Restoration: Part III of a Series :: By Denis Bowden
Revelation 21:5-8 “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Jesus, my LORD and God, is both the incomparable artist and the ‘master restorer’ of all things. As it was in the ‘Beginning’ when He made Creation, so will He restore all things to the beautiful portrait that it once was.
I have a ‘mind’s eye’ view of what Jesus has effected upon me.
Imagine a once magnificent portrait painting. Sadly, over time, it had so deteriorated that it had nearly been discarded. Yet, it was an ‘original’ work painted by a very prominent artist.
Once, it held pride of place on the Sitting Room wall, where it was constantly admired by all who visited. However, as the home changed owners and was refurbished several times over the years, only a few items of the original decor remained. And that included ‘that old portrait on the Sitting Room wall that hung over the fireplace.’
Many years passed.
Increasingly, the portrait began to show signs of decay.
The frame had somehow become badly scratched. Actually, heat from the fire had begun to warp it out of shape. This had the impact of twisting the canvas itself. The fumes from the log fire and carbon residue had also caused the portrait to darken. And the surface actually had begun to bubble as the brush strokes of paint began to rise off the canvas.
The current owners of the house ultimately concluded that the painting had lost all value and social appeal. As they were not committed to or aware of its history, they made a ‘management decision.’ Removing it from the Sitting Room wall along with other bric-a-brac, it was consigned to the storeroom at the back of the garage. In this rather cold and dank environment, the portrait lay discarded for several more years. Eventually, it was decided to clean out the shed and sell off these unwanted items with the idea that the owners might have made a few dollars.
On the day of the garage sale, a famous art restorer who lived nearby happened to be out for a stroll. He cast a cursory eye over all the items when suddenly his eyes fell on the unloved portrait. Picking it up to closely examine it, his eyes swept to the name of the Artist. It was pretty hard to see as it was almost covered by the warping of the frame.
Smiling softly, the restorer pulled out his wallet and, picking up the painting, he inquired about its price. The Lady of the house blushed and replied, “Really, Sir, I should be paying you to take it away. Its next stop would have been the Council Tip!”
Again, the restorer smiled. He took his purchase to his studio and began the long task of a dedicated and classical restoration. Though it took many days of painstaking attention, he never begrudged either the time spent or the arduous work required of him.
Carefully removing the canvas from the frame, he pegged it on his easel. Turning his attention to the frame itself, which was ‘wonky’ and out of shape, he straightened it and began to remove the dark and unsightly varnish. He then French-polished it till it looked like new. Now, he turned his professional attention to the actual colors and brushwork. This was the most delicate of tasks, but It was a labor-intensive chore that thrilled him to his core as the portrait came ‘back to life.’
Such was his own pleasure at the success of ‘his’ restoration that he invited some colleagues and contemporaries to view the finished result. They were all very impressed, for they recognized both its restored value and the restorer’s acumen in finding it. They heaped their congratulations on him, and in all, the restorer was well pleased with the valuable piece of art he now owned.
Restoration can be defined as the act of returning something to its former condition and glory. Making something as good as new again. Restoration can sometimes go further, making the object of more value than it was originally. And, of course, ‘the art restorer’ in this little cameo is Jesus Christ our LORD.
The Bible says a lot about this. Our Heavenly Father’s restorative power is one of the greatest promises from Scripture. And in all its forms, the word ‘restore’ appears 136 times in the Bible. The attached link fleshes out my own attempt to explain it.
God loves us dearly. He has clearly proven that He loves us almost to distraction, and He dearly wants us to have a relationship with Him. This was nearly prevented by the entrance of sin into the world and has long served to separate us. Yet, God has graciously provided a way for our relationship with him to be restored through his son, Jesus Christ.
Our God, Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, loves the stranger and those lost in hopelessness. And He will seek out and reveal Himself to even one who considers himself His enemy. Whether Atheist, Agnostic, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, or any of the multitude of beliefs that flood His creation with idolatry, it matters not to the God who creates all human life. He will reveal Himself to those He will.
