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Trying to FIX SIN

by David A. DePra

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they
were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made
themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God
walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife
hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the
trees of the garden. (Gen. 3:7-8)
     This story of the fall of man contains many Truths which tell us
about our condition in Adam. This condition is important to
understand for one main reason: We -- as did Adam -- have a
pension for trying to fix our sin. But doing so works at cross-
purposes with God. We need to see this Truth so that we can
be set free from trying to fix sin through the redemptive work of
Jesus Christ.

Two Characteristics

     The first thing it says about the spiritual condition of Adam and
Eve after the sin is that "they knew they were naked." The second
thing it says is that "they made themselves aprons."
Here we see two characteristics of fallen man: First, fear. But
fear of what? Fear of our own condition of nakedness before God.
Adam, who had possessed total communion with God, was now
afraid of Him. He said he was afraid because he was naked. And
at that point there wasn't anyone Adam and Eve had to be afraid
of except God.
     The second characteristic we see is that Adam had acquired a
compulsive pension for trying to do something about his
nakedness. He tried to compensate for it by sewing fig leaves
together. In effect, he tried to FIX sin. And we have been trying to
fix it ever since -- using some very religious means.


     Before Adam and Eve sinned, they were naked. The Bible is
quite clear on this point. It says,
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were NOT
ashamed. (Gen. 2:25)
     What is interesting about this is that the sin of Adam did not
cause them to become naked. Did you ever notice that? They
were already naked BEFORE the sin. But the sin DID cause
something else to change: Their attitude TOWARDS their
     Adam said so. He said:
I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was
naked, and I hid myself. (Gen. 3:10)
     So what we have is this: Adam naked BEFORE the sin -- but not
ashamed. But then we have Adam naked AFTER the sin -- now
ashamed and afraid. And he stated clearly that he was afraid
BECAUSE he was naked. Indeed, he was afraid of GOD.
The change then, was not in Adam's nakedness. The change
was in his attitude TOWARDS his nakedness, and more
importantly, in his attitude towards GOD.
     We can scarcely imagine what kind of fellowship and oneness
Adam must have had with God before his sin. But we get a bit of
an idea in this term "naked." Apparently, Adam had not one area
in his entire being which was covered up from God. All of him,
into the innermost parts of his heart, was open and exposed to
God. This had resulted in a complete absence of fear, and in the
complete presence of God.
     This picture of "nakedness" shows that God had complete
access to Adam. And the result in Adam was not fear. It was total
fulfillment and completion. Adam, before the sin, was naked
before God and NOT ashamed. There was NO fear. There was
not desire to hide himself. There was only perfect agape love.
This is actually where God wants to bring us in Jesus Christ.
     Think about it. What would it be like to come before God and
simply let down your guard? All of it -- especially the religious
part? Drop all of the religious games, and all of your secret
agendas for living. Simply stand there, totally naked and exposed,
without anything to compensate for it. If we would dare to allow
God to bring us to this place, we would find that we would indeed
be naked -- but without shame. Without fear. We would no longer
want to hide from Him. He'd experience His love.
     Why? Not because WE are wonderful specimens. But because
of the love of God in Jesus Christ.
     But -- we don't believe this. We really don't. We SAY we do,
and are able to recite all the doctrines which teach it. But, in
practice, we are afraid to be naked before God. We are scared.
Thus, we continue to sew fig leaves long after we are saved, and
we continue to hide behind a safe tree in the garden, lest our true
condition be exposed.
     Yet God is saying, "Adam, where art thou?" He is saying, "I
know you are in there, somewhere behind those fig leaves;
somewhere behind those trees. The real you is there. Why don't
you come out from behind the tree and face Me? There is no
reason for you to fear. I have resolved your condition in my Son.
     But many of us won't come out. We don't believe. And the
REASON we don't believe is ironic. It is not because God has put
something between us and Him. It is because WE have put our
sin between us and God. This, despite the clear Truth expressed
through the gospel that, "It is finished."
     If you want to know what God is trying to do in His people, we
find it right here. He is trying to bring us back to the garden. He is
trying to reduce us down to what we are in Adam after the sin:
Naked and needy. And then He wants us to see that the only
solution for our condition is Jesus Christ.

