Sermon #5 Series: Pictures of Grace in Genesis
Title: Two Trees - A Picture Of Grace
Text: Genesis 2:9
Subject: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Cross of Christ
Date: Tuesday Evening - May 28, 1991
Among the many things made by God, there were two trees planted in the midst of the garden: “The Tree of Life” and “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
Had Adam eaten of the Tree of Life, he would have lived forever (Gen. 3:22-24). We have no way of knowing what The Tree of Life was. God has not told us. But we do know what it symbolized. It symbolized the Lord Jesus Christ who is our life, from whom we have eternal life. Christ is to all who believe a Tree of Life planted in the midst of the paradise of God (Prov. 3:18; Rev. 2:7; 22:102). To trust the Lord Jesus Christ, to live by faith upon the merits of his blood atonement and his perfect righteousness, is to eat of the Tree of Life. The fruit of this Tree, the results of Christ’s obedience to God as the sinner’s Substitute, is eternal life. He that eateth of the fruit of this Tree shall live forever!
But there was another tree in the midst of the garden. It was “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” The moment that Adam ate of the fruit of that tree, he died. He died spiritually, was condemned to die eternally, and began to die physically. These things are recorded in the Book of God by the Holy Spirit for our learning and for our edification. The title of my message tonight is “Two Trees - A Picture of Grace.” I want us to do a little study, comparing “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” and the tree upon which the Son of God was crucified.
Read Acts 5:30 and 1 Peter 2:24.
Why does the Holy Spirit call the cross upon which Christ was crucified “a tree.” Surely, there must be a specific reason. And I am confident that he would have us to compare and contrast these two trees: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the cursed tree upon which our Savior died.
1. Some points of contrast.
2. Some marks of similarity.
I. FIRST, LET ME SHOW YOU SIX POINTS OF CONTRAST BETWEEN THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL AND THE CROSS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
There is as much to be learned from the disparity between the type and its fulfillment as there is from the comparison of the type and the antitype. So let’s look briefly at the contrasts, or disparities between The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the tree upon which our Savior died.
A. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was planted by God (Gen. 2:9); but the tree upon which Christ was crucified was made and set in its place by man (Matt. 27:33-35) - “And they crucified him.”
It is true - Christ was delivered to death by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). God almighty fixed…
· The time of his death.
· The means of his death.
· The place of his death.
· The object of his death.
· And the results of his death.
But human hands devised and erected the cruel tree on Golgotha’s hill, stretched out the Lord of glory upon it, and crucified him!
B. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was pleasant to the eyes (Gen. 3:6); but everything connected with the tree of the crucifixion was hideous, repugnant, and ignominious.
· The suffering Savior (Isa. 52:14; Psa. 22:11-22).
· The drunkard’s song
· The taunting priests
· The cursing theives.
· The jeering crowd
· The barbaric soldiers
· The three hours of darkness
· The forsaken Sin-Bearer
· The piercing cry - “I thirst!” (He who made the oceans!)
C. God forbade man to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:17); but every man is freely invited and even commanded to eat of the fruit of that Tree upon which the Savior died.
NOTE: There is no value, or merit, in that wooden cross upon which Christ died. We do not value the cross, the physical cross at all! But there is infinite merit in him who died upon the cross. The fruits of our Savior’s death upon the tree are priceless.
God himself invites us to eat of the fruit of this tree!
· “All things are ready, Come.”
· “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”
The leaves of this tree are for the healing of the nations.
· Justice satisfied!
· Sin atoned!
· Righteousness brought in!
· Forgiveness accomplished!
D. Satan used every cunning device to get man to eat of the tree of Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 3:1-6); but he uses every cunning device imaginable to keep sinners from eating of the fruits of Christ’s death upon the tree of crucifixion.
· “You don’t really need a Substitute.”
· “God won’t really kill you.”
· “You’re too smart to fall for faith.”
· “If you follow Christ it will cost you dear.”
E. The eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil brought death to Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:17); but life comes to all who eat the flesh and drink the blood of him who died upon the cursed tree (John 6:53-56).
· His flesh is righteousness!
· His blood is his death!
· To eat his flesh and drink his blood is to receive him by faith, thus receiving his righteousness and his atonement!
F. And Adam, as a thief, by eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was cast out of Paradise (Gen. 3:24); but the penitent thief, by eating of the fruit of the tree of crucifixion, entered Paradise (Lk. 23:39-43).
NOTE: This is the only time our Savior ever used the word “Paradise.”
Let me tell yu five things about this penitent thief:
1. He confessed his sin and just condemnation!
2. He acknowledged Christ as his Lord!
3. He trusted the mercy and grace of Christ!
4. He obtained the favor of the Lord!
5. He is with Christ in Paradise!
II. I have shown you the points of contrast between the tree in the garden and the cross of Christ. Now, secondly, let me show you SOME OF THE MARKS OF SIMILARITY BETWEEN THESE TWO TREES.
A. Both trees were planted in a garden (John 19:41).
The first Adam died in a garden. And the last Adam died in a garden.
B. Both trees were planted in the midst of the garden (Gen. 2:9; John 19:18).
· In the midst of the world.
· In the midst of two thieves - The Divider.
· In the midst of time. (Between the fulness of the Jews and the fulness of the Gentiles.
· In the midst of the heavenly paradise (Rev. 22:2) - The center of all!
C. Both trees were trees of the knowledge of good and evil.
There is only one place in all the world where sinners, such as we are, can learn the knowledge of good and evil - The cross of Christ! There we see:
· The goodness of God.
· The holiness of God.
· The love of God.
· The wrath of God.
· The grace of God.
· The evil of sin.
· The wickedness of man.
And it is only in the light of Christ crucified that we discern good from evil in providence. For God’s elect all things are good. For the unbeliever, all things are evil!
A. And both trees are good for food (Gen. 3:6).
The cross of Christ - I mean the doctrine of the cross, the Gospel, is the very meat and marrow of the believer’s life. It is good for food for our souls! How pleasant it is to the eyes of faith! There in the crucified Christ, in the doctrine of the cross, we see…
1. Our sin blotted out!
2. The ground upon which the Holy Lord God can meet the guilty sinner!
3. The finished work of our adorable Redeemer!
Truly, this is “a tree to be desired to make one wise!” The preaching of the cross is the power of God and the wisdom of God. It makes the believing sinner wise unto salvation.
Illustration: I know the way to London!
1. The cross of Christ was to him a cursed tree (Gal. 3:13), but to us a tree of blessing, a curse removed!
2. Genesis 18:1-4, 8
· A place of rest (v. 4).
· A place of communion and refreshment (v. 8).
3. Exodus 15:23-25 - The cross of Christ sweetens the bitter waters of the believer’s life.
4. Galatians 6:14 - “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!” I must glory in the cross because it is…
· A covenant respected.
· A compassion revealed!
· A curse removed!
· A conquest realized!