Made for a World Without Shame | Genesis 3:7-11


Genesis 3:7-11 shows us when shame entered the human experience. How does shame shape how we view ourselves and how we live? Timothy “TA” Ateek walks us through how God’s grace is greater than our failures, guilt, and shame.

Timothy "TA" AteekNov 20, 2022Genesis 3:7-11

In This Series (17)
Made for a New World | Isaiah 11:1-16
Oren MartinDec 18, 2022
Made to Be Saved | Genesis 3:15, 21-24
John ElmoreDec 11, 2022
Made to Work | Genesis 3:17-19
Timothy "TA" AteekDec 4, 2022
Made to Gospel Our Relationships | Genesis 3:12-13
John ElmoreNov 27, 2022
Made for a World Without Shame | Genesis 3:7-11
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 20, 2022
Made for a Different World | Genesis 3:1-7
John ElmoreNov 13, 2022
Made for Relationships: Marriage | Genesis 2:18-25
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 6, 2022
Made for Relationship | Genesis 2:18-20
John ElmoreOct 30, 2022
Made to Rest | Genesis 2:1-3
John ElmoreOct 23, 2022
Made to Flourish | Genesis 2:4-25
Blake HolmesOct 16, 2022
God’s Heart for The Nations | Revelation 7:9-17
Timothy "TA" AteekOct 9, 2022
Made in the Image of God | Genesis 1:26-27
Timothy "TA" AteekOct 2, 2022
Great Questions Q&A Panel + MADE: to Teach | Genesis 1-3, 2 Timothy 2:24-26
John Elmore, Cassidy Webber, Brett Bruster, Steven Ateek, Alan BeamSep 25, 2022
How to Hear From God | Genesis 1:1-31
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 18, 2022
The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit | Genesis 1:1-5
John ElmoreSep 11, 2022
To Know God is to Worship God | Genesis 1:3-25
John ElmoreAug 28, 2022
Is Your God Too Small? | Genesis 1:1-2
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 21, 2022

In This Series (17)


We were made for a world without shame. Shame is a consequence of sin and affects every human being, our relationships with one another, and our relationship with God. Whereas guilt is a recognition that “I have failed,” shame is the sense that “I am a failure.” But the Bible says that’s not the end of your story. Even though we are guilty of many sins, God’s grace is greater.

Here are three “soundbites” that shame puts on repeat in our lives, and how to speak back with the good news that we can experience healing and freedom from our shame because of Christ:

  • You’re not who you should be. The first soundbite of shame tells us we are broken, defective, and a failure. Shame roots itself below the surface of our lives, impacting how we view ourselves and how we live.
    • Shame is a consequence of sin. In Genesis 3:7, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they gained knowledge of internal evil. This resulted in shame because they realized they were not who God made them to be. They hid from God because they were afraid and naked.
    • In contrast, we were made for a world without shame. Genesis 2:25 tells us the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed. God’s intention for nakedness was that humanity was created to live in complete openness and vulnerability. God made us to operate openly with complete trust and freedom with Himself and others.
    • Shame can shape and become the center of our identities. Many of us can trace our personal soundbites of shame to our sin, our reaction to sin, or the effects of the sin by comparing ourselves to others. For others, our shame can be related to an event, like divorce, abortion, or a failed career. Shame as the center of our identity can lead to guilt, anxiety, depression, isolation, and even suicide.
    • God’s truth tells us that shame is not the end of our story. The Bible tells us that we are forgiven through the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7). He is at work in us, transforming us into the image of Christ.
  • If they see all of you, they won’t love you. The second soundbite of shame tells us that if other people see all of you, they will reject you and will not be able to love you.
    • Shame sustains the separation that began at the Fall.In Genesis 2:16-17, God warned that the knowledge of good and evil would bring death to Adam and Eve. Death, at its core, is separation from God. We see a separation between Adam and Eve, and then we see a separation from God.
    • Shame convinces us that we must hide from God and others. We see in Genesis 3:7 that it now felt dangerous for Adam and Eve to be fully known. In this passage, they used fig leaves to cover themselves. Still today, we can hide from others with our own version of fig leaves like designer clothing, physical fitness, accomplishments, wealth, workaholism, and our social media image. We can even hide behind the right Christian activities or jargon to divert people from our brokenness.
    • Shame can cause us to hide in community. Shame, even in the community of God, can cause us to spin things or leave things intentionally vague. We polish up our sins because we don’t want people to see all of us. In doing so, we prevent ourselves from being truly known (1 John 1:5-7).
    • We must speak back to and confess our sin and shame.It is only through confession that we can genuinely find healing (James 5:16). The truth we must respond to and hold to is that Jesus’ blood has purchased us into the family of God. It is God’s desire for us to be fully known and fully loved.
  • If God sees all of you, He can’t love you. The third soundbite of shame tells us that if God knew all I have done or knew about my imperfections, He wouldn’t love me.
    • Shame brings fear. In Genesis 3:8-10, we see that Adam and Eve hide from God when previously they would run to Him. We run from God because we do not want God to see the things that make us feel shameful. We will use busyness, entertainment, or substances in an attempt to avoid God.
    • God sees everything and is in continual pursuit of our hearts. Although we may know God sees everything, it can be difficult to acknowledge that because we are afraid of God’s response. The good news is that God is a God who pursues and initiates His love for us. God wants us to see our sins because we must be the ones to acknowledge those sins to Him.
    • We must speak truth to shame. The Bible tells us that although Adam’s sin led to condemnation, God gave us the free gift of salvation through the death of His Son. Through faith, we are made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. God’s grace is greater and sufficient for every sin in your life (Romans 5:15-17).

