Genesis 3:7-8 – “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.“
Many preachers would find unity in declaring the greatness of the Great Commission because it was the final command given before His ascension back to the heavenly realms in glory. Again, this logic and application are seen in the final words of the last book, Revelation, where the apostle John declares with much passion “Come Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). Preachers rightly call upon the hearer to echo these words as we look forward to His Second Coming.
However, when we come to the whole issue of “sin” (disobedience to God), the general Christendom seem to be taken in by human logic and traditional bias. Listen carefully enough and you will often hear that the “worse sins” that demands greater hellish flames are related to murder and homosexuality. Even those who are more evangelical would point their finger to ‘worldliness’ (from the evils of fictional books, to rock music, to dungeons and dragons and to Harry Potters…) decrying these as the sins that will destroy the local church.
But what does Scripture actually say? Not the exceptional portions that are heavy on circumstances – which such “holier-than-thou” people would readily point out. At the very start of the Bible (Genesis), we have this introduced to us the moment the first man and woman sinned – they hid themselves from God, and covered themselves with their own paltry attempts at clothing. Rightly the preachers and teachers of old point to their attempt at self-righteousness – Adam and Eve were trying to justify themselves before God by the works of their hands. They sought not God but hid from Him, knowing that God would be rightly angry. That is the first exposure of the sinful heart in our First Parents.
No wonder the Lord Jesus made these statements – the first in Matthew 10:15 – “Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town” (here in regards to the instructions given to the disciples to herald the coming of the Lord Jesus to a town) and again in Matthew 11:23-24 – “And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you”” (here when the privileged Jews in Capernaum rejected the presence and words of Christ). And to top it all off, the Lord Jesus scolds and declares woes upon the religious leaders in Matthew 23. This chapter is not short, but a long declaration of what offends Him – their hypocrisy. No wonder the Lord Jesus warns His disciples to be aware of the hypocrisy of the religious people. What is their hypocrisy? Basically, the religious leaders were touting their obedience to God when in reality they were obedient to their own self-made rules and regulations.
This great denouncement can truly be traced back to what happened at the Fall in Eden! If only this was the focus of the Jewish leaders, things would have changed – but the sinful heart is deceptive above all things. But to only claim that this sin was present two thousand years ago is an ignorant claim: it exists today. Sadly, the brokenhearted and needy find no wounds bound because they are merely lightly bound by man’s own “religion”. We need Christ or we have nothing at all.
This is the beauty and magnificence of Christ coming into the world – the authentication, seal and fulfilment of what God has promised to His redeemed from the beginning (Genesis 3:15). May we truly see the Great Sin in us, that we may turn to the Great Seed that came in the first and only Christmas two thousand years ago. Amen.