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Our glorious restoration: Better than what Adam and Eve once had.

The opposite of grace is self-righteousness and self-improvement. 

"Self-righteous" doesn't mean being holier-than-thou or a goodie two-shoes.  It means having to make a flawless case for yourself - to justify everything you've ever done or thought.  Self-righteousness is a declaration that you've never wounded anyone, never withdrawn love, never acted in a way that violates any relationship you've ever had.

It is a claim to moral perfection, or at least superiority; because you can always point to someone who's screwed up more than you. 

Who in the world would want to make that case for themselves?  Self-justification is exhausting and Jesus wants to release us from the terrible burden of self-righteousness and self-improvement.

Christianity is a release from the self-improvement, comparison-based ["I'm not as bad as that guy, but better than this guy"], sliding-scale of "being good."  How do you ever know when you're good enough?  It's an impossible burden.

The only person whose righteousness and goodness is self-authenticating is Jesus.  The rest of us get to borrow his goodness. 

I think any time we want to put human goodness [rather than Christ-given goodness, given to those who want to know him] on the scales of justice, we badly misunderstand Adam and Eve.  We assume that because they blew it, they must have been just like usThe were not.  Before their Fall, they had hearts that had never known sin.  Can you image what it must have been like to:

  • Never feel selfish,

  • Never feel doubt,

  • Never feel like God owed you something or was holding out on you,

  • Never have an addiction or lust for an empty substitute? 

  • Never desire anything more than what God has already given?

  • Never withhold love from anyone at any time?

  • Never feeling unloved?


The tragedy of ruin:
Our ruin [the Fall that every human since has inherited] was so dramatic because of the heights from which we fell.  We fell from the stars, dropping through cold space, plumetting through mesosphere, stratosphere and bird-winged sky; sinking like a chain-wrapped corpse to the bottom of the deepest ocean trench, a mile below the water's surface where darkness creates blindness. 

Adam and Eve became specters of their former selves.  They let the Thief in through the window.  Put themselves and their children in front of the oncoming bus.  Humanity's inherited ruin is so deep because our former glory was so stunning.  We fell far because we were once so much more.

And that's what is nearly impossible for us to conceive.  That's why we want to cling to our pre-Christ, soiled goodness.

Here's the astounding news.
When God gives you a new heart, his indwelling goodness, he restores you to a glory exceeding what Adam and Eve possessed before the Fall:

“For God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo.  Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity.” – C.S. Lewis

Read that again. 

A person who trusts Jesus' rescue and is restored by Jesus' work, has a capacity that Adam and Eve did not -- even in Adam and Eve's pre-Fall, unblemished and shame-less state.  And that person has a more glorious-than-unfallen-nature right now.  Not just in heaven.  Now!

Living in that truth will bring a genuine sense of humility and deep gratitude to the heart.  In Christ, the degree of our restoration has surpassed the degree of our ruin.


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