Naked and Hiding

fig leavesAnd the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 

The promise of the deceiver was that the eating of the fruit would result in the opening of their eyes. And indeed, their eyes were opened. But, it was only to see their own nakedness. They knew they were naked. Naked of God, naked of everything that was holy and good. Naked of the innocence they enjoyed before. Naked of the glory of God. They were naked in both body and soul.

How do they behave now that they know their nakededness? Do they run to God for forgiveness? Do they seek God to cover their nakedness?  Nope! They were now dead to God and became earthly and sensual and instead of asking God for mercy, they sowed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons or coverings.

This is a accurate representation of all mankind since. We see that we are naked. We in some measure confess it. But instead of looking up to God for salvation, we patch up a righteousness of our own making, hoping to cover our nakedness by it. But our righteousness will not stand the judgment of God. It will do us no better service than the fig leaves did Adam and Eve.

Later they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Before this destructive decision, Adam and Eve fellowshipped with God, praised and glorified God. But now, instead of rejoicing at the voice of God, instead of meeting him with open arms and receptive hearts, as before, they now hide themselves in the trees of the garden.

By their fall, they had become an enemy of God. They now hated and were afraid to even speak with God their maker. And the same is true of us. We know our nakedness and we labor to cover it with the fig leaves of our own righteousness. We hide ourselves from God and we will not come and never will come to God on our own.

Notice God seeks Adam and Eve. God calls out to Adam, Where art thou? Adam does not call out to God. Where are you Adam? They were not with God as usual. They were not praising God as usual. They were not exalting God as usual. They were not fellowshipping God as usual. They withheld their presence, they withheld their attendence, they withheld their worship. Why? Because of their sin, their nakedness and their pitiful fig tree religion. A tri-fold embarrassment.

Sin had driven a wedge between man and God. God did not change, he showed up at the cool of the day just like normal. But Adam and Eve were not just late, they were absent. They were no-shows, hiding in the trees ashamed of their nakedness and ashamed of their coverings. Naked, hiding, and separated from God.

The serpent failed to disclose all of this, didn’t he? Adam and Eve begin to discover that they were mistaken. The seprent was a liar and this fruit was not good but it was bad, very, very bad.

Advertisements

Ye Shall Not Surely Die

apple

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

There are dual truths to consider. The devil is a liar and we are so very gullible. The devil is always shading the truth, giving just enough truth to make it worth considering. We are mostly an undescerning lot that gives little thought beyond the present.

The serpent says, “Ye shall not surely die.” God will not be so cruel and inflexable that he would damn you only for eating a piece of fruit.  It is the play of the devil to convince us that God did not really mean what he said. God is only making idle threats to keep us in under His subjection. What a false hope that we can go on in our sin and not surely die.

The serpent adds, “God doth know that in the day ye eat therof, ye shall be as gods’.” So the grand temptation was that she would hereafter no longer be under control and woud be equal, if not superior, to God that made them, knowing good and evil. Satan points out a way which seems right to sinners but does not tell them the end of that way is death.

The Bible says, that when Eve saw that it was good for food. I am guessing here that the reason she saw that it was good for food was that the serpent MAYBE had taken a bite of this forbidden fruit and remarked how delicious it really was.

Satan had now gained quite a bit of ground with Eve. She saw that it was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise. What she saw conceived lust in her heart. She saw and she desired. Her eyes were connected to her heart. The longer she looked at this fruit with her eyes, the more she began to long after it with her heart.

Then we have one of the most disturbing sentences in all the Bible. “She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband, and he did eat.”If we ourselves are good, we will stir others to goodness, but if we are evil, we shall entice others to do evil as well. There is a close connection between doing and teaching. How needful it is for us to take heed that we do not sin, lest we should become instruments of the devil to ensnare, perhaps, the very ones we love.

What Does The Word Say?

SERPENT IN THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

I imagine Eve was near the tree of good and evil maybe looking at it and wondering what there was about this tree that made it differ from the others. While there were many trees in the garden, for some reason this tree demanded her attention. What about this tree made it forbidden for her and her husband to take of it.

