We’ve already mentioned that there was a fundamental change within the makeup of humans.
God’s testimony of Adam and Eve at the dawn of creation is this:
“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
They were not ashamed in their relationship with each other. They were not ashamed in their relationship with their environment. They were not ashamed in their relationship with God.
They knew no shame.
Unfortunately, that soon changed.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And when they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden.
Then the LORD called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
They were ashamed of their nakedness and covered themselves up. And they were afraid of God’s voice and hid themselves from His presence.
Warning – Rabbit Trail Ahead
I have heard preached and taught, more times than I care to remember, that God cannot stand sin and won’t allow sin in His presence. Another take is that sin, and therefore sinful man, cannot be in God’s holy Presence. As I read Genesis 3 and 4 I find both beliefs utterly false. God comes looking for Adam and Eve after they have sinned. In chapter four, Cain has just murdered Able and God initiates a conversation with him.
God is not concerned about being tainted by our sin. The answer is always to run to Him when we’ve sinned – not away.
Back on the Main Trail
The twins, Shame and Fear, ran rampant in my family growing up. What about yours? These two states of being are the cause and perpetuators of untold suffering in each of our lives and the world.
Thankfully God has a solution.
The Apostle John seems to be obsessed with the book of Genesis in his writings. It might be that, because he had to memorize the entire book as a child, God easily spoke to John through the book of Genesis. I don’t know. I do know that Genesis is a theme in John’s gospel and all of I John.
In John chapter one, the apostle revisits Genesis chapter one and gives us an “addendum” that wasn't available when Moses first wrote what the Holy Spirit taught him about the beginning of the earth. He tells us that all of those words “God said” to accomplish creation were, in actuality, Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God that created the world. (See John 1:1-14)
In I John, the Apostle of Love takes us back to Genesis chapters two and three. He wants our “joy to be full”. (I John 1:4)
He tells us, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
I John 2:1-2
He tells us how we can stay away from sin:
“But the anointing which you have received form Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
I John 2:27
This is clearly the indwelling Spirit of God. This is the Spirit of Truth’s primary vocation.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
The anointing comes from the Holy Spirit.( See 61:1; Luke 4:14-15; Acts 10:38 as just the beginning).
And what is the result of our allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us how to walk in holiness?
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
I John 2:28
We return to being unashamed before God.
Is there any greater peace than being confident and unashamed in God’s presence? If there is, I have not experienced it to this point in my life.
In I John chapter two he lets us in on a little secret. The secret to obeying God’s commands is:
Then, he reminds us, this is what Jesus taught. The two greatest commandments are: Love.
1. Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Then in I John chapter four he tells us something revolutionary:
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
I John 4:16
God is love. When we live the lifestyle of love we live the lifestyle of God. We enter into the God community.
And what happens when we learn to live a lifestyle of love?
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect involves. We love Him because He first loved us.”
A lifestyle of love frees us from fear
The problems created in Genesis that cause us to run from God, Shame and Fear, are nullified by love.
It is the indwelling Holy Spirit Who teaches us to live our lives loving God and our fellow man in such a way that it fulfills the law of God .
This lifestyle is true freedom.
God calls this lifestyle “eternal life”.
Are you living eternal life today?