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Genesis 3:21 - Homilies By J.f. Montgomery

Covering.

God's chief promises generally accompanied by visible signs or symbolical acts; e.g; bow in the cloud, furnace and lamp ( Genesis 15:17 ), passover, &c.; The time here spoken of specially called for such a sign. Man had fallen; a Deliverer was promised; it was the beginning of a state of grace for sinners. Notice four facts:—

1. Man unfallen required no covering.

2. Man fallen became conscious of need, especially towards God.

3. He attempted himself to provide clothing.

4. God provided it.

Spiritual meaning of clothing ( Revelation 3:18 ; Revelation 7:14 ; 2 Corinthians 5:3 ). And note that the root of "atonement" in Hebrew is "to cover." Thus the covering is a type of justification; God's gift to convicted sinners (cf. Zechariah 3:4 , Zechariah 3:5 ; Luke 15:22 ; and the want of this covering, Matthew 22:11 ). With Adam's attempt and God's gift compare the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. Abel's sacrifice of life accepted through faith ( Hebrews 11:4 ), i.e. because he believed and acted upon God's direction. Thus atonement, covering, through the sacrifice of life (cf. Le Genesis 17:11 ), typical of Christ's sacrifice, must have been ordained of God. And thus, though not expressly stated, we may conclude that Adam was instructed to sacrifice, and that the skins from the animals thus slain were a type of the covering of sin through the one great sacrifice ( Romans 4:7 ). We mark then—

I. THE HELPLESSNESS OF MAN TO SAVE HIMSELF FROM SIN . The natural thought of a heart convicted is, "Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all." Vain endeavor. The "law of sin" ( Romans 7:21 , Romans 7:24 ) is too strong; earnest striving only makes this more clear (cf. Job 9:30 ; Isaiah 64:6 ). History is full of man's efforts to cover sins. Hence have come sacrifices, austerities, pilgrimages, &c.; But on all merely human effort is stamped failure ( Romans 3:20 ).

II. THE LOVE OF GOD FOR SINNERS ( Romans 5:8 ). A common mistake that if we love God he will love us. Whereas the truth is, 1 John 4:10-19 . We must believe his free gift before we can serve him truly. The want of this belief leads to service in the spirit of bondage.

III. THE PROVISION MADE BY GOD ( John 3:14-17 ). That we might be not merely forgiven, but renewed ( 2 Corinthians 5:21 ). The consciousness that "Christ hath redeemed us" is the power that constrains to willing service ( 1 John 3:3 ).— M .

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