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • What are the “sound bites,” or things people have told you or spoken into your life, that have shaped how you see yourself and how you live? How does God’s truth counter that?
  • What is the sin that is preventing or hindering intimacy with God in your life right now? How is that sin causing shame or condemnation in your life?
  • Do you really believe that God’s love and the gift of His Son have covered all your sins? Are you living with freedom, or do you feel burdened by shame?
  • What role does God’s grace play in dealing with shame? Confess to God and your community anything that is holding you back from finding your identity in Christ.

Good morning, Watermark. How are we doing today? It's good to see you. My name is Timothy Ateek. I'm one of the teaching pastors here. If this is your first time here at Watermark, let me just say welcome. I am so glad you made it. As I was preparing for this morning, I realized there are things certain people have said to me at different points in my life that have become sound bites in my mind that I have played at different moments over the span of years, and those sound bites have influenced how I view myself and how I actually live.

I'll give you a couple of examples. For example, when I was younger, I was at the dentist's office, and the dental hygienist who was cleaning my teeth said, "If your teeth were any whiter, you could read in the dark." When she said that, I was so honored. You combine that with my mom telling me she thought I was photogenic, and I began to believe, "I am a great picture taker." I really believed that. Anytime there was a photo op, if someone was like, "Smile," I was like… I believed I can crush a picture. If you're looking to take one, I'm your guy. That's my deal.

Another time someone said something and it stuck with me over years and really influenced how I view myself and how I live was, in college, this girl told me two things. The same girl. The first thing she told me was, "You don't look good in hats." The second thing she told me was, "You could be a male model if it wasn't for your legs." She said those two things. Man! Those things hurt, and they absolutely impacted the way I viewed myself.

I began to believe, "I'm not a hat guy, and clearly, I'm not a shorts guy, so I guess swimming in jeans is my thing." Truly, I have not really worn hats much over the last two decades, and when it comes to shorts, it's kind of like a blood moon situation. If you're going to see me in shorts, get your camera ready, because it doesn't come around very often unless it is blazing hot outside.

You're like, "What's wrong with your legs?" Well, I'm kind of like an orange on two toothpicks situation. Even more than that… I'm going to show you this, and you're not going to be able to unsee it the rest of the talk. You probably aren't going to be able to see it from the stage, but I'm a little bowlegged. If you put your feet together, your knees touch. Mine don't. I'm trying. This is the closest my knees… That's it. This is my reality. If it wasn't for this, I'd be a male model, but I'm not. It didn't work out.

I wonder if there's anyone like that in your life. Someone has said something. It has become a sound bite you've rolled back through your mind. They didn't know it at the time when they said it, but it has shaped how you view yourself and how you live. That's a good topic at lunch. Who was it, and what did they say? Here's the reality: we all have a common voice in our lives. We all have a common voice that is speaking into our lives, and whether you realize it or not, it is shaping how you view yourself and how you live. It's the voice of shame.

