Sin, Shame And Excuses

 

 

 

 

 

Accountability for Sin

 

The bible says, in  Genesis 3, verses 7 thu 10;  “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 loin coverings.  They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him; ‘Where are you?’  He said;  I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself'” 

Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, because they had acquired the knowledge of good and evil.  But it was a knowledge that they wished they had never known.  God’s Word gives us discernment, and our eyes are opened to sin.  Today we might call this, “the age of accountability” or “the age of understanding”  It’s when God first holds a person accountable for their sins.

When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, it was their “age of accountability”.  They had been given a rule to live by, but I wonder if they really understood what the consequences would be if they disobeyed the rule.  Yes, God had told Adam, that “in the day that you eat thereof (of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) you shall surely die.”  But how clearly did Adam, and Eve also, understand the implications of that statement?

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their eyes were opened, in other words, their minds became acutely aware of what they had done.   For Adam and Eve, this knowledge seems to have come immediately.  This knowledge came fully grown, all at once just as they were created fully developed in an instant. They were the first ones to experience Satan’s lies and their dreadful consequences.  And they both became fully accountable for their sin.

As we mature and our conscience develops, and as we come to know right and wrong, through the discernment of God’s Word, we too reach the “age of accountability”, and it’s then, that our eyes become open to sin.  The apostle Paul once wrote, in  Romans 7, verse 7;  “..I would not have come to know sin except through the Law;  For I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, Thou shallt not covet.”

And it says in  Romans 5:13;  “For until the law, sin was in the world: But sin is not imputed when there is no law.”  And that’s a lot like it is with “the age of accountability”.  Except for the ability to discern, and to understand God’s words, how could he hold us accountable for what He tells us?  After all, God is a just God!

 

Accountability, Shame, and Excuses

 

But Adam and Eve, both became accountable, just like we do.  And it’s a truth, that along with accountability, comes shame, and along with shame, comes excuses.   And both Adam and Eve, found themselves ashamed, before God and man.

The bible says in  Genesis 3, verses 8 thru 10;  “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself” 

What’s the first thing that Adam and Eve realized when God called them?  They realized that they were naked.  Their conscience was telling them that they were wrong to be going around like that, naked.  In other words, their conscience was accusing them.

In  Romans 2, verse 15,  we read;  “In that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.”  And the consciences of Adam and Eve were accusing them!

Only those who have the knowledge of good and evil, and whose conscience has not been entirely seared, have a sense of shame.  Likewise, Adam and Eve also recognized that they needed to cover up.  They were aware of those parts of their bodies that needed to be covered.  When they realized they had to be covered, they made some coverings out of what was most readily available in the garden, mainly the leaves of trees.

Can you see the effect of sin?  Notice that Adam was to dress and keep the garden, and now he found himself tearing at the trees to find something to cover himself with.  They covered their loins with leaves.  Adam and Eve knew something was wrong, and that they had to do something about it.  But they really didn’t know how to properly fix their problem.  They did the best they could think of, at that moment.  They probably thought, that they had done enough.  But until God called them, they didn’t realize, that what they had done, was not enough!

 

Covering Just the Loins is Not Adequate Before God.

 

Adam and Eve thought they had covered themselves enough.  Therefore, they stopped adding more coverings to their nakedness.  But when they heard God was approaching them in the garden, they still hid.  This leads me to the next question;  If Adam and Eve had thought that covering their loins was enough, why did they hide when God called them?  When God asked, why are you hiding..  Why did Adam answer and say;  “Because I was naked, I hid.”

Adam and Eve’s knowledge of good and evil, was enough to tell them, that they should not go around naked, before God.  And this is what ALL people, should understand today.  If you are naked, do not exhibit yourself in public, before God and before everyone else in the world!  Evidently, both Adam and Eve knew they were not presentable.  Moreover, they knew that what they were wearing (covered with) was in no way appropriate and acceptable in the presence of God.  They were still naked.

So why is it that many people think nothing at all of presenting themselves before God and man, in the worst fashions of undress or even in unblushing nudity today?  The knowledge of the evil of public nakedness has been lost, in a dying society.  Today many behave in the same way as Adam and Eve did,  or even worse, because they don’t have any reservations about parading their nakedness before the eyes of men and God.  They don’t even make an effort to hide.  They pretend that God can’t see, and doesn’t know, about their sins.

 

They Tried To Hide

 

Have you noticed that the guilty, always seem to flee?   Sometimes they even flee, when no one is pursuing them.  We read these words in  Proverbs 28, verse 1;   “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.”  Even though they tried to escape, from God knew, and God could see and their nakedness.

The bible says in  Jeremiah 12, verse 4;  “How long is the land to mourn and the vegetation of the countryside to wither?  For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, animals and birds have been snatched away, because men have said, He (God) will not see our latter ending.”

