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CLOTHED BUT BANISHED

(SERMON #33 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, December 8, 2007

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:21-24).


Adam had sinned by eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Thus Adam and Eve had a curse pronounced on them by God, and were driven out of the Garden of Eden. This may seem harsh punishment to modern minds, for what they feel is only a “small” sin. But Jesus said,

“Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48).

Much had been given to Adam. He was given a perfect paradise for a home. He was given all the food he needed from the trees of the Garden of Eden. He was given the Tree of Life – which, had he eaten it, would have given him endless life on earth. But these great benefits were thrown aside by him when he deliberately disobeyed God and ate of the one tree which was forbidden.

Adam’s case is somewhat like a child born in a Christian family, and raised from infancy in the protection of a church – who flings it all away – and walks out of his Christian family, his church, and the means of grace, away from the preaching of the Gospel, and the prayers of his parents and the good Christians in his church family.

We are told by pollster George Barna, that 88% of evangelical youth, raised in the church, do exactly that – eighty-eight percent of them leave their church, as Barna said, “never to return.” Thus these “evangelical” youth recapitulate what Adam did in the Garden. They do the same thing, and bring great tragedy to themselves, just as their forefather Adam did. The parallel is too close to go unnoticed.

“Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48).

With Adam, the “much required” was his fall from righteousness into sin, and abject, servile ruin.

But God, in His infinite mercy still showed grace toward Adam and Eve. And it is God’s grace toward these fallen sinners that is the subject of my sermon tonight. In spite of Adam’s dreadful sin,

“God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)”
      (Ephesians 2:4-5).

And it is the richness of God’s grace that we see in our text.

I. First, God clothed them with skin.

Please stand and read verse twenty-one aloud.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

You may be seated.

Their self-made fig leaf aprons were inadequate. God Himself made them coats of skin. Thus they learned that their sin could not be covered without the shedding of blood. This was the first time that they learned,

“It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).

The Hebrew word translated “atonement” in that verse is “kaphar.” It means “to cover” (Strong, number 3722). So they were covered, in the sight of God, at the expense of the blood of a substitute. This was a clear picture to them of the Blood Christ would shed on the Cross because,

“Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

The blood shed in making those coats of skin was a type and prophecy of

“Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

The coats of skin thus pointed to the Blood of Christ, that would be shed to cleanse man from sin. But those coats also spoke of the “covering” of sin. The Apostle Paul said, in the Book of Romans,

“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered” (Romans 4:7).

It should also be noticed that the Hebrew word for skin is singular, not plural as the KJV has it. The Hebrew word means “skin” rather than “skins,” and it is thus correctly translated as “skin” by Keil and Delitzsch, and by Leupold. This speaks of the single sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The Book of Hebrews says,

“Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:25-26).

Speaking of these verses in Hebrews, Dr. Gill said that they answer the Roman Catholics,

…who pretend to offer the body of Christ daily…but Christ entered into heaven with his own blood…Christ has entered into heaven once for all, where he sits down and continues, having done his work effectually (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume III, p. 441).

Thus, the single skin used to clothe Adam and Eve typifies the single act of Christ on the Cross to atone for our sins. And the single skin also speaks of the one way of salvation. There were not many skins used, but only one,

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

The skin that God clothed them in was a continual reminder that blood must be shed by a substitute. In the fulness of time Christ came to fulfill that type, and died in our place, suffering for our sin, and shedding His Blood to cover our sin, and cleanse it in the sight of God. There is no other way to be saved. You must come to Jesus by faith; you must be cleansed in His Blood; you must be clothed in His righteousness. A. W. Pink said,

How beautiful and perfect is the type! It was the Lord God who furnished the [skin], made them into coats and clothed our first parents. They did nothing. God did it all. They were entirely passive. The same blessed truth is illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son. When the wanderer had [seen himself as a lost sinner], the grace of the father’s heart was displayed. “But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him” (Luke 15:22). The prodigal did not have to furnish the robe, nor did he have to put it on himself, all was done for him. And so it is with every sinner [who is saved]. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Well may we sing, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,” Isaiah 61:10 (A. W. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, Moody Press, 1981 reprint, pp. 44-45).

II. Second, God sent them forth from the Garden.

Please stand and read verse twenty-two aloud.

“And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” (Genesis 3:22).