Shame, whether you realize it or not, has been handed a microphone by each one of us, and shame has three sound bites it puts on repeat in our lives. Some of us are influenced by one of these sound bites. For others it's two of them or all three of them. Here are the three sound bites of shame. The first one is "You're not who you should be." Another way of saying it is "You're a failure. You're defective. You're broken."

The second sound bite of shame is "If they see all of you, they won't love you." Like, if the people around you have the opportunity to see all of you, they won't love you. The third sound bite of shame is "If God sees all of you, he can't love you." Those are the three sound bites of shame. Today we're going to push back on them. As we step back into Genesis 3, we're going to see the three sound bites of shame, we're going to war against them, and we're going to pursue freedom, peace, and wholeness.

If you have a Bible, turn with me to Genesis, chapter 3. If this is your first time around Watermark in a while, we're in a series through the first chapters of Genesis called Made. Right now we're talking about being made for a different world. You have been made for a world without shame. This place is not our home, and a day is coming where Jesus is going to make all things new. So, we're looking at shame.

If you remember, last week, John talked about the fall of Adam and Eve where they took the fruit, and that was the first rebellion of humankind against God. This week and over the next couple of weeks, we're going to talk about the results of that decision. We're going to talk about the results of sin. The first result that shows up in the Scripture is that shame enters human experience. Here's what it says. Genesis 3:7-11. Right after they ate the fruit, it says:

"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?' And he said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.' He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'"

  1. "You're not who you should be." Another way of putting it is "You're a failure. You're broken. You're defective." Where do we see that in Genesis, chapter 3? Look back at verse 7. "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked." That's the most important part of the verse: they knew they were naked. The reason that is so important is it is a direct contrast to what we see at the very end of chapter 2 before the fall of mankind.

God creates marriage, and what does it say about Adam and Eve after God created marriage? In verse 25 it says, "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." God created Adam and Eve to be naked. He created them to live without a conscious awareness that they were naked or needed clothing. The fact that they were naked… The implication was they were completely open to one another. They could completely trust one another. There was nothing to hide. They were fully known and fully loved. That is how God created Adam and Eve to be.

Now we see that their eyes are open, and they realize they are naked. That is shame setting in. What shame is telling Adam and Eve is, "Hey, you're no longer who God made you to be. You're broken. You're defective. Something has changed." Remember, they ate fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Prior to eating the fruit, they only had a knowledge of good. Evil was just a word in the name of a tree.

When they ate the fruit, they gained the knowledge of evil. That evil wasn't something external; it was something internal. For the first time, Adam and Eve felt broken. They felt defective. That's why they began to clothe themselves. Shame entered human experience and said, "You need to hide. You need to cover. You are not who you should be." That's shame's anthem. Shame's anthem, shame's greatest hit, is "You are not who you should be."

I think it's important to draw a distinction between guilt and shame. Brené Brown, who is a research professor at the University of Houston… She's a best-selling author. She has done research on shame for the past two decades and does a really good job distinguishing between guilt and shame. She puts it this way: "Shame is a focus on self; guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is 'I am bad.' Guilt is 'I did something bad.'"

Do you see the difference there? Guilt is actually an important thing. Guilt can be a God thing. The Spirit of God will convict you, and that will lead to guilt where you realize, "I've done something wrong. I have sinned against God." Guilt can be a good thing. It can be what God uses to draw you back into intimacy with him.

Shame actually has an important positive aspect to it in the sense that if you don't know Jesus Christ, there has to be a moment where you come to the realization that apart from Jesus Christ, you aren't just someone who sins; you are sinful. You are broken because your relationship with God is broken. There has to be an awareness that who you are puts you at odds with God. You sin because you're sinful. You're broken because your relationship with God is broken, and you need to know the Healer.

When we talk about shame this morning, though, I'm talking about the fact that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, know the Healer, yet we still hand a microphone to shame. When Jesus Christ has made us new creations, we still hand a microphone to shame that's saying, "You're not who you should be."

I remember a few years ago, my wife and I went to see a marriage counselor to do some work on our marriage, and the counselor had us do this activity, and this activity led me to realizing some things that were off in my life. What I realized was I was living under a banner, and that banner was the banner of failure. I came to this realization in that counselor's office that failure was speaking over my life.

