Lessons about Modesty from the Garden of Eden

Lessons about Modesty from the Garden of EdenText: Genesis 3:6-10

There are many important things to note in Genesis 3, including the fall of Adam and Eve into sin and the promise of the Messiah. There are also important points to be made about modesty – particularly as it relates to our clothing. We will consider these in this lesson.

Why Is This Important?

  • The NT stresses the importance of modest apparel (1 Timothy 2:9) – some Christians protest the use of the OT in discussions about modest dress; the old law was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), but it was still written for our learning (Romans 15:4); so this is important to notice, not necessarily for law, but for principles and definitions
  • This was a unique situation – the parties involved had perfect knowledge of good and evil; God is all-knowing (Psalm 139:1-4); Adam and Eve gained perfect knowledge of good and evil when they ate of the forbidden tree (Genesis 2:17; 3:11)

Immodesty Is Shameful

  • After eating of the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve understood they were naked (Genesis 3:7) – as a result, they hid themselves from the Lord
  • Why did they hide? – not just because they disobeyed God’s commandment (possibly considered, but not the stated reason); Adam hid because he was naked (Genesis 3:10)
  • We should have enough of a sense of shame that we want to avoid showing off our bodies – sadly, many have lost their sense of shame and no longer “know how to blush” (Jeremiah 6:15)
  • We must live up to a higher standard (Romans 12:2) – not adopt clothing standards of the world (Zephaniah 1:8)

Being Partially Clothed Is Not Sufficient

  • In order to cover themselves, Adam and Eve made loin coverings from fig leaves (Genesis 3:7) – not totally naked, but not sufficiently clothed either, and they knew it (Genesis 3:10); so God made “garments of skin” to adequately cover them (Genesis 3:21)
  • What constitutes “modest apparel” (1 Timothy 2:9)? – when God provided clothing, they were no longer naked; Hebrew word for “garments” signifies a coat, garment, or robe that hangs from the shoulders (Strong’s), generally with sleeves (Gesenius), but not always; it would cover the chest and back; it would cover at least to the knee as exposing the thigh constituted “nakedness” (Exodus 28:42; Isaiah 47:2); other principles would prohibit sheer/tight clothing that would invite lustful thoughts (cf. Proverbs 7:10)
  • We must be fully/adequately clothed – not clothed to the extent that the world deems appropriate

Modest Apparel Is Not Just About Preventing Lust

  • Some believe modest apparel is only important if others might lust after them – so they ignore this if they think no one would lust or if they’re dressed like everyone else; but in the Garden, there was no one there to lust after Adam and Eve
  • Why did God clothe them? – prior to this, they were naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25); it was just a man and his wife (Genesis 2:24); this relationship is honorable (Hebrews 13:4); if the nakedness in this situation was not wrong, why did God clothe them? … to teach us (Romans 15:4)
  • We are told to dress in modest apparel (1 Timothy 2:9), not non-lustful apparel – of course, some clothing is designed to provoke lust (Proverbs 7:10), but there is more to modesty than that; the question is not, “Will someone lust after me?”; the question is, “Am I dressed modestly?”

Conclusion

  • We need to learn the difference between right and wrong – then put it into practice in all areas of life
  • This includes how we dress – we need to conform to God’s standard, not the world’s standard

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