Reading: Genesis 3:7
After Adam’s sin we find him a troubled individual. He realised that he was for the first time in a state of sin. But there is another problem: he feels the pain of personal sin. Like many today Adam attempts to fix this problem himself; he “sewed fig leaves together.” Satan keeps pursuing—advising, suggesting. Having brought Adam down into sin he promises him a quiet conscience by personal reformation.
This is the original self-help and it is based on the belief that man can meet his own needs, that he has the capacity to self-rectify, self-recover, self-improve. But to use that which caused the sin—self—as an instrument to fix the sin only serves to show the depth of sin in the human heart. There are three aspects to this self-help.
First, it ignores God. Adam was created for fellowship with God and to follow the will of God, but here we see Adam forgetting God and doing his own will. Sin has eclipsed God from view and while perhaps God is not denied philosophically yet practically the natural tendency of humanity is to say, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1: “No God for me”) or as Psalm 10:4 says, “All their thoughts are, God is not.”
Man can cover his bodily nakedness, as Adam and Eve did, but only God can cover spiritual nakedness. Adam and his wife realise the insufficiency of self-righteousness when they hide among the trees even after their attempt with the aprons of fig leaves. How vain are all our attempts at self-help, and how much we know it to be so, yet we still ignore the only provision for pardon and the only power for life.
“Beware of self-righteousness. The black devil of licentiousness destroys his hundreds, but the white devil of self-righteousness destroys his thousands.” C. H. Spurgeon