In the moment, I couldn't sit there and pinpoint what was causing that, and I still don't know. It could have just been the accumulation of a bunch of small misses over time, misses as a father, as a husband, as a minister, as a follower of Jesus Christ…just a cumulative effect of a bunch of misses led me to feel like a failure. It could be I was giving myself over to the sin of comparison. You're like, "Comparison is a sin?" Absolutely it is. When you are looking around you to determine your value instead of looking to Jesus to give you your value, that's a form of idolatry.

So, it's possible that sin was leading to feeling like a failure, or it could be just the lingering effects of a season earlier in my life. When I was an intern here at Watermark years ago, I had to step off staff because of sin. So, it's possible you just take all of those things together, you pull them all together, and the realization I had was that the banner over my life, at least in that moment, was failure. I don't know if that resonates with you at all. Maybe you're sitting here this morning and are like, "That's me."

When you woke up this morning, you hadn't even done anything yet, but you already felt behind in life. You already felt like you were lesser than and not enough. Maybe, for you, it's just the cumulative effect of a bunch of small misses. For others of you, you would say, "No, I know exactly what it is," because there was one devastating decision. There was one devastating season. It was that relationship. It was that abortion. It was that divorce. It was that cut corner at work. It was that financial decision. It was that weekend away. It was that fight with that person.

You can point to it, and you're like, "Ever since that moment, that decision, shame has moved in and made itself at home," and you really live under the banner of failure. "You are defective. You're broken. You're not who you should be." I've used this story before within the past year to talk about shame. I'm going to share it again in case you weren't here or have forgotten about it. I want to put the picture in your mind.

Several years ago, some of our closest friends, Sterling and Natalie, bought a house, and at the back of the house was this one small room that had its own separate air conditioning unit. That air conditioning unit was too big for that one room, so the air conditioning unit was overproducing. Moisture was growing on the inside of the unit and wasn't evaporating, so mold was growing on the inside of the air conditioning unit.

The problem was that Natalie has a condition where her body struggles to eliminate toxins. So, they had this air conditioning unit that was quietly operating in the background of their lives, every day, all day, and without them knowing it, it was poisoning Natalie's body. Shame is the exact same way. We don't wake up and be like, "I am not who I should be. I am broken. I'm defective." We might not articulate that verbally, but that is quietly operating in the background of our lives.

It's impacting the atmosphere of our lives. It's shaping how we view ourselves. It's shaping how we live. That is shame's anthem: "You are not who you should be. You are a failure. You are broken. You are defective." That would be enough. If that's all shame said, that would be enough. That alone is the cause of many people's anxiety. That alone is what has driven some of you into a depression. That alone is what has caused some of you to contemplate taking your own life. Yet shame has more to say. There's a second sound bite to shame.

  1. "If they see all of you, they won't love you." If other people see all of you, they won't love you. Look back at verse 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." I've asked Braun Brown and Rob Thomas to give an example of what it would have looked like for Adam to be in a fig leaf. I'm just joking. That would be so inappropriate. Just joking. That is not going to happen right now.

But I want you to think about it. Shame sets in. They realize they are naked, and what is their response? It's to take God's creation and repurpose it. They repurpose it to hide themselves.Those fig leaves become barriers to intimacy with one another. Remember, God created them to be naked, to be fully known and fully loved. Nakedness was openness. It was trust. Now they are concealing themselves, and those fig leaves become barriers to intimacy. Those fig leaves are symbols of protection from one another.

Do you remember what God said the consequence for sin would be back in Genesis, chapter 2? Let me just read you what God said. Genesis 2:16-17: "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'"

Has that ever been confusing to you? God says, "In the day you eat of it, you will surely die," yet Adam and Eve didn't die. Does that mean God was lying? Well, no. You just have to remember what death at its core is. Death at its core is separation. When someone dies physically, their body separates from their soul. If someone is dead spiritually, their soul is separated from the love of God.

In the day they ate the fruit, what do we see? Separation between Adam and Eve. That's death. We're about to see separation between Adam and Eve and God. The day they ate of the fruit, they began to taste death. This is what shame does. Shame is what sustains the separation. As sin separates, shame sustains the separation.

