Turn in your Bible to Genesis 3:6-13. We are continuing to look at the saddest day in history, the fall of humanity into sin. Last week we looked at verses 1-5, and we learned that sin is lawlessness. It's rebellion against God. This time we’ll look more at some of the consequences of sin. First we’ll look at verses 6-7, and then we’ll consider verses 8-13.

I. Sin brings shame

In verses 6-7 we learn that sin always carries with it shame. In these verses we see the disobedience of Adam and Eve acted out, and we see its immediate consequences. Here, the covenant keepers in the garden rebel against God. Notice again in verse 6 this entangling descent into iniquity. She saw. She took. She ate. She gave. He ate. Their eyes were opened. They knew. They covered. They hid. Do you see how sin pulls them down and down into a descent to the very abyss? Does it make them gods? Oh, no. It pulls them to the very gates of hell. We know by experience how sin wraps us up like that. One sin, and then another and another, and then we don't know how to extract ourselves, so we try to extract ourselves by another, and it takes us lower and lower. Not closer to redemption, but closer to condemnation. That's exactly how the first sin was.

Notice again in this passage the unexpected consequences which bounce on Adam and Eve. “Their eyes are opened.” They are enlightened in the most horrifying way. They see for the first time in their lives nakedness. Now in this context, this doesn't just mean the fact that they are without clothing. As you know, for a Hebrew the worst thing that you could possibly be was naked, because to be naked carried with it an innate sense of shame. For the first time in their human experience they are feeling shame. They've been enlightened, and the result is shame. Not satisfaction, not happiness, not god-like qualities, but shame. Of course they rightly sense a need for covering, but their attempt is feeble. Fig leaves. That's going to solve your shame? It's the first attempt at works-righteousness, and feeble indeed it is.

Notice again by way of application God is immediately vindicated in the goodness of His command. He told them this would happen. They did not believe Him. They went against Him, and immediately it is seen that what God had said was true and what Satan had said was a lie. But now Adam and Eve don't know a way out.

Notice again that freedom is found only in holy constraint. Satan had told Adam and Eve that true freedom and true happiness are only found when you can decide whether you’re going to do what God tells you to do or whether you’re going to decide not to do what God tells you to do. This passage makes it clear that true freedom is in fact not doing whatever you want to do, but it is self-determination to holiness. That is freedom. Anything other than that is false freedom. That's a message we need to hear today when we worship at the shrine of freedom, but we define freedom not as freedom for responsibility but freedom from responsibility. We define freedom not as doing that which is the will of God but doing that which is the will of me.

One last thing we see here. The incredible and haunting words of Derek Kidner speak of the taking of that fruit: “So simple an act; so hard its undoing. God will taste poverty and death before take and eat become verbs of salvation.” Don't you wish you could write a sentence like that? Do you see what he's saying? Satan's words that plunge us into hell are, “Take and eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge and good and evil.” In God's counterstrike he gives us, from the words of our Savior, which we say in the Lord’s Supper, “Take and eat,” as the way back into fellowship with God. Isn't God awesome? Can you imagine a greater in-your-face move to Satan than that? Your words “take and eat” plunge my people into the abyss. My words “take and eat” raise them up from the grave to glory.

II. Sin disrupts fellowship  

In verses 8-13 we see that, not only does sin carry with it shame, but sin disrupts the fellowship between God and man, and it disrupts the fellowship in human relations. Here we see the wake of the rebellion. Verse 8 speaks of a fellowship which has been lost and a sense of estrangement in enmity. Man is in hiding because of his sin. And God's question to him in verse 9 shows the very marks of grace as God gently attempts to draw Adam into an awareness of the magnitude of what he has done. God could have come with thunder and lightning, blasting at them for the stupidity and for the wickedness that he had displayed, but He comes asking questions, not because He needs answers, but because He is trying to draw Adam out of the mire which he has created. Verse 10 gives us Adam's response to God's question: “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.” That is the first mention of fear in the Bible.

Notice the consequence of sin. Fear, shame, isolation. An ugly trinity of evil. That's what sin brings. Then the blame shifting begins in verses 11-13. God comes to Adam first. Why? Because Adam was the covenant head. He was the representative, and he was being held responsible by God. It's interesting that God doesn't start with the serpent as if really this is all his fault. This is not a “devil made me do it” scenario. God goes first to Adam, and He says, “Why did you do this?” Notice what Adam immediately does. “I did it because the woman that You gave me gave me to eat.” Notice that immediately the blame is on what God has done and on what she has done. Then God goes to the woman. “Why did you do this?” “I did it because that serpent which You made gave it to me.” The blame shifting has already begun.

Let me also say that the isolation between Adam and Eve has already begun. Look at verse 10. God has just asked Adam, “Where are you?” Here's the answer. “I heard the sound of You in the garden, I was afraid, I was naked, so I hid myself.” Where's Eve? Weren't they just a couple of seconds ago hiding together in the bushes? Already isolation has begun in human's experience because of sin.

Now in this passage God teaches us that sin is rebellion and that sin carries with it shame, and that sin disrupts divine human fellowship and human relations. It is in this passage that we have the basis of understanding why the return into fellowship with God is going to cost the blood of His only Son. May we grasp that truth. For if we grasp that, we've grasped everything.

The Rev. Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III is Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary. He can be reached at 601-923-1600 or by email at jhyde@rts.edu.