6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
In the series on the Origins of Redemption, God’s plan to redeem mankind was explored. We saw that God immediately identified the steps of redemption through the questions He asked Adam and Eve: Where are you? Who told you? Did you eat? What [hast thou] done?. God wanted them to realize that
- Sin separates us from God,
- Sin ruins our perspective on right and wrong
- Sin must be confronted
- Sin must be overcome
Therefore, the redemption process consists of
- Coming to God
- Accepting God’s view/perspective/outlook (given though His Word)
- Confessing sin
- Overcoming sin (through the work of the Holy Spirit in us)
Now we will examine man’s (wrong) response to sin, in order to learn what should NOT be done by anyone who sins.
1. Fixing the Wrong Problem: Covering skin to hide the fault within
The first discovery Adam and Eve made after sinning, was that they were naked (vs. 7). It is clear that they both were fully aware that they disobeyed God’s instruction regarding eating from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And, therefore, they knew they were facing a death penalty. But, instead of addressing their impending predicament, they became concerned that they were naked. This was no more than a futile attempt to cover up their actions. And their response is typical of ALL people everywhere throughout history.
When a little child steals cookies from the cookie jar, their preoccupation is to hide the crumbs or to wipe their mouths. The child wants to get rid of the evidence, not get rid of the sin (the child doesn’t want to return the cookie!). And when we are caught in a sin, our first impulse is the same. Adam and Eve had their whole consciousness transformed by sin. The fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil brought a newfound awareness that they now wanted to erase. They tried to cover themselves in order to make this new awareness go away; to hide the evidence that reminded them of their sinful state.
Nakedness was not the problem for Adam and Eve. Likewise, the evidence of sin in our lives is not the problem either; despite the effort we put in to cover it from others. No matter how much we deny, distort or disguise the evidence of sin, we can never change the fact of sin. Regardless of how much crumbs that little child brushes away, the fact of stealing (the cookie) remains.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” ~Proverbs 28:13
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. ~ John 3:19
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ~John 8:12
…for I [Jesus] have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister… to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. ~ Acts 26:16b-18
2. Finding the Wrong Place: Hiding from God’s sight to stay in the plight
When they heard God’s voice, Adam and Eve hid themselves (vs. 8) from Him. Though they probably realized the pointlessness of their action, it seems the fear of standing in God’s presence overwhelmed them, impairing their judgment. Indeed, this is a natural human response to facing God.
When we are aware of our sinful state it is common for us to avoid the presence of God. How often have we avoided going to church, avoided praying, or avoided reading the Bible, when engulfed by the guilt of sin. If our hearts have not been hardened into rock, we all feel the shame of sinfulness in the presence of a Holy God. And despite knowing that forgiveness and mercy are available through the Blood of Jesus Christ the Saviour, we shrink back from God. But, how can we run away from God?
“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” ~ Psalm 139:7-10
Our attempts to hide from God are just as useless as Adam and Eve’s. Hiding from God doesn’t help us in any way. Wherever we go God is there. Hiding from God only delays the confrontation and increases our misery. Let us instead, run to God when we sin. Let us run to Him for mercy and pardon. Not because we have no shame, but because we have no choice. Only God can remove the stain and penalty of sin. The longer we hide from Him the longer we have to live with the cancer of sin eating away at our lives. Hiding does not help.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” ~Isaiah 55:7
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” ~Micah 7:18
3. Firing at the Wrong Target: When you’ve chosen to sin, do not look out; look in
When God confronted Adam with Adam’s sin, Adam’s response was to blame Eve (vs. 12a), secondarily, and God (vs. 12b), primarily. Instead of admitting his guilt, Adam tried to pass it off on others. Likewise, when Eve was confronted with her sin, she blamed the serpent (vs. 13). One of the most important lessons a parent (especially fathers) must teach their children is to take responsibility for their actions. We live in a time where “blame-ism” is at its zenith. People caught in sin often point their fingers at every other factor except themselves. He/She blames peer-pressure, parents, poverty, (lack of) education, culture, etc., but refuses to take personal responsibility for his/her actions and decisions.
Believers must be wary of adopting this mindset. Nobody forces us to sin and God does not put us in a situation where we must sin. We are NOT powerless. We CAN choose to resist the influence of others. We CAN rise above our circumstances. When we place responsibility for our sins on our circumstances and/or others (even God!), we are saying that the influence of our situation is greater than the influence of the Holy Spirit within us. This argument is both false and absurd.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” ~1 Corinthians 10:13
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” ~1 John 4:4
If God is in us then, by definition, we are under the influence of an infinitely greater agent for good than any external agents that exist. So the only way we can sin, is by choosing to sin. Instead of finding others to blame for sin, let us admit our guilt in choosing to disobey God. If we refuse to take responsibility for our decisions, then we also refuse to receive God’s gracious forgiveness and mercy. This is also true for non-believers: we all must confess our sin before the Holy and Righteous God.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” ~1 John 1:8-10
Let us not blame God, or anyone else for our sin.