Return to Innocence

“For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Romans 16:19

Are we innocent with regard to what is evil? God’s word tells us that we can be blameless and innocent children of God in the midst of a “crooked and perverse generation; among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Phillipians 2:15

Now, certainly we all know what we have come from. We know the depths of the corruption of the human heart and the atrocities it is capable of. But where do we stand today?

Have we understood that we have been thoroughly washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb – that we are no longer what we once were?

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunks, slanderers, and robbers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (my italic) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I believe that all of us can pick some sinful way of life from the above list that would accurately describe the way we lived (what we practiced) before we were made clean, but have we continued to walk in our innocence, or have we become guilty before God again?

“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes. I hate the work of those who fall away. It shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me. I will not know wickedness.” Psalm 101:2-4

“I will not know wickedness.” This is a decision of the will. Whatever it is; that is, whatever form wickedness may take, I will not know it, because I will avoid it at any cost. I will not have any intimate knowledge of it.

Similarly, “I will know God”because I will shun, I will avoid even the appearance of evil and will behave wisely in a perfect way. I will become intimately acquainted with the God who hates evil, and because of my relationship with Him, will learn to hate evil as He does.

“Oh when will you come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”

“A perverse heart shall depart from me.” How can David declare this with such confidence?

Because a perverse heart is in conflict with the heart that is set on pleasing God. Jesus said, “A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things.”Luke 6:45

We hear much talk among believers today about the heart being “deceitful and wicked above all things”, but we don’t hear near as much about the heart of the new creation, even though in Colossians 3:10 we are instructed to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

But really, what does it mean to “put on” the new self? Is is as easy as putting on a shirt or a pair of pants?

Is it not humbling our fleshly minds and hearts before the word of God, and believing in faith that what His word says of us is the truth?

Is it not casting ourselves on His infinite mercy that we might be born anew?

Can we really proclaim in faith that His sacrifice wasn’t enough to change us from within? “…having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God that lives and abides forever.” 1 Pet 1:23

If God says that I am holy – then I am! We must agree with God not only about our sin, but about our transformation; “He died for all that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15

How are we to make the shift from living for ourselves and our own selfish desires?

There is a principle set forth from God which none of us can get around or “side-step”, and that is this; “God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7 “If we sow seeds to the flesh, we will of the flesh reap corruption, but if we sow seeds to the Spirit, we will of the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:8

I don’t currently know of anyone who hasn’t sinned since having become a believer in Christ. But God has clearly called us back to a position of innocence before Him, because He has removed our guilt and shame by what He did for us on the cross.

That being said, He now empowers us to live holy and godly before Him by the power of the Holy Spirit who now lives in us. He does not provide us with a ticket or license to continue in the sinful lifestyles that characterized our lives before we knew Him.

Will you return to innocence?

“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8

Now go tell others what you once were, and what you have now become because of the grace of God.

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