Gen.3 Crucial Question: The Problem of Sin & Evil part2
Redeemer Church Sunday School
Genesis: Finding Answers to Life’s Crucial Questions
Semester One: Genesis 1-3 “Beginnings”
Read Ephesians 4:17-19; Romans 8:28
Review: In the last couple of weeks we have examined Gen. 3:1-7 and we have seen that the devil possessed or took on the form of the serpent and tempted Eve to sin while Adam seemed to just jump right into the sin following Eve. We saw that the serpent was created by God and was good; the humans were created in God’s image and were perfect, though fallible. They had no sin nature but they did have the choice to obey God or to disobey God. We did some background work on the devil and saw that he was created as an angel but got proud and exalted himself against God and led a rebellion of angels, all of whom were subsequently cast out of heaven.
Last week we looked at the nature of sin and saw that sin first of all broke a covenant with God. This is evidenced in part by how Moses used the covenant name for God, YHWH, in chapter 2, but here in the first part of ch.3 he only uses Elohim. And Hosea 6:7 says, “like Adam they transgressed the covenant”. In looking at the conversation between Eve and the serpent we noted several things: 1)the serpent tempted Eve not Adam, going for the weaker vessel, not the one who was in authority; 2) Eve allowed the serpent to set the rules of engagement and define the terms; 3) she misquotes the Word of God and probably adds to the Word as well; 4) she failed to challenge the serpent when he ultimately contradicted God; 5) why was she talking to the reptile anyway when she should have just walked away?
We defined sin as, “any lack of conformity, active or passive, to the moral law of God. This may be a matter of act, of thought or of inner disposition or state. Sin is failure to live up to what God expects of us in act, thought and being. The essence of sin is simply failure to let God be God. It is placing something else, anything else, in the supreme place which is His.” (Millard Erickson, p.578, 580).
Then we discussed the origin of sin. As created beings we have some limits on our freedom. Adam was totally free to choose obedience or sin; he chose sin. You and I are not totally free in this regard. We can choose which sins we engage in, but we are all natural born sinners. We sin because we are sinners by nature. We cannot not sin. We are also guilty by imputation, that is, Adam voted for sin and his guilt is applied to us. Though people may object to this as not fair, imputation is how our democratic republic runs, that is, our elected and appointed officials make decisions that we are stuck with. But more importantly, the idea of imputation also saves us because when Christ lived a sinless life and died as our substitute on the cross, his righteousness is imputed to those who repent and believe. Thus we are not only condemned by imputation but we are saved by imputation. Our choices and Adam’s guilt are followed by the fact that we live in a fallen world and we are taught to sin by the example of our families and friends. We are led into sin by others and we in turn lead others into sin in a never ending saga of suffering and evil.
The tough question I threw out last week was this: are we born with a genetic disposition towards some particular sins? I specifically used homosexuality as an example and got some good debate with that one.
I. How Big Is Your Sin?
I did not quite get finished with the topic of sin so let me just add this. Many people think that their sins are small and do not justify being condemned to hell for eternity. Many people like to weigh their sins against the sins of others so that they always come out looking pretty good. So we need to look at the consequences of Adam’s sin and see if the text gives us a clue about the size of our sin, the amount of sin, versus the punishment.
Read Gen. 3:1-24
Remember that the one thing, the one law that God gave Adam in 2:16-17, was to not eat of one tree. The punishment for stealing one piece of fruit was death. Does anyone think that a little on the harsh side? When you look at all the big sins, murder, rape, robbery, etc., do you think stealing one little bit of fruit deserves death? When we compare our sins to those of others, and look at the consequences, don’t you have a tendency to say, “Well so and so did this and such and got away with it. I just did this one little thing and the wrath of God is upon me and I am suffering and they aren’t, blah blah.” Anyone here besides me say that?
One of my favorite foods is pizza. Suppose I had a nice 16” supreme pizza from Pizza Hut here for lunch and everybody was hungry. But I reach down into the gutter beside the street in a town like what we see on the news from Iraq where sanitation services and sewers are none existent, and I scoop up a small handful of gutter filth and lightly sprinkle it all over the pizza. Will you take a piece of pizza now? But the good outweighs the bad! There isn’t much filth on the pizza. You see, when God says in Lev. 19:2 “You shall be holy , for I the LORD your God am holy” he means HOLY, not just a little bit tainted with sin, but completely separated from sin. As long as we measure our sin against someone else we will come out OK. But try measuring your sin against Jesus, and you will see your sinfulness. Folks, the least little sin (little to you and me) like stealing some forbidden fruit, is a direct assault upon the sovereignty and holiness of God. The least little sin is a slap in the face of God that says, I don’t want you to be God, I want to be god. And God is infinitely Holy and worthy of praise and obedience and worship; therefore, to sin in the least of things is to exalt self and try to debase God. Therefore all sin, even the smallest, deserves death. The problem is not the size of the sin, it is not the amount of sin; the thing we need to focus on is the size of our God. He is infinite and we are not. He is perfect and glorious and our sin basically spits in his face.
