Daily Archives: December 1, 2013

“Another Jesus” Calling – Which Jesus is Calling on You?

… During the next few decades I would dedicate much time to research these New Age practices as they were coming into the church. In 2002 my husband and I helped Warren Smith publish Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel. In this book Smith explained how New Age leaders were hearing a voice that claimed to be either “Jesus” or “God.” This voice, as it was channeled through these New Age leaders, sounded just like automatic writing! Authors such as Neale Donald Walsch, Helen Schucman and Barbara Marx Hubbard published the channeled writings of their “God” and their “Jesus.” He was giving a different gospel message, one that promised peace and prosperity on earth. Smith summarized these new teachings:
The “new gospel” teaches that when humanity collectively accepts and experiences itself as being a part of Christ and a part of God, we not only save ourselves, we save our world. The “Christ” of the “new gospel” warns that the hour is late. Peace must come. He will help. He has a plan. But everyone must play their part.[7]
When we were new believers both Warren and I never dreamed that these same old teachings would come into the evangelical church world and be believed! But they did. And they came in via the same old mystical methods we had once learned from the occult.

Fast-forward to the present. Warren Smith has  just published a new book “Another Jesus” Calling: How False Christs Are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer (Lighthouse Trails, 2013). In this book Smith analyzes the “God” of God Calling (2005) and the “Jesus” of Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling. Both this “God” and this “Jesus” have remarkably similar messages. Both deliver messages nearly identical to that of the New Age false “Christ.” Both are calling believers to engage in a new (old) spirituality. The “God” of God Calling and the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling both call upon people by delivering new words. Their words were transmitted, written down, and then published. The same method!
Millions of people have now read these popular books God Calling and Jesus Calling. Both books purport to be the voice of the Lord speaking meaningful new messages to us today. The dictated words, channeled through the authors, are uplifting messages promising peace and contentment, affluence and harmony. In fact, the words of the “Jesus” of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling:

Enjoying Peace in His Presence are promising a closer intimacy and more elite spiritual walk. Smith observes:
The word “Presence” is found more that 365 times in Jesus Calling. The term is also commonly used in the New Age/New Spirituality. And in both God Calling and Jesus Calling, “Jesus” states that experiencing his presence will unlock secret teachings, new revelations, and future things to come.”[8]
Why do Christians believe they should to practice the “presence” of Jesus? Because it promises them increased intimacy with God, thus bypassing the Cross. It does seem to fill a spiritual void and/or an emotional need. And it is an easy device. Under these new teachings believers no longer need to trouble themselves about confessing besetting sins in their lives. Instead this new voice of “Jesus” speaks rosy promises of guidance and transformation, even wealth and power. This “Jesus” even promises co-creative power, the ability to transform the world by our meditative attitudes. By concentrating on the words “be still” believers learn that we can even become God.
Smith’s critiques all of this in a brief well-laid-out 174-page  book. This is Warren Smith at his best – his easy folksy style renders hard concepts accessible and understandable. Each chapter is very brief and to the point. Smith raises Ten Concerns about the original book God Calling, which entered the Christian world in 2005, and Twenty Concerns about Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, which has more recently taken the evangelical world by storm. Is Jesus indeed speaking a new word to us today? Or is this the voice of “another Jesus” who is calling upon the world to laugh at the future?[9] Smith’s analyses are insightful.
Sarah Young’s “Jesus” encourages believers to gain more spirituality through creative visualization. This “Jesus” flatters her readers with florid speeches such as “Let My gold-tinged Love wash over you and soak into the depths of your being”[10] and “When your Joy in Me meet My Joy in you, there are fireworks of heavenly ecstasy.”[11]  This same passionate “Jesus” is rapidly gaining traction elsewhere in the evangelical world. He offers spiritual experiences that are addictive and mind-altering, but not based on the truth taught in God’s Word the Bible. He promises intimacy without repentance, spirituality without salvation, and communion without regeneration. Nevertheless many believe these new words. Why?

