The Bittersweetness of Advent & Genesis 3

“Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet. The more bitterness we taste in sin, the more sweetness we shall taste in Christ.”

– Thomas Watson in The Doctrine of Repentance

This Advent season our church has been tasting the bitterness of the beginnings of sin in Genesis 3.

Why all this focus on the bitter darkness of sin? We’re a week away from Christmas after all! Where are the candy canes, the spirit of Christmas, the glittering lights, and holiday magic?

We need to see sin as so bitter, so dark, so evil, so ‘not the way it’s supposed to be’ that we’re convinced there’s not enough candy, Christmas spirit, festive lighting, or holiday magic to undo what sin has done to us and our world.

We need Jesus. Only He can undo what Adam, and Eve, and I, and you have done. Genesis 3 tells us how bitter and how dark our situation is. Christmas tells us how the sweet grace of Jesus removes all the bitterness of sin, how the light of Christ floods and drives out the darkness in us and around us. Genesis 3 shows us we were rebels who needed to be reconciled, we were dead and needed a resurrection. It took something as unbelievable as God coming in the flesh to die on a tree and rise from a tomb to give us what we most need at Christmas.

“Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” So, let us remember the bitterness of Genesis 3 so that with Advent anticipation we can savor the sweetness of Jesus together. The sweetness, the joy, the hope we hunger for . . . has already come to us in Jesus. We taste it every time we feed on Jesus in the gospel and at His table. And with that real taste of Christ lingering on our hearts we wait for the Christmas that will end all Advents, the sweetness that will swallow all bitterness . . . when Jesus comes again.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8)

Jimmy D.

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