Thank the Lord that in his holiness, his infinitude and his sovereignty, he is also a God of love, grace and mercy. He forgives and forgives and restores and restores. We are faithless but he is faithful. He sent his Son Jesus to die because of Adam’s eating the forbidden fruit and he sent Jesus to die for all of your sins as well as mine.
Yes there are degrees of sin and degrees of punishment. Perhaps Dante got it right. But look at James 2:10-11; Gal 3:10. Look at John 19:11 and Matt.11:20-24.
Look at what happened to Adam and Eve after they sinned. 1) Though their eyes were opened, they experienced shame not joy. 2) They resorted to futile methods to cover their guilt and shame. 3) They futilely attempted to hide from God instead of running to God, thus we see the wonderful Creator-creature relationship broken. 4) This shows they became self-centered instead of God centered and thus worship was disrupted. 5) The man shirks responsibility and blames first the woman, then blames God himself! 6) The woman blames the serpent. 7) There is enmity between humans and serpents now, in fact, this indicates that in some way all of nature falls and instead of growing and spreading the garden, man will now be fighting nature. Also shown in the thorns and thistles. 8) Work becomes toil 9) We return to the dust, the principle of death begins for the humans. 9) The couple is forced out of the Garden and denied the Tree of Life. 10) Their offspring inherit their sin nature and sin deepens and spreads in ch.4-6.
II. Some related crucial questions about sin:
1) What about the “innocent” native in Africa who has never heard the Gospel? A: there are no “innocent” natives in Africa or anywhere else. Rom. 3:23 all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Keep in mind that I think the Scriptures teach that the average, prosperous, religious American who hears the gospel but clings to their own self righteousness and home made religion bears more guilt than the cannibalistic savage in Papua New Guinea who has not heard of Christ.
2) What about the horrific criminal who repents in his last moments? I would refer you to the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39ff who confessed that his deeds deserved crucifixion, then professed faith and Christ and received a promise of paradise from Jesus.
3) What about the infant or toddler who dies before the “age of accountability”? First of all I nowhere find an age of accountability taught in Scripture. Secondly, the answer to this question about what happens to babies when they die is nowhere directly answered in Scripture, and for good reason. 1) If Scripture taught that all babies go to heaven when they died do you not think that infanticide would be worse than it already is? 2) If Scripture taught that all babies go to hell when they die, how would you comfort and console grieving Christian parents? Where is the hope in that?
But Scripture does give us hope in this difficult situation. First we see that indeed we are all sinners from conception- Psalm 58:3; 51:5. But look also at Luke 1:15. It is God’s frequent pattern to save the children of his people- Gen.7:1; Heb.11:7; Josh 2:18; Psalm 103:17; John 4:53; Acts 2:39; 16:31; 1Cor.1:16; Titus 1:6. And finally, compare 2Sam.12:23 with Psalm 23:6**.
III. The Problem of Evil
Though we cannot totally solve the problem of evil here, we can say these things:
1) God is all good and never sins nor does he directly cause anyone to sin.
2) God, in his wisdom, has allowed free creatures to sin, thus bringing in evil to his good universe, but only for a time. God will ultimately deal out justice and judgment upon all evil.
3) All the suffering that is the result of evil will be proved to be just when he judges the unrighteous or, for those he saves, the reward and blessing will far outweigh the temporary suffering experienced in this life and the suffering will be shown to have led us to fulfill His plans and give Him more glory.
4) The atheists and other world religions do not have any answer for the problem of evil that can even come close to ours and furthermore they cannot explain the presence of good and pleasure and beauty in the universe.
5) In the cross we see man’s greatest evil became God’s greatest good.
Refer to Grudem’s Systematic Theology, pp.322-331 for a discussion on the problem of evil.
And here is a sermon from Genesis I used several years ago:
Genesis 3:1-8 “Are You Hiding From God?”
