June 6

Can’t Go Back, But Can Go On

Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s [Adam’s] offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

I Thessalonians 4:15-16 But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

This is a simple but profound and powerful truth: We can’t go back to innocence, but we can go on to holiness.

Some segments of our world want to go “back to the garden,” as if there were a way outside of Christ to regain the innocence they instinctively know we have lost. Perhaps if we adopt some of the external expressions of living in the garden (of Eden), they say, we can get closer to that innocence.

Others watch children, thinking them innocent (which they are only relatively), and try to emulate the behaviors of children in the same attempt to get back to innocence. Unfortunately, while it’s true that most children are more innocent than most adults, they are also usually wildly self-centered.

We can’t go back. We, in Adam, were expelled from the garden, and we can’t return to the pure state of innocence. No new behaviors or mindsets will do it. We are dead and lost in our sins, having forfeited our innocence forever.

But thankfully, He has called us on to something more and greater than innocence. He has called us to share in His holiness. He has called us to it, and has equipped us and strengthened us for the journey.

We need to stop trying to regain, and start working to attain instead. We need to completely let go of the thought of recapturing innocence. Let the world write their songs and books about it. Yes, it’s a poetic thought. It’s also a historic, cosmic tragedy that we lost it.

Yet we are called to something greater. Innocence was always intended to be directed toward holiness. Part of the glory of forgiveness is that we are positioned, even with our lost innocence, to go on to holiness.

Philippians 3:13-14 says, “… one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Grieve the loss of innocence if you must. Then pick yourself up and move, with God’s grace and strength, into the path of holiness.

Prayer: Lord, I let go of all dreams of regaining my innocence. Thank you for restoring me and setting me on another, better road—the road toward holiness. Help me to be poised to receive all that You have for me on that road.

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