Read More Here: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2013/11/another-jesus-calling.html

Questions about Prayer: What Is the Key to Effective Prayer?

Everyone wants their prayers to be “effective,” so much so that when we focus on the “results” of our prayers, we lose sight of the incredible privilege we have in prayer. That people like us can speak to the Creator of the Universe is itself an amazing thing. Even more astounding is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! Now, the first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and pray (Hebrews 10:19–25).

Although the Bible offers a great deal of guidance as to how we can deepen our communication with the Creator, effective prayer has more to do with the one doing the praying than it does with “how” we are to pray. Indeed, Scripture reveals “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16), and that the “eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer” (1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 34:15), and, again, “the prayer of the upright pleases Him” (Proverbs 15:8). Prayer saved the righteous Daniel from the lion’s den (Daniel 6:11), and in the wilderness, God’s chosen people benefitted enormously from Moses’ right standing with God (Exodus 16–17). The barren Hannah’s steadfast and humble prayers resulted in the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20), and the apostle Paul’s prayers even caused the earth to shake (Acts 16:25–26). Clearly, the passionate prayers of God’s righteous children can accomplish much (Numbers 11:2).

We need to make sure that our prayers are in line with God’s will. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14–15). Praying in accordance with God’s will is essentially praying in accord with what He would want, and we can see God’s revealed will throughout Scripture. And if we do not know what to pray for, Paul reminds us that as God’s children we can rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, as “the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:27). And since the Spirit of God knows the mind of God, the Spirit’s prayer is always in keeping with the will of the Father.

Additionally, prayer is something believers should do “continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In Luke 18:1, for example, we are told to pray with persistence and “not give up.” Also, when we present our requests to God, we are to pray with faith (James 1:5; Mark 11:22–24), with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6), with a spirit of forgiveness toward others (Mark 11:25), in Christ’s name (John 14:13–14), and as stated above, with a heart that is right with God (James 5:16). It’s the strength of our faith, not the length of our prayers that pleases Him to whom we pray, so we don’t need to impress God with our eloquence or intelligence. After all, this is almighty God we are praying to, and He knows what our needs are even before we ask (Matthew 6:8).

Also, we should make sure we have no unconfessed sin in our hearts when we pray, as this would certainly be an impediment to effective prayer. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 66:18). Fortunately, however, we know that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Another barrier to effective communication with God is praying with selfish desires and wrong motives. “When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Rejecting God’s call or ignoring His advice (Proverbs 1:24–28), worshipping idols (Jeremiah 11:11–14), or turning a deaf ear to the cry of the poor (Proverbs 21:13) serve as additional obstacles to an effective prayer life.

Effective prayer is a way to strengthen our relationship with our Father in Heaven. When we study and obey His Word and seek to please Him, the same God who made the sun stand still upon the prayer of Joshua (Joshua 10:12–13) invites us to come boldly before the throne of grace and pray with confidence that He will extend His mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Marriage: What Does It Mean that Women Are the ‘Weaker Vessel’ (1 Peter 3:7)?

The context of 1 Peter 3:7 is the Apostle Peter’s instructions concerning living as godly believers toward one another beginning in the home (1 Peter 3:1–12). The wife is addressed first and then the husband. This is the same order the Apostle Paul uses in Ephesians 5:22–33. The husband is to “dwell with his wife according to knowledge, giving her honor as the weaker vessel” (KJV). The word “dwell” is in the imperative and has the idea of standing beside, dwelling with in a presiding position. In other words, the husband is to take his place as the head, according to God’s order.

The word “knowledge” in 1 Peter 3:7 could be translated as “understanding.” Both men and women have difficulty understanding their spouses. It takes commitment and surrender to God’s order on the part of both partners to come to a place of true understanding. Understanding is the basis for seeing one’s wife as a vessel to honor, respect and care for because she is weaker. This is not a popular idea among many women or even many men. However, the Scripture tells us that the woman was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), she is subject to her husband (1 Peter 3:1) and that she is a “weaker” vessel. That women are usually physically weaker is undeniable, but the implication of the fall is that by virtue of her being deceived by Satan, women may also sometimes be weaker in other ways. That definitely does not mean she is less valuable (Ephesians 1:6) or that she does not have equal access to grace (Galatians 3:28). Rather, it is a basis for a husband to treat his wife with understanding, tenderness, and patience.

