...The moment Adam heard the voice of the Lord God in Eden, "he was afraid," because as he himself confessed, "I was naked."
Yes, naked, although he had his fig-leaf apron on him. But it is plain that that covering did not even satisfy even his own conscience. Had his conscience been divinely satisfied, he would not have been afraid. "If our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God." (I Jn 3:20-21)
But if even the human conscience cannot find rest in man's religious efforts, how much less can the holiness of God. Adam's apron could not screen him from the eye of GOD, and he could not stand in His presence naked; therefore he fled to hide himself. This is what conscience will do at all times. It will cause man to hide himself from God; and moreover, all that his own religiousness offers him is a hiding-place from God. This is a miserable provision, inasmuch as he must meet God, some time or other, and if he has nothing except the sad conscience of what he himself is, he must be afraid--yes, he must be wretched.
Indeed, nothing is needed, except hell itself, to complete the misery of one who feels he has to meet God, and knows only his own unfitness to meet Him.
Had Adam known God's perfect love, he would not have been afraid. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (I Jn 4:17-18) But Adam knew not this, because he had believed the serpent's lie. He thought that God was anything but love, and therefore the very last thought of his heart would have been to venture INTO God's presence. He could not do it. Sin was there, and God and sin can NEVER meet.
So long as there is sin on the conscience, there must be the sense of distance from God. "He is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon iniquity." (Heb 1:13) Holiness and sin cannot dwell together. Sin, wherever it is found, can only be met by the wrath of God.
But, blessed be God, there is something besides the conscience of what I am. There is the revelation of what HE is; and this latter the fall of man really brought out (made manifest). God had not revealed Himself fully in creation: He had shown His eternal power and Godhead (theiotes-Gk)in creation, but He had not told out all the deep secrets of His nature and character.
Therefore Satan made a grand mistake in coming to meddle with God's creation. He only proved to be the instrument of his own eternal defeat and confusion....his (Satan's) lie only gave occasion for the display of the full TRUTH in reference to God. Creation never could bring out by itself what God was. There was infinitely more in Him than power and wisdom; there was love, mercy, holiness, righteousness, goodness, tenderness, long-suffering. Where could these be displayed but in a world of sinners? God at the first came down to create, and then, when the serpent presumed to meddle with creation, God came down to save. This is brought out by the first words uttered by the Lord God after man's fall. "And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou?
This question proved two things--it proved that man was lost, and that God had come down to seek, it proved man's sin, and God's grace!
"Where art thou? Amazing faithfulness! Amazing grace! Faithfulness, to expose the truth as to man's condition. Grace, to bring out (in God's asking the question) the truth as to His attitude and character in reference to fallen man. Man was lost, but God had come down to look for him--to bring him out of his hiding-place behind the trees of the garden, in order that, in the happy confidence of faith, he (man) might find a hiding-place in Himself (God). This was grace.
To create man out of the dust of the ground was power; but to seek man in his lost estate was grace.
CHMackintosh from notes on Genesis chapter 3.
J. Vernon McGee concludes with four great lessons that we see from the fig leaves and the fact that God clothed them with skins.
1. Man must have adequate covering to approach God. You cannot come to God on the basis of your good works. You must come just as you are—a sinner.
2. Fig leaves are unacceptable; they are homemade. God does not take a homemade garment.
3. God must provide the covering
4. The covering is obtained only through the death of the Lord Jesus.
Man must have a substitute between himself and God's wrath. That is important even in this days for man to consider. The hardest thing in the world is for man to take his rightful position before God.