The Pair Are Tempted into Sin: Part 6 of 6 (series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
and they knew that they were naked;
The Holy Spirit reveals here that they saw that THEY WERE NAKED, that is,
1. That they were stripped and deprived of all the honors and joys that had been theirs in paradise, and exposed to all the miseries that might be expected from an angry God. They were disarmed and their defense had left them.
2. That they were shamed, and would be shamed forever before God and His angels. They saw themselves disrobed of all their signs and symbols of honor, degraded from their dignity and disgraced in the highest degree, laid open to the contempt and reproach of heaven, and earth, and their own consciences. Observe,
a. What a dishonour and threat sin is; it causes trouble wherever it is allowed to go, sets men against themselves, disturbs their peace, and destroys their comforts. Sooner or later, it will cause shame, either the shame of true repentance, which ends in glory, or that shame and everlasting contempt which comes to the wicked when they shall rise on the great day. Sin is a reproach to any people.
b. What a deceiver Satan is. He told our first parents, when he tempted them, that their eyes would be opened; and so they were, but not in the way they understood it; they were opened to their shame and grief, not to their honor or benefit. Therefore, when he speaks about good things, do not believe him. The most malicious liars often excuse themselves with this, that they did not express themselves clearly; but God will not excuse them.
and they sewed fig leaves together,
This is the sorry attempt they made to make their transgression seem less serious: They sewed fig-leaves together to cover, at least, part of their shame from one another; they made themselves aprons. This is the type of foolishness that is commonly observed among those that have sinned; they are more concerned with maintaining their standing before men than they are in obtaining a pardon from God; they are unwilling to confess their sin, and very eager to conceal it, as much as they can. I have sinned, yet honour me.
The Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees who were very religious on the outside, “Make the inside of the platter clean. You are just like a mausoleum, beautiful on the outside with marble and flowers, but inside full of dead men’s bones.” What a picture! And Adam and Eve, instead of confessing their sin, sewed fig leaves together for a covering. May I say to you, there is really no new style in fig leaves? Men are still going to church and going through religious exercises and doing good works instead of confessing the sin that is in their hearts.
“AND THEY KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED; AND THEY SEWED FIG LEAVES TOGETHER, AND MADE THEMSELVES APRONS.” Have you ever noticed that the fig tree is the only tree that is specifically mentioned? (The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not an apple tree. I do not know what it was, but I am almost sure it was not an apple tree.) These fig leaves concealed but did not really cover. Adam and Eve did not confess; they just attempted to cover up their sin. They were not ready to admit their lost condition.
This is the same condition of man today in religion. He goes through exercises and rituals, he joins churches, and he becomes very religious. Have you ever noticed that Christ cursed the fig tree? That is quite interesting. And He denounced religion right after that,
by the way; He denounced it with all His being because religion merely covers over sin.
In this temptation Satan wanted to come between man’s soul and God. In other words, he wanted to wean man away from God, to win man over to himself, and to become the god of man. The temptations of the flesh would not have appealed to man in that day, anyway. He was not tempted to steal or lie or covet. He was just tempted to doubt God. What was the trouble with the rich young ruler? He did not believe God. In the parable of the tares, the tares are those who would not believe God. Notice Satan’s method. First, Eve saw that the tree was good for food; second, it was pleasant to the eye; and third, it was to be desired to make one wise. Satan works from the outside to the inside, from without to within.
On the other hand, God begins with man’s heart. Religion is something that you rub on the outside, but God does not begin with religion. May I make a distinction here: Christianity is not a religion; Christianity is Christ! There are a lot of religions, but the Lord Jesus went right to the fountainhead when He said, “Ye must be born again.”
and made themselves aprons.
The excuses men make, to cover and reduce the seriousness of their sins, are vain and inappropriate. Like the aprons made of fig-leaves, they never make the matter better, but often make it worse. Shame, hidden in this way, becomes even more shameful. Yet, we are all apt to cover our transgressions as Adam did—“If I covered my transgressions as Adam (or after the manner of men), by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom” (Job 31:33; KJV). Job maintains he has the inner strength and courage to admit when he is wrong and not to cover his transgressions as Adam.
Let us review the fall and its effects:
1. From the New Testament we learn that Satan associated himself with the creature which we term the serpent, in order to seduce and ruin mankind.
2. That this creature was the most suitable to his purpose, since it was the most subtle, the most intelligent and cunning of all beasts of the field, endued with the gift of speech and reason, and consequently one in which he could best conceal himself.
3. Because he knew that while they depended on God they could not be ruined, he therefore endeavored to seduce them from this dependence.
4. He does this by working on that natural tendency of the mind to desire an increase of knowledge, with which God, for the most gracious purposes, had endowed it.
5. In order to succeed, he insinuates that God, through motives of envy, had given the prohibition—God doth know that in the day ye eat of it, ye shall be like himself, etc.
6. Because their present state of blessedness must be indescribably dear to them, he endeavors to persuade them that they could not fall from this state: Ye shall not surely die—ye shall not only retain your present blessedness, but it shall be greatly increased; a temptation by which he has succeeded in ruining multitudes of souls, ever since.
7. He kept the unlawfulness of the means he proposed hidden, assured them that they would resemble God himself, and consequently be self-sufficient, and totally independent of Him. They listened, and fixing their eyes only on the good he promised, but neglecting the positive command, and determining to become wise and independent, they took of the fruit and did eat.