They Knew They Were Naked

By Jonathan Michael Dean

Genesis 3:7: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Our generation is quite unashamed of sin. Not only do we indulge in it, we flaunt it. Pornography, premarital sex, and all kinds of sexual sin are rapant. Adam and Eve were ashamed when their sin was exposed. But why are we so unashamed?

Satan told Adam and Eve that their eyes would be opened; that they would be like God knowing good and evil when they ate the fruit. After they disobeyed God, they did obtain the knowledge of evil. This was an area of ignorance before the fall. What Satan didn’t explain was that their knowledge of evil would not only be objective and factual, it would be subject and actual. They would know evil because they would become evil.

Along with Adam and Eve, now, we not only see the pure purpose of God in the things that are made, we see the possible sinful uses we could make of them. We understand how to do evil because we are evil. As for nudity, there’s nothing wrong with nakedness; there’s something wrong with our heart. Instead of seeing nakedness with pure unadulterated eyes, we now see the possible sinful uses of we could make of them.

Shame comes from the knowledge of the Holy God and our sin in comparison. The more we know about God and His law, the more sinful our sin will appear. Adam and Eve knew God personally. They had walked with God and talked with God. They had lived in pure innocence. In comparison to their previous sinless condition, their sin brought the full effect of shame upon their conscience. Adam bore the weight of the world’s sin upon his shoulders.

So our eyes are opened. We see the possible sinful uses we can make of the things that are made. But sin has also blinded us. This is God’s judgement: “let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see” (Rom.11:9). In His judgement, God has permitted the sinner to continue in spiritual blindness. We only vaguely see the truth of God, His law, and His own holiness. Unlike Adam who had a perfect comparison between his sin and the holy God, we have almost no point of reference to compare our sin.

For the sinner, this isn’t so bad, because we do not feel the full weight of shame that our sin should bring. We can continue in sin without much guilt of conscience. Though we know there is a God and that He is holy; though we know that we are sinners and deserve to die, it is very easy to brush aside this eternal reality since there is no great present distress over it. But in the end, this is very bad. This spiritual blindness confines the world in the judgement of God. The law of God looms heavily over us, guaranteeing our condemnation but providing no means of salvation.

Our rejection of God has only dulled our conscience ever more. Any point of reference to a holy standard is all but lost. Pornography, immorality, sensuality, and lust are the result. We are almost completely unashamed of it. God has given us over to a depraved mind (Rom.1:28). The judgement of God will not delay.

The responsibility of the Christian parent to teach their child the law of God is crucial. It is not to show them how to be good but to prove to them that they are not. The law is a means of grace whereby God awakens them to their exceeding sinfulness and the need for salvation. It is a point of reference that will bring the necessary shame that leads to a repentance by faith in Jesus alone for their salvation. Don’t force feed them Christ. Share the law and be ready to share Christ when God awakens them to the exceeding sinfulness of their sin.

Adam felt the full weight of his sin and of sinful humanity that would proceed from him. Christ bore the full weight of our sin -a sin not his own. He felt a greater weight of guilt and shame than any man has ever born. He had a perfect point of reference for holiness, His own, and that of His Eternal Father. Christ carried the full weight our sin, guilt, and shame when He died on the cross. He consumed the full wrath of God against our sin.

We are all under sin and judgement. But God has chosen to intervene. In wrath, He shows mercy. And in mercy, He reaches down and shows us our sin and need for a savior. Through the message of the gospel, He breaks into the heart of His elect and arrests them for Jesus. He is the only Savior. And it is only by His grace that we have been saved. When He conquers us in Christ, we see the beauty of Him, rather than the shame of our sin.