In a grove of trees a man and his wife stood together looking with revulsion at the bitten fruit lying at their feet. The sweetness lingering in their mouths only sharpened the wretched feeling that swept, over them — guilt. Their consciences raged, “Why didn’t you listen to me? Why did you rebel? Why didn’t you trust and obey?”
They knew that they had turned against their loving Creator by doubting His words and not heeding His instructions. They had left the secure place of total dependence on His words and put themselves in a vulnerable, independent state. As they stared at one another with wide and frightened eyes, they became aware of something else, something that wasn’t new, but that hadn’t troubled them before — they were naked!
As the sickening sensation of guilt filled their beings, they both had one simultaneous impulse. “We need to hide!! We need to cover ourselves! Surely our Maker will come here soon, desiring to meet with us. We cannot let Him see our nakedness!”
Adam approached one of the fruit-bearing trees, a fig tree heavy with purple fruit. Breaking off some of its big green leaves, he gave them to his wife, who then sewed them together into coverings large enough for themselves. Fearfully they awaited the approach of their Maker..
Adam and Eve had just been freshly created; their consciences were still totally sensitive, the way their Maker had created them to be. As soon as that bite of fruit entered their mouths, they knew immediately — overwhelmingly — that they were guilty and naked, in need of covering. They knew that they were unfit in their naked state to come into the presence of God.
Today, we human beings have become used to living in a state of guilt and independence from our Creator. Our consciences are dull, desensitized. We need to be told the truth in order to realize that we are guilty and become aware of our nakedness before God. All through the ages God has been speaking to the conscience of every man and woman on the face of the earth. If only we would listen, face our condition, and truly repent, receiving the covering He has provided for us!
Most Christians (except perhaps those who are born and raised that way) become Christians because they saw their guilt and their need to be covered. Either through circumstances in their lives, or through reading the word of God or hearing it preached, they become aware of their sinful state which makes them worthy of death. In a desperate attempt to be covered and made fit to appear before their Maker, wanting to escape the condemnation of their guilty consciences, they become Christians. They then consider themselves to be clothed and no longer naked or in need of covering.
But what was wrong with the fig-leaf covering that Adam and Eve covered themselves with? Why was it that when their Maker finally appeared, they still hid themselves from Him, even though they were now covered?
They had covered themselves in an attempt to HIDE their shame. They did not want their guilt to be exposed and laid bare, so they desperately sought to make themselves presentable. But somewhere deep inside, they knew that they were still unfit to come into the presence of God — they were still naked and guilty.
When their God finally came in search of them, they hid themselves in the trees of the garden. And when He called to them and then questioned them, their responses to Him showed that they were still afraid of freely exposing their guilt, as they both put the blame onto someone else. But our Maker’s heart is to provide us with a true covering: a SACRIFICE.
Adam and Eve finally had to remove all their fig leaf coverings and expose their true state of nakedness so that they could receive the garments God provided for them, taken from an animal that had shed its blood to cover them in the very first physical death creation had ever seen. Even way back then it was in our God’s heart to sacrifice life in order to cover mankind’s sin. Already He had a plan. In His amazing love, He would send His only begotten Son, Yahshua, the Lamb of God, to be slain and to shed His blood so that we could be clothed in white garments and be restored to being found worthy to walk with Him as He had always desired. He was well aware of what He would do.
Through a chain of circumstances in my life, an awareness grew in me of my guilty, fallen state, and I became a Christian. I developed a desire to be covered and made right before God. I was a Christian for ten years, zealously serving the One I had called on. But somewhere deep inside I sensed that I was still guilty and fallen, unfit to appear before the Almighty God. I went from church to church, trying on one fig leaf after another, until finally I looked like a walking BUSH of fig leaves. But inside I was still the same old fallen ME. Somehow I had never truly become a new creation, clothed with Messiah, my conscience having been washed clean by His sacrifice. I felt like I constantly had to try to convince myself that I was no longer naked, and could enter into His presence with confidence.
The gospel I had received never caused me to totally expose my condition and own my guilt before God. It had left me still making excuses and putting the blame on others. It only brought me into a life of using my own strength to make myself presentable to God by cleaning up my act and perfecting my performance, covering myself with fig leaves expertly sewn together.
My “walk with God” was founded on my efforts to clothe myself and cover over my sin-filled state. It was not on an unconditional surrender to Him that would allow my shameful condition to be utterly exposed and let Him clothe me.
The roots of my sin were independence, selfishness, rebellion, and disobedience to His will because of wanting to do my will and lean on my own understanding. None of these things were dealt with, but remained uncovered in God’s eyes. He could see right through all those layers of fig leaves. He saw that I was still naked and in desperate need of true covering.
He made clear the natural response to His sacrifice for the sins of mankind: we would hate our life, turn away from our old ways, forsake all our possessions, and enter into a life of utter dependence and total obedience to Him. This is the only way the sacrifice He provided can touch and transform us, making us new and clean and fresh inside — CLOTHED in Him. The true gospel brings us back into that secure place of total dependence on His protection and care, His grace, His strength... His covering.
I am so thankful that in the end I heard the true gospel of salvation and peeled off all my layers of self-made covering, exposing my nakedness once again to receive His sacrifice for my sin, the covering He provided. I no longer live my old life of independence and self?reliance. Now I depend entirely on Him, together with all those who have received His forgiveness as I have. We live a life together of trust and total dependence on our God and on one another, walking with Him and living for Him, keeping our new garments clean and white. We do not have to pretend anymore or try to keep up the appearance of being righteous and pure when inside we are full of selfishness and strife. We can be honest with one another now, exposing our neediness to one another without fear because we know we are cared for and loved. He has given us new life and we can rest at peace in the works He has accomplished. It takes dying to have newness of life. He died for all, that those who live would live no longer for themselves, but for Him.
He desires to truly cover all of mankind. He desires to clothe you and bring you back into fellowship — TOGETHERNESS with Himself. It is such a relief to take those fig leaves off and be real and honest and be clothed with the covering He provided.
Are you another walking bush of fig leaves? There is hope for you if deep inside you still long to be set free. There is a place where you can receive new garments made by God Himself. There is nothing more wonderful than to be clothed by Him, resting like a trustful child in His care. He wants to give you rest. Come and visit! I’d love to meet you.