“But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’” Genesis 3:9-10
It was December. I had invited my best friend over for an afternoon of fun. On the way home from church, the clouds rolled in and by the time we made it up to our driveway, it was pouring rain. That rain was not in the plans for the afternoon of fun I had planned. What were two preteen young men supposed to do trapped in a house that was getting the floors worked on? We tried a little bit of this and a little bit of that and found ourselves with a cup of hot chocolate near our wood-stove in an intense game of monopoly.
My younger sister did not want to play Monopoly. In fact, she tried to play what many younger siblings like to play: Annoy Older Sibling anyway I can. Have you ever heard of that game? This version was played by her running through the house, and our game, scattering pieces everywhere!
With my last roll I had purchased a motel on Boardwalk, and my friend was lined up perfectly…victory was almost mine! Out of the corner of my eye I saw my sister peek around the corner. She was coming in for another round of A.O.S. It was my turn, and as I reached for the dice, she made her move. I had had it with her. As she stepped over my arm to continue through our game, I tripped her. The satisfying flailing of the arms, the slow-motion of her falling, I knew the outcome. I had tripped my sister and saved my game. The sickening sound of her head meeting a concrete step was not in the plan. I instantly knew I had done wrong and wanted to hide.
I don’t think I need to address the guilt that we feel when we sin, but what about the lasting shame and condemnation of that sin? Let’s take a look at how God relates with Adam and Eve after they sin.
God’s grace is displayed throughout the entire Bible; it is not just a New Testament thing. The same God who showed Adam and Eve grace after they sinned, is the same God of grace who deals with you and me today.
Notice God seeks out Adam, “Where are you?” God certainly knew where Adam was, but he wants Adam to realize where Adam is. He is giving Adam and Eve the opportunity to admit their sin. Even though Adam and Eve initially blamed others, they did end up saying, “I ate it,” (Genesis 3:12-13).
After admitting we are wrong, we need to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is pouring your heart out in prayer to Him, admitting your failure, and then repenting from your sin. Repentance is turning away from the sin. It is changing directions, getting back on the right track and running from the temptation that led you to the sin in the first place.
It seems like a lot of us can admit our sin, ask for forgiveness and repent. It is the believing in God’s grace that stumbles us. What is God's grace? God's grace is God providing for a need caused by our sins. Why would a Holy God pay for our sins? Why does God meet my needs created by my own doing? It is because He loves us unconditionally, with a love that is so contrary to our worldly standards. Do you know what is harder than understanding His love? It is accepting His love and His grace. I think a lot of us feel this. Like Adam and Eve, we realize we have sinned, and the best we could do is sew fig leaves and try and hide from God.
“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
Accepting God's grace and forgiveness is putting on His garments of love. Grace is accepting from God that which we can never do on our own. What we are saying to God by not accepting His grace and forgiveness is this, “My sin is bigger than you.” Romans 4:25 says, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Acceptance of His Grace is when we stop holding ourselves condemnable for what Jesus died for.
Let's put on His garment of grace and get out of these silly-looking fig leaves. “…where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21