“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son” (Romans 5:10 NLT).
As believers in God through Jesus Christ, we are become ‘restorations in progress.’
Justified before God through faith in Jesus Christ, both you and I have been purchased by His own blood. The blood of Jesus the Christ of the Living God is the blood of redemption. And dripping from His scourged and broken body, they immediately constituted the most precious drops of blood in the history of the world. For the blood of Jesus symbolizes the grace of atonement for the forgiveness of denial and the wages of sin. The wages of unrepented sin is death and perpetual torment upon the resurrection of such sinners.
Without the grace of atonement purchased by the self-sacrifice of Jesus as a perpetual sin offering, mankind would remain a sullied canvas. We would still be covered in the dirt and dross of our sin nature with no hope of redemption. However, when we freely choose to end our denial of God, we are instantly exposed to His power to ‘save’ us through Jesus. In my own case, such were the sins in which I wallowed so continuously that I feared myself to have become valueless.
“We’ve all been there!” When you get to that stage – hopeless, lost, and almost gone – your inclination is to ‘throw in the sponge.’ Some do and seek to end their own lives. The worldly alternative is the instinctive reaction of our ‘sin nature’ because our natural inclination is to go wallow back in the pig swill we tried unsuccessfully to climb out of. To our sorrow and shame, how easy it is to fall back.
But then we found our Savior: Jesus Christ, the righteous. Or did He find us? The lost who are found care only that they are restored to God and that they are born again.
Jesus was born into this world sinless. His sinlessness was tempted by Satan over forty days and nights, but Jesus resisted all the worldly temptations offered Him. Our Lord remained sinless for the three nominal years of His ministry on Earth. During this time, He fulfilled every religious jot and tittle in the doctrine of purity necessary for the sacrifice of atonement. This doctrine had been set out in the Law given the Jews through Moses.
Jesus, the Christ of the Living God, has ensured our own restoration before God. Therefore, let our every prayer be full of praise as we give God the glory.
How unfortunate it is that, for so many, the journey of restoration through faith is never undertaken. Indeed, it is often not even attempted. ‘Unfortunate’ and so sad because God ‘justifies’ the faith of all who come to Him through Jesus.
‘Justification’ of our soul-being was granted us for one specific reason. Within the freedom of our own will, ‘we‘ had to freely choose to make the journey to Jesus. All it cost was our freely given repentance of the sin of our previous denial of God. This journey was made possible through our faith in the power of Jesus to ‘wash us clean’ as He spiritually cleanses our souls. His power to do this flows directly from the blood that flowed from the Roman scourging of His body and the spear that plunged deep into His side to test the existence of any remnant of His earthly mortality.
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
The work of the Holy Spirit, the Third person of the character and nature of God, is ongoing from the time of our spiritual baptism. And He never ceases to pause the process of our restoration before God.
The person of The Holy Spirit is always active. He chides and chastens us, preparing our ultimate state of acceptance before God. I like to think that His is that still small voice of reason. You know the one I mean. The one that constantly duels with our sin nature as we attempt to overcome any inclination to return to the ruinous denial that once ruled our lives.
Often referred to as ‘The Great Counselor,’ The Holy Spirit of God ensures that the process of our restoration will continue until we draw our last breath on Earth. And then, our justification before God will be consummated in Heaven where our sanctification will be complete. Home safely at last to worship God eternally.
(See ‘Some Thoughts on the Process of Sanctification’ in Commentary II, The Genealogy of Jesus.)
The Immediate Fruits of Repentance:
The act of repentance made through Jesus (as we call upon His name) immediately calls forth a permanent response from the triune (three-persons-in-one) nature of God, and this begins our restoration through:
- The justification of our faith in God as Jesus cleanses us with the precious blood of redemption that He purchased by the offering of Himself upon that awful cross.