The Apostle Paul adds a lot of weight to this idea because he writes that the husband is the head of the family as Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23) and because of that the husband is to love his wife “as” (sets up the comparison) or in the same way that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). That means the husband has a great deal more responsibility in the marriage than the wife does. He is the leader, and he is to set the tone for the relationship, and a man who honors his wife and puts her first before all but God will have a wife that responds. The way a husband gives himself for his wife is that he understands she is to be honored for the fact that she is his wife. Of course, this is the ideal and it is not something that happens overnight. A man and a woman begin their relationship when they are married, but whether or not that relationship works is in direct correlation to both the husband and the wife taking their place in God’s order and their submission to obey God. The principles here are given to believers; however, these principles work whether or not the couple are believers or even if only one is.

As Christians, we understand the dynamics at work which are totally at odds with human viewpoints and worldly “wisdom.” This word “weakness” can cause great offense when there should be none at all. Women are weaker and need to be treated with understanding and respect. A husband shows his love for his wife by putting her first. A woman who resists this loving care by her husband is robbing herself of the joy of being the “weaker” vessel.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: Should a Christian Wear a Purity Ring?

A purity ring is a ring worn by a single teenager or adult to signify that they have made a commitment to remain abstinent from sex until marriage. The purity ring was created in the 1990s by Christian abstinence groups, including Lifeway Bookstore’s “True Love Waits,” but may have been inspired by the band nuns wear to symbolize their lifelong commitment to serve God. There are several vendors of purity rings, and no standardized procedure to receive and wear one. In some families, fathers present a ring to their young daughters after an extensive ceremony. But purity rings can also be purchased from a store or online and worn at whim. Both men and women can wear purity rings. Purity rings are not mentioned in the Bible.

There is no doubt that God calls His children to sexual purity. “You should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:3–5, 7).

Abstinence training is essential, and it is equally essential that the training include accurate information. A purity ring is not a talisman that magically prevents pre-marital sex. A father who gives his daughter a ring does not “own” his daughter’s sexuality. A girl’s purity is not more valuable than a boy’s. A commitment to remain abstinent until marriage is a good and noble thing (Ephesians 5:3), but it should be done within the context of a relationship with God and a desire to lean on His understanding. It should not be motivated by the excitement of a rally or the fear of dishonoring one’s father.

There is nothing wrong with wearing a purity ring, as long as the commitment to remain abstinent is sincere. It can certainly act as a marker to identify others who have made the same commitment. In the end, however, one’s relationship with God is much more important than any outward sign. And understanding the benefits of abstinence and the ways to avoid temptation are more important than a ring.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

All Hearts Open, All Desires Known (Romans 2:16)

 

This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

I am not very attracted to liturgical prayers because, although liturgical language is often quite beautiful (like that of Shakespeare’s plays), the mere repetition of prayers tends, in my opinion, toward a love of language for its own sake and not meaning. There are exceptions, of course, and sometimes a particular phrase sticks in mind as expressing a great truth admirably.

I think of one such expression as we come to Romans 2:16: “This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” The main idea is the uncovering of human secrets by God at the final judgment, and the liturgical expression of that truth, which I love, is from the opening collect of the Anglican Order for the Administration of Holy Communion. It begins, “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.… ” I think that is a powerful expression—and helpful if it is used rightly. It reminds us that in a world ordered by an omniscient God there are, in the final analysis, no secrets. We may have secrets here, hiding from others what we are or do. But there will be no secrets on the day when all secrets will be brought to light before God.

