all, and all is God. And once you say that, you see, then you can run onto Malibu Beach, shouting, “I’m God, I’m God.” And how thankful we are that Shirley MacLaine was wrong when she said that.
Now, the point to be made is that pantheism, the belief that God is all and all is God, makes the lie believable. You shall be like God. So we have people running around today saying, “I’m God, I’m God.”
Well, there’s another lie, and that is the lie of relativism. You will know good from evil, and you will be able to do it without consulting God. You’ll know the difference between good and evil just by being yourself, and being able to make that judgment. And we know the tragedies, the unbelievable tragedies and cruelty that have come about as a result of that belief.
And then finally, number five, you have hedonism. It says that when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and a tree that was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate, and she gave also to her husband who was with her there, and he also ate. Whatever feels good, do it. And it’s not just “Whatever feels good, do it,” but “Whatever feels good, believe it.” The tree was good for food. It was a delight to the eyes. It was desirable to make one wise. How many times have you heard people say, “How could something so beautiful be sinful?” as in a relationship they might be involved in.
“A tree to be desirable to make one wise,” and it just feels so right. And you look at our society today and that’s exactly where we are. If you ever see those talk shows, some of which should never be seen or heard, you’ll find that everybody is giving his own opinion: “Well, I feel that this is right,” or “As far as I’m concerned, I think that this is right.” It’s Genesis 3:6 all over again, “Whatever I feel.” Satan says to people today, “I don’t want you to think. Just feel. Do away with all doctrines and come together in that great grand sense of unity of mystical experience where you feel just right.”
Well, there you have it.
Well, the Bible says that Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree, and what a catastrophe! You see, what happened is Adam here dropped the scepter and Satan picked it up. This is astounding. Do you realize that Adam was given authority over the serpent? The Lord had said to him in chapter 1, verse 28, “Yes, be fruitful and multiply and have authority,” he says in the middle of verse 26, “over the birds of the sky and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the face of the earth.” You have authority over it.
Do you realize that Adam could have said to that serpent, “Serpent, buzz off,” if that’s the way you speak to serpents? I’m not sure exactly how that would come out in Hebrew but, “Get out of here.” And the serpent would have had to obey, because Adam was given authority over this creature. And isn’t it interesting that a creature that was subordinate to Adam ended up being the creature that deceived him and ended up having authority over him?
And so the scepter was dropped, and Satan picked the scepter up and he became the god of this world. And he became the one now who would be given awesome authority and power under the providential government of God because Adam and Eve failed the test, and they disobeyed God. And catastrophe broke out throughout the whole universe.
There is a story, which may or may not be true, of a construction firm that had the responsibility of receiving bids to build a building. And if you know anything about those construction firms, when they receive those bids they are looking for the person who would bring in the lowest bid. All things being equal that contractor would then get the job. But it’s very important obviously that these bids be given in secret.
Well, there was a contractor who walked into the offices of this large construction firm that was looking for bids with the application in his hand. And he went into the office and no one was around. And he looked at the huge mahogany desk and he noticed that there on the desk was the application from one of his competitors. All that he would need to do is to look at the figure that his competitor had written down, and then he would change his that would come in just a tad lower, and he would have the multi-million- dollar job.
The only problem was that right on that figure that was listed there on the application was a can of Coca-Cola standing there, blocking his ability to see the amount. He was tempted to move the can, but then he thought that someone might come into the office and he paced back and forth. And he looked again and there was no one around, and no one could be seen. And he thought to himself, “I’ll lift it up just quickly and then I’ll put it down and I’ll have seen the figure that is listed there.” And he lifted it up quickly and instantly thousands of BBs spilled out onto the desk and then onto the floor.
That’s what happened with Adam and Eve. They thought to themselves, “Whatever the consequences of disobedience
might be, we can contain them. We can handle them. They can’t be that bad.” And what they didn’t realize was that suddenly they opened the flood gate and all of these BBs spilled throughout the whole universe. And the whole universe eventually became contaminated. And they realized now that the genie was out of the bottle. There was nothing that they could do. They were contaminated with sin, and their seed would be contaminated with sin, and the whole universe would feel the effects of a single decision.
Notice what happened. First of all, they knew that they were alienated from God. It says in verse 8: “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” God, with whom they had walked, was now cut off from them. He was near because He is indeed omnipresent, but emotionally and spiritually He wasn’t there for them.
They felt the power of guilt. And the Lord God speaks to them and He says, “Where are you?” And Adam says, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” And the Lord God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree whereof I have commanded of you not to eat?”
And notice the effects of sin. The man says, “Yes, I am guilty. It’s not my brother. It is me, oh Lord.” Is that what he says? No. I want you to notice that the man blamed his wife, even though there wasn’t a chance in the world that he had married the wrong one. (laughter) He said, “The woman whom Thou gave me, this weak-willed woman, whom You gave me (You chose her), she took of the tree, and what’s a guy supposed to do when he’s standing next to her and she’s disobeying? I had to disobey too.”
It’s been said, you know, that the man blamed the woman. The woman, of course, said “The serpent beguiled me.” The man blamed the woman, the woman blamed the serpent, and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.” (laughter) And that is the story of the human race—the passing of the buffalo, and the passing of the buck.
Now notice what happens. The Lord curses the serpent. Verse 14: “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all the cattle, and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” The serpent, it is said, is the only creature that has ever been created that cannot move backwards. He can only always slither forwards, relentlessly on, now that he symbolizes the disobedience of Satan. Always moving ahead even though eventually there will be defeat!