But god says;  “Am I a God who is near, declares the Lord, and not a God far off?  Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?  declares the Lord.  Do I not fill the heavens and the earth? declares the Lord..”  Jeremiah 23:23-25.    

Even though we know, that God sees everything, people still, try to hide their sins.  But the bible says in  Job 31:33;   “Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom?” 

God says in  Proverbs 28:13;  “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”

 

Out of Shame, Excuses are Born

 

Although man is often caught in sin, he seldom admits to it.  He makes up all kinds of sorry excuses, like Adam and Eve did.  God always knows when we sin, the same way He knew when Adam and Eve had sinned against Him.  God always knows, and there’s no way that man, can escape His knowledge.

Although man is often caught in sin, he seldom admits to it, but rather, He makes up all kinds of sorry excuses like Adam did.

God said to Adam, in  Genesis 3, verse 11;  “Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”  Now Adam could have simply said;  Yes Lord, I did.  I disobeyed You.  But here’s what Adam actually did say, in  verse 12;  “The woman, whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”   So there was Adam’s excuse..  The woman, who You gave me, it’s her fault!

Even though Adam had received Eve, his wife, as a great gift from God, after a short time, Adam accused Eve, this gift of God.  What Adam didn’t realize, was that he was accusing God himself, for the wrong that he had done. That is truly amazing!

Take note of the fact, that when Adam accused Eve, he didn’t speak of Eve as his “beloved wife,” but instead, he said, “the woman.”  Isn’t it amazing, how sin affects our relationships, even the dearest ones, by turning our hearts cold.  This reminds me of those that because of their cold hearts, denied our Lord Jesus even when He had been so gracious to them.

 

Guilt, Shame, Excuses, Accusations;  One kind of just leads to the other.  And of course Eve wasn’t any better with the excuses.  She was guilty, and she must have felt the shame, and sure enough, she too offered her excuse.  Verse 13  says;  “Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”   Why didn’t Eve simply say;  “Father forgive me, for I have sinned.”   

Do you remember who did say that?  It was the prodigal son who said that, in  Luke 15, verse 21.   He said “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in Thy sight.”   And do you know why the father forgave that son?  It was because there was no excuse made.  But rather, there was humility, and repentance, and the request for forgiveness.  

But most of the time, shame, only brings excuses.  It’s almost always, someone else’s fault, not mine.  (They all sound like democrats)

And so it turns out, that Adam and Eve weren’t just trying to hide their nakedness that day in the garden, but they were trying to hide their sin.  Although Adam tried to attribute his hiding to modesty, by saying that he was naked, that was not all there was to it.  His biggest problem wasn’t his nakedness, but it was his guilt, because he had sinned.  God knew they had both sinned, yet they hid, hoping He wouldn’t find out, or that He wouldn’t notice them.  But the truth of the matter is, that God always notices, everything!

 

God Always Supplies Our Needs

 

You might say that Adam and Eve, weren’t smart enough, to cover themselves properly, even after they came to realize that they were naked.   And so God provided them with adequate and lasting cover.

Genesis 3:21  says;  “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”   God always supplies our needs.  Adam and Eve had covered their loins, but that wasn’t good enough.  And so God made them proper garments, called “tunics” or coats.  It was proper clothing in both material and amount of body covering. People in some parts of the world still wear this kind of robe as their typical clothing.

Even when we sin, God still supplies our needs.  The scripture says;  “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one.”  Romans 3:10.    And of course  verse 23  says;  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But like Adam, many today, avoid the real question of why they sinned.  They make excuses, and they cast blame.  Remember the story of  Saul, when he made excuses to the prophet Samuel, in  I Samuel 15:19 thru 21?  Saul was told to utterly destroy the Amalekites.  But he didn’t do it.  He claimed that he did, but he didn’t.

And so Samuel said to Saul;  “Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD, but rushed upon the spoil, and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord?  Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the LORD, and went on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.”  And here comes the excuse, in  verse 21;   “But the people, took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

You see, all of a sudden, it was YOUR God, not MY God.  I did it for YOUR God!   I did it for you, you’re the one who should take some of the blame here.  But the excuses didn’t work did they?  No, because Samuel said in  verse 22;  “Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams!”   

And then of course,  verse 23;  “For rebellion is as the sin of divination.  And insubordination, is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.”

No, excuses don’t work.  If they didn’t work for the king of Israel, they surely won’t work for us.

May we never make excuses, before God for our transgressions.  But rather, may we repent from a sincere heart.  And may we never compromise our faith, by making excuses for our sinful behavior.  May we always remember that wrong is wrong, and sin is sin, even when we’re tempted to hide from that reality.

 

 

 

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