(Photo: Dan Delzell)
Most people in our society would feel embarrassed if they were forced to walk around their community naked. But what if you had no choice on the matter the day you go before God to be judged? What if you were naked before Him....not physically necessarily, but worse....spiritually naked before your Creator, without any covering for your sins against Him? Do you have any idea how you would feel?
Adam and Eve felt ashamed. They had disobeyed God. They suddenly felt naked before Him....which went far deeper than their physical nakedness. After they ate the forbidden fruit, "the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves." (Genesis 3:7) Man has been trying to cover his soul ever since with the "fig leaves" of his religious rituals and human effort.
Sin and spiritual nakedness cause man to try to hide from God. When the Lord was calling to Adam after they ate the fruit, Adam answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." (Genesis 3:10) Imagine that....trying to hide from God....and in His garden no less. What got into Adam and Eve anyway? And what gets into us when we give into temptation?
Trying to hide from God is like trying to hide from oxygen. Good luck. You will never succeed at it. He is everywhere. What did you think....that you were going to be the only person on the planet to escape His view....and even skip out on Judgment Day? Think again, because that is impossible.
So where does that leave us? Well....each of us will be brought before God in one of two situations....either clothed in the righteousness of Christ....or spiritually naked and without a prayer at that point. It will be too late for prayer....or repentance....or accepting Jesus as your Savior. "Today is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2) Today is the day to get dressed and ready for your appointment in God's courtroom. Tomorrow may be to late. "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27) If you are spiritually naked when you leave this world, you will stand before God in the same condition.
This is why it is so critical for you to look into your future....and contemplate your spiritual condition on that day of reckoning. Do you want to arrive there in fear, shame, and awaiting punishment? Or do you want to be standing there in confidence, faith, and awaiting your entrance into heaven? Picture yourself clothed before God in a white robe of righteousness....and then picture the alternative....where you are standing there naked. Which one sounds better to you?
Christ Himself offers you this wisdom today: "I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness." (Revelation 3:18) Right now....you may not feel ashamed of your spiritual nakedness before God. That is a problem, and a big one. Without shame and "godly sorrow" over your sin, (see 2 Cor. 7:9-11) you remain blind to your true condition....and you assume that you are in no danger. But that is the deadliest form of deception. Your mind is playing tricks on you. The only way to "pass the test" on that final day is to get dressed here on earth....and to have your soul covered with Christ's "white robe."
In the book of Revelation, John saw into the future....and he saw what is heading straight toward us. "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands....Then one of the elders asked me, 'These in white robes-who are they, and where did they come from?' I answered, 'Sir, you know.' And he said, 'These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'" (Revelation 7:9,13-14)
The only way to get a white robe for that day....and I mean the only way....is to trust in Jesus and His death on the cross for your sins. Through faith, His blood washes your robe and makes it white. Every other approach is nothing but religious "fig leaves." That won't cut it. God doesn't accept people with fig leaves into heaven, but only those with a white robe.
If you bring your fig leaves (your religious deeds) to that courtroom hoping those deeds will save your soul, you will become suddenly panic-stricken as you listen to the Lord announce your verdict. Your religious deeds mean nothing to God without faith in Christ. Only Jesus can cover your shameful nakedness. That my friend is true whether you believe it or not. Your belief does not create truth....it simply embraces the truth as you get dressed in Christ, or refuses to embrace it as you remain spiritually naked before God.
I realize that this message is "other worldly," and completely contrary to the messages that surround us everyday in the media and in the culture. Nothing in this life prepares us for that coming day....except God's wisdom, and the white robe that we can only receive from Jesus. The Scriptures alone are able to "make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ." (2 Tim. 3:15) What can those in Hollywood or the media do for you that even begins to equal the blessing and majesty of that wisdom? This is why it is often better to turn off the television, and open up the Bible....that is, if you value your soul.
Are you someone who spends hours every week working to improve your body....but little or no time on your soul? Your body is a gift from God and it should be maintained....but if you neglect your soul, you are neglecting the very thing that will spend eternity in one of two places. (People in both places, by the way, will also be given an immortal physical body that will experience rapturous joy....or unrelenting suffering.) Do you really want to come to the end of your life on earth, only to realize that you have wasted your efforts on things which cannot save you from God's wrath against sin? (see Matt. 3:7; John 3:36; Romans 2:5,8; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; 1 Thess. 1:10; & Rev. 6:17)
Believe me....or better yet, believe God's Word....your fig leaves cannot turn God's wrath away from you if you enter His courtroom naked. "For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ." (2 Cor. 5:10) There is no getting around it. You can busy your mind with every other issue while on earth if you choose to do so, but that won't change the fact that you and I both have an appointment in His courtroom. I don't know what the courtroom will look like, but I do know it will take place. How do I know this? Because "it is impossible for God to lie." (Hebrews 6:18)
Repent and believe the good news, and you will be clothed with Christ. If on the other hand you reject Him, or try to cover yourself in the fig leaves of your religious deeds....then your soul will remain naked. This is why Christ counsels you to come to Him and receive the white clothes you need to wear over your soul. His death on the cross earned that white robe for you and for me. Whether you receive it by faith, or not, is something that has larger implications than you or I can possibly imagine.
Right now, we only have a certain number of words in the Bible which describe heaven and hell. The actual experience of being in one of those places will be a million times more exhilarating, or terrifying, than what we currently can only read about. We won't really know the extent of it until each of us gets there....to one of those two places. If this fact does not lead you to evaluate your spiritual condition, especially in light of Christ's suffering and death to earn a white robe for you....then I really don't know what else there is to say.
Right now you have a prayer my friend. One day you won't....that is, if you find yourself standing naked before God. Do you see why this issue creates such a sense of urgency in the hearts of those who care about you and your immortal soul....or are you too busy patching together your fig leaves to even notice?