The sacramental trees – Part 2
1. Man can contemplate and desire the chief good, but not to endeavour after it, except in the manner and way prescribed by God.
2. Man’s happiness must not be placed in things pleasing to the senses or the body, but things pleasing to God.
3. God is the most absolute Lord of man, whose sole Will, as expressed by His law, should be the supreme rule and direction of all the appetites of the soul and all the motions of the body. The trial of Adam, like that of every other man, was a choice between total faith in God, looking for happiness in obedience to the Divine command or seeking that happiness elsewhere and applying for it through some forbidden objects of which this tree was an emblematical representation. Unfortunately, Adam failed the test and that led to his ruin.
Both the tree of life and the tree of knowledge were situated in the midst of the Garden. They stood close to each other, but they stood in opposition. The penalty was clearly made known (Gen. 2:17). The penalty for not eating from the tree of life regularly is death, while the penalty for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil once is death. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a sign and seal of the condition of God’s covenant, and the tree of life was a sign and seal of its reward. We hear no more of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Bible. It served its purpose in the Garden of Eden.
But we hear of the tree of life, even in the new Paradise. (Rev. 2:7) According to Revelation 22:1-2, the tree of life in the new Paradise bears 12 manner of fruits, and yields its fruit monthly and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. With the river of the water of life and the tree of life, the Paradise on which the Church’s hope is fixed, is indeed a Paradise of life. We need not say that the tree of life is Christ. He is the goodly tree in the midst of the garden. His Word, His gospel, His ordinances are the means the Holy Spirit employs on earth for quickening, regenerating, and sanctifying His people. And the enjoyment of Him is the chief ingredient and the very essence of our heavenly joy. Unfortunately, men today are still running after the tree of knowledge and neglecting the tree of life. This is the major cause of the woes we are experiencing in our world.
It is noteworthy that St. John had warned us “not to love the world.”(1 John 2:15-16) The opposition between this tree and the other is strongly marked. “If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We are informed that one leads to death, while the other leads to life. Which of these two sacramental trees are you eating from? The world passeth away, and the desire thereof; but he that does the will of God abides forever.”
May we receive the grace to spend more time at the tree of life i.e. Fellowship with God and stand away from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the tree of death.) Amen. Shalom.
Rev. Dr. Israel Kristilere, Shepherdhill Baptist Church, (Sanctuary of Grace & Glory) Baptist Academy Compound, Obanikoro, Lagos.
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