Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said…
I. A LITTLE YIELDING TO SATAN IN HIS TEMPTATIONS, INVITES AND ENCOURAGETH HIM TO A STRONGER AND MORE VIOLENT ASSAULT. If a man yield so far as to stand in sinners' counsels, Satan will not leave till he have brought him to walk in sinner's ways, till at last he sit down in the seat of scorners. The first reason hereof may be taken from Satan's diligence and vigilancy, to make the best of, and pursue to the uttermost all advantages (like Benhadad's messengers — 1 Kings 20:23), as waters, where the bank begins to yield, lie upon it with the greater weight, especially if we join with his diligence his malice, which sets him on, and is never satisfied till he have brought men to destruction (1 Peter 5:8). Secondly, it is just with God to punish men's haltings and want of zeal with more dangerous errors and backslidings. Let us then be careful to resist Satan strongly in his first encounters, as we are advised (1 Peter 5:9), with resolute denials. This resolute opposing of sinful motions —
1. Keeps our hearts free from all defilement by sin.
2. Moves God to strengthen us with a greater measure of grace, as did St. Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9).
3. And daunts the devil, and makes him fly from us when he is readily opposed and resisted (James 4:7).
II. EVEN THOSE WHO SEEM MODEST IN SIN AT THE FIRST, GROW BOLD AND SHAMELESS IN IT AT THE LAST.
1. Because use and custom makes sin so familiar unto men, that it takes away, first the sense, and then the shame that follows it, which as they feel not in themselves, so they fear it not from others.
2. By this means God brings all evils to light, that the committers of them may be abhorred of all men, and His justice may be the more clearly manifested in their deserved punishment.
III. THERE IS NO TRUTH OF GOD SO CLEAR AND MANIFEST, WHICH SATAN AND HIS AGENTS DARE NOT TO CONTRADICT.
1. Seeing Satan is both a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44), so that by his own nature he must needs be opposite to the truth.
2. Besides, it concerns him above all things to contradict fundamental truths, upon which God's honour and man's salvation most depend, both which Satan labours to overthrow with all his power.
3. And lastly, he well understands by experience, the corruption of man's nature, which inclines him to embrace darkness rather than light, to believe lies rather than to love the truth, which gives him great hope of prevailing, even in suggesting the foulest untruths to such favourable hearers.
IV. SATAN AND HIS AGENTS NEVER MAKE USE OF GOD'S WORK BUT FOR MISCHIEF.
(J. White, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?