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Clothed with Fig Leaves or Righteousness?

 There are no secrets with God. Adam and Eve learned that the hard way. The apostle Paul reminds us, “God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Rom. 2:16). The writer of Hebrews says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13).

God in His infinite wisdom and grace gave Adam and Eve a grand opportunity to have dominion over all of His creation (Genesis 2:15). And in love He “commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat from it you shall surely die” (vv. 16-17).

We are all too familiar with the tragic events that followed. The God who sees and knows all things visited the Garden of Eden shortly after Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?' He said, 'I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself'” (Genesis 3:8-10).

Adam and Eve hid themselves thinking they could hide themselves from God. The effect of sin made them aware that they had disobeyed God and they were ashamed. Before they sinned they were delighted to see God, but after they sinned they did not want anything to do with Him. Sin causes us to want to hide from God physically, emotionally and spiritually because we know we are guilty.

Like Adam and we try a lot of “fig leaves” to cover up our shame and guilty conscience (v. 7). A friend of mine said, “The oldest profession is not what people think; it is the clothing industry.” We are constantly trying to cover up.

The psychological exposure caused by our sins is intolerable, and we try innumerable ways to cover it up. The end result of these modern “fig leaves” in our pagan world culture is even greater exposure and guilt. Drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, lust of the eyes, the world, the flesh, etc. do not relieve the stress of guilt; they only increase it. Evasion and excuses increase our guilt before God.

Man has never been able to make a “fig leaf” that will cover his sin. We try “fig leaves” of good religious works, church membership, baptism, confirmation, tithing, the sacraments, religious philosophy, new age movements, philanthropy, etc. But we still cannot escape our guilt.

All outward acts of religion without the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins are withered “fig leaves.”

There is only one remedy for sin. “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

God told them before they sinned, “in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23a). “The person who sins will die” (Ezek. 18:20). Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they sinned. In time, they died physically.

Can you imagine the shock in the mind and heart of Adam and Eve when they saw two dead animals, probably lambs, lying dead before their eyes? God killed the animals and made from their skins garments and clothed Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21).

“The wages of sin is death.” But the immediate death that occurred was not their death, though they were guilty and deserved the death penalty; it was the death of two innocent animals. In His mercy God killed those animals for Adam and Eve. They were guilty and deserved death, but God chose two innocent animals to die as their substitutes. They pointed to another Substitute who in time would give Himself as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The only death that can possibly deal with sin is His death. Only His blood can cleanse us from all sin (Heb. 9:22; 1 John 1:7, 9). There is no other detergent that will wipe away our guilt (1 Peter 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9).

God’s perfect covering for sin is the blood of the Lamb of God. Fig leaves will never do what God alone can do. God’s perfect provision and covering is through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Don’t try coming to God with your “fig leaves.” They may be in fashion, but they are inadequate. God will not accept them; they can never please God because no death has taken place. The penalty for sin must be paid (Ezek. 18:4). You will pay it, or your divine Substitute must pay it. God has dealt with our guilt in the death of Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:13;Rom. 3:24-25; 4:25).  Christ died for our sin as our substitute. The penalty for our sin has been paid in full (Rom. 5:6, 8; 1 Jn. 3:5; 4:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:24).

Today, God fully clothes every individual who believes in Christ with the perfect righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 61:10).

The nakedness of your sin must be covered. Are you covered with the righteousness of Jesus Christ? Are you dressed in His robes of righteousness alone?

Either you will stand before your eternal Judge in the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, or you will stand naked in your sins.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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