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Naked & Not Ashamed



The phrase in our view today comes from a passage that was quoted by Jesus as well as the apostle Paul. It comes fro a larger passage that is no doubt familiar. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24 {also see Matt. 19:5, Mark 10:7, Eph. 5:31}). Do you know, can you remember the very next line? How often do we think of “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (Gen. 2:25)? During some recent pre-marriage mentoring the groom-to-be was really struck by that phrase “naked and not ashamed”. It and the accompanying principles resonated deep within him and perhaps clarified his view of what marriage should be.


So let’s imagine that scene. Adam was standing there, newly created, freshly placed inside the garden when the Lord throws a parade. It was a magnificent procession, every kind of animal walked past, two by two, to receive their official name. The not so subtle point of this was that “But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him”. Of all the creatures that God brought to the man…not one of them was without a helper, a mate, a distinct yet complimentarily similar creature. For more context we remember that God had already said that for Adam to be alone was “not good”. This was in contrast to every other day of creation which ended in “God saw that it was good”.


In this gorgeous sin-free setting Adam’s lack is supplied in the person of the first woman. There they are, in the luscious garden, without clothes. And completely opposite today, this was not a problem. No blushing, no averting of eyes, no overwhelming feeling, no sudden desire to be elsewhere. They had no shame. Both people had zero reason to worry about what the other thought or might say or do or feel. There was nothing to inhibit total and righteous freedom in relationship to one another. Oh, what an amazing reality. How many of us have experienced that in our marriage?


Genesis is the book of beginnings. It contains the first creation, the first light, the first sea, the first humans, day, night, birds, fish, fruit and so much more. The first couple was created to work, complimenting one another in design, all the while in unbroken relationship with God. The first sin, the first act of rebellion, corrupted that work, distorted that design and broke that relationship. That act brought about the first shame. Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Their desire to hide was not a horizontal relationship issue, it was vertical. The communion they had with their creator was disrupted. They were guilty. And they tried to hide that reality without success. Their error could not be hidden or covered.


Unlike the guilt and shame of our day which can be either good or bad, theirs was well deserved. It was based on objective truth. They disobeyed. But since the guilt that those two brought on all mankind (Romans 5:12) affects both the vertical and horizontal relationships, now marriage is hard. All it takes is a slow answer, a slightly tense tone, a small gesture, even the way we breathe (or don’t) can be taken as criticism from each other. If honest, we can all remember a time when we've tried to shame the other.


That shame, and its source-our guilt, is exactly why we, particularly in marriages need the gospel each and every day. Believing that because of the work of Christ we stand before God, naked and not ashamed is the foundation for that same reality between our spouse and others. Since we do not deserve the reality of a shame-free life we must humbly accept the truth that someone else must remove our shame. Someone that is Himself guilt-free. Completely and totally. Romans 5:19 sums it up in this way; “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous”. This is our justification, the declaration of innocence from God. Because Jesus is our substitute we are no longer guilty, we have no need to be ashamed.


Then once we realize that in Christ, through faith that leads to repentance from our sin (and resulting shame) we have zero reason to doubt God’s goodness, we can then in turn forgive those around us. Even though they sin against us, we will not hold it against them. They will have no reason to be afraid and try to cover themselves with excuses, rationalizations and distractions. We will be living in the reality of how God views us in Christ; forever loved eternally cherished, totally guilt and shame free. What I want my wife to know with no reservation is that I love her, I will always love her and nothing she can ever do will make me stop loving her. This is Christ’s love for His Bride. May it be ours also. In marriage and in all of life.


For Christ,

Keith


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