Naked and Ashamed

Since no coverings made by man can hid our sins before God, it is more truthful to stand naked and ashamed of our sin before God.
Let God cover our sins with the sacrificial blood.
This is the core of the discussion that follows.

In Genesis Chapter 3, we read:

Genesis 3:9-11
9     Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?"
10   So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."
11   And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"   (NKJV)
This is the story of the fall of human, narrated in Genesis.
God came to the Garden of Eden, for the usual evening meeting with His supreme creation, Adam and Eve.
Usually, Adam and Eve would be there eagerly waiting for God and will greet Him at the gate of the Garden.
But, that day, the response from Adam and Eve was unusual; they were found nowhere in the garden greeting God.
The Omniscient God called them and there came a feeble and ashamed voice from Adam: “I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."
He was very near to God, but hiding behind the trees because he is naked and ashamed.
God’s first response was the question: "Who told you that you were naked?”
Then God continued to assert the reason for his nakedness and shame: “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"

God created everything in this universe.
Humans were created with Free Will, the freedom to live loyal to the Kingdom of Heaven or break away and join the enemy of heaven.
Genesis 2:9 says, as a symbol of obedience and blessings and disobedience and curse, God separated two trees.
The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Humans were sentenced to live with the tree of life and die with the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
That was the way they were created and supposed to live.

And Adam and Eve were naked but not ashamed.

Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.  (NKJV)

We begin our message at this point: Adam and Eve were naked but not ashamed. Why?
Our conventional explanation is that they were covered with the Glory of God, so that they were not ashamed.
It is true that, according to Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”(NKJV)
That is, Adam and Eve were covered with the Glory of God and by sin they lost the Glory.

We cannot think of a situation where uncovered nakedness does not produce shame.
Our nakedness today is closely attached with shame; for us nakedness is shame.
So if Adam and Even did not feel shame, we are hurry to cover them with something.
And we argue that Glory of God covered their nakedness; but that is not true.

Of course Adam and Eve were covered with the Glory of God.
And when they sinned the Glory left them.
But the Glory did not cover their nakedness before sin; for the Bible says, they were naked and not ashamed.

But, it is not the absence of Glory that made them naked.
The Word of God says that they were naked even before they committed the sin.
They were covered with the Glory of God and still naked.
They were naked and not ashamed.

They were naked before sin and after sin.
When God called out: "Where are you?", Adam responded that he was naked.
But we know that, before God came to the Garden of Eden on that day, Adam and Eve, “sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” (Genesis 3:7)
They looked at each other and found that their nakedness was well covered.
They were not naked before each other.
Still when God called them, they responded that they were naked.

That means Adam and Eve did not dare to come before as they used to do so far, because they were ashamed of their nakedness.
The issue here is not nakedness, it is the shame.

Let us read what happened after they committed the sin.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.  (NKJV)

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened”, does not mean that their eyes were closed before sin, but that they could see more than they could see before.
They were naked before sin and they could surely see it.
But now they saw something more to it – the shame of nakedness.
Shame is a new factor attached to them by sin.

The key to this conundrum lies in the verse, Genesis 2:25 and their response to the new knowledge.
And they were both naked even before sin, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
They never thought of making a covering with leaves or anything else.
Their nakedness required no covering.
But after sin they immediately sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

So, there seems to be two kinds of nakedness: nakedness without shame and nakedness with shame.
What they tried to cover after sin was their nakedness with shame.
For this, they sewed a covering with fig leaves and covered their nakedness.

These leaves represent a third tree.
The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil were not fig trees.
Adam and Eve used the leaves of a fig tree, a third tree that humans discovered to make a cover for their nakedness.
Adam looked at Eve and Eve looked at Adam and found that the leaves covered their nakedness.

And we read in Genesis 3:8 that when “they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden” in the evening they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”
That means, there was the tree of life, a tree of knowledge of good and evil, a fig tree and now trees that hid them.
There is a mystery in the image of trees in this story that we shall discuss later.

