She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons – Genesis 3:6-7
When Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and ate the fruit which God had forbidden them from eating, the change was instantaneous, unmistakable, and disastrous. Suddenly, shockingly, devastatingly they felt their nakedness.
They had always been naked, but safe and shameless because there was nothing to harm them and there was nothing about which to be ashamed. Now they are different. So now everything is different. We see how pathetic, how exposed, how wretched their condition instantaneously was, in that they tried to sew leaf aprons for themselves.
In Adam and Eve’s pitiful leaf-sewing, we should see the precursor to every powerless idol, every foolish endeavor, every vain pursuit that humans have engaged in throughout history. They are all just more vain attempts to overcome the curse in our own strength and ingenuity. We should see in their feeble fig leaves the utter inadequacy of all human effort to escape the sin curse on our own.
Thank God, that is not how their story ends, however. In verse 21, God makes coats of skin to cover them. Here is a vivid illustration and acknowledgment of our need, and of God’s solution. The nakedness they so keenly felt upon eating the fruit was real. Yet God supplies a covering for them.
In Jesus Christ, thousands of years later, God stooped down, became a man, and died a victorious death in order to cover our nakedness, our sin. Christ is all we ever need, but we need him desperately. God commands us to trust in Christ alone for our salvation, because he knows that everything else is just wilting, feeble, fig-leaf efforts toward self-salvation. And they are bound to fail