Do you ever wonder what it would be like to start over in life? Not necessarily from the very beginning; I mean, who really wants to revisit potty training, the first day of kindergarten, and other traumatic experiences. And I DO NOT want to eat cottage cheese ever again!
By “start over”, I’m referring to the time in our life before our innocence was lost. Before we learned how to lie, cheat and steal. Before we knew what emotional pain was like. A time when we believed everyone loved us for who we were, not what we could do for them. When our minds weren’t flooded with thoughts of lust and violence. Before we realized some siblings could be loved more than others.
Wouldn’t it be great to start over with a clean heart?
I look back over my life and think of the different “firsts”; such as, the first time I was afraid, the first time I stole something, and the first time I was introduced to the female body. My first cigarette, my first bottle of bourbon, my first kiss, my first toke, my first hit of acid, the first time I skipped school, the first time I was kicked out of school, and the first time I ran away from home.
I remember the first time I was beaten by an adult. I remember why I was beaten. It wasn’t because of my innocence, either. I remember my first time in jail; and no, it wasn’t a case of mistaken identity. I can still recall my first time in a psychiatric ward. That sure didn’t help restore innocence; quite the contrary.
I look at the picture of myself, when I was about 3 years old, and it makes me sad to think of all the corrupt things I experienced during just the first 16 years of my life. Like everyone, I began my life innocently but, little by little, became selfish and filthy on the inside. And though I was the sweetest, most innocent looking kid on the block, my heart was evil, intent on having its way no matter the cost.
I made wrong choices, and it cost me my innocence. Others made wrong choices which affected my innocence. A cute (and smart) kid, once innocent, now guilty.
I discovered something, though. I wasn’t the only one who’d lost his innocence. I wasn’t the first, or the last. I didn’t write the book on wrong decisions, though I had my own chapter in the book.
No, the first one to make a bad choice and lose his innocence was Adam. What he gained in knowledge couldn’t compare with what he lost, when he gave away his innocence by obeying the serpent. And down through the years the cycle of life keeps repeating itself: innocent at birth, corrupt at death. Regardless of each individual’s nationality, upbringing, or social status; no one stays squeaky clean! No one stays innocent.
“as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”(Romans 3:10-12 ESV)
So, allow me to ask the question again. Do you ever wonder what it would be like to start over in life? Would you like to be innocent once again?
Is it possible? Yes! Innocence can be restored. As mentioned earlier, Adam was the first person to give up his innocence, which affected us all. But there was another Who came, Jesus (also referred to as the Last Adam). This Last Adam restored innocence to all mankind. What the First Adam lost, the Last Adam won!
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12 ESV)
“…For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:16 – 5:19 ESV)
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 ESV)
“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV)
Innocence has been restored to each and every person! It’s what God did for us, through His Son, Jesus. Though each of us were guilty of rebellion toward God and the worship of self, God passed judgment upon His Son instead of us. Jesus took our guilt so we could have His innocence.
“that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…for our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21 ESV)
I’m not saying we don’t remember those times of selfishness and filth; it’s just that God looks at us through what His Son has done, and finds us “not guilty”; “innocent”! The Lord deems everyone not guilty who call upon the Lord in faith. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 ESV)
Yes, innocence can be restored! You can start over with a brand new life in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:5-7 ESV)
You know, I’ll never again look like that cute little 3 year old in the picture. But my heart is rejoicing in the newness of life I have in Jesus.
And I am enjoying my innocence, because of God’s love.