As soon Adam and Eve “fell” (into sin), they realized that they were naked. Giggles…apparently, they had been running around in the garden, naked as jay birds, but blissfully unaware of this fact. There was no sin in the Garden, so being naked wasn’t a problem. This is a good time to introduce a very important SPIRITUAL concept here...Adam and Eve, though physically naked before the Fall, were NOT naked before God. They walked right alongside God in “the cool of the day, till the shadows flee away”. If we tried to walk alongside God now, clothed in our human flesh, we would burn up and die because His Holiness and Righteousness is so powerful, it would immediately consume our sin filled human flesh.
What is nakedness? Of course we understand nakedness to some degree, particularly in our hyper-sexualized culture. But really, imagine being in your house, naked in the shower, and a thief or robber enters into your home. Would you feel a little more vulnerable or exposed? What about embarrassed or ashamed? Would you feel weaker, even unprepared? Would this increase your fear? Contrast this feeling to how you would feel if a thief entered into your home and you were in full armor, shield, pants, breast-plate, belt, helm, boots, sword at your side. See what I mean? Now, let’s think about the Garden.
Prior to “the Fall” (sin) Adam and Eve, though completely physically naked, were actually clad in God’s pure and Holy Armor. They were not naked before God UNTIL they sinned. Then, suddenly, they stood naked, their sin fully exposed. In their embarrassment and shame, they feebly attempted to clothe themselves in fig-leaves. This is like us trying to cover our SPIRITUAL “nakedness” before a Holy God in “good works”, it doesn’t work. The sin that has caused our nakedness is now embedded in our flesh! This is why our flesh ages, gets sick, and dies. Trying to attain any form of righteousness by means of our “good works” (self-effort) is as pathetic as Adam and Eve trying to cover their physical nakedness in fig leaves. 🌿
The fig Tree comes up in multiple places in Scripture. The fig tree is believed to represent Israel.
Matthew 21:18: Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry.
19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He *said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. 🌿
Jesus KNEW that Israel was about to REJECT their Messiah. Like Adam and Eve, they thought that their “good works” was enough to cover them. The Fig Tree had only FIG LEAVES, but no fruit. When Jesus cursed the fig tree that only produced leaves, He was putting a curse on all self-effort because it cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit!
Matthew 23:25: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may also become clean.
The Pharisees and Jewish religious elite APPEARED to be following the Law of Moses, but inside there was no heart-transformation. They REJECTED their Messiah Jesus Christ, even determining in their darkened hearts to have him murdered – and yet, they claimed to be pious (godly/saintly – righteous). SELF-righteousness is no better than a fig leaf at covering our spiritual nakedness. 🌿
Our own efforts may have an outward appearance that looks like “life” (FIG LEAVES), but they originate in the fallen realm of man so they cannot produce fruit. 🍇🍊🍏 In contrast, when we receive our Messiah Jesus Christ into our hearts, ✝️ (by faith) we then receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit🕊️ who will take up residence within us, connecting to our “spirit man”. Holy Spirit then “cleans up the inside of the dish” by TRANSFORMING our HEARTS. 💕 With the inside of the dish cleansed and transformed, the outside can then begin to follow God out of LOVE, not out of pride or SELF-righteousness.
ALL manmade religions appeal to our desire to “cover ourselves” with our own righteousness🌿. This is no better than trying to clothe ourselves with a fig-leaf. Jesus cursed the fig tree, causing it to wither and die. A RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ✝️ (NOT RELIGION) is the only thing that can SAVE.
Join us next time when we discuss “God provides Temporary Clothing”