Any time we enter into a relationship, one of the most important things is to understand that person you begin that relationship with, including God. We need to understand the basic character of God in order to have a healthy person relationship with Him. Misunderstanding His character and nature is the reason people don’t have a positive ongoing relationship with Him. That is what happened with Adam and Eve when they were tempted by the serpent and plunged the whole human race into sin. Their lack of understanding God’s nature, was actually a part of their temptation.
Genesis 3:1-5 – Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Verse 2) And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; (Verse 3) “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, least you die.’ ” (Verse 4) And the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. (Verse 5) “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The way the serpent answered Eve, makes it sound like God is not a good God by withholding something from them. Implying, God made a tree that they could not even touch, or He would kill them. In a sense, Satan came against the very nature and character of God.
Satan tells people the same thing today. He wants people to think that if they follow and obey God, they will never enjoy true happiness. He tells them life will be boring and dull. The sad fact is that after people experience drugs, sex outside of marriage, indulgence of self, success, fame, and riches, they are left with an emptiness that cannot be satisfied. By the time most people realize it, they have already destroyed their lives, their relationships with family, and their health.
The truth is, God is a good God, and His will for us is only good. Those who have only a little understanding of the Bible could get the wrong impression because there are instances in the Word where He treated some people in harsh, cruel ways. In the Book of Numbers, for instance, a man picked up sticks on the Sabbath Day and was stoned to death for failing to observe the Sabbath.
The fact is that, people didn’t realize just how sinful they were and are even now, in their offenses against God. They made the mistake of comparing themselves and measuring themselves by other people. People still do that today, for those who have little knowledge of the Bible and who God is, they think God is out to get them. He is a just God and He is a good God, all the time.
In the Old Testament, if someone committed a sin and wasn’t struck dead, they thought sin must not be so bad which lowered their standards. However, God had set the standards and He had to bring mankind to the proper standing of right and wrong so they would reject the devil and his temptations. Then when He did that, He had to enforce the Law He had given.
God gave the Old Testament commandments to make our sense of right and wrong more acute and to bring us to the realization that we need a Savior.
The problem has been that people thought God was demanding perfection before He could love them, which led to the attitude many have that His love for them is directly proportional to their performance. They feel that until they try to do everything exactly right, they will not be accepted by God, and that is not the message of the Bible.
God’s heart is to reconcile mankind to Himself through Jesus. If it wasn’t He wouldn’t have sent Jesus. His goal is to take our sins away and anything that would separate that personal relationship with Him. He did this through Jesus, and He’s offering anyone that relationship by us accepting what Jesus did on the cross. Our faith in Jesus Christ makes it possible to have a personal relationship with God the Father.