And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together…
The real nature of sin, its disgrace and misery and ruin, are never fully known till it has been committed. The tempter veils it in a false and delusive garb, which can never be entirely stripped off but by actual experience. As a matter of assurance, Adam and Eve knew beforehand the miserable consequences of their breach of the Divine command: "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." They could, therefore, have no possible reason to doubt on this point; the terrible result lay open before them; perhaps revealed in many more particulars than are recorded, for the history of this eventful period is exceedingly short; yet still nothing was known, or could be known, of the awful reality, till it was felt in the stricken heart, till the accursed step had been taken, and the wretched working stood confessed in all the blight and agony. And in similar ways he continues to deceive mankind: every temptation to evil is an instrument in his hand, promising by its appearance, or else in our imagination, some pleasure or some gain: this is the whisper of the same great adversary of souls, this a reflection of his deceitful image. Let us now seek, in the spirit of humility, to learn and apply the moral lesson of the text; which teaches us the direful consequences of sin, the evils with which it makes us acquainted, as the foretaste and assurance of the dreadful end to which it infallibly leads. It was not till the commission of their sin, but it was instantly after, that the eyes of our parents were opened; that the evils of guilt and disobedience flashed upon them in all their terribleness and extent. Their conscience was immediately smitten: new thoughts entered their minds, new and painful feelings arose instantly in their bosom: there was in them a sense of disgrace and degradation; love and confidence were gone, and shame had taken possession, and fear and trembling. We must all have felt, on manifold occasions, the sudden and painful effects of sin; the sharp convictions, the uneasiness and wretchedness, and not seldom the injury thereby inflicted upon us; the disgrace attending it when brought to light; our altered position in the esteem of men, nay, even in our own esteem. How often has the fairest character been blasted by only one transgression! and the humbled offender suddenly brought to perceive the truth of all the denunciations and threatenings against sin; what would he not give to retrace that one step, to recall that one word, to undo that one miserable deed? How sad and complete was his folly! How could he have been thus deceived and betrayed? What shame, what indignation, what grief, what abasement, what violent self-accusation, yea, what astonishment is raised within him! That he, a man of reason, a man of faith, a man of religious profession, one of the people of God, should have flung such discredit upon the whole cause, should have so sinned against the majesty and holiness, the goodness and long suffering of the Lord; should have admitted such corruption into that body which Christ has redeemed, which was made one with Christ, should thus have disordered and dishonoured and endangered his soul. I say, how many a servant of God has been distressed by such feelings and sentiments; sometimes hurried into wretchedness, lowered to the dust! I speak not of the hardened and abandoned sinner: of those whose consciences are, as the apostle describes it, "seared with a hot iron": when the mind and affections have grown long familiar with vice and iniquity, and have become inured to its effects, we must expect the feeling to be blunted, the moral eye to be judicially closed: the Spirit of God, which keeps alive the conscience, withdraws from the bosom of the determined offender, leaves it ordinarily incapable of emotion: I say ordinarily, because there are seasons, when even the vilest transgressors are suddenly roused and awakened to a sense of guilt and ruin; led, like the prodigal, to look back upon the happiness they have lost; and mourn, after a godly sort, over their evil and perishing condition. But this is a conviction not to be trusted to, often appearing too late: bringing disturbance and distress, but no comfort, no living hope of salvation. How blessed are they, whose conscience is quickly moved and opened to the perception of evil: there is a hope of their speedy recovery; no one, who is truly alive to the wretchedness of sin, can be content to abide in it: it is every way hateful and distressful, as well as dangerous, to the soul that is humbled under a sense of it: and the consciousness and sorrow and vexation of spirit frequently, as in the case of our first parents, follow the offence in rapid succession, and the heart is overwhelmed.
(J. Slade, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.