Shame's second sound bite is "If they see all of you, they won't love you." We buy into that, and we believe that. So what do we do? We create our own fig leaves. That's a good question for you to answer. What are your fig leaves? For some of us, it's physical fitness or designer clothing. If you can perfect your external appearance, then people will think you're good, you're fine, you're okay. For others it's workaholism. It's success. It's accomplishment. It's wealth. It's posting the best 15 seconds of your day on your Insta story.

What is it for you? Even coming to church… We engage in the right Christian activities, and we learn the right Christian lingo, the right sayings to say, so that people can be like, "Oh, I guess they're good." It's just fig leaves. Even in a Community Group… I would imagine there are people at this church who are in a Community Group, and when you go to your Community Group and people ask you questions, you answer with a certain vagueness. You answer in generalities so that people aren't exactly sure how you're doing, but they're left to assume you are fine.

Think about it. To say we're struggling with something once a month sounds a lot better than saying we struggle with something once a week. To say we struggle with lust sounds a lot better than saying, "I'm looking at porn." Saying, "I struggle occasionally" sounds a lot better than "I'm struggling regularly." To say that you and your spouse are out of sync sounds a lot better than "I'm contemplating divorce."

Saying you were overserved at happy hour sounds a lot better than saying, "I was intoxicated." Do you know what we're doing? We're spinning. Why? It's fear. "If they see all of me, they might not love me." These are our fig leaves. I was talking to a friend not too long ago. I knew things weren't okay, that things weren't going well. He was struggling. I said, "Man, how are you doing?" He was like, "Man, I'm just living the dream." It's fig leaves.

I was talking to another friend not too long ago, and he was sharing that he was engaging in some unhealthy activity once or twice a week. I said, "Hey, man, let me ask you. Are you spinning this in any way? Are you kind of polishing it up? Is there anything you're not sharing? Is it more frequent?" He was like, "Well, I mean, there have been a couple of times where it was three to four times in a week."

The way he responded was defensive. It was like, "Okay. Well, fine. If you're going to nitpick, I guess there were a couple of weeks where it was three to four times." I pressed him on it. I was like, "Man, you're being defensive." As we processed it, do you know what we realized the issue was? It was fear. It was a fear of abandonment. It was a fear that if I saw him for all he was, I would no longer love him. It's fig leaves.

Shame says, "If they see all of you, they won't love you." Here's what we really want. What we want is to be partially known but fully loved. We don't want to be fully known. We want to be partially known, but we want to be fully loved. That's not possible, because if you're only partially known, people can only love the manufactured version of you that you give them, so you won't ever experience real love.

Do you know what real love is? Real love is you sharing everything, the ugliest parts of you, and bracing yourself for people abandoning you, and then you open your eyes, and they're still sitting right there. That's love. You deserve that kind of love. Brené Brown goes on and says, "Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it—it can't survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy. When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes."

There are two guys in my life who have been some of my closest friends for decades now. We've made an effort to connect once a week. Sometimes, some seasons, we've struggled to connect. Other times we've been really consistent, but these guys know everything. My wife knows everything, and then outside of my spouse, these guys are guys who have seen the worst parts of Timothy Ateek. There are times where we have met together, and I'm like, "Guys, I just need to share. I had this thought. This was the motive inside of my heart. I did this. I said this."

Do you know what the beautiful thing is? Anytime I share, they're like, "Okay." They don't even flinch. They're able to sit there and correct and encourage, but they don't flinch. They don't run. That's the beauty of the gospel. God has rescued us into his family, and God uses his people to lift up his people. So, I just want you to know you deserve… I use that word very carefully. I don't say you are required to share. I'm saying you deserve to be fully known and fully loved. Unfortunately, shame has more to say.

  1. "If God sees all of you, he can't love you." Where am I getting this from? Look at verse 8. "And they [Adam and Eve] heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…" The fact that it says they heard God walking in the garden is an allusion to the intimacy and the intimate fellowship Adam and Eve had with God, that they would walk with him in the garden. When it says they heard God walking in the cool of the day… That word cool in the Hebrew is the word ruwach, which is translated wind or spirit. It's a symbol of God's presence in the garden.

When Adam and Eve are aware of God's presence… What does it say they do? "…and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." See, normally, when they would hear God walking in the garden, they would run to him, and now we see, because of sin, because of shame, they are running from him and running toward the trees. We see fear show up for the first time. Verse 9: "But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?' And he said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid…'" That's new.

