Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Covering Our Guilt

I am starting a new sermon series this week entitled Questions God Asks. Usually we focus on the questions we have of God, but in the Bible we find that God asks certain questions of people to help them to examine their lives. The first such we question find in the Bible is; “Where are you?” found in Genesis 3:9.

In studying for this first question I re-examined the circumstances surrounding man’s first sin. One thing that stands out too me is how Eve allowed herself to be led astray. The saw, lust, and took (Genesis 3:6) of Eve fits the very same pattern that leads so man of us into sin. We often sin because we put ourselves into the position to fail. We allow ourselves to see things we shouldn’t see, to think about those things, which finally leads to doing them.

Just a word about Adam before moving on. Adam chose being separated for God over being separated from Eve. I wonder how many people have ignored God’s call on their lives because they loved their friends and family more than God? We are sometimes led astray by those we want to love the most.

The second thing that stands out to me, and what I want to focus on, is the fact that Adam and Eve tried to cover their guilt, in form of their nakedness, with fig leaves. Right away they knew things weren’t right and the tired to cover it up so they wouldn’t be ashamed. John Davis in his book Paradise to Prison wrote:
In a pitiful attempt to replace the radiant garments of their innocence, the sewed together fig leaves. Man has ever since attempted to cover his guilt and assuage his conscience. His efforts, however sophisticated and impressive, still fall far short of God’s demands. (p. 92)

How we have tried over the years to cover up our guilt. From false religions to situational ethics to atheism to addictions are attempts to cover up our ever present guilt of not living up to the original glory that we were created to live. No matter what we do we will never escape the sense that our lives are not what they should be and that we are to blame.

To me what makes Christianity so amazing is that we don’t have to cover up our guilt. We can have our guilt taken away because we have our sins atoned for. Read what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to everyone, because all have sinned. 13 Certainly sin was in the world before the law was given, but no record of sin is kept when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death ruled from the time of Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the same way Adam did when he disobeyed. He is a type of the one who would come. 15 But God's free gift is not like Adam's offense. For if many people died as the result of one man's offense, how much more have God's grace and the free gift given through the kindness of one man, Jesus Christ, been showered on many people! 16 Nor can the free gift be compared to what came through the man who sinned. For the sentence that followed one man's offense brought condemnation, but the free gift brought justification, even after many offenses. 17 For if, through one man, death ruled because of that man's offense, how much more will those who receive such overflowing grace and the gift of righteousness rule in life because of one man, Jesus Christ! (vv. 12-17; ISV)

Adam’s sin allowed for disobedience to God to exist here on earth which has robbed us of the life God created us to enjoy. We keep in step with Adam through our own sin and the guilt mounts and mounts as the knowledge that we are not what we should be lingers in our hearts. There is nothing that we can do about it.

But there is something that could be done. The amazing thing is that our guilt is just covered up, but our righteousness is restored. This has nothing to do with our efforts, plans, or beliefs, but it has everything to do with our faith: our obedient trust in Jesus Christ. Through Jesus we are restored! This restoration is a gift and totally undeserved.

We can spend our lives trying to cover up our guilt and assuage our consciences or we can have our live our lives with the righteousness given to us by Jesus. This is one of the reasons why the Gospel is such Good News. We are given a second chance to live life. Now that is a gift worth getting!

  • Point to Ponder: Through Jesus we are restored!
  • Passage to Remember: Romans 5:15
  • Question to Consider: How have you covered up your guilt?

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