Shame was the final enemy Jesus had to defeat to endure the cross and fulfill His mission of paying the price for the sins of the world and conquering death, hell and the grave. However, shame was also the very first manifestation of the fruit of sin in the Garden of Eden.
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden"?' And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die."' Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate" (Gen. 3:1-6, NKJV).
The Bible says their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. Many have speculated as to what this means. Some believe they were covered in God's glory and when they sinned that glory departed from them. Why was this such a revelation to them, and why did they react so quickly to it?
The answer can be found in Genesis 2:25: "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (NKJV, emphasis added). The verse clearly says they were naked but they lacked any shame. However, immediately after their disobedience, the first manifestation of the fruit of their sin was that they became ashamed. The focus on the nakedness is to draw our attention to the fact that now Adam and Eve were not only fully self-aware but also filled with shame.
God had told them, "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" (Gen. 2:17, NKJV). We know they did not immediately die physically, but the death process was released into humankind. Death was now at work in mankind, and its very first manifestation was shame.
Put this deep into your spirit: shame was the very first thing mankind had to deal with as a result of sin, and shame was the very last thing Jesus had to overcome when paying the price of our sins. The spirit of shame was released upon Adam and Eve and ultimately upon all mankind.
Shame has been a devastating and debilitating weapon Satan has used against mankind to dominate and manipulate us in hopes of driving us further and further from God. Adam and Eve immediately tried to cover their shame but to no avail. They grabbed some fig leaves and covered themselves, but when they heard the voice of the Lord, they still ran and hid. None of our human efforts can remove our shame; only the revelation of Jesus Christ can.
So often and in so many ways we try to pay a price for our sin in order to alleviate the shame. We try to make up for it by doing good deeds. We try to inflict pain on ourselves by verbally beating ourselves up. We accept and embrace public shaming because we believe we deserve it.
Adam and Eve's covering their most sensitive parts with a leaf that causes a painful rash may very well be the first act of penance. But there is only one who could ever pay the price for our sin — only one who was perfect and thus able to be a substitute for us upon the cross. Only Jesus, through the shedding of His blood, could ever pay for our sin and shame.
The preceding article is an excerpt from chapter 3 of Steve Foss' book Satan's Big Fat Lie (Charisma House, 2022). For more information, or to order the book, please visit christianbook.com.
Steve Foss has traveled the nations of the world for more than 30 years. He has trained hundreds of thousands of pastors and leaders in schools of ministry. He has pastored three churches and discipled over 500,000 through his Zadok discipleship course. A senior associate evangelist with Morris Cerullo World Evangelism, a multiple-time guest on Sid Roth's It's Supernatural! TV program, and a bestselling author, Foss is known for powerful revelation and preaching with an explosive display of the supernatural.
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