That's the first time fear has ever entered into human experience. "I was afraid." Without faith it is impossible to please God, so action motivated by fear cannot please God. Sin, which brought shame, is now leading to fear. He was afraid. Why? Because he was naked, and he hid himself. So, the thought is, "If God sees all of me, if he sees me uncovered… Now that I am aware I'm not who I should be…I am broken, I am defective, I am a failure…if God sees all of me, he will not tolerate me. He will judge me. He will put me to death. He will not be able to love me."

This is what shame does. Shame separates us from God, from intimate fellowship with him. It drives a wedge between us. So, Adam and Eve ran for the trees. Isn't it interesting that it was their interaction with a tree that led to sin, and then to run from God because of their sin they ran to the trees, but the trees had been created by God. Think about Adam and Eve trying to hide from God in the trees that he created. I'll explain it this way.

Just a few days ago, my 5-year-old Jake wanted to play hide-and-go-seek with me in the house. Jake hasn't fully grasped on to the reality that when you play hide-and-go-seek the point of the game is to hide so you can't be found. He wanted me to be the counter. We're sitting in our living room. I begin to count, and then he interrupts me because he needs my help hiding.

There's this chest on the ground in our living room that has a lid, and we have our blankets in it. So, Jake is trying to get into the chest and close the lid, but it doesn't work, so he stops me counting, and he wants me to walk over to close the lid for him to hide so that I can go back to counting. Then he realizes there are too many blankets in there. It won't close completely, so he abandons it altogether. But I'm sitting there, and I'm like, "I can see you. I'm right here."

I just wonder if God was the same way. Adam and Eve were running to the trees God made. I think God was like, "I'm right here." It's like when you're changing a baby on the changing table. If you put a blanket over their eyes, they think they're invisible. You can put a blanket over their eyes and be like, "Where did you go?" They start giggling, and then you pull it away. "There you are!" They genuinely think, "This is incredible. Dad can't see me."

Adam and Eve are like, "A fig leaf isn't going to do it. Let's go for the trees." God sees. He sees everything, yet we believe the lie that maybe God doesn't see, so we get our own trees. What are our trees? Busyness. "If I just distract myself… If I'm too busy to think about it, then God is not thinking about it. If I entertain myself enough, if I just binge something and zone out, then God zones out. If I numb myself with a substance, then God is numb to me." I think God is like, "I'm right here."

I want to invite you to close your eyes. I just want you to think. You and I are that baby putting the blanket over our eyes. God sees everything. He sees you. He sees all of your sin. What is God's disposition to you right now? How does God feel about you? How does God feel about your sin? Maybe something in you knows that God sees, and you've been trying to resist the fact that if he does see, then the fear is he'll judge you, he won't love you, and he'll just be super disappointed.

I want to invite you to open your eyes and see how God responds to Adam and Eve. God never changes, so the way he responded to Adam and Eve is the way he responds to us. This should inform how you process the sound bite of shame that says, "If God sees you, he can't love you." Verse 8 told us God was walking in the garden. We need to understand that God is not just out on a stroll. He's actually coming for Adam and Eve. He's pursuing them. He's initiating with them. God, in his love for Adam and Eve, is coming to them, even in the midst of their sin.

You just need to know that your God in heaven is a heavenly Father who loves you and comes after you. He chases after you. He pursues you and initiates with you all in love. The fact that some of you are here today dealing with the sin you're dealing with… You need to know that God, in his kindness and love, has brought you here because he is pursuing you.

When he sees them, what happens in verse 9? "But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?'" It's a question. One commentator put it so well. He said God models justice. He doesn't pass a sentence without an investigation. The just King will not pass sentence without careful investigation. Isn't that amazing? God knows everything. He has all the knowledge he needs of your sin and mine to not just accuse but to annihilate.

That's what he could have done with Adam and Eve. Instead, he questions them. Why? Because in his kindness, in his gentleness, in his love, he is giving Adam and Eve an opportunity to acknowledge their sin before him, because change cannot happen, healing cannot happen, if you won't first confess your sin to God. Maybe you're sitting there right now and feeling convicted. That is the Spirit of God at work in you, not accusing you but just prompting you, saying, "Come back to God." God loves you. Don't ignore him. He sees all of you, yet he loves you.

