Continuing our exploration of the Biblical teaching on the topic of Restoration, let's quickly review the major ideas presented in the previous blog. First, ALL Christians are commanded to proactively demonstrate the identical forgiveness we have received from God through Christ. As we'll see, our Lord does not suggest this; He commands it. Second, there are two primary players in the drama of restoration: the one(s) restoring (the "Restorer") and the one being restored (the "Restoree" – a made up word). Third, in the context of this series of blogs we are referring to Christians who have fallen through sin, had that sin exposed publicly, paid a high price in punishment, and are now seeking restoration through grace and mercy shown through the body of Christ.
In the immediately previous blog, I wrote about THE ONE PROVIDING RESTORATION and suggested a biblically based battle plan. Let's review those components and the Scriptural basis for each provision. Keep in mind the foundational principles of this argument are found in Galatians 6:1-2,
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such
a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." NKJV
- Humility – a frank, gut-wrenching bowing of the soul before a holy God. Proverbs 15: 33 & 18:12: ". . . and before honor is humility." Prov. 22:4: "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life." I Peter 5:5: " . . . and be clothed with humility, for [God] resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." – Micah 6:8: "[God] has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Key Insight: One cannot engage in restoration from a position of condescension.
- Confession and Repentance – the act of cleansing one's soul of any hidden or lingering personal sin. Psalm 66:18: "If I regard (protect) iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." Key Insight: One cannot engage in restoration without a clean heart.
- Determined obedience – a commitment to honor God with quick obedience regardless of the orders. Matthew 4:20: "And immediately [Peter and Andrew] left their nets and followed Him." Key Insight: One cannot engage in restoration with a hesitant spirit.
- Discernment - a heightened spiritual sensitivity as the Lord leads one to that fallen person God is preparing for the restorer's ministry. Ecclesiastes 8:5: "A wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment." Key Insight: One cannot engage in restoration when led by the emotions rather than the Spirit.
- Armor Up! – you are entering proactive spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:11: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the schemes of the devil." Key Insight: One cannot engage in sustained restoration without the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Move Forward With Courage – God has not given you a spirit of fear. II Timothy 1:7: "But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (self-control)". Key Insight: One cannot engage in restoration with cowardice. First Responders run toward the battle, not away from it.
In the Galatians 6:1 passage above the verb "restore" comes from a Greek word which refers to setting a broken bone or repositioning a dislocated bone. Ponder what that implies: (1) The one broken cannot repair himself; he needs outside help; (2) Productive activity is either limited or impossible until the repair is made; and (3) There will be pain involved in order for healing to take place.
Perhaps some of you sitting on the bench should get in the restoration business. There are plenty of wounded warriors needing your encouragement and help. One need look no further than Christian inmates facing reentry and transition and the strong pull of recidivism. Offer a hand up, a word of encouragement. This may be as easy as becoming a PrayerPal with IMR. Go ahead: take the first step. You'll be amazed at how little light it takes to brighten a dark soul's life. Visit the "Get Involved" page of this website and step onto the battlefield. God will be honored, an inmate will be encouraged to seek the Lord, and you will be overwhelmed with blessing. Check it out NOW!