Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!
In Genesis chapter 1 after creation, man was on default setting: righteous. When he, God, looked at the creation he had established, he said that it was very good. He set one instruction for Adam and Eve: that they ought not to consume fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. Genesis 2.16-17…But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Satan comes and implants doubt into the mind of Eve. They ate and suddenly their eyes were opened to the reality that they had just disobeyed God.
They, just as many of us do once in a while, searched for a solution that would cover up the mess they had soaked themselves into. They took some leaves and made garments for themselves. Genesis 3:7-11…At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the LORD God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”. First, God was aware of what they did and where they were hiding. His query was an invitation for Adam to open up from within himself. Secondly, lame excuse/ blame game is what the two give as the reason for their failure to keep the command. Adam cited Eve who cited the snake. However, they had freewill.
One would ask, was the leave-covering they made for themselves insufficient to cover their body that the Lord made one made of skin? Genesis 3:21… And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. It is rather obvious that he saw the insufficiency of the efforts to redeem their state. They were not only naked physically but also spiritually which was as a result of breaching the set conditions. Their efforts were futile. They were escaping their fellowship with him because they had sinned, otherwise, they would not have hidden themselves since they were covered in leaves garment. They could not atone for their fall. Through this act, sin enters the world. Romans 5:12…When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
There was the dispensation of Moses and the establishment of law(s). The accomplishment of this was not a walk in the park. The lamb God slaughters to make a garment covering for Adam is a symbolic representation of the sacrifice he would make for the atonement of sin. In Genesis 22 God asks Abraham to sacrifice his own son Isaac and he goes ahead to implement the command which turns out to be a test. His son asks him about the lamb for the sacrifice since he saw the firewood and everything else minus it. Abraham replied in vs 8 “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. He’s about to slay his son, who had not resisted to be sacrificed, when the angel of the Lord calls out and there is provision of the lamb.
Enlarging this view, years down the line God provides an ultimate lamb who carries the sin of the world unto himself upon the cross. In John 3.16-17…“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. In Romans 10:9-10…that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. This means that personal efforts to justify oneself before God without Grace and mercy will be described as filthy rags. Isaiah 64.6…We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
This then is to say that there is a way out of our insufficiency which is to confess to him who can enable us and capacitate us to walk righteously. The invitation, similar to the one given to Adam, has already been placed. Our confession and belief is what is waiting. If only we confess, a new garment is given to us: the lobe of righteousness. Not only does this happen that our identity is changed and we are given the right to become the children of God. John 1.12…But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
How then are we to approach it? In self introspection,one will realize there is bankruptcy in our effort to work out our way from sin and the guilty thereof. The following hymn gives us an idea of what to do: Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;…Not the labour of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone. Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, or I die!