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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Order out of chaos.

"Innocent until proven guilty" has been the stance of our nation and most of the world for a long time. I heard that phrase used recently and began to parse it a little. If we are innocent, then we are good and doing good. If we are found guilty, then we have not always remained innocent or good. If the premise for this legal foundation is true, then it speaks to an internal goodness within each person that may or may not remain steadfast. The phrase presupposes that we will do the right thing or desire to do so. It was at this point in my thought that the verse from Romans came to my mind.

"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:22-24, NIV)

While God created humanity and said, "It is good" (Genesis 1-2) we have run the train off the rails so to speak. History has painted a sordid picture of humanity's failures. Lately, the world and our own nation have shaded the picture a little darker with each passing day. Hate and anarchy are growing like uncontrolled cancer. Which brings me to my internal struggle over the phrase, "innocent until proven guilty". Any innocence, goodness or righteousness we claim as our own isn't really ours to claim. Believers in Jesus are offered righteousness as a gift of God through grace.

Our innocence is assaulted by the next temptation to do something that will find us guilty of a crime. It seems like we have an internal desire to 'not' be innocent. God knows our heart and understands the nature of it.

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NIV)

Can we really assume that everyone is innocent until proven guilty when that idea runs headlong into the nature of humanity to subvert God's ordinances? In a court of law, "innocent until proven guilty" is the baseline. The Bible verse of the day from 1 Peter 2:15-16 then brings us back to what really drives innocence and that is firmly found in loving, serving, and being obedient to God and to people.

When we are faithful to operate under and in God's plan and recognize Jesus Christ is able to turn our guilt into innocence, then God is literally turning our chaos into form and order. Find ways to honor God and obey His laws and the laws of our land. Order is so much easier to operate in and allows smoother, friendlier, and more peaceful interactions. This kind of living keeps our 'innocence' on the surface of our lives and really pleases God too.

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