Penance in Eden

Sunday, July 10, 2016

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 (Genesis 3:7,8 KJV).

Itchy, itchy, itchy!

Friend, have you ever picked figs? Their leaves are prickly, and can make you itch! As I recently picked figs, I constantly thought on Genesis chapter 3, when the parents of the human race sinned against a holy God and attempted to cover their nakedness. What did they use to clothe their bare skin? According to today’s Scripture, they grabbed prickly fig leaves! They preferred this—suffering in uncomfortable clothes—to coming to God and admit their failure. Human nature is prideful; it has never changed in all these years.

While not explicitly stated in the Bible, perhaps Adam and Eve used fig leaves to make themselves suffer, possibly attempting to make God feel sorry for them. After all, some religious people make themselves suffer so as to appease some deity. They have the twisted idea that they can suffer enough for their sin and “God” will be happy with them. It is called “penance.” They are to give up pleasures and recite complicated prayers. They wear various torture bracelets on their fingers or arms and torture rings around their legs. They may don itchy hair shirts or pants. They whip themselves with leather straps. Every drop of blood they make themselves shed is assumed to make God just a tad happier with them. Allegedly, the more they suffer, the “holier” they become, and that much closer to heaven!

Beloved, on Calvary’s cross, the Lord Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). We have no reason to suffer for our sins because Jesus already did. Still, if we want to suffer for our sins, God will grant us our wish. He has prepared a lake of fire and brimstone in which unredeemed souls will suffer forever. Something far worse than itchy fig leaves and hair shirts!

Remember, the online grace Bible conference runs until Thursday! http://understandgrace.com/2016-summer-family-bible-conference/

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