And as we ourselves will rise as did Jesus, God will award our promised ‘crowns of glory.’ These crowns reflect the value of the ‘works’ done in His honor from the time of our justification. We will wear them forever, and as ‘the sons of God,’ we bear no shame nor suffer judgment of our previous deeds.
Within ‘the old man’ of our sin nature, we possessed no means within ourselves to overcome our ‘built-in’ desire to sin. We were defenseless and faced alone the eternal adversary of this world as he exists within the character of Satan. This changed from the moment we called upon the name of Jesus, seeking the grace of atonement purchased by His precious blood. God then took control, and Satan was pushed aside forever. Within ‘the new man’ of our spiritual rebirth, we are gifted with the power of prayer. And prayer allows us to overcome Satan as we seek forgiveness in Jesus’ name.
My friends, it is impossible for deniers to defend themselves against both their sin nature and Satan without appealing to God through Jesus. Only Christ’s atoning grace provides such protection. While denial exists within us, our sin nature is constantly probed and cajoled by Satan as he attempts to ensure we never attain the justification of God through Jesus.
TO SUM UP:
Restoration of our souls clearly reveals the wonderful relationship that it is now possible for man to share with our Creator. Within the sanctification of holiness, we are privileged to enjoy a far closer relationship with God than ever was experienced by Adam, for we are made new through the ‘new sinless Adam’ in the person of Jesus. And He remains always the perfect offering for sin as we approach God in prayer.
Only faith in the acceptance of God’s plan of restoration has made it possible for us to receive this wonderful gift of atonement for the forgiveness of our sin. And as our sanctification begins through the work of the Holy Spirit, we begin a lifelong journey of communion through the power of prayer.
This is the purpose of the sacrificial crucifixion of Jesus as a ‘once only offering’ for the sin of all mankind (Hebrews 9:27-28). And it is the constant fervency of prayer that keeps our communion alive in Him.
THE PASSING OF THIS WORLD:
‘Birth Pains’ now trumpet the destruction of this passing world, but the ‘world’ remains oblivious. Spiritual denial has ‘blindsided’ man. This leaves this world in complete vassalage to Satan. Mankind is totally preoccupied with self-gratification and insanely pursues every imaginable lust through which to satiate the flesh. The world remains unaware that the denial of God has brought upon it an awful toxicity that ultimately will poison all unshriven souls. Among these are multitudes who simply don’t care.
The redeemed in Christ know that the Second Coming of Jesus will certainly occur within the not-too-distant future. It will follow AFTER the faithful saints of the true church of Christ Jesus are ‘snatched away’ that they may be spared the wrath that is to come.
- Christ Jesus descends to the clouds above Earth and calls His church home.
- The restraint of the Holy Spirit upon wickedness is removed.
- Tribulation descends upon the world and its peoples.
- The ‘Time of Jacob’s Troubles’ ensues as modern Israel is scourged by the world.
The Anti-Christ of Satan will have emerged to rule the passing world for a short time, and he is to confront Jesus with a world army in an attempt to defeat our Lord. Satan believes that if Jesus is defeated, he will have overcome God.
The ‘Second Coming’ of Jesus as King of Kings & Lord of Lords is confirmed as He comes to judge the nations (Matthew 24:1-50). All living in this world will witness the Second Coming of Jesus when:
- Anti-Christ is defeated, and Satan is bound for 1,000 years.
- King Jesus chastens and then restores Israel to true faith.
- King Jesus begins His millennium rule on Earth.
- God ultimately reconstructs the Earth, and the new world begins.
Man will be shaken to the core, and many will attempt to hide from the wrath of God. Then Jesus will descend to the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem. He will step down upon the same site from where His ascent to Heaven was witnessed, and He will enter the New Jerusalem. And thus will all relevant prophecy of His return be fulfilled.
Revelation 1:7 says, “‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him’; and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’ So shall it be! Amen.” This verse brings together two other passages: Matthew 26:64, in which Jesus tells the Sanhedrin they will see the Son “coming on the clouds of heaven”; and Zechariah 12:10, which says that Jerusalem’s inhabitants will mourn when they see “the one they have pierced.”
