“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25
The Bible tells us that the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and put Adam and Eve there. The trees in Eden were pleasant to look at and good for food. The tree of life was in the garden. God told our first parents to chow down. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil grew there also. Even though, it was as delightful as the others; it was strictly off the menu. Eat from it and die. We know the outcome. They got banished from Eden and the access to the tree of life.
Why did God stick that “knowing good and evil” tree in Paradise? Have you asked that question at some point in your life? I sure did. He knew they would taste its fruit. The fact is the tree of knowledge of good and evil was necessary for God’s ultimate purpose and plan for mankind. He chose to have children, not automatons. God gave us a free will. The Father loves, and is love, and determined we must have the capacity to love as well. Love requires a choice. To love or not to love. That forbidden fruit tree was a place of decision. Mankind could choose to love God and be dependent on Him or decide to love self and live a life independent of Him.
Just as the Lord had foreknowledge of what the decision would be, He had a blueprint for redemption at the ready. All those sheep gone astray would have a Way home. But wait, the blueprint must have the option for the sheep to come back or continue to wander to keep the principles of free will and love intact. Hence, the second tree.
The second tree is where God Himself bore our sins in His body. The Shepherd gave His life for the sheep so they can choose to come home; that they once again will have access to the tree of life. Will we love Him because He first loved us? The “come back to Me” tree on Calvary hill leads us to the same decision as the “stay away from” tree in the Garden. Will we choose to love God and be dependent on Him or decide to love self and live a life independent of Him?
Two trees, same decision. O the power and wisdom of our God!