The Gospel According to a Christian Naturist

As my web site grew, I began to realize that I might be leaving out an important subject, Christ and His salvation. It is time we speak of the Gospel.

First, what is the gospel?
Gospel simply means "Good News" or the good word. What is the Good News?

“Jesus Christ,  (HaMashiach Yeshua) our savior and Lord, has died for our sins, and within three days, rose again from the dead and sat down at the right hand of God the Father. He is our mediator and High Priest.”

What does this mean to you and I?

To the average human being, (every man, woman and child on earth including you and me,) it means we no longer have to die for our sins! God himself came to earth in the form of a man named Jesus. John 1:1-3; 1:14 He fulfilled all the prophecies in the Old Testament, lived a life without sin, preached the good news (gospel) of the soon coming kingdom, forgave sins, healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, caused the blind to see and the deaf hear, and opened the way for mankind to return to God. For all those good deeds, the very people he showed this love for, put him to death.

By this very death, we are saved.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he said, "It is finished!” John 19:30. What is finished? Did God say this before? There was another time and another place (Genesis).

Jesus came to do a work on earth, to redeem humanity back to God. He bought (paid a price, redeemed) us back with His very own blood and finished that work. When did humankind fall away from God? When God first created all things, he also created humanity: Adam and Eve. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air…” They had it very good! They walked with God, talked with God and enjoyed all the blessings they could stand! When God looked around at all that he created, He said, "It is very good!" Gen. 1:31

Would you like God to look around at your work and say, "It is very good"?

God's work was that good! Then He did an amazing thing, He rested. He called that time he rested, the Sabbath. He also called it "the seventh day". Gen. 2:2-3 “By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

We need to look at that rest. We have to realize that it was not a physical rest because He does not need it. Then why did He rest? From what was He resting? How long did He rest? This may not be the one-day in seven Sabbath rest we think of today. It may be a rest that God is calling us to now. Jesus Christ is calling you and I into a rest that is not a one-day or twenty-four hour rest, but a lifetime rest. Compare with the New Testament book of Hebrews 4:1. The book of Hebrews details the rest we are called to. Adam and Eve did not enter into that rest because of unbelief as well as their children. Hebrews 3:18-19.

Again, God looked around at His creation, which included the creation of Adam and Eve, and proclaimed it all “very good”. Of course, they were still naked as God created and intended. Then God gave them some commands: One, take care of the Garden of Eden: Genesis 2:15. Two, have children and multiply and fill the earth: Genesis 1:28, and three, do not touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: Genesis 2:16.

He did not tell them to rest on a weekly Sabbath. He did not tell them to avoid the tree of Life (Gen. 2:9;  15-17). He did not tell them they were naked. He did not tell them to go get dressed.

God said He was finished. So why did God rest? Was He tired after a hard week of creating? No, it was because He completed the work that He did. It is completed. Not almost, but completed all the way. Note that on all the previous created days, each one had a beginning and an ending, a morning and an evening. The Seventh day did not have a “morning and evening” or an ending! God meant He was finished and He meant He was resting! He continued to rest for as long as He wanted to. Sometime during that rest, God took a walk in the Garden in the cool of the day. Adam and Eve did not come out to meet Him as usual. If they did, they would normally have been naked as they were from the beginning of their creation. God expected that, after all, He created them that way and that is how He left them. He did not tell them otherwise. They did not come out and meet Him as usual. God had to call them out. When they answered, they were afraid. Genesis 3:10. "He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid’." God, of course, caught them in that flimsy answer. He got straight to the truth by asking them if they took of the tree He told them not to touch. Genesis 3:11. Their answer was the wrong answer. That was not why they were hiding. That was their excuse because the serpent, Satan the devil, confused their reality. They were hiding because they disobeyed God. God is calling you out now. Are you afraid to answer? (Hint: When you do answer, tell the truth.)

God asked them who told them that they were naked! Was it God? No, otherwise He would have no need to ask. Was it God who inspired them to cover themselves with fig leaves?  No.  Because Adam and Eve sinned, they lost the relationship they had with God and got confused. How and when did they lose it? When they took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and decided for themselves that the tree was good and they thought they understood what was good and what was evil. Gen. 3:5. They decided on their own (in their now sinful confused state) that their naked bodies were evil. Gen. 3:7. Therefore, they tried to hide it from God (the One who created it naked to begin with) and from each other! Keep in mind, up to this point, they had no problems with their naked bodies. Neither did God! When God made up His Eternal and Powerful mind that they were complete, though they were not wearing any clothes, He did not make a mistake! So who did? Adam and Eve made the mistake! We make the mistakes and cut ourselves off from God. We are afraid and hide. We become guilty and out of raw fear, try to hide from God and each other! Yes, we sin, and for a good reason we should fear. However, we should not take our fear and hide, but instead, run to God and confess our sins. He is Just to forgive.

