Matthew 10:16“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 18:3...“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Paul’s warnings to the Galatians and Jesus’ message to the seven Churches is Asia (Revelation 2 and 3), were delivered to the early Church, during a time where I think the return of Jesus was considered imminent. There was much zeal, persecution and false teaching, but when I considered what was going wrong, I saw how our innocence before God had been lost.
There is a general
call to return to the way you first responded to the gospel of Grace. Repentance
always means turning (back) to Jesus through whom we receive grace. (See the “Repent”
I suddenly saw the common thread between first love; doing what you did at first; and repenting. It was all coming back to the fundamental message of the grace we have received via the Cross and our instinctive reaction to this message. No sophisticated teaching or understanding was required. It’s so simple that a child can grasp it and respond.
I’m talking about an effervescence of peace and joy and delight that percolates up from our very being, not something that requires intellectual manipulation. This is not a foolish joy—it has tremendous support and depth and resilience yet there is a spontaneous response when we realise what Jesus has done for us. Suddenly, this great word came to my mind that captures it all …Innocence.
It’s funny how just the right word can capture so much. I could see all the way back to how Adam and Eve had this delightful innocence before God and I could see how the knowledge of good and evil robbed them of this innocence. Other articles like “Just one rule” and “Adam lied to Eve” expand on how Adam and Eve fell. But now the simple revelation that Jesus has done everything to restore us before God, also restores our innocence before God. We are cleansed and made perfect—a new creation.
While I was researching this I noticed that John's first letter refers affectionately to believers as ‘little children’. John must have picked this up from Jesus who, in John 13:33, was the first to address His disciples as ‘little children’. Notably this happened at the last supper immediately after Judas, the betrayer, had left. Jesus had tolerated Judas, knowing that his heart was evil, but as soon as Judas left, Jesus used this most intimate reference to the remaining disciples. Then it is immediately followed in verse 34 by the essence of what Jesus wants—that we love one another and so show that we are his disciples. Please take a moment to read all these references in John’s letter to ‘little children’...
Can you see a delightful simplicity and innocence in these requests by Jesus and John? Isn’t it beautiful?
All legalism, rules, works, false teachings rob us of this innocence before God, because they turn our attention back on ourselves and not on what Jesus achieved for us. If you feel like you have lost this innocence, then put the focus 100% back onto Jesus. All the articles in “The Way Back” will help you do this.