WHERE ART THOU?
T. Pierce Brown
The question that God asked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden needs the attention of each of us from time to time. Paul suggested the reason in Hebrews 12:1 when he said, “We should give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest haply we should drift away from them.” We need to examine ourselves in reference to something solid and steadfast, not by looking at those around us. If you were ever in a boat with someone else, simply drifting downstream, you can readily understand the point. If your reference point is someone in the boat with you, you can never tell you are drifting. You need to keep your eyes on a solid rock on the shore, or something equally stable.
The question was not asked for God to find out, but for Adam to discover. It is but a foretaste of the searching, yearning love of God from then until now. Before He can get us to where He wants us to be, He must get us to see where we are. This was true with the Prodigal Son, the sinners at Pentecost, or any of us. Until one can come to himself and be pricked in the heart with an awareness of the distance between where he is and where he should be, he will not repent.
Adam was hiding because of his sin. This is the reason most of us try to hide from God. We hide because we are afraid. Where are you? Are you afraid to be found out? Are you afraid to die? We need to realize that we cannot hide from God. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). Hebrews 4:13, “All things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
Today I want us to think of where many persons try to hide in an effort to escape from God. Many hide behind their moral goodness. We have heard persons connected with the church of the Lord who should know better say about some person who was not a Christian, “If he does not get into heaven, there is no hope for anyone, for he was one of the best men I know.” Some of those who murdered Jesus will get into heaven, but God offers no hope for the good man who is hiding behind his pride of moral goodness. I do not remember ever knowing a person who was as good as Adam. The only thing he ever did wrong of which we know was to listen to (heed) his wife!
In a physical sense he may have been trying to hide behind a bush, but in another real sense he was also trying to hide behind his wife. This kind of reaction is one of the most common ones, and the most dangerous. For it matters not what excuses or reasons we may have for sin, until we admit that it is our responsibility, we cannot repent.
Many of us may be hiding behind the idea that we belong to the right church that wears the right name and teaches the right doctrine. God is not going to judge us in bunches, like a stalk of bananas, but individually. Believing Christ died for you is good, but having Christ living in you is what God wants.
Basically, there are four states in which a person may be. First, he may be in a state of innocence and safety. None who are able to read this are in that state. He may be in a sinful state, and thus be lost. If you have ever done anything sinful and have not been forgiven in accordance with the gracious plan of God as revealed by the Apostles, you are in that state. You may be in a backsliding state. That is, if you have ever obeyed the gospel, but are unfaithful to the trust committed to you, you are like the Prodigal Son in a far country. The father said of him, “This my son was lost.” However, he came back, so the father said, “and is found.” No matter how far you have wandered away, you can come back if you choose. Then you may be in a saved state. However, there are all sorts of degrees of activity and service you can perform in this state.