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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Unity # 21: Restoration of the Regenerate
Unity # 21: Restoration of the Regenerate
Theme Song: Let Faith Arise
Have I made You the Lord of my life? No, I did not. You are our Lord and in Your Lordship You cause us to acknowledge that You are Lord more and more. You are Lord of my heart, Lord of my dear saint-friends, and Lord of Your bride. Thank You that in every generation You are perfecting the love and the light of the knowledge of Your glory in the souls of Your people. You teach us together and lead us in one heart, one way, and one mind. For we are all driven by the Mind of your Son, the Firstborn of all creation. Please revive us, restore us, and give us Your strength. Purify our hearts to see Your glory in Your divine restoration. Jesus Christ is Lord and He has come in the flesh.
In Jesus Christ's Name,
One the main themes in this series of unity letters is the work of the Spirit who inhabits our being to effect increasing measuring of holiness and the ongoing bearing of fruit in our lives. To continue in ongoing unrepentant sin is in awful contradiction to our new natures made to be like Christ in true righteousness and holiness. So what happens when we fall? What has happened to you when you strayed from God at some point after being regenerated? What is happening to your lingering strongholds and weaknesses? We who know the Good Shepherd are witnesses of His divine restoration preceded by the conviction of the Spirit, the Fatherly discipline, and the witness of our faithful Lord Jesus Christ who has offered His own blood, the Blood of the Covenant. A righteous man falls seven times and rises again (Prov 24:16). Oh, what a glorious restoration the Trinity brings about in the lives of the true children when they have fallen. This restoration happens in His beautiful time and way. The Hebrew Word for restoration means “to bring back”. This restoration results in renewed sweet fellowship with Christ.
In God's eternal covenant spoken through Jeremiah He promises to not stop doing good to His people. He will put the fear of Himself in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Him. He will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in the land of Himself with all His heart and with all His soul. (Jer 32:40-41) In the same way, we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called to His purpose. Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the Image of His Son so that He would be the Firstborn among many brethren. And these whom He predestined He also called and these whom He called He also justified. And these whom He justified He also glorified. (Rom 8:28-30) So even though we sin and stray for a time as believers, we must remember that God has never stopped doing good to us because the curse and penalty for our sin has been removed. He will indeed remove whatever hinders our
fellowship with Him and ongoing belief in the Gospel. In the process of that refinement, we will see His glory and will experience a double portion of His greatness. As God says, "Return to the stronghold O prisoners who have the hope. This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you(Zech 9:12)". The Lord will be zealous for His Kingdom among His people and will have pity on His people. He will answer and speak to them Words of restoration. He will send them the blessings of knowing Christ and will remove the power of sin from their lives. He tells them not to fear, but to be glad in the Lord their God. He promises that He has given them the early rain, the living Water of His Word, for their vindication. They will again bear fruit. The desolation of the Fatherly discipline will be removed and He will make up for the creeping, stripping, and gnawing locust-eaten years. They will have an abundance in the Body and Blood of Christ. We will praise the Name of our God who has dealt wonderfully with us and we will never be put to shame. Thus we will know that He is in the midst of His people. He has poured His promised Holy Spirit on us that we may prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions of what is portrayed in the all-sufficient Word of God. (Joel 2:18-19)
What happens when we have strayed? God tells the Israelites, “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you, 2 and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 3 then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 5 The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper Deut 30" Dear saints, God tells us to you and multiply you more than your fathers.humble ourselves under the mighty Hand of God that He may exalt us at the proper time, casting all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us. We must of sober spirit and on the alert for our adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. We must resist him, standing firm in our faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by our brethren here in the world. After we have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory in Christ will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish us. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)
The fruit of His divine restoration is far greater than everything we feel we may have lost. Why? Because remember that He never stops doing good to His children and He is working everything for their good that they may have the increasing knowledge of Christ. And remember that knowing Christ is eternal life. For this reason James tells us to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result so that we may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. In this we greatly rejoice even though now for a while, if necessary, we have been distressed by various trial so that the proof of our faith being more precious than gold which is perishable even when tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory ,and honor, at the revelation of Jesus Christ. And though we have not seen Him, we love Him. And though we do not see Him now, we believe in Him,. We rejoice greatly with joy inexpressible and full of glory obtaining as the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our soul. (1 Peter 1:6-9)
Divine restoration of our souls when we have gone astray is a work of God to move our hearts to repentance to the throne of grace so that we may continue to bear fruit unto His glory. God tells us to return though we have been faithless. We will return willingly and yet it is His spirit who causes us to do so because God remains faithful to His covenant with His people. He will not look on us with anger for He is gracious. We must only acknowledge our iniquity, that we have transgressed against the Lord our God, and have scattered our favors to the strangers under every green tree and have not obeyed His Voice. He tells us to return though we have been faithless children for He is a Master to us. (Jer 3:12-14) And He will bring us back to sweet fellowship with Himself. He is our good Shepherd and by His rod of discipline we will no longer walk in the stubbornness of our wicked behavior.
