Hey there, today on Naptime Theology we are continuing our study of the book of Genesis by going over chapter 3, verses 8-13. In this short passage we’ll see God’s amazing grace to Adam and Eve directly after they had sinned. And it’s that same grace that reaches out for us too.
Grace Before the Curse
Well, we are slowly making our way through the book of Genesis and here we are at Genesis chapter 3, verse 8. If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes regarding Genesis, please do so! They will get you up to speed and build a foundation for today’s episode about God’s grace. Last time we left Adam and Eve having just sinned in the garden and feeling the guilt and shame from their sin. They felt so guilty that they made a covering for their bodies out of leaves where they had felt comfortable naked before.
Let’s first read the verses of today’s passage… even as I read I know you will hear God’s graciousness to both Adam and Eve.
This is Genesis chapter 3, verses 8-13, and I’m reading the NASB version:
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. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him “Where are you?”
He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the women said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The first thing we see God do in this passage is… nothing. From the commandment in the previous chapter to not “eat the fruit or you will surely die,” we would expect verse 8 to say that God came down and struck Adam and Eve dead because they had sinned against Him.
Now, that would actually have been a fair and just thing to do. We know from the New Testament book of Romans that “the wages [or the payment] of sin is death.” Adam and Eve did deserve death for what they had done.
But then, that is why we see God’s grace directly after they had disobeyed Him, He graciously did nothing. There’s not an immediate punishment of death given to Adam and Eve. Instead, the text says that God was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.
This was probably God’s MO, He would come to the garden and walk with Adam and Eve. They could interact with Him at ease and just enjoy being with Him. Here God is carrying on as usual instead of immediately enacting judgment. He is graciously waiting and relenting from the destruction that is due to Adam and Eve.
And this is the very first instance of grace that we have in the Bible. This was actually new to me to see God’s actions in today’s verses as grace. I think I’ve often heard of Genesis 3:15, where God promises to send a Savior to be gracious, which it is. But I haven’t often thought about the fact that God waiting and questioning Adam and Eve instead of immediately destroying them is a great act of grace. And before we go on in these verses, let’s make sure we all know what this word “grace” actually means.
What is Grace?
To be clear, the grace in these verses is not what provides salvation because that is only found in Jesus’ sacrifice. But it was God’s grace that withheld Adam and Eve’s destruction.
So, what is grace? This word is used so much in Christianity. And so many little girls grow up with this word as their name. But what does “grace” actually mean?
Well, a simple definition is this: Grace is getting what you do not deserve. Or even simpler, Grace is undeserved favor.
God, out of His kindness and love, treats us better than we deserve. That’s grace. He is constantly showing us His grace each and every day.
We see grace in all good things that God gives to us. We don’t deserve anything good, only death and destruction because, again, we are sinners. But God gives us grace in our lives by treating us better than we deserve. We get to enjoy creations, food, marriage, children, and many other beautiful things in our lifetime. That’s all because of God’s grace. Because He hasn’t given us what we deserve. This is sometimes called common grace because it is available for all people in the world despite their sin, not just for Christians. Unbelievers also enjoy the planet and human relationships which are instances of God’s common grace in the world.
The Bible also uses the word grace in another way. First Corinthians 15:10 says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” This is God’s grace described in another way, as power for living out the Christian life. We see this also in 2 Corinthians 2:9 where Jesus says to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” This is God’s grace working to help us in our lives. We don’t deserve His help or encouragement, but He gives it to us because He treats us better than we deserve. This is grace.
But the ultimate, saving grace of God is found in Jesus. As I said before, we know from Romans that the wages of sin is death. We also know from Romans 3:23 that all have sinned. So we all deserve death because we are all sinners. But God doesn’t treat us that way. Instead, He made a way for us to be forgiven for our sins through Jesus’ death and resurrection. That’s grace. That’s why Paul said in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” Grace is the only way through which we are saved from the punishment or the wages of our sin. God treats us better than we deserve and offers us salvation by believing in His Son.
This is why it’s no surprise that John Newton, and many other hymn writers, wrote songs proclaiming God’s grace to the world, it truly is amazing.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”
I pray that you have not only experienced God’s common grace, but that you have also experienced His saving grace to you that He offers freely in His Son. Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” What grace!
And it’s that same grace that we see on display in our passage for today in Genesis.
God Graciously Seeks Out Their Repentance
Back to verse 8 of Genesis chapter 3, God is waiting. He comes to the garden at the normal time, He’s ready for a walk with His people, but they are not there. The rest of that verse says that Adam and Eve had hidden themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden.
I’m sure this is exactly what any one of us would have done. When their minds were opened to sin and tainted by it, they knew they deserved death. They had disobeyed the good command God gave them and they knew the punishment for it. So, they were scared. They probably heard God coming and panicked, getting behind the nearest tree.
It is ironic that they hide behind trees. It was trees that God gave them to eat from and one tree not to eat from. They ate from the tree they weren’t supposed to. And now, here they are, hiding from the great Gardener, in His garden, behind a tree.
This scene is sadly comical because we know that God knew where they were. It must have felt like playing hide and seek with one of your children. They are “hiding” behind something that’s all too small to cover them and you can see them the whole time. That’s how it would’ve looked to God. Hebrews 4:13 says, “No creature is hidden from [God’s] sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Even the leafy clothing that Adam and Eve had made and the strong trees in the garden couldn’t hide them from God. That is why it is so gracious of Him to not come directly to them in judgment.
After God has come to the garden for the evening walk and doesn’t find his people ready to walk with Him, we see His grace spring out toward them in the questions He asks.
