Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | March 24, 2010

Sermon on Genesis 3:21

This sermon continues the Lenten focus on getting to the cross of Christ through the catechism of Dr. Martin Luther, this time focusing on the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed.

God Clothes You…

In the name of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

I won’t ask you to raise your hands in answer to this question.  But consider it carefully.  How many of you would be willing, and eager, to help and take care of someone who has just hurt you grievously?  Who among us here tonight would desire to find a way to comfort, console, and take care of someone who’s just taken advantage of us, abused our trust, destroyed something we carefully prepared, or callously acted out against our direct orders?  Does the wronged spouse immediately look for ways to help his or her mate who cheated on them?  Does the victim of a crime make sure charges aren’t filed?  If I punch you in the face, would you make sure to get some ice for my sore knuckles?  Not likely.  But 6,000 years ago, God did.  The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

This sounds like something that happened on the pre-fall side of things.  But it isn’t.  After everything God had done for them, after creating a masterpiece of a universe in six days for Adam, after putting Adam in the center of it, after giving Adam the companion par excellence, after giving them time to see and know that this Paradise was paradise, this is how Adam and Eve repay God.  They heard the devil’s arguments against God and gave in.  They wickedly rejected God’s command, denied His love for them, gave Him the equivalent of the finger and said, “We don’t believe you are who you say you are God.”  And they ate the one piece of fruit God denied to them.  And for these two jerks the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

But before even that Adam and Eve made things worse.  They pitifully tried to cobble together some clothing, because they were embarrassed about being naked, and then, like the children-caught-in-the-act that they were, they tried to cover up their obvious sin.  They hid.  They lied.  They denied.  They pointed fingers.  They refused to accept responsibility.  They refused to accept blame.  They refused to just come out and say it, “Yep.  You got us.  Sorry.”  And for these two jerks the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

They hadn’t earned or deserved it.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  We know this part of the catechism pretty well.  God the Father almighty is the Maker of heaven and earth.  He made everything and gave me everything I have.  He knit me together in the womb.  He gave me body, soul, eyes, ears, etc.  And He still does.  Even though I haven’t earned or deserved it.  Adam and Eve’s story is my story.  You have tried to cover up sins.  You have hid, lied about, and denied your sins to others, to yourself, to God?  You have pointed fingers everywhere but at yourself.  You have refused to accept responsibility.  You have shifted blame to others.  You have apologized by saying, “Well, I’m sorry if you were offended or hurt,” instead of saying, “I’m sorry.  I was wrong.”  Yet, the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them and you, because as Jesus and Paul both said during their ministries He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. What an amazing sentence of Scripture this is.  Adam and Eve did everything possible to hurt God.  And He did what He could to help them.  We’re no different today.  Neither is God.  Body, soul, eyes, ears, mind, and abilities.  We have them, to one degree or another.  Clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home.  We have it, to one degree or another.  God has granted all these things to us.  And more.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. God covered Adam and Eve’s physical bodies with these animal skins.  But He also took in to account the covering of their souls.  The same God who killed and skinned animals to provide life-saving garments to Adam and Eve, is the same God who killed His own Son to provide life-saving garments for them – and for us.  We can not hear this enough.  The so-poorly-treated God whose love, grace, mercy, and protection was so wretchedly abused, at the very moment when He had Adam and Eve at their lowest point – squabbling with each other, blaming anyone but themselves, blaming God even for their condition – says first, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. Here we have God the Father Almighty, who had the right, the authority, and the ability to punish mightily, to destroy instantly, to kill Adam and Eve with impunity, instead promising the destruction of Satan and providing soul clothing for Adam and Eve.

No matter how convincing the devil’s lies sound, no matter how shrewdly your sinful mind argues the case, no matter how deviously the world tries to get around it, God the Father almighty is your good and merciful Father in heaven.  So good that He doesn’t stop with clothing Adam and Eve, delivering you safely into this world, or making sure to provide the right amounts of rain, sun, and food for you.  He didn’t stop until the cross came to the place of the Skull, the nails had been pounded, the clothes had been divided, the mockery had been hurled.  He didn’t stop until the Son could announce forgiveness to His murderers, Paradise to a repentant sinner, and confidence in the good hands of His Father.  He didn’t stop until the darkness had come and gone, the Temple curtain tore in two, and the centurion could say nothing except, Surely this was a righteous man. He didn’t stop until His holy, righteous, and perfect Son was in our tomb.  And even then He didn’t stop. Because when the Sabbath was done, so was Jesus’ time in the tomb.  And so was ours.  He was put to death for our sins.  He was raised to life for our justification.

The first article of the Apostles’ Creed isn’t just about the physical care God takes of us.  Just as the animal skins God gave to Adam and Eve weren’t just animal skins.  Here we have proof the good and merciful God we have.  Proof made positive when our almighty God, our Father, said, “Here, have my Son.”  Proof made positive, when that Son, equally as almighty as the Father, who was equally insulted by the actions of Adam and Eve, and us, laid down His life for our sins. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  God the Father Almighty has clothed you too.  Amen.

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Responses

  1. Amen


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