God's Grace: The Cure for Guilt

February 04, 2017 0 Comments

Today's Bible Study is a unique combination of three different devotional studies from my new book: STRENGTH FOR TODAY. I trust you will be blessed as you are reminded of some of these basic salvation truths from Genesis 3.

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, 'Where art thou?' And he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Gen. 3:9-10)

There are two insightful thoughts in these verses: the beautiful grace of God and the ugly consequences of sin. The contrast literally jumps off the page of Scripture. In verse 9, we see the beautiful—God seeking after fallen man. In verse 10 we see the ugly—Adam suffering from the guilt of sin, hiding from God. We are reminded here in this text, that one of the results of the curse is broken fellowship between God and man. And along with broken fellowship comes fear. Adam is feeling an emotion he never felt before—guilt and fear. “I was afraid, because I was naked.” Modern psychology tries to deal with people’s fears every day, but without admitting the fact that all fear is a result of sin. You cannot overcome your fears until you are brought back into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Instead of allowing a secular psychologist to convince you: “there’s no need to feel guilty about that”—cast your guilty soul into the loving hands of a forgiving God who seeks you out in His amazing grace.

Survey this scene again. Adam is not seeking God—God is seeking him. “There is none righteous, no not one. There is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God" (Rom. 3:10). In the very moment when Adam was experiencing the emotion of fear and guilt, God was graciously seeking and calling. Oh glorious grace that will not let us go!

But grace does more than just SEEK AFTER sinful man. In order to COVER UP Adam’s sin and shame, God provided animal skins. The feeble attempt of the guilty pair to cover themselves with fig leaves turned out to be futile once the heat of the noon day sun withered their wardrobe. So it is with all human attempts to cover up guilt. The fig leaves represent the best man can do to solve his own spiritual problem—but man’s best is not good enough. This is why God intervened and graciously provided a suitable garment. “God made coats of skins and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21).

As I contemplate what this scene in the Garden of Eden must have looked like, I believe there were several poignant truths that Adam and Eve learned that day. As they stood over the life-less body of a little lamb and watched its blood seep into the ground, a few things became instantly obvious:

FIRST, they realized for the first time what death really was, and it was horrific. They were told the penalty for sin would be death, but up to this point, that concept was only theoretical. The death of this animal was real, and it was not a pleasant thing to see. I believe the very first thing that ever died in all of history was this little lamb that was slain to provide clothing for Adam and Eve.
SECOND, they realized the animal, which was innocent of any wrongdoing, was dying because of them! In order to atone for their sin, a substitute sacrifice was needed. Something had to die in their place. Isaiah prophesied the coming of God’s Lamb with these words: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5) Here is the beginning of the doctrine of the substitutionary death of a sacrificial lamb.
THIRD, they realized that God was a God of grace even in the midst of their failure, guilt and shame. God showed them mercy instead of wrath. God reached out to them in amazing love. God’s provision for sin involved both the shedding of blood and the gracious bestowing of a suitable garment. In short, they were taught what God’s plan of salvation is all about. Years later, John the Baptist introduced Jesus with these words: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

Richard Seefried
Harrisonburg, VA
Richard Seefried has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry, and is licensed & certified by the NCCA as a clinical pastoral counselor.