God Asks Them Questions
God first called out to the man, Adam, and said, “Where are you?” Three simple words that meant so much. Herman Bavinck, a dutch theologian, said, “God did not withdraw himself after the fall, nor does he even for a moment abandon the transgressors. Their sense of guilt, shame, and fear is already an operation of God’s Spirit in them, indeed a revelation of his wrath but also of his grace… God’s grace is shown especially when God comes to Adam and Eve and seeks them out. He does not abandon them to their own folly but calls them back to himself.”
Here, God is not searching for Adam, He knows exactly where Adam is. No, instead, God is giving Adam a chance to repent. When he calls out for Adam and says, “Where are you?” Adam now has an opportunity to come out of his hiding and tell God what happened; he has a chance to confess his sin. In fact, if we read further in this conversation, God gives Adam three different opportunities to confess his sin. There are three questions that God asks: 1. Where are you? 2. Who told you that you were naked? And 3. Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?
But those three opportunities are not taken up on Adam’s account and he answers without repentance. To “Where are you?” Adam says, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” To God’s second and third question Adam responds, not in repentance, but in blame-shifting. He said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” God is giving him opportunity to confess his sin and he evades each one.
Sadly, Eve does the same. God turns to the woman in verse 13 and says, “What is this you have done?” Again, He’s giving her an opportunity to confess her sin. But she doesn’t. This is her response: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” No confession, no repentance. Simply blaming the serpent for the sin she had committed.
This is truly the depth of depravity. The depth of the effects of sin. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, they were totally depraved. Sin had reached their core and changed them to be thoroughly corrupt and sinful. John MacArthur said in a sermon on this passage that “Depravity is a condition in which on eis unwilling to honestly repent… Depravity is not just seen in man’s inability to stop sinning. It is really seeing deeper in his penchant for avoiding repentance. Even when he can see the sin, experience the sin, feel the guilt, feel the shame, even when confronted by God, he will do anything and everything to deceive and evade and shift the blame away from himself. He will do anything to avoid God if he can, but if he’s finally confronted by God he will not acknowledge his own sin.”
That’s exactly what Adam and Eve did, they did not acknowledge their own sin. But instead shifted blame onto others. Does that sound familiar to you? Because we all follow this pattern as well.
We Also Hide Our Sin
We are often the little child playing hide and seek with God. There are sins that we commit where no human being knows and we think that we can hide it from God. But we can’t. Remember Hebrews 4:13 that says nothing is hidden from God. John Calvin says that “the difference between good and evil is engraven on the hearts of all, as Paul teaches [in] Romans 2:15; but all bury the disgrace of their vices under flimsy leaves, till God, by his voice, strikes inwardly their consciences.”
We hide behind whatever we can so that we can evade God’s judgment on our sin. But it is all in vain when we do that. God knows. But, as Calvin said, God works in His grace to convict us of our sin and bring us to repentance in Him. This happens in saving grace, when we first put our faith in Jesus unto salvation, but it also happens every single time we confess our sin to God and ask for forgiveness.
When we are God’s children we are saved forever from the punishment of sin. But we still live in fleshly, sinful bodies and we will have to fight sin for the rest of our lives here on earth. God’s grace, however, is always ready to convict us and give us forgiveness when we’ve sinned. Milton Vincent wrote in his book A Gospel Primer, that as Christians, “When [you] sin, God’s grace abounds to [you] all the more as He graciously maintains [your] justified status… When [you] sin, God feels no wrath in His heart against [you]. His heart is filled with nothing but love for [you], and He longs for [you] to repent and confess [your] sins to Him, so that He might show [you] the gracious and forgiving love that has been in his heart all along. God does not require [your] confession before He desires to forgive me. In His heart He already has forgiven [you].”
God is always ready to forgive us and we have no reason to hide. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God, in His grace, will forgive you so confess your sin to him.
That is what God was seeking out when He questioned Adam and Eve in this way. He was looking for them to step forward and tell Him what they had done. And it’s the same God who seeks us out when we’ve done wrong. He wants us to run to Him for that is truly the only way to get away and get rid of our sin, by running to Him for forgiveness.
So, yes, God’s grace is beautifully and majestically on display here in Genesis 3:8-14. And it’s no surprise that this God who so graciously calls out for his people to confess and repent would also promise the Savior to remedy all of sin in the next verses and specifically in Genesis 3:15 which we will look at together next time.
What does all this mean for us today? We should be so overwhelmed by God’s amazing grace. It is there for us, as an ever-flowing river to wash us clean of our sin and fill us with forgiveness.
We should also be able to see God’s grace in every day that we live. First, by being grateful for the salvation He’s given us through grace and that we are not treated as we deserve by Him. Second, by seeing His grace in everything we encounter and have in this world, whether big or small. We will never be able to comprehend the total majesty of God’s grace, but noting it in our lives in one way to give Him glory for it. I often pray that God would give me more grace to see His grace in my life and to know of my need of His grace. We need it every day and we must rest in it, rely on it, and grow in it as we seek to walk worthy of our calling as Christians.
And, just a short note to all you mamas listening. We have an extremely important opportunity to point out God’s grace to our children as we live life with them. Teaching them about God’s grace doesn’t have to difficult. Just simply saying, “That’s because of God’s grace.” as we go throughout our days helps them recognize that God is at work in all of our lives all of the time. And if you’re pointing it out and you have extra time, then share with them about God’s saving grace in Jesus too. Connecting what happens in our lives to what Jesus has done for us for your children is an excellent way to point them to God and His grace.
God’s grace is there for you, friend, just as it was for Adam and Eve in our passage today. Next time we will go over even more of God’s graciousness in Genesis 3:15 where He promised to send a Savior who would break the curse of sin.
If you’d like a resource that I’ve quoted from today or have a question, I’d love to hear from you, connect with me on my blog at naptimetheologian.com. Thanks for listening to Naptime Theology and have a wonderful day!