18 April 1999 pm ****** **** Baptist Church
Pastor Bryan E. Walker
I.Close Fellowship with God
II.Sin Produces Fear
III.Sinners Hide from God
IV.You Cannot Hide for Long
Introduction: This evening’s sermon is essentially a continuation of this mornings sermon as we are studying further the doctrine of sin, the psychology of sin and its effects. What did sin do to Adam? What does it do to us? How did Adam respond to the realization that he had sinned? How do we respond?
Because God is holy, sin breaks the close fellowship we have with God and this produces fear in our hearts which leads us to try to hide from God. This is futile however because you cannot hide from the all-knowing, everywhere present God who is infinitely concerned with you.
I.Close Fellowship with God.
The way the story reads it appears quite normal for God to be walking in the Garden of Eden to fellowship with his creation, to enjoy the company of Adam and Eve. Let’s think about that for a while– the Creator of all that is, the Holy LORD God Almighty enjoys the company of man. Now we have to be careful here since we do not have all the details, but it seems to me that this is some form of a theophany, that is, an appearance of God in some physical though supernatural form. We of course know that God does not have a body. Jesus says in John 4:24 “God is spirit and his worshippers must worship in spirit and truth.” But look at Colossians 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God…” Jesus is the image of God who is invisible. In the garden with Adam it may have been the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ who they were used to having fellowship with. It could have been Jesus they heard approaching that day. Whether Jesus or a supernatural Theophany, Adam and Eve knew it was God approaching.
The meaning is clear– that they were used to fellowship with God, they had close communion with their Maker but now they are terrified. The Bible stresses again and again that God enjoys being with his people. One of the amazing signs of this idea is the birth of Christ. God came as a humble peasant carpenter and lived with man for appx. 33 years. The 23rd Psalm pictures the LORD as our Shepherd, one who leads us, carries us, provides for us, sets a table for us. Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted”. Isaiah 40:11 “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” Jesus taught his disciples to pray in a radical manner, “Our Father..” His parables stress that God is inviting us to a wedding party, God is the Father looking for his prodigal children. 1John4:8 says “God is love”. To properly understand this story in Genesis 3 we must understand Adam’s sin was against a Holy God who Loved him with a pure love. That shows how horrible the sin is. It was not merely breaking the Law (as awful as that is!) it is also breaking the heart of the loving Heavenly Father that Adam had a close relationship with.
II. Sin Produces Fear
vss.8-10. they heard…they hid…”I was afraid”. For the first time fear enters the heart of man. They lived in a perfect environment in the Garden, there was nothing to fear. Sin so disrupts the relationship between man and God that man cowers in abject fear from his loving Creator. Perhaps now he remembers the penalty God had set for eating of the tree- death. I am not sure if the animals died back then but somehow Adam knew what death was, and he is now fearful to the point of hiding. Sin brings about a fear of what ought to be our greatest joy–God.
From this first sin came a cacophony of fears, fear, like death, has reigned through the centuries. Every person who ever lived has experienced fear. Fear of pain, illness, suffering, death, crime, disaster, war, poverty. Fear is an equal opportunity destroyer. There are many who are so bold and foolish that they do not fear much. Paul says in Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes” referring to lost sinners who are so dead in their sins they no longer even fear God, their hearts are so calloused they care not that their eternal souls are in danger of hell. Luke 12:5 “But I will show you whom you should fear : Fear Him who, after the killing of the body has power to throw you into hell. Yes I tell you, fear Him!”
What do you fear? Do you have any fears? As people grow older many health problems come along. Finances can be a problem when you have a fixed income. Looking at our nation and what may happen in the coming months can cause fear. We have a war going on in Europe that can open up our vulnerabilities in Iraq, North Korea, and Taiwan. We have terrorists with bombs, biological weapons, and chemical weapons. We have tornados, earthquakes, etc.
Fear is based on our sin, our broken relationship with God, our impoverished faith, our insecurities.
III. Sinners Hide from God
Think of the utter futility of trying to hide from God. God is omniscient- that is He knows everything. God is eternal in his omniscience– He knew what Adam was going to do before he did it (remember Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial?) God is everywhere present (omnipresent), Adam mistook the visible presence of God in the Garden as the total presence of God. Psalm 139:7″ Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Think of the Prophet Jonah trying to run away from God’s call to preach to Ninevah. God was with Jonah on the boat, in the water, in the belly of the great fish, and finally at Ninevah. Sin produces fear and fear causes people to run.