Are you still afraid and want to hide? Are your sins still haunting you? Then continue reading:

Thousands of years later, Jesus, who is God who became flesh (John 1:1-3, 9-14) died for our sins. When He died, he removed all sin, all guilt, and all dividers that cut us off from God for those who are willing to accept his atoning sacrifice. He redeemed us with his very own blood! All sin, including the sins passed down from Adam and Eve were resolved, forgiven, taken away, no longer counting against us!  Adam's sin does not count any more! It is OVER!

Since we are born of Adam as we physically are, we naturally are born in sin! When we die, we have a chance of a resurrection into a new life, re-created so to speak. However, do we wait until we die and hope for a resurrection before gaining the benefits of God’s grace through Jesus? Well...Yes and mostly No. First, we do not want to wait for a physical death to mark that time. We die to our sins now, to Adam, the Old Man, and we celebrate that through baptism. When we are baptized, we show that we have died to the old way of life, to our former selves, to the Old Adam. We symbolically bury the old man by submersion into water. (Since dead people cannot bury themselves, someone else submerses us under water, usually an ordained pastor or minister. See the one nearest you.) Just as the resurrected Christ, we are lifted from the watery grave showing our resurrection in Christ with a new life. After that, we are no longer in Adam;  Jesus has done that already, so we are just participating in what Jesus has done and accepting that reality!  We are now in Christ, the Second Adam! We are, as pointed out by Christ, born again. Though we are born of the flesh (Adam), we are now born of the spirit, (Christ).

So, what do we do about it? Though our spiritual standing before God are completely forgiven of sins, our bodies, our human nature, still control us to some extent while we are still in this physical realm. Adam’s remedy (which was a result of wrong reasoning) was to cover a certain area of his body and hide in fear. Why he chose the part he did, I do not know. Nowhere does it say that Adam’s decision was correct. Covering his genital area did not reconcile him to God. I doubt it prevented much lust either, since the only other person around was Eve.  Notice God asked the males to be circumcised. Maybe that is God's way of saying, "You can hide all you want, but I still have access to you!" Hebrews 4:13

A reader wrote: “If we are spiritually minded and walk in the spirit and not in the flesh, we are well aware of the temporal nature of our bodies. We are also aware that God created them in all their variations, and then declared “very good”. It is what we do to our bodies and with our bodies that is sinful, not the bodies themselves. In my opinion, Christians who understand this and live according to the Spirit can enjoy using the body as God originally intended. However, those without the Spirit of God have only the fallen human nature. They can behave according to rules of society, but their minds are still completely subject to the downward desires of the flesh.

We may not be punished for our sins after this life, but we still can and do sin because of the evil that is still with us in this world. Sins committed in the flesh can still have consequences in this life. A Christian can repent and be forgiven for having committed adultery, but he may still suffer from AIDS picked up while committing the act.”
--A Reader

This is why you and I need Christ and His salvation.

We can no longer go back to the old Adam and claim his penalties, because if we do, we would return to the time we were cut off from God and we will die! As newly born and recreated members of Christ, we cannot say, "We must live in Adam’s sins and his penalties”. "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive".(1 Corinthians 15:22).

That would be a deadly mistake! God never said that Adam was correct in his claim that his nudity was shameful, to be hidden away. True, God did take the animal skin and put it on Adam and Eve, but have you ever thought it through as to why? Was it just to cover Adams physical nudity? Does something have to die in order to cover our physical nudity? No! The fig leaves would have been just fine!

Nevertheless, something did die! An animal was put to death. Why? Could it have been a sheep or a favorite pet of Adam or Eve? Did God want Adam and Eve to understand what death was? When God made that coat of skin for them, did he just pop it out of thin air? Or did God take Adam and Eve aside and took one of their favorite animals, slaughtered it right in front of them, then made the coats for them to wear? Can you imagine being forced to wear the skin of your favorite pet after someone had slaughtered it because of some terrible deed you have done and as a constant reminder of your sins?

And to make it worse, their Godly skin, created in the image and likeness of God, is now hidden away and replaced by the skin of that dead animal! They were, in a sense, reduced in status to a dead animal, no longer a living, dynamic, human being in a wonderful relationship with God. In God’s sight, we became no better off than a dead animal! The skin of death clung to their bodies for the rest of their lives and to all humanity since then.... until....

…Jesus Christ.

Later, God called a people that were children of a faithful man, Abram. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. His children became a great nation called the Children of Israel. Abraham had a son Isaac, who had a son Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel and his descendants became the great nation we know today as the Israelite Nation. We also know them as Jews. God taught this people and nation to live a certain lifestyle, follow certain laws and rituals. God picked a man named Moses to lead them. Their whole existence from slavery up until the death of Jesus was a demonstrative example of Gods redemption of humanity. However, God did not redeem them under this rule. That redemption was to come when Jesus, the messiah or savior came and redeemed humanity. Everything up to that time pointed to Jesus. For example: The blood on the wood beams over the doors during the Passover represented the blood on the cross. The blood itself from the lambs represented Christ’s blood. The sacrifices all represented Christ’s sacrifice. It was not his blood, but a representation of what was to come. It was only a temporary forgiveness. Every year the Passover ritual and the Day of Atonement were required to cover sins again, a yearly reminder that they were still sinners.

