The namesake of this post’s title is a line from a song of worship sung by Melodie Malone called ‘Simple Pursuit.’ This line from the first verse stuck out to me from the first time I heard it at the Passion conference in January.
Innocence is a topic that’s my heart has been more and more deeply exploring for a while, but I haven’t known how to wonder and express my wondering through writing. However, truth shared with me this weekend has helped me out.
Innocence is primarily defined by Merriam-Webster as “freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil” and “freedom from legal guilt of a particular crime or offense.”
The Lord has placed and grown incredible relationships in my life this semester, and as I’ve allowed these people to trust me and begun to trust them myself, this reality has sunk in: None of us are innocent. Not one. Anybody, regardless of his/her beliefs, would verify this statement.
The Bible reveals that it all started with the first sin, committed by Adam and Eve. Before this moment, before evil entered the world, they were living in perfect relationship with God; they were undoubtedly innocent, the only two people whose lives started that way. After they first sinned, however, shame entered the world–they experienced it because of their nakedness, and they showed it by attempting to hide from God.
Unfortunately, not only does our sins rob us of our innocence, but the consequences of others’ sins steal it from us as well. Whatever degree of “scandal” these sins possess, they scar us and certainly tarnish the way we see our perfect God as well as the people and the circumstances around us. We end up sadly, more times than not, confusing our distorted perception of Him for Him.
Sin keeps us from giving ourselves to our Creator and perfect Father, and it distorts our view of Him and His will for us. Why do we (again using first-person plural to include myself) desensitize ourselves to the depravity of this reality?
Now I’ll share some beautiful truth that’s begun to penetrate my heart all over again… (I didn’t know the Old Testament context here before this weekend.)
In Leviticus, after the Tabernacle had been erected so the Lord could share His presence with His people, He allowed them to regain innocence through atonement–the reconciliation of them to Him–through sacrifices. These sacrifices covered (canceled) one’s sins, were motivated by God’s perfect love, and occurred through the shedding of blood. Each type of offering had specific requirements and possessed a certain purpose.
Now, why were these requirements so strict? Again, it all started with Adam and Eve… Why must blood be shed to cover sins? When they fell into temptation, the Lord took an animal from the Garden of Eden, killed it, and used the skins to cover them up. Why does this animal have to be unblemished? All animals in the Garden were unblemished before the Fall.
What does this have to do with us today, thousands of years later? What does it have to do with Jesus? Everything.
The Bible reveals to us, specifically in the Gospels, that the Lord provided us with the ultimate atonement, for all our sins, so we don’t have to make animal sacrifices anymore. He offered the greatest unblemished sacrifice–His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and died a sinner’s death. Christ propitiated His Father’s wrath so that we may experience grace. THIS IS LIFE-CHANGING.
As we accept His grace and receive Him as our Savior, Colossians reveals to us that we are raised from death (eternal separation from God due to sin) to life and receive His Holy Spirit. Yes, because we’re all still impacted by the unimaginable mess of the Fall, Satan uses sin to enslave us by destroying our innocence, our ideas, and our will and to produce more sin, sickness, pain, and even death. Yes, he is certainly powerful, but JESUS HAS WON. And He’s our advocate. INSIDE US.
Now, this grace cost God His own Son, so it must be costly to us as well. It calls us to follow Him; it calls us to hide with Christ and allow Him to rule every aspect of our lives. It calls us to kill the ways of our old, pre-salvation selves and become more like Him. It calls us to be rooted in, built up in, and walking with Christ. It calls us to experience progressive sanctification. Yes, we screw this up; it battles our human nature; it even feels like hell at times. However, because of Christ, it is possible. It’s worth it because it’s who God created us to be.
Specifically in college, my experiences have basically taught me the Gospel that I claim all over again. The Lord has used my loss of innocence and my witnessing of others’ loss of innocence, which impact me more deeply as sin tightens its grip (including when we fall into apathy towards sin), to disclose to me more and more my grave necessity for Him and the beauty of complete surrender to Him.
We will never experience innocence like Adam and Eve did before the Fall, until we’re united with our Father again in Heaven. Until then, though, He has offered us reconciliation–freedom. I hope and pray that the truth of who He is and what He’s done for you empowers you to follow Him in freedom and experience the innocence of your heart in His hands.
“Keep our hearts real. Keep Your grace close. You’re bringing us back. You’re bringing us home to an unswerving faith in the power of Your name, a heart beating for Your kingdom to reign, a Church that is known for Your presence again. God, take us back.” — Passion feat. Melodie Malone, ‘Simple Pursuit’