Dependent Upon God

     Adam was naked before the sin, and he was naked after the sin.
But now he was afraid of God because of his nakedness. Why?
     We hinted at it earlier. "Nakedness" stands for complete and
utter openness unto God. It stands for total DEPENDENCE upon
God. And this nakedness was GOOD. Indeed, it was NORMAL.
Adam was MADE to be dependent upon God. His dependence
upon God was central to his life. It was his very SOURCE of life.
     Now, after the sin -- and precisely because of the sin -- Adam's
relationship with God was destroyed. But Adam was still naked.
That had not changed. He was STILL a completely dependent
creature -- with no capacity to fend for himself. Yet he had chosen
to do so. Adam had chosen to reject God and live in a way
contrary to that for which he was created. The result was fear,
moral distortion, and spiritual death. He now couldn't cope with his
     So here we have a creature who was MADE dependent upon
God. He was MADE naked. Nothing could change that. But he
chosen to live OUTSIDE of that. He had chosen to be live naked --
independent of his only Source for life.
     And what happens when a completely dependent creature
chooses to live independently? Death. Fear. And a continual
obsession of trying to do for himself what he is incapable of doing.
This is the human race. And we have been trying to fix what sin has
done ever since Adam.

Adam's Choice

     Now, here is where a common misunderstanding occurs. Many
of us think that the reason Adam lost his relationship with God was
that God punished him by severing their relationship. But this is
error. No. Adam severed the relationship. That WAS his sin!
     Get that. God did not cut-off Adam BECAUSE Adam sinned.
No. Adam cut himself off from God and that WAS his sin! Adam
had deliberately and knowingly rejected the God who made him.
     Not once do we see God withdrawing Himself from Adam
because of the sin. In fact, we find God seeking out Adam AFTER
his sin. God cried, "Adam, where art thou?" And immediately,
God begins a redemptive work.
     God did, of course, kick Adam and Eve out of the garden. But
that is because they could no longer live in there. God is perfectly
just and holy and you can't live with Him unless you allow Him to
make you just and holy. If you insist God defile Himself down to
your level, you have no affinity with Him. You cannot live with Him.
     So Adam HAD to leave. He had declared independence and
God gave it to him.
     When God banished Adam from the garden He was serving
notice: You can't have it both ways. You must choose. Either let
God give you everything -- OR -- try to get it yourself. But if want to
try to get it yourself, you can't live in the garden with God. Such a
situation would not only compromise the holiness and justice of
God, but it would be morally destructive for you.
     We have to get it settled: Man was made for God. There is no
such thing as life apart from Him. Therefore, if we choose to sin
against God by rejecting Him, we will die. There is no other
possibility in a moral universe.