In the Army we practiced battle drills, immediate reaction drills so that what was drilled into our heads by constant practice would serve us in good stead if we should go to battle and face the fear of the battlefield. Fear is natural to us now when faced with that which is bigger than us, unknowable to us, awful to us. Fear causes people to run and hide.
Why would people hide from God? Sin has robbed us of knowledge of God. Sin makes us lawbreakers and God becomes our Judge. God is infinitely big and we are so small as to be insignificant compared to God. God is Holy and we are unholy. The light of his presence hurts our sinful eyes and causes us to flee like cockroaches when the light is turned on. Evil and wickedness love the dark of night, but when the searchlight of God’s Holy love penetrates our darkness we are inclined to run away.
What do we do to hide from God today? Some hide beneath the blatant banners of false religion and occultism or atheism. Many people openly revile God and scorn the Savior, persecuting the Church. Even in the church we frequently hide from God. Though we are saved we are not yet perfect and we are prone to wander into sin. We seek pleasure and comfort in sins common to the world, even though this world is not our home. We seek to hide from God in our busyness; “I am too busy for the disciplines of the Christian life” We hide from God by not forming intimate Christian friendships where we are open and honest about our temptations and sins, where we are held accountable to one another. We hide from God with our Religiosity- that is a form of religion that is rooted in performance instead of grace, visible acts done habitually instead of living by faith. The Pharisees were outwardly very religious, yet were hiding from God by focusing on the external law. Pride always is a favorite method of hiding from God. We hide from God by resting comfortably in the rut of cold habit and tradition, our ignorance is our security as we hide from God.
To hide from God is to miss out on the blessings of His grace and mercy. We lose out on experiencing God’s love and forgiveness when we hide. We become useless to God when we hide and therefore lose purpose in our lives. We are like the scared little boy who knows there is a monster under his bed and closes his eyes hoping it goes away.
IV. You Cannot Hide for Long
God came looking for Adam. Now we will talk more about this next week but for now I want you to know that you can run but you cannot hide. God always sees you; he knows your every thought action and word. In Luke 15 is the parable of the prodigal son. Be assured that the Father is waiting and watching for his children. More than that, the Father is always actively searching for his own, calling them by name, giving them the grace gifts of repentance and faith.
Genesis 3:1-7 “The Futility of Fig Leaves”
18 April 1999am ******* **** Baptist Church
Pastor Bryan E. Walker
I. Sin Produces Real Guilt
II. Sin Produces Real Shame
III. Sinful Efforts at Hiding Our Guilt and Shame
1. The First Cover-Up
2. Human Works Never Work
IV. Christ Alone Solves the Sinner’s Dilemma
Introduction: We are studying our way through the book of Genesis under the Theme of Answers To Basic Life Questions. It is my belief that the Bible, when studied and applied under the guidance and illumination of the Holy Spirit, provides us with the answers we truly need in this life. Notice I said it provides us with the answers we need, I did not say it provides us the answers we want. The Bible, when studied with faith in Christ will touch us in every area of life. The book of Genesis is an excellent introduction to the Bible as a whole; it serves as a mini-theology for the entire Word of God.
In our study of Gen. we are presently in the very important chapter 3 where we see temptation, sin, and the hope of redemption. This morning and evening as well as the next several sermons on Sun. mornings we will study sin, the Fall of Man, the effects of sin, and God’s response to our sin.
It is not often I get to preach on a topic that I am an expert in. I am an expert in sin; I have been a sinner for over 40 years now. I have a lot of personal experience with sin; I have practiced it successfully and hidden it well. I say this as if it is a joke, but it is really not funny, I am deadly serious.
Sin is a great equalizer in the world. We are all sinners, rich and poor, educated or ignorant, famous or just normal folk. Everyone is involved in sin, but most people don’t like to be called sinners, they don’t like to be reminded of their sin or have their sin pointed out. The concept of sin, the doctrine of sin, is proved every day in the newspapers and on TV or radio news. Our everyday life confirms that we are all sinners.
But how do we handle our sin? Last week we examined temptation in the Garden, now we look at the sin itself and Adam and Eve’s response to the realization that they had sinned. Today we will look at The Futility of Fig Leaves.