When God called for them, Adam confessed that they were naked.
Now comes the next question: why should they feel naked with the covering of the large fig tree leaves?
They used to appear before God every evening without any covering.
So why cannot they appear before God without the covering, as if nothing has happened.
They were naked before and after sin.
But before sin, they were not ashamed; after sin they were ashamed.

That means, shame is the cause of separation; and shame is the result of sin.
This is a great mystery that explains why humans are not ready to stand before God even to this day.
It is shame and not nakedness; because we are always naked before God.

Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  (NKJV)

That means, we always stand naked and open before God and we cannot hid anything from God.
But we have created an illusion that we have successfully covered our sins from God.
We are making illusionary coverings around our sins by religious works, good works, philosophy and some even brazen up against it.
We prefer to live in this illusion.

But still we do not dare to stand before God, because we are ashamed.
We fail miserably to cover the shame of sin with all our works, philosophy and attitude.

The Trial

When God called for Adam and Eve they were hesitant but still came out and stood before God.
And the trial begun.

God noticed that they were ashamed of their nakedness.
They have covered their nakedness very well with large leaves of the fig tree; physically they are not naked now.
But their shame is not covered.
There was no problem with standing before God naked; but on that day, they stood before God ashamed of the sin.
Now the sin has caused them to see more and they saw their nakedness with shame.
Their nakedness was covered before each other; but still knew that they could not cover their shame.
So they hid behind the trees.

But at last they came out in response to God’s call.
They knew that nothing could hid them from God; they are always naked and open before God.
So they are standing before God, naked and ashamed.
Their shame is a big confession that they are unable to hide their nakedness of sin before God.
The shame of sin always stands exposed.

The fact that Adam and Eve hid themselves is a confession that they have committed sin and hence they have lost their righteousness to stand in the presence of God.
Adam confessed to God that he was naked.
That was a confession that, though they could successfully cover their physical nakedness, they were unable to cover their shame.
Adam and Eve knew that everything lies naked and open before.
They did not pretend to be right as the day before the sin.
They did not try to explain away the covering with the fig leaves.
Knowing the omniscience of God, they acknowledged their sin and the result of it.
They stood in the presence of God, naked and ashamed.

This is an important turn in the story that happened in the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve confessed that they were naked and ashamed.
And so God decided to repair the situation and restore the relationship between humans and God.

After the trial and sentence of punishment, God started repairing the damage.
Here God announced His plan for restoration of the relationship with human beings.
He offered a seed to woman who will bruise the head of satan. (Genesis 3:15)
So far satan was a proclaimed enemy of God; now God proclaimed him to be an enemy to humans also.
And God promised to take up the war between humans and satan by promising a seed to woman who will bruise the head of satan.
That is, God took up the war and God will provide the seed.

In Genesis 3:15, God is promising “her seed” and nottheir seed’.
The person designated to destroy satan, would come by the woman, and by her alone, without the concurrence of man. 
And many years later, at the right time, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin.
Jesus is the promise of God, He is the seed of the woman to bruise the head of the serpent.

Standing before God

Still we have not reached the answer to the question: How should we stand before God?
For Adam and Eve the green leaves of a fig tree is sufficient of hid their sin and shame.
But the relationship between humans and God required a better covering that covered fully the shame of the sin.
They always stood before God naked; but they could not stand before God ashamed.
The shame estranged from God.
So they need something to cover the shame of their nakedness; something to make them righteous before God.
We, human beings can go for only green leaves to cover and trees to hide from God.
But we need something better to cover our shame and only God can give it.

And God knew how to cover their shame and make them righteous.
God killed an animal and took its blood covered skin, made coats with it and clothed humans with it.
Adam and Eve made a covering with the fig leaves and God made a cloth with the blood stained skin of an animal.

So God made the real clothe for them and that with the skin of an animal.
It is the clothing that covered the sin, nakedness is covered and shame is removed.