Knowing Good and Evil

     Before the sin, Adam apparently did not know he was naked.
But afterwards, he did know. God asked, "Who told you that you
were naked?" What does this mean? Was Adam so dumb that he
did not realize he had no clothes on?
     No. We have seen that Adam's nakedness embodied much
more than physical nakedness. It was a moral openness and total
dependence upon God. The fact that Adam "did not know" he was
naked before the sin indicates that, to him, nakedness was
NORMAL. Being naked before God, and "not knowing" it, shows
that "nakedness" was so much a natural part of his relationship
with his Creator that he never gave it a second thought.
     "Naked" is a relative term. Do you see that? The minute you
use the term it infers something you DO NOT have: Clothes. But
if "not having" is normal and good, then you don't need what you
"don't have." Thus, you would have no consciousness of it -- no
consciousness of any need or of any nakedness.
     Adam did not know he was naked because before the sin there
was no such thing as "need." If you had walked up to him and
said, "Where are your clothes? You are naked!", he would have
said, "What are clothes? What do you mean, 'naked?' I have no
no knowledge of what you are saying. I am normal. I live in God."
     All of this directly relates to the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil. Indeed, choosing to eat of this forbidden tree is what
caused Adam's eyes to be opened, and caused him to know that
he was naked.
     Note: Adam chose to break his relationship with God. By eating
of the forbidden tree, Adam was declaring his independence. But
once he did that, he got exactly what he chose: Independence.
Thus, the nakedness which had been fully satisfied in God was now
exposed. The dependent creature -- Adam -- now had no one
upon whom to depend. He was on his own.
     Adam was now fully conscious of his nakedness. He was not
only fully conscious of it, but it was fearful of it. What else could be
the result when a creature who is incapable of living on his own
decides to to it anyways? Thus, we see ourselves in Adam. We
are naked and needy. Fearful and hiding. Dead and without hope.
     The forbidden tree, or tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
was not a tree which gave Adam discernment. No. If you ate of
that forbidden tree, you were saying, "I'm not going to believe
God. Neither will I any longer allow Him to decide for me what is
good or evil. Instead, I'm going to expose myself to both good
and evil and decide for myself which is which." It is, and was for
Adam, an absolute break with God AS God, and the establishment
of himself as his own god.

Fig Leaves

     From the time we are born to the time we die, we are
compensating for our nakedness without God. We are sewing
together fig leaves -- or some other kind of covering for our
nakedness. Have you ever wondered what drives human beings?
Have you ever wondered, when all is said and done, why human
beings act the way they act? The answer is found in the story of
Adam. Without God, we are naked. And because we are naked,
we are tormented. We WILL spend our lives trying to sew fig
leaves together. Trying to cover ourselves. We MUST.
     Some of us are better at sewing leaves than others. That's why
some of us are more comfortable with ourselves, and don't seem
to be too afraid or tormented. We think we have got ourselves
covered. But if God ever came along and gave one of our fig
leaves a "tug," we'd have a fit. We could not bear having Him
expose us like that.
     Unfortunately, tugging at fig leaves is exactly what God is doing
in this age. Indeed, He wants to strip us of all of them. He wants
us to stand before him naked and poor. Only then will we realize
the solution in Jesus Christ.
     Just as God took the fig leaves from Adam, and covered him
with the skins of a sacrificed animal, so God wants to do to us in
His Son Jesus Christ. Back to basics. God wants to show us our
need, and show us His full and finished deliverance in His Son.
And then, as His people, He wants to take us onward in Christ.