I. Sin Produces Real Guilt.
In order for us to understand what sin is we must first recall that 1:1 clearly establishes that God created all that is, He is the owner of the universe, the designer, the LORD. As LORD He is the rightful Lawgiver. He alone has the right to lay down the moral laws of the universe and enforce them. We see in 2:17″but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” This is the only rule or law for Adam that we know of. It was clear and to the point. Last week we looked at how Satan (the Serpent) misinterpreted it for Eve and she mishandled it. The net result in the story is that Adam and Eve blatantly disobeyed the Law of God. They transgressed the Law of God, they rebelled against their Creator. This produced real, objective guilt. They became instantly guilty of violating God’s law, God’s rules, and God’s demands.
They could not plead ignorance of the Law; the Lawgiver had personally given it to them. They could not plead any extenuating circumstances for they were in the perfect environment. They couldn’t say “Well everyone else is doing it!” for there was nobody else. While it is true that Eve was Tempted, she was not coerced into sin. The guilt of breaking God’s Law falls squarely at their feet. In verse 12 Adam admits the deed “I ate it”. In verse 13 Eve also admits “I ate”. So we see that when confronted directly with their sin by God their Creator, LORD, and Judge they confess their transgression.
Now we have to see how this ancient story which I believe to be totally true and historical as revealed to Moses by God, how does it affect us? What does Adam’s guilt have to do with me?
This story essentially answers the basic life question of “Why are things so messed up? Why am I not perfect? Why do I do things that I know are wrong? Why do I feel guilty before a Holy God?” In Paul’s letter to the Romans 5:18-19 “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men , so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”(NIV)
Whether we like it or not Adam sinned and every one of us after Adam became sinners. I believe there is a genetically inherited tendency toward sin, but more importantly there is the concept of imputation. That means that Adam was our God-designated representative and he voted for sin and we all are suffering the consequences. Someone may object saying that is not fair, I didn’t get a vote. You also had no say in who your parents were, where you were born, or what your early childhood environment was like yet all those things have made you who you are today. It is totally out of your control. In our political system we carry the burdens and enjoy the blessings of those decisions made by the judges and politicians of yesteryear. The decisions made by others before our birth have a huge impact on us today. That is in one sense what imputation is. The decision of someone else is applied to us.
Therefore, we are all sinners because Adam, our federal head of the human race, sinned; because Adam sinned and brought real guilt upon himself we too are guilty. This is born out in our personal experience isn’t it? We all sin, from the time we are old enough to know anything at all, we rebel against authority, we exercise our will, and we show ourselves to be selfish. We sin because we are born sinners, born guilty, born with a natural inclination to sin. To sin is normal for us. Therefore our guilt before God is proven by our experience. Paul says in Rom.3:10-12,23″There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
II. Sin Produces Real Shame.
I am not sure exactly what Adam and Eve went through that sad day, but I believe it was a huge cataclysm for the whole universe. Their sin was intensely personal but cosmic in proportion. Here is God’s ultimate expression of his creative nature and it has rebelled. Immediately Adam and Eve knew they had lost something essential, irreplaceable. Imagine the horror they experienced. For the first time they experience shame. Shame is deeper and stronger by far than mere embarrassment. They were aware of the immensity of their ingratitude and lack of trust in God; they were exposed physically and spiritually. Their shame was also knowing that their relationship with God was now broken, as evidenced by their hiding from God in vs.8.”Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day , and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” They were ashamed of what they had done and tried to cover up their nakedness and to hide from God.
Shame is a natural consequence of doing wrong, yet in today’s world shame is rare. People today are proud of their wickedness; they celebrate their diversity and perversity. Sin is put on proud display and glorified. Even criminals are not publicly shamed anymore. We are a culture ashamed of shame and are seeking to eradicate shame. This loss of shame is the result of hardened hearts and seared consciences that are so used to sin and facing no consequences that shame is all but gone.
Shame is humiliating and painful to us deep inside. Shame reveals our guilt and ingratitude towards our maker. Shame makes us feel small and worthless. Shame shows our fallenness, our failure. Think back to some horrible moment in your life when you did something really bad. Do you feel the shame of that moment? Is there a sense of “Oh no! I can’t believe I did that!” Isaiah had a moment like that in Isa. 6:5 “Woe to me!” I cried.”I am ruined! Or think of Simon Peter who betrayed his Lord after Jesus had told hmi he would , he warned Peter. What was Peter’s response? LK.22:61-62 “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him : ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times ‘ And he went outside and wept bitterly”. Shame brings bitterness and remorse, grief and inner turmoil. Sin disturbs our SHALOM, the inner sense of peace and wellness that God intends.
