As soon as Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit their eyes were opened, they saw that they were naked, so they sowed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Of course we know God came looking for them and he found them hiding among the trees of the garden. A little while later we read where God actually killed an animal to make garments for them to be covered with. So we see a hint that it’s going to take a sacrifice to provide an appropriate covering for the guilt and shame that comes from sin.
It seems we have been trying to cover ourselves since then. They used literal fig leaves but we use all sorts of other things. For some it’s drugs, sex, work, popularity, money, power and even religion. We will attempt anything to keep ourselves from being exposed. We will hide out from God in any and every way possible. My fig leaf of choice was drugs and alcohol for you it may be something else.
Even though God gave Israel the Law, the Temple and animal sacrifices he never intended it to take the place of faith in him. It was all meant to point to Christ. When you get into the Gospels you discover Jesus had most of his problems with the religious leaders. These were the folks that thought they knew all about the Law of Moses and the rules and regulations. They turned the very things God gave them into fig leaves and hid. Jesus exposed them on more than one occasion and called them out as hypocrites.
In one of the more intense confrontations with the religious leaders Jesus said to them “You clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” I thought it interesting he called them cups. He knew how God created us and it was as a vessel meant to contain the Holy Spirit but these men housed another spirit. They had grown accustomed to doing everything by the book and rather than make them holy it made them bitter and judgmental. He went on to tell them they were whitewashed tombs filled with dead men’s bones. That’s pretty harsh talk from Jesus, but he knew they were hiding behind their so called religious life. Sometimes it takes strong language to shake someone from their false sense of security.
I’m afraid there are many people that are hiding behind church attendance, morality and things like giving to charity. Jesus told Nicodemus “You must be born again!” This is another way of telling us that there has to be an inward change and not merely an outward one. The inside of the cup has to be cleaned and that only happens with a good ole Holy Spirit cleansing. Don’t misunderstand me I believe if there is a genuine inner change it will show up on the outside. There will be a difference in the way you look and act to the world. No one that has ever come into real contact with Christ ever stays the same.
In his conversation with Nicodemus Jesus told him mans greatest problem is we don’t want to be exposed. We would rather cover ourselves in good deeds than to come into the light. Jesus said, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” The problem man has is as old as the Garden itself. As soon as Adam sinned he tried to cover it up to no avail. Jesus Christ has come and through his shed blood we can receive the one and only covering that will work its called righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Jesus Christ is all of these and when we are clothed in him they become ours. Finally we have been given something that can truly remove, not only our sin, but our guilt and shame too.
Written by Louie