The All-Knowing God

God knows all things even now, of course. God spoke of the Jewish people to Isaiah, saying, “For I know their works and their thoughts” (Isa. 66:18 kjv). King David wrote of himself:

O Lord, you have searched me

and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O Lord.

Psalm 139:1–4

The author of Hebrews declared, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).

This is one reason why unregenerate people repress their knowledge of God, as Romans 1:18–20 declares they do. We looked at this when we were studying those verses. If God knows all things, as he must if he is God, he knows us not as we wish to project ourselves before others but as we really are, and none of us can stand the thought of such perfect and penetrating knowledge.

I pointed out in that earlier study that this is one of the characteristics of human nature perceived by the existentialist philosopher and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre. In his analysis of man, Sartre rooted man’s uniqueness in his being a subject, who observes, rather than an object, which is observed. A subject observes and acts. An object is observed and acted upon. The former pleases us. The latter is disturbing. In one of his works, Sartre imagines himself as a man who is standing in a hallway, looking through a keyhole at another person. As long as he is the observer and the other person is the object observed, Sartre is content. He is in control. But suddenly he hears footsteps in the hall, turns around, and realizes that someone has been looking at him as he has looked through the keyhole. Now he is no longer content. He is no longer in control, and he is overcome with feelings of shame, fear, guilt, and embarrassment. According to Sartre, to be fully human, man must be the ultimate subject rather than an object.

But what about God? How can one escape being an object before him, since God sees us always? Sartre’s solution was to banish God from his own private universe, to become an atheist.

In a series of essays called The Words, Sartre tells how he came to this point. He was a child at the time. He had been raised a Catholic, and as one of his assignments in the Catholic school he attended he had written a paper on the Passion of Christ. When the awards were presented for these papers, Sartre was given only a silver medal rather than the gold. He resented it and blamed God. Sartre wrote, “This disappointment drove me into impiety.… For several years more, I maintained public relations with the Almighty. But privately, I ceased to associate with him.”

Then he tells how, during these years, there was a time when he felt that God existed: “I had been playing with matches and burned a small rug. I was in the process of covering up my crime when suddenly God saw me. I felt his gaze inside my head and on my hands. I whirled about in the bathroom, horribly visible, a live target. Indignation saved me. I flew into a rage against so crude an indiscretion, I blasphemed, I muttered like my grandfather: ‘God damn it, God damn it, God damn it.’ He never looked at me again.”

That story alone explains the life and philosophy of Sartre. Yet it is sad and tragic. Sad, because it is mistaken. Sartre says, “He [God] never looked at me again.” But in reality God never ceased to look at Sartre. God looks on all things and sees them perfectly. Actually, it was Sartre who had ceased to look at God. Tragic, because by turning his back on God, Sartre turned from the one being in the universe who could have helped him.

I said earlier that Sartre’s solution to the problem of being beneath the gaze of God and of being overcome by natural feelings of shame, fear, guilt, and embarrassment was to banish God from his universe—to become an atheist. But it does not require a philosophical genius to realize that this is only whistling in the dark. If there is a God, as even Sartre indirectly attests, then he cannot be so banished, certainly not by human beings. Moreover, if God is omniscient, as he must be if he is God, then not only has he seen all the evil deeds we have done and known the evil thoughts we have had. He also remembers them. And one day he will produce them for exposure and judgment.

It is what Paul speaks about when he writes of “the day when God will judge man’s secrets through Jesus Christ.”

Naked Before God and Man

I now take you from that day of judgment to one of the very first days of human history. It is the day when Adam and Eve stood before God in the Garden of Eden shortly after having sinned by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The story is in Genesis 3, but the theme is set in the previous chapter, before the fall, where it is said: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:25).

I have said many times in considering this story that I have no doubt that this was a literal physical nakedness. Otherwise the matter of their making fig-leaf clothes for themselves, which we are told about later, has no meaning. But it was a psychological nakedness, too. Adam and Eve were not ashamed in their nakedness before they sinned. It was only after they had sinned that they were conscious of it.