And then, of course, you have problems with the ground. “Cursed is the ground” (verse 17). And then the family is cursed. Long before Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered, and Ron Goldman—long before that happened, you find in the fourth chapter that Abel ends up being murdered by his brother, Cain. And the whole history of the human race now is polluted by sin, and the BBs, as it were, have spread all over the earth and nature too.
And you and I have our cans of BBs, and we mess up our lives. We make wrong decisions, and we go our own way, and we find that the law of unintended consequences happens to us just like it happened to Adam and Eve. We didn’t intend that this small decision have such bitter effects, but it does.
Well, let me ask you a question. Where is God in all of this? Where is God? We pick it up in verse 15. God is speaking to the serpent and He says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel.” The contrast is there between two wounds—the seed of the woman. If it was the woman who was deceived and ate and then gave to her husband, it will be the woman now who will bear the child who will crush the head of the serpent. And while the head of the serpent is being crushed into the dust, the best that the serpent will be able to do is to nip the heel of the woman’s seed, just a small wound. It will be a wound that will be restored in three days when Christ is raised from the dead. But the serpent himself will be crushed.
Having reached and taken the scepter from man, he now is cut with the blade. He must now, as it were, eat dust. He must now, as it were, be despised because God is on the scene. And need I tell you that this situation in Genesis 3 was not an emergency. It was not as if God was in heaven saying, “What am I going to do now that man has disobeyed?” Oh no! As the Bible begins to unfold book by book and century by century, we come to the New Testament and we discover that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. And we read in the book of Titus, “God who cannot lie promised eternal life before the world began.” And we begin to see that it is part of a grand scheme, and that where sin abounds, grace is going to abound more.
People say to me, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, it’s one thing for me to have problems in my life because of what others have done to me, but what about those decisions I have made? What about the foolish choices?” A man was driving in the rain faster than he should have driven, and hit someone, and that person was killed, and so he says to himself, “How can I ever be free of the guilt?” And we must be reminded that God is there just as much to help us when we spill our can of BBs as he was when he helped Adam and Eve after they spilled theirs. God is there, and the purpose of the cross is going to be to repair what appears to us to be irreparable.
And God is going to show Himself mighty and strong. Even here in the text you can begin to see what God is going to do, because in Genesis 3 you’ll notice that the first thing He does is He clothes Adam and Eve. It says in verse 20: “Now the man called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all the living.” Verse 21: “And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”
God says, “I am going to cleanse you from your sin. We’re going to wipe out the sin that you have committed. Secondly, I’m going to clothe you. I’m going to give you dignity,” and this, as we are going to see in this series of messages, is going to be one of Satan’s most angry and most frustrating facts with which he has to deal. Human beings that have fallen so deeply into sin are going to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and become His brothers and His heirs. “I am going to cleanse you. I am going to clothe you, and I’m going to care for you.” The Lord right here takes Adam and Eve out of the garden so that they do not eat of the tree of life, so that they might not be preserved forever in their sinfulness. And death is going to become a doorway by which God is going to recreate their bodies, and finally make them members of God’s family forever. And there are all kinds of exciting things that God is going to do to display His grace and His wonder.
I want you to know today that God is with you. God is here to deliver you, to free you, to cleanse you, to forgive you, and to take the shattered experience of your own can of BBs, and to cleanse the sin and to put things back together again. You and I, I’m sure, have seen someone give chalk talks. We don’t see it as often as we used to. They used to do this in churches quite often, and one of the things that people who do these things like to do is to take a beautiful stream, a beautiful background, and then take a piece of chalk or paint and just splatter it against the beautiful background. And you look at it and it is ugly, and it is a blotch, and it seems hopeless. And you wonder why they’ve taken such a beautiful scene and made it look so awful. But then they begin to work, and soon they take a bit of this color, and a bit of that color, and a bit of the other color, and soon the blotch becomes a part of the scenery.
And I have seen it and you have too. I think Dr. Sweeting does this. The blotch actually turns out to be the cross. And when it’s all over it’s a beautiful painting. That’s what God does with people who have blown it. Here’s David who commits adultery with Bathsheba, and even commits murder, and he ends up eventually marrying Bathsheba, and they have a son, and they call the son Solomon. And the Bible says, “And God loved him.” And Solomon becomes the ancestor of Christ. Now isn’t that grace? Isn’t that taking a blotch and painting it so that it becomes beautiful?
And God takes a man like John Newton who used to give people prizes to tell him of some sin that he had not yet committed, and he did all the evil that one can imagine and yet he is converted and he writes the song that we sang today:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost and now am found,
Was blind but now I see.
And so the third chapter of the book of Genesis, for all of its ugliness, is going to become the backdrop in which God is going to do something beautiful in your life and in mine as the Redeemer who cleanses, who clothes and who cares for His people, and helps them on their way.
Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. Satan will always be the loser but those who trust Christ will be the winners, because in Him we too have crushed the head of the serpent. And in Him, we too have authority over the serpent just as Adam did, though he did not exercise it, because in Him—in Christ, we will overcome.
And let us pray.
And our Father, we do praise and thank You today for the wonder of Your love, for Your forgiveness and for Your cleansing. And we pray today for those whose lives have been ruined by sin, ruined by addictions, by wrong decisions, by foolish marriages, ruined because of immorality. And yet, Father, they come to You, and You are there for them for situations just like that. You were ready for Adam and Eve, and you are ready for us, to bind up, to cleanse, to forgive, to make anew, and to change. Grant us that faith today. And thank You for the assurance that we win. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.