Let us stop here a bit.
Satan met Eve and asked why they were not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Eve told him that God has forbade them with a deadly warning from eating its fruits.
Satan knew that God is a righteous God and He will execute His commands.
That means, if God has said, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”, that means if Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, they shall surely die.
Satan is a liar; our Lord has taught us so.
Jesus said as recorded in John 8:44, that satan was a murderer from the beginning; he does not stand in the truth; there is no truth in him and he is a liar and the father of it.
So satan told Adam and Eve that, “You will not surely die”.

Now let us understand the situation.
Satan knew that God will execute His command that Adam and Eve will surely die if they eat the forbidden fruit.
That means, if they commit sin, they will surely die and the earth will not be populated with humans.
The earth will lie empty without humans.
The whole plan of God to establish the Kingdom of God in this earth will be thwarted.
That would be victory for satan.

As Jesus said, satan is a murderer from the beginning.
He wanted to murder Adam and Eve.
But God had a cleverer plan with him for humans.
God intervened in the incident at the right moment.
He met Adam and Eve before they died and restored the relationship.

How did God do it?
God used two methods to restore the relationship with humans.

1.   He declared a war against satan and Himself took up the war.

God knew that the defeated man cannot fight against the enemy and defeat him.
So God declared that He will provide a seed for the woman who will bruise the head of satan.

2.   God introduced a representative and substitutive sacrificial system for the atonement of sin.

God arranged a representative and substitutive animal and killed it.
The animal represented the coming seed of the woman who will offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of human beings and restore the relationship with God forever.
The animal died as a substitutive to Adam and Eve; it died in place of them.
This is the first death occurred in this world and the blood of the animal is the first blood to fall on earth.
The skin of the animal was soaked with the blood and looked scarlet.
God made a garment for humans with the scarlet skin of the animal.
That means, with the blood of the sacrificed animal, God made a clothing for Adam and Eve and covered their nakedness with shame.
Once again they stood naked and not ashamed.

Some theologians assume that, in the Garden of Eden, God instituted the sacrificial system for the atonement for sin.
They believe that, God did not kill the animal, but instructed Adam to kill it.
Thus God instituted the bloody atonement for sins.

And so, Cain had to sacrifice for his sins; Able had to sacrifice for his sins.
Cain gave his own version to the sacrifice and it was rejected.
Able sacrificed with the blood of an animal and it was accepted by God.

So far we have been discussing about two kinds of nakedness; nakedness without shame and nakedness with shame.
We saw that sin caused nakedness with shame and no work of man can ever cover it.
The shame of nakedness need a clothing of sacrificial blood to cover it.
And only God can provide it.
Without it we are naked and ashamed.

Now the question comes up again: how should we stand before God?

Let us move forward into the history.
Once Jesus told a parable of two people going to the temple for prayer.
The parable is recorded in Luke 18:9-14
One of them was a Pharisee, a religious person and the other was a tax collector, and outcast in the society.
The Pharisee stood and prayed to God reciting all the good works he has done.
He did not think that he stand naked and open before God; so he listed all his merits.
He was covering his sins with religious works he has done and felt not ashamed.
But the tax collector knew that he stood naked before God and he was ashamed.
So he dared not to look up to heaven; and cried “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”
By the end of the story, Jesus said that the tax collector went home justified and the Pharisee was rejected by God.

In the above parable, the Pharisee was trying to cover his nakedness of sin with his righteous works according to his religion.
He was proud of it and despised the naked and ashamed tax collector.
But he forgot the truth that every person in this world stand naked and open before God.
And none can cover their shame with religious good works.

But the other man, the tax collector, stood ashamed of his nakedness.
He did not try to cover his nakedness and shame with any religious good works.
He cried for a clothing from God to cover his shame.
And God made him righteous.

So the message is clear.
Stand before God naked and ashamed.
Standing naked does not need any effort; it is what we are before God.
Standing naked need only a realization on our part that all creatures “are naked and open” to the eyes of God.
Then the important thing is that we should stand ashamed before God; ashamed of our sin.

