READ: Genesis 3:1-24
Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (v.9).
My friend was walking through a sculpture park when she saw the sculptor Rodin’s statue of Eve, which captures the moment Eve understood what she had done against God. My friend wept at Eve’s desperate, twisting figure, shattered by shame and fear, hanging her head and raising her hand in an attempt to block Him from smiting her.
But the blows never came. Although God confronted Adam and Eve and told them the consequences for their sin, He also took pity on them and made them clothing from animal skins (Genesis 3:21)—the first hint in Scripture that God would sacrifice another to save us. This ‘other’ was symbolised with animal sacrifices until God’s promise of redemption was fulfilled in the unblemished Lamb, the Son of God Himself.
Jesus’ death makes it possible for God to remove our fear and shame. The cross absorbs our fear, for Jesus’ death “opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place”. So we can “go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him” (Hebrews 10:20,22). The cross also absorbs our shame, for Jesus suffered in disgrace “outside the city gates . . . . So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore” (Hebrews 13:12-13).
Fear and shame can be a valid response to sin. It’s appropriate to be ashamed of what we’ve done and to fear the consequences. But fear and shame shouldn’t be the end of our story, because both are resolved in Jesus, whose cry of fear and shame—“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”—swallows our pangs of guilt and terror (Mark 15:34).
When we give ourselves to the One who hung on a cross and was raised for us, we no longer need to hang our heads or cower in fear.