Dear saints, we have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in our striving against sin. And we ought not to forget the exhortation which addresses us as sons that we, as children of God, should not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord nor faint when we are reproved by Him. For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges every son whom He receives. God disciplines us for our good so that we may share in His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful. But for those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore we should strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble and make straight paths for our feet. So that the limb which is lame may not be out of joint but rather healed. (Heb 12) God heals our former faithlessness. We come to Him because He is the Lord our God. Surely the hills of our idolatry are a deception, a tumult on the mountains. Surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of His people. (Jer 3:22-23) God has heard our grief. He has chastised us and we are chastised as an untrained calf. He will bring us back that we may be restored for He is the Lord our God. (Jer 31:18) Jeremiah speaks of God's divine restoration: " 10 “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into Jer 29” If we return to God, He restores us. We will stand before Him and if we exile. extract the preciousness of Christ from the worthless world, we will be His spokespeople. The people of the world may turn to us, but we must not turn to them. (Jer 15:19)
As God's children, we should not stray. And if we do sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the Truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9) Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, we should arm ourselves also with the same purpose because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God. (1 Pet 4:1-2) In our straying may we weep and may our eyes stream down with water because we long to be with our Comforter, the One who restores our souls (Lam 1:16). May we call out to the Lord that we may be restored and to renew our days as of old (Lam 5:21). When we do not walk with Spirit, we are slaves. Yet, in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended loving kindness in the sight of others to give us reviving to raise up His house. (Ez 9:9) The God of hosts restores us, causes His Face to shine upon us, and we are saved (Ps 80:9). He restores to us the joy of His salvation and sustains us with a willing Spirit (Ps 51:12). The salvation of God's people has been achieved. When God restores His captive people, they are glad together and called the city of righteousness, the faithful city, the abode of righteousness, the holy hill (Jer 31:23, Is 1:26). He restores our soul. He guides us in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. (Ps 23:3) He sustains us on our sickbed. In our illness He restores us to health. As Hezekiah prayed when God restored Him from His lethal illness, “O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health and let me live!Is 38:16". He restores the ones who are preserved in the Father's hands. He also makes us a light of the nations so that His salvation may reach the ends of the earth (Is 49:6). We shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set us free. We are no longer slaves to sin, but we are slaves to His righteousness. He sees our ways but He will heal us. He will lead us and restore comfort to us and to those who mourn because of us. (Is 57:18)
God restores us because He is faithful to the glory of His Name. When we are faithless during our straying, He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13). Thus He restores us to Himself in His time. He restores the fortune of His people and has mercy on His whole house. He will be jealous for His holy Name. (Ez 39:25) Not only will there be certain restoration, but there is a harvest appointed for them when they are restored (Hos 6:11). They will rebuild the ruined cities and will live in them. They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine and make their gardens and eat their fruit. (Amos 9:14) When He brings us back and gathers us together, He will indeed give us praise and renown among the people of the earth when He restores our fortunes before our eyes (Zeph 3:20). What is our fortune? Our fortune is knowing Christ! The glory which the Father has given the Son, the Son has given to us so that we may be one just as the Trinity is One. Christ in us, and the Father in Christ, that we may be perfected in unity so that the world the world may know that the Father has sent Christ and has loved us even as He has loved the Son. (John 17:22-24)
Dear saints, we must be on our guard. If our brother sins, we must rebuke him and if he repents we must forgive him. And if he sins against us seven times a day and returns to us seven times saying “”, we must forgive him because we have been I repentforgiven of our infinite debt (Luke 17:4). If anyone is caught in any trespass we who are spiritual should restore the one in a spirit of gentleness each one looking to ourselves so that we too will not be tempted. We must bear one another’s burdens and therefore fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:1-2) Our prayers offered in faith will Lord-willing restore the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15) Christ restores the hearts of the father to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers so that He will not come and smite the land with a curse (Mal 4:6). The words of the prophets agree when they proclaim that Christ will rebuild the tabernacle which has fallen and rebuild its ruins. He will restore it so that the rest of mankind will seek the Lord and all the Gentiles who are called by His Name. The Lord has spoken and decreed these things known from long ago. (Acts 15:15-18)
Dear saints, because we have a righteous standing in Christ and His blood-bought robe of righteousness covers us, our Father treats us as righteous. So even when we have strayed, He never stopped showing us His goodness. For the blessings and bestowing of wisdom and love through His glorious restoration more than make up for what we feel that we were losing in the time of straying and the sorrow of His discipline. Thus, in spite of our failures He is progressively sanctifying us and conforming us into the Image of His Son. In all our afflictions He is afflicted and the Angel of His Presence saves us. In His love and mercy, He has redeemed us. And He lifts us and carries us all the days of old. (Is 63:9) He is the Lord of the Universe and the Lord of His Bride.
Love in Christ,