Jesus did come, and then he died for our sins. His single sacrifice replaced all the sacrifices made by all. We now have an opportunity to come to Him and ask for forgiveness of our sins, an opportunity we never really had before. You can read the accounts in the four Gospels known as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, each giving an eyewitness biography of Jesus’ life and redemptive work.

All the works we do, sacrifices we make, the blood we shed, will never measure up to the sacrifice of Jesus, who in one action cleansed the whole world of all sin. (Hebrews 10:1-22) However, that only applies to those who will ask Jesus to come into their lives. (Will you?) It will only apply to those who want to come to God the Father, not hide away behind some fig leaf. God will then remove the sacrificial skin of a dead animal and clothe us with His Righteousness. Just like the father who redeemed his wayward son, cleansed him and gave him new clothes. That is what the story of the “Prodigal Son” teaches (Luke 15:11-32*).

The Holy of Holies

When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies from the main room where the High Priests go once a year, ripped in two from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45.) The ripping of the curtain is important. First, the Holy of Holies cannot be entered into, except by a High Priest and ONLY once a year, on the Day of Atonement. When that curtain ripped in two, it signified the opening of that room and all may enter in, because Jesus is now that High Priest for all.

Second, it tore from top to bottom, not the other way around. It would have been a physical impossibility for a man to rip the curtain from top to bottom. It was very thick and heavy, and very tall. It was not a simple piece of cloth. It would have taken a very powerful being to rip it like that. Proof then that only God can rip it.

Third, it is also a sign of mourning. It happened at the death of God's son. If God were in the temple, the ripping of the cloth would be like a mourner rending his garments. They tended to rend (rip) their garments from top to bottom when a tragedy strikes like a death in the family. It was not a mere rip, but an actual rending that exposed the whole body as if they were ripping off the garment from their bodies. Sometimes, they did just that, leaving themselves practically, if not literally, naked. God ripped it all off.

Fourth, God never put it back on! God never went back into the temple. If He did, we would still be cut off! He now resides in us. "Rend your hearts, not your garments"- Joel 2:13

Back to Jesus saying "It is finished" John 19:30. When Jesus died, traditions say he died on a Friday, or if associated with the Creation week, on the sixth day. When God finished the creation, He said, "It is finished". He then rested on the seventh day. Jesus completed his work just before sundown.  Jesus "rested" in the grave on the Seventh Day.

Jesus rose again on the first day, a new creation has begun! We are now re-created in God's image when we come to Christ and are born again. We no longer have the original penalty of Adam hanging over or on us. (But we still have Adam’s nature living with us in the flesh, and the Spirit of Christ living in our minds and hearts. It is still a battle every day of our lives, a struggle to live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.)

In Christ, we can live according to the Spirit regardless to the physical condition of our bodies, clothed or unclothed as long as we do not allow any fleshly desires to take control of what we do with our bodies. Clothing will not make a difference to our salvation, nor will it make a difference in our spiritual character.  Our fleshly desires are there whether or not we are clothed.

If you accept Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord, you will need to repent of your sins, realize that without Jesus, you are still spiritually in Adam and are still in his sins and the penalty of sin is death. Acts 2:38-40 Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you and to your children, and even to the Gentiles--all who have been called by the Lord our God.”

God demonstrated that through the sacrifices. Jesus died in your place if you will only accept it. We really have no choice. If we do not accept His sacrifice, then we die. We will be forever cut off from God, separated by our sins. Even though you may be freed from the burden of clothing and could live without them and feel no physical shame, you are still cut off from God by your spiritual sins. Adam was never separated from God by the clothes he wore; it was only a sign that he was cut off by his sins. If we continue to believe that we must wear clothes after we accepted Jesus Christ just because Adam had to (or assumed he had to), then we are saying that we are still cut off from God! You cannot be cut off from God! You will die! Then why do we still wear the sign of the cloth? Should we instead be wearing the sign of the cross? That cloth, fig leaf, animal skin, is a sign we are still cut off from God. Jesus rose from the dead. He was called the Last Man, or second Adam.

When Jesus walked out of the tomb, what was he wearing?  Nothing!

I'll repeat here: "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive".(1 Corinthians 15:22).

Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, Lord, Redeemer, God, King, Master and allow yourself to come into a relationship with Him. Rest in Him as He rested from all His work. Not partially, not thinking we are still in Adam, not with “residual” sins from Adam, but completely and without fear or shame.

And Jesus said, “Go, and sin no more”. John 8:11

But Jesus is also "Just to forgive" 1 John 1:19

For further reading on the Second Adam, read my other article, "The Second Adam" explaining the resurrected Christ and how he replaced the first Adam and what he wore when he walked out of the grave.

Boyd Allen

Copyright 2001-12 Boyd Allen's Christian Naturism©

*For more on the Prodigal Son, see this great article, "The Parable of the Dancing God" (PDF) by C. Baxter Kruger