THE TWO TREES OF KNOWLEDGE
In the Old Testament, God’s “Spirit” rested over the Ark of the Covenant; leading Israel out of the wilderness into God’s promises. The Ark of the Covenant symbolizes the heart of a believer.
Jeremiah 31:33 (NLT) “This is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
- Manna – God’s provision – Faith
- Aaron’s Rod – God’s authority – Hope
- 10 Commandments – God’s standard – Love
Romans 13:8-10 (LBP) If you are loving others you are measuring up to the standard that God’s law has always been seeking . . . . If you really love, you will measure up to the whole law without even thinking about it.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power [faith] and of love and of a sound mind [hope].
Faith, hope, and love is where God’s Spirit leads us from, moving us out of our wilderness experience into God’s blessings and promises.
THE CONFLICTING VOICE – The Voice of the Conscience
1 Timothy 1:5 (VOICE) Our teaching about this [Spirit-led] journey is intended to bring us to a single destination—a place where self-giving love reigns from a pure heart, a clean conscience [hope], and a genuine faith.
The conscience distinguishes between right and wrong. A clean conscience condemns sin. A corrupt conscience condemns people.
Titus 1:15 (AMP) To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted.
. . . their minds and consciences have lost the ability to make sound moral judgments. – CW
The Holy Spirit fills us with faith, hope, and love as we maintain a clean conscience before God. However, if our conscience is not clean, it’s voice will conflict with the Holy Spirit’s voice. We find the origin of the conscience in the Garden of Eden.
THE TWO TREES
Genesis 2:9 (TLB) The Lord God planted all sorts of beautiful trees there in the garden, trees producing the choicest of fruit. At the center of the garden he placed the Tree of Life, and also the Tree of Conscience, giving knowledge of Good and Bad.
. . . wisdom to know the difference between right and wrong. – CEV
1. Tree of Life – The Holy Spirit.
John 6:63 (NLT) The [Holy] Spirit alone gives eternal life.
Revelation 22:2 (NIV) On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.
Galatians 5:22-23 has a short (9 fruit) version and a long (12 fruit) version.
Galatians 5:21-23 (LONG) But the fruit of the Spirit is (1) love, (2) joy, (3) peace, (4) patience, (5) kindness, (6) goodness, (7) faithfulness, (8) gentleness, (9) generosity, (10) modesty, (11) self-control, (12) purity.
Proverbs 3:18 (BSB) She [the Spirit of Wisdom] is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who lay hold of her are blessed.
1 John 3:14 (NKJV) We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.
2. Tree of Conscience – The knowledge of sin.
- The Holy Spirit produces love.
- The knowledge of sin produces judgment.
Adam started making judgments apart form the love of the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 3:7 (NLT) At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame.
Adam felt shame because he realized he had sinned! His defiled conscience, separated from the Holy Spirit, began making false judgments.
Genesis 38:12 (TLB) That evening they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and they hid themselves among the trees. The Lord God called to Adam, “Why are you hiding?” And Adam replied, “I heard you coming and didn’t want you to see me naked. So I hid.” “Who told you you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten fruit from the tree I warned you about?” “Yes,” Adam admitted, “but it was the woman you gave me who brought me some.
The goal isn’t to silence our conscience, the goal is to purify it. Mankind misused the Law of God because we interpreted it through a defiled conscience. That’s why, when the Law put on flesh (Jesus), we didn’t recognize it. God’s Law was there to help us, not condemn us. It was loving and kind.
Hebrews 9:8-10, 12 (LOVETT) The way into the holiest of all, the true sanctuary, was barred to everyone. Therefore, the Jewish system symbolized the inaccessibility of God—and does so even to this day. Consequently, all those sacrifices and offerings cannot give a man the perfect conscience he needs, no one can achieve inner perfection by conforming to outward regulations . . . such a program may be good for one’s body, but it can’t do anything for his conscience . . . . 12 [Jesus’s] shed blood secured for us an eternal deliverance from guilt . . . . Through His eternal spirit He offered Himself to God as a spotless, perfect sacrifice. Consequently, His blood has the power to cleanse our consciences and release us from dead works to serve the Living God.
Maintaining a pure conscience removes the veil.