Why were they unashamed before the fall? The answer is obvious. Nakedness has to do with exposure, not only with external, physical exposure but, more importantly, with internal exposure. They were not ashamed in their nakedness before the fall because they had nothing to be ashamed about.

1. They were unashamed before God. Adam and Eve had done nothing that would have been any cause for shame. They were without sin at the time, and their relationship to God was one of utter openness. They delighted to see God when he came to them in the garden. They conversed with him freely. We cannot do this, of course, and the reason we cannot do it is sin. Sin causes us to hide from God, as Adam and Eve later did when God came to them. Sin causes us to flee from him.

Some flee into atheism, as Sartre did.

Some flee into materialism.

Even Christians run away from God when they persist in sin.

Donald Grey Barnhouse had been preaching on a college campus and had been invited to speak in one of the women’s dorms following a meeting that had been held elsewhere that evening. When he finished, one of the young women remained behind, obviously offended by his teaching. Her face was scowling. “I used to believe that stuff, but I don’t believe it anymore,” she said.

Barnhouse asked, “What class are you in?”

“I’m a freshman.”

“What kind of a family do you come from?” The girl said that she came from a Christian family.

“Do you have a Bible?”

“Yes.”

“Do you read it?”

“I used to read it,” the student said, “but I don’t read it anymore. I told you I no longer believe that stuff.”

“Can you remember when you stopped reading it?” Barnhouse asked. The girl said that she had stopped reading it around Thanksgiving. “Tell me,” said Barnhouse, “what happened in your life around November the tenth?” The girl began to cry, and it soon came out that at that time she had started to live in sin with a young man, and it was because of this that she could no longer tolerate the gaze of God when she read her Bible.

Wesley said it well: “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.” This is because the God who confronts us in Scripture is the holy God before whom all hearts are open.

2. They were unashamed before each other. Before the fall, it was not only God before whom Adam and Eve were unashamed. They were also unashamed before each other, and for the same reason. They had nothing to be ashamed about. They had not lied to one another. They had not falsely accused one another, as they later did, trying to shift the blame for their sin to others. They had not harmed one another. As a result they could be completely themselves. Today no one can be completely open in a relationship. In some good relationships we come close. But still, there is a residue of ourselves that we keep hidden even from a spouse or very close friend. Why? Because we are ashamed of ourselves, and we fear that if we reveal the fault, the other will cease to love us or respect us.

3. They were unashamed in their own eyes. Both Adam and Eve were without shame as they looked on themselves. In those first days, Adam could look at himself and know he had nothing to hide. And Eve could look at herself and know she had nothing to hide.

What about us? Today, most of us will hardly stop our mad race through life long enough even to take a brief glance at who we are. Generations ago, people lived more slowly; they could reflect on who they were and where they were going. Modern life has intensified the pace. Most of us cannot even come into a room and sit down for two minutes without feeling the need to snap on the television set or radio to fill our heads with stimulation—anything to keep from thinking. “All the news, all the time!” That is what we want. And the reason we want it is that we do not want to consider that we are naked before God and that nothing is hidden from him before whom we must give account.

Hiding from Thee

What we are and do comes out in the continuation of the Genesis story. Adam and Eve sinned, in spite of the warning God had given them concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So when God came to them in the garden they hid themselves—or at least they tried to.

Actually, they had already tried to hide, first from themselves and then from each other. They did it by trying to make clothing from fig leaves. Sometimes when people are trying to be funny they speak of prostitution as the oldest human profession, but they are wrong in this. The oldest profession is not prostitution but the clothing industry. Later, sin showed itself in sexual sins as well as in other ways. But the very first effect of sin was the opening of the eyes of Adam and Eve to perceive that they were naked, in response to which “they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Gen. 3:7). In other words, as sinners they found their psychological exposure intolerable and tried to cover up. At first they used leaves. Later, when God appeared to question them, they used evasions and excuses and tried to put the blame on God.