Though our God is merciful and loving, His forbearance in the face of unremitting sin is not limitless. Scripture teaches that we have only been granted time for ‘all His sheep to be gathered.’
The warning signs are the ‘birth pains,’ as Jesus described them to his Apostles in Matthew 24, and they now surround us. This Godless world has descended into the chaos of madness. War, pestilence, flooding, rains, and fire now prevail. Even Christians are beginning to despair as out-of-control mobs rule city streets as they run in packs like ravening wolves. For within the veil of the spiritual blindness that has fallen across this world is a satanically inspired hatred of both Jesus Christ and Christians at large.
Such was the nature of Sodom and Gomorrah and its peoples. Their destruction then came at a time when they were least expecting it, and this world will also pass as the wrath of God suddenly falls upon it.
The Word of God teaches that little chance of faith-led restoration exists because a world that is locked within its denial of God is incapable of becoming Christ-centered. Clearly, this world has rejected Jesus.
However, we must not doubt the consistency of the expression of the will of God. The Bible provides us a litany of the times wherein God moved to destroy both the sin and the sinners in the face of His mercies and their refusal to repent.
Signs of the Times That Herald the Birth Pains:
- The slavish preoccupation with the human icons of celebrity
- The elevation of celebrity to the status of demi-gods
- Falsity and misrepresentation by our ‘leaders’ who now control the media
- Sexual promiscuity and the debauchery of children from infancy
- Drug addiction: leading to the destruction of flesh and the capacity to exert self-control over the logic that guides rational behavior
- The satanic destruction of family and the rise of the falsity of ‘transgenderism’
- Outright murder to depopulate the world through homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia
- Adoration of both our own flesh and that of others
- Self-adornment through body modification and implantation of ‘jewelry’ and tattoos
Evil behavior has exemplified the status to which people have elevated the worship of their own bodies as mankind seeks to become as God. Such things are abominable before God, and they have incurred His wrath. Godlessness has placed this world beyond redemption through man’s vile conduct.
“Yep… I Know What’s Going On!”
Social media chatter is abuzz with the ‘the terrible things that are happening,’ but those who are spiritually blind cannot see that they are living witnesses to the seeded and well-watered garden of their own destruction.
“Indeed, not so!” says the unGodly. “Are ‘we’ not simply the poor victims of man-induced changes to the Earth? And this because we have poisoned and polluted ‘our’ planet by causing the climate to change!”
To quote Ebenezer Scrooge (Chas. Dickens), ‘Bah… Humbug!!!’
In the midst of this madness, modern-day Jews of Israel’s Sanhedrin are planning to rebuild the 3rd Jewish Temple at Jerusalem and restore animal sacrifice. Some of the Jewish rabbinate truly believe that the re-commencement of animal sacrifice will create the correct circumstances for The Messiah to appear. However, ‘Jacob’ (a synonym for God’s chosen people) still has a long journey to make to come to God through the same Messiah they rejected and whom they believe is yet to come.
Most Jews reject Jesus, and many do not even attempt a relationship with God in the expression of their daily lives. That is to change. Before they can be redeemed, modern Zionist Israel will suffer dreadfully. The ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’ approaches. Zionism is a secular creation, and it is not the Israel that Jesus rules for the millennium. This will be a time of sackcloth and ashes, and God’s plan for His people informs us that King Jesus must scourge the nation of non-belief as He is revealed as their true Messiah.
Jeremiah 30:17 NKJV “For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, ‘Because they called you an outcast saying: “This is Zion; No one seeks her.'”
This is the world in which we presently reside. We give ‘our’ thanks to God who has saved us through Jesus. For ‘our’ true and forever home is not of this passing world. Our ‘mansions’ have long been prepared elsewhere.
GOD MAKES ALL THINGS NEW:
Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Revelation 21:5 “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.'”
Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Romans 6:4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
My LORD and my God.
Coming next: Part IV – Satan
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