As she considers this tree, Satan, possessing the body of a serpent, speaks to her. He asks her to remember the words of God. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan tempts her to think not about what God has given but what God has withheld. He focuses her what is forbidden.

The first error is having a conversation with the devil at all. She was not obligated to give him an answer. But answer she did. Eve responded, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

She begins recounting God’s words correctly, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it.” That is exactly what Jesus said. Her second error was that she adds something that God did not say, “Neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” God did not say that.

Eve may have easily supposed that she would have to touch the fruit to eat it and therefore it would be forbidden to even touch this fruit. However, that is not what God said. The question was about what God said and not what she supposed. Eve had altered the word of God.

This is still a danger today. We have people attributing their thoughts and ideas as if they were the very words of God. God has spoken clearly and completely in the Bible. We must learn and obey what He said but we are not obligated to believe nor obey what man adds to it. We must be careful not to mix our assumptions in with God’s words.

I imagine that the serpent has a piece of the fruit of this tree in his hands. It seems that he was in a different form than serpents today since the fall confined them to slittering in the dust of the ground. So what Eve sees is someone touching the fruit of the tree and not dying. In Eve’s mind, there is the planting of the seed of doubt, not based on what God said but based on what she assumed.

We must be careful to know, believe, and tell only what God has said in His Word. Only His Words are inspired, inerrent, and infallable.

Reaction

I have spent part of the morning reading reactions to the removal of Perry Noble as senior pastor of NewSpring Church. I understand the necessity of the leadership of the Newspring to move based on the apparent refusal of their pastor to repent of his growing dependence on alcohol. Now before you say, “But he did repent, he said he was guilty of sin and was sorry” let me remind you that there is a difference between saying I am sorry for your sins and repenting of your sins. Repentance is a turning from your sin. According to the churches announcement the leadership has been dealing with this issue for some time and Noble had refused to deal with the problem. That is not repentance. What we heard is Noble being remorseful because of being caught and reprimanded. True repentance is granted by God and does not originate with man. An apology is not repentance.

My concern is not that the leadership removed him for his unrepentant behavior but why they did not feel the same way about the way he over and over again mishandled the texts of Scripture and as he mangled Biblical doctrine. From performing secular songs in a church worship setting, to allowing women to preach from the pulpit, to bringing in a Church of Christ Duck Dynasty baptismal regeneration proponent, to changing the Ten Commandments to something they are not, to the twisting of the Word of God every time he stood before the church. Why was the leadership not appalled by his preaching a different gospel than the one that Bible proclaims to the same degree they were about his behavior? Why where they not concerned that a false gospel was being given to thousands of people week in and week out for sixteen years?

My more personal concern is people that I know who sit under Biblical preaching have rushed to the defense of a false teacher on social media. It reveals their lack of discernment, Biblical ignorance, and their inattentiveness. It indicates that doctrine does not matter and the proper handling of Scripture is of no great concern. It proves that they don’t fully understand what the Bible describes as the gospel. This lack of Biblical understanding is terribly disappointing.

Should we pray for Perry Noble? Absolutely! We should pray for him physically and spiritually. Todd Friel posted a tweet desiring that salvation would become a reality in Noble’s life. He was promptly blasted for his judgmental attitude toward a person’s salvation. However, are not those people making judgments about Noble’s salvation being a reality? Are they not making assumptions as well? We can’t know anyone’s heart, whether they are saved or not but the Bible says by their fruits you will know them. Just examine the spiritual fruit. I pray that God will lead Perry Noble to look away from himself, that God will destroy his pride, that God would crush his self-reliance, and cause him to look to Christ alone as his only hope in this life and the life to come. I also pray that the leadership of NewSpring will look for a pastor that will be doctrinally sound, Christ exalting, and gospel centered and not entertaining, cool, and relevant. I pray that God will be glorified in and through all of this.