Verse 11: "He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'" I love the question. "Who told you?" He's saying, "Look. I'm the only voice you should be listening to, but apparently, there's another voice at play, whether it's the voice of the Enemy or the voice of shame, saying, 'You're naked. You need to hide. You're no longer who you should be.'" It is God's grace and kindness that he is now, once again, speaking to Adam and Eve. By doing that, God, once again, is putting them back in line with his love simply by speaking, because it is his voice and his words that bring life.

Are there consequences for Adam and Eve's sin? Yes. We're going to see those in the coming weeks. Yet even with the consequences, what does God do in verse 21? It says, "And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them." Isn't that interesting? Adam and Eve tried to deal with their shame on their own. They grabbed fig leaves and tried to cover themselves up.

God knows that we are incapable of dealing with our shame in our own effort. You just need to know you can try a lot of things. You can busy yourself. You can entertain yourself. You can numb yourself, but nothing will put the voice of shame on mute permanently except for Jesus Christ. What does God do when he clothes Adam and Eve? He kills an animal. He takes the skin of the animal, and he makes them coverings that extend to their knees or to their ankles.

What is God doing? He is doing what needs to be done for Adam and Eve to be able to continue in relationship with him. That's the kindness of God. Even in the midst of their sin, he doesn't reject them completely but provides for them so they can continue in relationship with one another. God does the same thing for you and me in the person of Jesus Christ.

What am I talking about? Well, you have to see Romans 5, because Romans 5 and Genesis 3 go hand in hand. The gospel is the antidote to your shame. Look at what Romans 5 tells us in verse 15. "But there is a great difference between Adam's sin and God's gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ."

It says the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death. That's what we're talking about. We've seen death at work. What does death do? Death separates. We saw death separate Adam and Eve. We saw death separate Adam and Eve from God. We ourselves have experienced that death. We experience separation from one another and from God.

Verse 16 goes on and says, "And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but God's free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins." Watch what this is saying. It's saying that Adam's sin led to condemnation. It led to death. Death produced by sin brought about shame, so shame is on repeat in our lives, saying, "You're not who you should be. If they see you, they won't love you. If God sees you, he won't love you."

Yet God's free gift. What's God's free gift? It is nothing less than God himself in the person of Jesus Christ leaving heaven, coming to earth, getting on the cross to deal with all of our sin and all of our shame, rising from the dead, dealing with all of our sin and all of our shame, so that through faith in him… What happens? What did the end of verse 16 say? It says the free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we're guilty of many sins.

This is the beauty of the gospel: it is possible for you and me to be guilty of many sins, yet God's grace is greater. Jesus' cross is greater. Jesus' blood is greater. It is able to cover over. It is able to wash clean and make a way for you and me to be right with God. So, let me just say this. The longer we hand the microphone to shame, we are putting on mute the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Shame's message to us is "You've failed. You're a failure." Do you know what the reality is? You are a failure. I am a failure. Jesus doesn't disagree. Jesus would say we have failed, we are failures. That is our story, but it's not the end of our story, because Jesus has come, and he has made a way. He has taken our story of failure and traded it for his story of forgiveness so that shame doesn't have to have the final word in your life. Will you choose to look to the cross and the empty tomb to tell you what is most true?

"You're not who you should be." Yeah, but Jesus Christ, by the power of his Spirit, is at work. He's doing a good work in you, and he's making you more like himself. "If they see you, they won't love you." Well, that's a lie, because God's grace is greater. You deserve to be fully known and fully loved because Jesus Christ has brought you into the family of God, and he uses his people to lift up his people.

"If God sees all of you, he can't love you." He does see you, and he still wants you. He gave his Son to have you. Would you believe it? Would you come? Would you leave here today free from shame? Jesus Christ is greater. His grace is greater for you and me. Let's pray together.

Lord Jesus, you know the shame that's in this room right now. God, you know who came here this morning feeling like a failure, feeling defective. God, we can try all we want to try to cover over our shame with the fig leaves we put together, but in the end, nothing is enough except you, Lord Jesus. So we come to you. We run to you this morning.

I just pray that you would have your way in our lives. I pray, God, that even today we would share with others and we would experience feeling fully known and fully loved. I pray that today we would live under the reality that you don't need us but you want us. I just thank you that you're a perfect Father, that you've sent your Son to deal with our shame. We need you. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.