Many people spend so much of their lives living in shame, walking around with a deep ache in their heart, the ache of unforgiven sin, unconfessed sin, unresolved guilt. Shame leads either to depression or a hardening of the heart, a numbing process where we lose our relationship with God, others, and ourselves.
III. Sinful Efforts at Hiding Our Guilt and Shame.
1. The First Cover-Up.
Their shame was so painful, and their nakedness so obvious that the couple resorted to sewing fig leaves together in order to hide their nakedness. Many preachers I have heard through the years have said they believe the first couple was clothed in something akin to the Shekinah Glory of God, a veil of light if you will. Of course we have no way on being certain, it could be that merely their guilt changed how they perceived their nakedness for 2:25 says “The man and his wife were naked , and they felt no shame.” Throughout Scripture nakedness and shame go together. Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross and we believe that the usual method of crucifixion had the individual completely naked on the cross, adding to his shame.
But how did they respond? They tried to cover up their shame by merely hiding the external effect of their sin. They focused on the surface issue because they could not even begin to touch their core problem. You see, they tried to cover up their sin, guilt and shame because they could not fix the real problem. Uhh, excuse me, don’t you think God is going to notice those fig leaves? Their feeble effort at hiding the effects of their sin led to the further humiliation of trying to hide from God. Do you see the futility of sin? It leads to hopeless endeavors like hiding in the bushes from the Omniscient Creator. Shame and fear are closely related too each other and to guilt as well.
All of us can relate to their predicament, for all of us have done something wrong and then tried to fix it so no one would notice. It is human nature to try to cover up our failures and hide our faults. The little boy was told by his mother not to eat any of the freshly baked chocolate cookies, but when mom stepped out for a few minutes, he chose to disobey, thinking that she would never notice 2-3 cookies missing. Of course when the boys mother came back she asked the boy if he had eaten any of the cookies and he mumbled a “no” without looking at her. Mom asked, “Are you sure you did not eat any of those cookies?” Again he responded with a “No”, this time more forceful. Mom brought the boy to the bathroom and had him look in the mirror. To his surprise he saw chocolate all around his mouth and he knew he was caught. He could deny it but the evidence was to the contrary! We see this process at work in our court system and political process where lies and cover-ups are everyday occurrences.
2. Human Works Never Work.
The deeper truth of this passage is that man quite simply cannot save himself. Man is a sinner now and cannot hide that fact from God. Adam could not undo what had been done and any cover-up was absolutely ridiculous. Romans 3:20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” Galatians 2:15 “We who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God , not by works , so that no one can boast.”
Let us make the point applicable to ourselves now. What are you doing in order to hide the effects of sin in your life? What do you trust in to impress God that is of the flesh? Sin so corrupts us that we have a natural tendency to think that we can earn our way to heaven, like Frank Sinatra we think we can do it Our Way.
Many people think that being moral they can outweigh their sin with good deeds. But the Word clearly says we cannot do that. If we break the law of God at one point we are guilty, we are lawbreakers. God is infinitely Holy and we are guilty of sinning against his holiness. Our feeble efforts at morals cannot repair that breach. We think that we can save ourselves through religion, so there are thousands of religions today. “Well they all teach the same thing. They all worship the same God” No they don’t and if you spent 5 minutes studying them you would see that. Many good Baptists trust in the good works of baptism, church membership or tithing to save them. Fig leaves! Nothing but Fig Leaves! Many people try to ease their sense of shame and guilt by helping others, serving the community, or attending church whenever their guilt gets too bad. All these things if done to impress God or to earn our salvation fall far short of the mark. Fig leaves never saved anybody!
IV. Christ Alone Solves the Sinner’s Dilemma.
What are we to do? We are guilty; we suffer shame and separation from God, others, and even our own selves. We feel naked and exposed before God and we cannot fix ourselves. Later in Gen.3 we will see how God responds to Adam’s sin. But right now let me tell you that Jesus, God’s only Son, died on the cross as our substitute, as our sacrifice. He paid the ultimate price for sin that God had assured Adam of- death. Look again at Rom. 5:18-19 “the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men…..Through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Rom.3:25 “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.”
If we trust in anything other than Christ for our salvation we are foolish and guilty of the sin of idolatry. To brazenly assert our right to try to get to heaven by our own efforts is to focus on our fig leaves rather than on the glory of Christ crucified and resurrected. In whom or in what do you trust your eternal soul’s destiny?