You may be seated. Luther said,

From the reading we should…conclude that there is in God a plurality (of persons), just as we read in 1:26, “Let us make man in our image.” Such passages show both the oneness of the divine essence…and the plurality of persons, or as we [say], the (Holy) Trinity. This mystery (of the Trinity) is more clearly set forth in the New Testament…So, then, there are in the (one) divine essence three persons, and the mystery…was proclaimed at the very beginning of the world. Later it was explained (more fully) by the prophets, and it was completely clarified at last (in the New Testament)…Therefore this message definitely supports the (Christian) article of faith concerning the Holy Trinity, namely, that God is one (in essence) and yet three in person (Martin Luther, Th.D., Luther’s Commentary on Genesis, Zondervan Publishing House, 1958 reprint, volume I, p. 87).

I agree with the Reformer completely on this point.

Thus we see the three Persons of the Trinity speaking with each other about man’s Fall. But the sentence is incomplete. The translators note this by ending verse twenty-two with a colon. It is as if the Persons of the Trinity are so overcome by grief at the sight of fallen man that they cannot continue speaking. Leupold uses “the word ‘sadness’ as descriptive of God’s attitude” (H. C. Leupold, D.D., Exposition of Genesis, Baker Book House, 1984 reprint, volume I, p. 180).

So, with sadness, God sent Adam and Eve from the Garden,

“Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” (Genesis 3:22).

Now, after the Fall, if man had eaten from the Tree of Life he would have lived forever in a sin-cursed body. C. F. Keil said, “For immortality in a state of sin is not the [eternal life of the soul], which God designed for man, but endless misery…The expulsion from paradise, therefore, was a punishment inflicted for man’s good, intended, while exposing him to temporal death, to preserve him from eternal death” (C. F. Keil, Ph.D., Commentary on the Old Testament, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1973 reprint, volume I, p. 107). And Dr. Leupold said,

For man in his fallen and sadly altered state the acquisition of the quality of imperishability for this sin-torn and sin-defaced body would have been a grievous calamity. He would never have been able to “shuffle off this mortal coil.” Christ’s work of restoration [the resurrected body] would have been precluded (H. C. Leupold, ibid., pp. 181-182).

If Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life in his fallen state, he would have lived on for ever in a “sin-defaced body” – like a Dracula-monster, in a never-dying “sin-defaced” body.

Now note the first few words of verse twenty-three, “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden.” The words here are, “sent him.” Then look at verse twenty-four, “So he drove out the man.” Dr. Unger said, “The first Hebrew word means, ‘to dismiss…or eject.’ The second verb, which is somewhat more forceful, means ‘to drive away or expel’” (Merrill F. Unger, Ph.D., Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, Moody Press, 1981, volume I, p. 21). This shows that Adam and Eve were reluctant, not wanting to leave the paradise of the Garden for the harsh world outside. But they were sent out of the Garden, and Cherubims were sent to keep them out, and to keep them from the Tree of Life. The Garden of Eden remained until it was destroyed in the Great Flood, but during that time man could no longer enter it. The Puritan commentator John Trapp said,

Christ…was, by his voluntary banishment, to bring back all believers to their heavenly home…and to “give [them] to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). Our whole life here is nothing less than a banishment…till Christ, who is gone to prepare a place for us, return and say, “This day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (John Trapp, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Transki Publications, 1997 reprint, vol. I, p. 22).

Christ said,

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

As Christians, we continue to live in a world marred by sin. Though we are saved, we live on in an imperfect world. Like Adam and Eve, we are clothed (in the righteousness of Christ) but we live in a banished state, in a fallen world, until the day that God takes us to the perfect paradise above. That is why we are told to come to Jesus, who is up in Heaven, at the right hand of God.

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Come to Christ. Be washed clean by His Blood. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

(END OF SERMON)
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THE OUTLINE OF

CLOTHED BUT BANISHED

(SERMON #33 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:21-24).

(Luke 12:48; Ephesians 2:4-5)

I.   First, God clothed them with skin, Genesis 3:21; Leviticus 17:11;
Hebrews 9:22; Revelation 1:5; Romans 4:7; Hebrews 9:25-26;
Acts 4:12; I Timothy 2:5-6; Luke 15:22; Ephesians 2:8;
Isaiah 61:10.

II.  Second, God sent them forth from the Garden, Genesis 3:22;
Genesis 1:26; 3:23-24; Revelation 2:7; John 16:33;
Colossians 3:1-2.