The Great Sin

     It isn't often taught today, but sewing fig leaves is actually the
greatest sin we can commit. This is especially so as Christians.
Why? Because we are trying to do for ourselves what Christ has
already done. And that means that sewing fig leaves is nothing
more than unbelief and a denial of the Redemption.
     Now, we would never actually put it that way. And certainly, for
most of us, denying the Redemption is not our motive. In fact, the
reason why we are sewing our leaves is because we WANT the
Redemption. It's just that we think this is the way we can implement
it. But no. We ARE denying it. We are NOT believing. We
wouldn't be sewing the leaves otherwise.
     We all try to fix sin. And Christians always try to fix it using
religious fig leaves. We try to fix sin by confessing it. Or by putting
in our "guilt time" over it. Or by feeling condemned. Or by
promising God we will not sin again. Some of us try to fix sin by
by offsetting it with obedience. We break off a branch from one of
the trees in our garden, and try to beat sin to death with some sort
of obedience. None of these -- even though some of them ARE
good things -- will fix sin.
     Why? Because a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. And in
Adam, we are bad trees. The problem, therefore, is not the things
we DO, or don't DO. The problem is what we ARE. Never think
that the problem with humanity is that we do wrong things. No. It is
that we are wrong creatures. And wrong creatures cannot do
anything to make themselves right. They have nothing in
themselves to so much as even start the process.
     There is an even greater reason why we cannot fix sin. We
cannot fix sin because sin is already fixed. In fact, it was killed.
Jesus Christ bore all sin on the Cross, in His body. He became
our sin. And when he died, our "old man in Adam" died. "He" no
longer has any power over us, for "he who has died is freed from
     Now, that being the case, it is rather silly to try to fix sin. In fact,
is actually SIN to try to fix sin. This might seem like a strange
contradiction, but it is not. The great sin against the New
Covenant is not acts of sin, or even the sin nature. The sin against
the New Covenant is UNBELIEF.
     John says this in his gospel:
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds
were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither
cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that
doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made
manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:19-21)
     God does not condemn us for being born in Adam. We did not
choose that. But once we see the light of the gospel -- and refuse
it -- we ARE judged. We are totally responsible once we see the
Truth in Jesus Christ and choose to remain in darkness.
     Now, most of us would probably say that we are not refusing
Jesus Christ. And that is probably so. We aren't. We WANT Him.
But we have never been told the Truth. So we do the natural thing.
We go out and start sewing fig leaves -- big religious ones. We
try to do for ourselves what Jesus Christ has already done.
     This is no small problem. And it applies to each of us. If you
are not yet perfect you have the problem. To one degree or
another, you are trying to do for yourself what Christ has done. If
you want proof, notice how you react the next time God exposes
your nakedness. The chances are, your first reaction will be to try
to grab back you fig leaf. You don't like being without it.
     Thankfully, God knows us. He knows our patterns and habits.
And He is way ahead of us on solving them. That's why He is busy
pulling off fig leaves. It is good to know that at any time we can
stop resisting and let Him. Then we will be exposed. We will see
our need. This will be uncomforable and sometimes terrifying. But
it is only for a moment. We will also see the solution in the Son of
God. THAT will be for eternity.

Losing My Life

     The more I try to fix sin, the more I multiply sin. This is ironic,
but a fact. This principle works like an infection. The more I touch
the infection and try to fix it, the more I get infected. It works like a
spider's web. The more I try to get free, the more I become
entangled. Trying to fix sin is like trying to forever take a shower.
But the trouble with this shower is that the more I scrub, the dirtier
I get.
     There is nothing new about this Truth. Jesus taught it through
many examples. One of them is found in Matthew:
For whosoever will save HIS LIFE shall lose it: and whosoever will
lose HIS LIFE for my sake shall find IT. (Matt. 16:25)
     The "his life" in this verse is our life in Adam. We cannot save
that. We cannot fix it. But if we will surrender it uncondtionally into
God's hands, then we will find "it."
     What is "it?" IT is the new man in Christ Jesus. IT is the real us,
the redeemed us. IT is a life which is fully dependent upon God.
IT is naked and poor, yet unashamed, because there is no want
or fear when a person fully belongs to God.
     When all is said and done, the issues of this life really aren't
all that complicated. The human race lost everything through
the sin of Adam. All God is saying now is, "I have restored it all
back to you in Jesus. I freely give it to you." But we won't believe.
We try to fix things ourselves. Only we CALL it "Jesus." We CALL
it Christianity. The incredible Truth is, however, that if we are doing
it for ourselves, it is not Christianity. At best. it is legalism.
     If you want to know what is wrong with the Body of Christ today,
you need not look further than this one point. We have failed on
many points, yes, but all of them come back to the fact that we have
lost the basics. Our faith, our relationships, and our personal walks
with God are not based on faith in the finished work of Christ. And
until we get back to the simplicity which is found in Jesus, things
will only continue getting further off the track.
     Christianity is not a religion. It is not a self-improvement program
with God's help. It is not a life insurance policy in case things go
bad. It is not a social club. It is what happens when God meets
humanity through Jesus Christ. God is bringing us back to the
garden. He is stripping us of all of our man-made coverings. And
for those of us who will let Him do so, God has an eternal purpose
for us in His Son which will surpass all the sufferings of this present

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