I have sometimes spoken of these leaves as good works and of the attempt to be covered by them as “fig-leaf righteousness.” It was a way of saying, “We are all right. We are not sinners. We are good people.” Well, as long as it was just the two of them, they got by, since they were both sinners. But the fig leaves were inadequate when they finally stood before God, just as our good works will be useless at the judgment.

I do not know what happened to those fig leaves when God finally appeared to Adam and Eve and called them to stand before him. Perhaps they fell off. But whether or not they did, they might as well have, for nothing could have hidden from God what they were or had done. So it will be in our judgment. We commit our sins in secret. We present a false face to the public. We declare that God does not exist. We brand ourselves atheists. We think we are safe. But we do not need reporters hiding in the bushes to observe what we are doing and report it in the National Enquirer. We do not need a talk-show host to reveal our cover-up transactions. God knows. God remembers. And one day he “will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ.”

What a dreadful last scene to human history!

The Psalmist said, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins [and he does], O Lord, who could stand?” (Ps. 130:3).

Naked—Yet Clothed by God

I come to the climax of the story of Adam and Eve’s sin, and it is chiefly for this that I tell it. God told Adam and Eve that the punishment for their eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would be death. But when he confronted them in their sin and exposed it, the death he had promised fell not on them but on a substitute. And here is a truly thrilling point: It was with the skin of the substitute that they were clothed.

The Bible tells it tersely, saying, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21). The text does not indicate what animals God killed in order to get the skins with which he clothed Adam and Eve, but in view of the development of this idea later in the Bible, I tend to think that they were lambs and that the skins were lambskins. Certainly, the incident is meant to point to Jesus Christ as the only sufficient atonement for sin, and Jesus is pictured as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Whatever they were, God must have killed animals in order to have the skins with which he clothed our first parents.

Think what this must have meant to Adam and Eve. Their first thought, when they saw the animals lying dead in front of them, must have been, “So this is what death is!” They must have regarded the scene with horror. God had told them, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But if they had not witnessed death before this, which we are to suppose they had not, they probably did not take this threat seriously. Now suddenly death was before them, and they must have sensed for the very first time how serious it is to disobey God. In that instant it must have dawned on them that if death is the result of sin, then sin is far worse than anything they could possibly have imagined. Moreover, they were sinners, and their sin was damnable.

But there is something else that must have gripped them in that instant, and that was a deep and growing wonder at God’s mercy. God had told them that their sin would be punished by death. And it was! But wonder of wonders, it was not themselves who died but the animals. They had broken God’s law. God had every right to take their lives in forfeit of his broken commandment. But instead, he showed that there could be a substitution. An innocent could die for them.

And there was another marvel, too. They were exposed as sinners. All the secrets they had were revealed. But although their sins were exposed— their nakedness was a symbol of it—they did not have to remain naked. Rather, God clothed them with the skins of the slain animals. So they were both exposed and covered at the same time.

This is what must be done for us. We cannot escape from our guilt. The guilt is there and is well documented. We can try to deny it, but everything in our lives, culture, and psychological makeup will refute the denial. We show our guilt by doors and blinds and shower curtains and the clothing industry—as well as by our calculated attempts to hide from one another. These patterns testify to the truthfulness of the Word of God. But the gospel tells us that God deals with this guilt. He does not just deny, forgive, or forget it. He deals with it in Jesus Christ. Christ died for sin; the penalty of sin has been paid. Now God clothes those who have believed in Christ with Christ’s righteousness:

Jesus, thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Whoever you are, the day is coming when you will stand before the judgment bar of God, and God will judge even the deepest secrets of your heart. How will you manage in that day? You can appear before God in only one of two ways. Either you will stand before him in the righteousness of Christ, your sin atoned for by his death, or you will stand in the horror of your own spiritual and moral nakedness. The Bible speaks of people who will be like that. It describes their terror. “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’ ” (Rev. 6:15–17).

Do not wait until the day when God will expose and judge all secrets. Flee to Christ for his righteousness today.[1]

 


[1] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: Justification by Faith (Vol. 1, pp. 241–248). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.