Let us go back to history to the life of King David.
2 Samuel chapter 12 records and important event in the life of David.
David committed sin with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah.
Through a secret plan, David killed Uriah by the hands of Ammon, the enemies of Israelites.
But because everything is “naked and open” before God, He saw it.
God send the prophet, Nathan to David and condemned him of the crime and pronounced the punishment.
The reaction of David when he was condemned of the sin is important for us.
So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD."
And the life of David was spared but the child of David by Bathsheba would die.

At this occasion David wrote Psalm 32.
Let us read verse 5 of this psalm.

Psalm 32: 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

In Acts 13:22 we read that God chose David as king for the Israelites, about whom God said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”
Why God called David “a man after My own heart”?
As we have seen above that David committed a serious sin against God and the nation.
Still God calls him, a man after His own heart. Why?

The answer is simple and clear.
When David was convinced of his sin, he decided to stand before God naked and ashamed.
He did not try to hide his sins with arguments or by a narration of all good works he has done.
Instead, he cried, "I have sinned against the LORD."

Nakedness before God is a reality that need no effort from us.
Standing ashamed is an attitude that we should possess and something that God values.
David stood naked and ashamed and he confessed his transgressions to the LORD".
And God forgave his sins.

Sin makes us loathsome in the sight of God and utterly unfit for communion with him.
But, when sin is pardoned, it is covered with the robe of Christ's righteousness, like the coats of skin wherewith God clothed Adam and Eve.
Then God is no longer displeased with us, but perfectly reconciled. 


Let me conclude this message.

It is interesting to note the image of trees in Genesis story.
Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from a particular tree.
They covered their nakedness with the leaves of a tree.
They hid themselves among the trees in the Garden.
And, though it is not explicitly said in the Bible, I believe that the animal was killed and its blood was poured out under a tree.

Sin came from a tree through an animal.
Adam and Eve tried to cover the sin and its shame with the leaves of a tree.
They tried to hide from God under the trees.
The blood of the sacrificial animal, to atone their sin, was poured down to the roots of a tree.

And by the end of the story of the fall, the fig leaves are removed and the nakedness and the shame of Adam and Eve was covered with a garment of blood soaked skin of the sacrificial animal.
In fact, the shameful nakedness was covered with the blood of a sacrificial animal.

In the New Testament, we once again see a sacrificial animal and a blood covered tree.
Jesus, the promised seed of the woman is seen as the sacrificial animal.
The wooden cross made from a tree was all covered with the blood of Jesus.
The blood of Jesus was poured down to the root of the wooden cross on the Calvary.
The clothing of the blood of Jesus is offered to all human beings, whoever comes to Him in faith.
But not all humans are clothed with the blood of Jesus.
Adam confessed his nakedness though he was physically covered with large green fig leaves.
He knew that everyone is naked before God.
By confessing his nakedness and by hiding behind the tree, he expressed his need for a better cloth.
And God provided it.

In the parable of Jesus, the Pharisee was trying to cover his nakedness and he stood before God without the shame of sin.
He thought that all his good, religious works, covered his nakedness.
And hence he felt no shame to stand before God.
God rejected his prayer, because he is not ashamed of his sins.
Whereas the tax collector was naked and stood ashamed before God; and God clothed him with righteousness.

We may try to defeat or conquer the shame or even brazen ourselves against the shame of sin.
But that is not the solution to the problem, because the cause of shame is sin.
God wants us to stand naked and ashamed before Him so that He may cloth us with a perfect covering.

It is good that we understand that we always stand naked before God.
If we are ashamed and cry, "I have sinned against the LORD", God has a cloth soaked in the blood of Jesus and He will cover us.
Only sick people need a physician.
So stand naked and ashamed before God.

Last words: Those who stand today naked and ashamed before God will be clothed with righteousness
They shall stand in eternity not ashamed.

May God bless you all abundantly! Amen!

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