Dear Jack and Jill,
In this crazy, mixed-up world in which you kids are expected to grow up into mature, decision-making citizens, future fathers and mothers, feet-on-the-ground politicians and statesmen, preachers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, merchants and chiefs, it seemed good to me to write you this letter. I am no wiser than any other old grandfather around me. But you see, I am your gramps, not any old gramps. I am yours. I care for you. Admittedly I am an old fogey, but that’s what you would expect of a grandfather. Old? Well, when I was a lad of your age we used to walk about four miles on a wintry evening just to hear, from tightly clamped earphones, “This is KDKA, Pittsburg.” I guess that dates me pretty well.
Do you mind if I sound off on a pet peeve of mine? Did you read Ann Lander’s this evening? (or Dear Abigail). Just tonight again I was disgusted with seeing a three-letter word in the paper. The word in its simplest meaning is: “the character of being either male or female.’’ But that word is being used, abused, exploited so much now-a-days that I am getting mighty sick of seeing it. It has been twisted about until it now is a verb of action, synonymous with the eight-letter word forbidden in the Seventh Commandment of the Decalogue. And that word is synonymous with another three-letter word which is SIN! Young people, let’s get this straight at the outset: whether you find it exploited in ads on T.V., in magazines, on billboards, or in the columns of the “dear sisters, Ann or Abbie,” it is SIN!
The real word in its original sense was God-invented. He created all creatures in that dual role, that dual personality: male and female. From the creepy-crawly beasties to the four-footed animals, and finally the man, He created them in pairs, mates, if you will. To provide a mate for Adam God took one of Adam’s ribs (from under the heart perhaps?) from which He formed Eve. And in the statement found in Genesis 2:24 we find the basis for the argument on marriage and divorce which our Lord used to condemn the wicked Jews of His day. (Read Matthew 19.) This first pair were described as, “They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
But very soon, it may have even been the next day, the description was changed about. In Genesis 3:7 we read, “And the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”
I suppose that you have tried to figure out just what happened. Did you think that they were so naive that they did not know before the Fall that they were naked? No, that is not the answer. They were not naive, nor prudish. They had been unashamed of their nakedness. After all, they had been created perfect, “good” in the sight of God. Well, what then really happened to their thinking to make them aware of their nakedness, and to be ashamed of it? I suggest that this is what happened.
As soon as they had eaten of the forbidden fruit, they had suffered the punishment of that heinous disobedience: the disbelieving of God and listening to the Serpent. They believed that God was keeping back from them what was their right to know; that God wanted to keep that for Himself, not wanting to share it with them. What was that punishment? You know: “The day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Death! That very moment Adam and Eve were spiritually dead, and began to die physically. Yes, now they knew good and evil: the good of fellow ship with God in the cool of the day, and the evil of separation from God! And now they knew that this “evil” had polluted their body. Their body? Sure. They sinned in thought (brain), in word (tongue), and indeed (hand and mouth).
A great change has come over the man and his wife, such a change that no other can compare with it. That great change is described in reverse in I Cor. 15. Now their eyes were open to know that they were naked: unclothed in the sight of God who had made them perfect, unclothed so that He could see that they had become vile and polluted. And, horrors! It was about time for them to meet God near the Tree of Life! That was a time that had been such a rich, rewarding experience, a time of fellow ship and communion with their Maker. But now it loomed in their minds as a horrible time. They could not meet God unclothed! They needed a covering, and what a Covering they needed! But the only covering they could imagine was one of their own making: fig leaf aprons.
Then, when they had dressed in the aprons, they heard the voice of God walking in the Garden. Did they go out to meet Him as before? Did they consider their fig-leaf aprons sufficient covering? You know better. They hid away from God in the underbrush. They hid because they were afraid: afraid of the awesome Holiness of God, afraid because they knew that their dress- making job was unsuccessful, afraid because they were naked. Adam said so. They were now enemies of God. They were now polluted in sin, body and soul. Theirs was the nakedness spoken of in Revelation 3:8 which needs the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness.
Ready for a little Reformed dogmatics? Here it is. Adam and Eve fell, but they fell into the arms of Christ. God maintained His Covenant, which in His Council was restored in Christ. But the man and his wife did not yet know this. All they knew at this point was that their attempt to cover themselves was a dismal failure. They had not yet heard the proclamation of the Gospel as it was about to be pronounced in the Protevangel. Thereupon God provided a coat of skins for their covering. An animal had to be offered and blood had to be shed: the typical blood of the Atonement, Christ’s blood.
But I must go on or Gram will accuse me of rambling again. I want to take you back to the beginning of my letter. Natural man still wants nothing of the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness. He still wants his own concoction of fig leaves. And in this year of our Lord, 1974, man wants less than that. He wants to go back to nakedness and all that rebellion that goes with it. That, in its very essence, is at the root of all modern-day use of that three-letter word which is my pet peeve: rebellion against the God Who created them, rebellion against all his Word and Testimony. That also explains the Old Testament terminology of Israel’s whoredoms and spiritual adultery when they turned their backs to God Who delivered them from the house of bondage; and turned to worship all the hosts of heaven, sun, moon, stars; and burned their children upon the arm of Molech. That is the same spiritual adultery of which natural man is guilty today. And he loves it. He trumpets it abroad. He and she fill the movie houses where this nakedness is exploited for entertainment. And, moreover, when they do wear clothes, they are of such a nature to incite lust, either by their scantiness or style.
But I must progress or this letter will be so long that I will have to put extra postage on the envelope. What has all this got to do with you? Much! We, by nature, are no better than they. We, too, are being tempted by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. You must not get so accustomed to the vocabulary of the world so that you see no wrong in it. The worldly people who glory in their shame are those whom Paul wrote about to the Romans, (chapter 1, verse 28 ff) “God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient (notice how discreetly Paul describes their wicked actions?), being filled with all unrighteousness… who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
I hope that you read “Dear Ann” or “Dear Abbie” with discretion. No doubt that you will receive a liberal education of the carrying on of the world; no doubt that some of their advice sounds reasonable. But weigh it in the balances of God’s Word and be not deceived.
I had in mind to write to you about the fact that I heard that you were thinking of marriage. But that will have to wait until my next letter.
With Love, Gramps. (I will let Gram add a postscript.)
P.S. Dear Jack, flee also youthful lusts, but follow righteousness; and Jill, abstain from all appearance of evil. Love, Gram.
P.P.S. Now just look at that. That which took me three pages to say, Gram did in one terse sentence! Gramps