37. HIS HEART IS FOR RECONCILIATION AND RESTORATION
Whether you are still an unbeliever of God’s testimony of Jesus and therefore clothed in your sins or a believer that backslid, made wrong choices in life and deviated down a path of sin, God’s desire has always been and continues to be for your RECONCILIATION (as an unbeliever) and RESTORATION (if you are a Christian).
In other words, if you never came to the foot of the cross and surrendered your whole life over to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith, God wants to save you from your sins and his wrath to come, so that you can be RECONCILED with him and have relationship with him through Jesus Christ, his Son.
If you are a believer and therefore believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in obedience to God’s Word, confessed with your mouth that he is Lord, surrendering your whole life over to his Lordship but you turned from the path of righteousness, delved into sin and disobeyed God in some way, thereby breaking fellowship (not relationship) with him, he wants you to repent of your sin, confess what you are guilty of, to him, forsake that wicked way and be RECONCILED to him.
Unlike human beings that have a tendency to cast their noses down at you, to consider you a write-off because of your past or as too wicked a person for there to be any hope for you or future in God’s Kingdom agenda, God desires to be RECONCILED with you and to have a relationship with you. Unlike human beings who tend to be more interested in being malicious, spiteful, to regard your situation as a means to level a score, to say ‘aha!’ or as entertainment, ridicule, gossip or a means to make themselves feel self-righteously pious, God’s heart is and has always been for RESTORATION. He desires to forgive you and to cast all of your sins into the sea of forgetfulness, provided you repent, turn away from your sinful ways and submit yourself to the Lordship of his Son Jesus Christ.
In Micah 7:18-19, the Prophet of the Lord, speaking what the Lord had put into his mouth to say, stated:
- “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
In light of the fact that God is merciful and is always ready to forgive the genuinely repentant, earlier on in the same passage, Micah stated:
- “Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.”
Many scriptures in the Bible reveal the heart of God as it relates to mankind, including both saved and unsaved people. He “…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance“(2 Peter 3:9). He therefore sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
In Ezekiel 18:21-23, God stated through his Prophet:
- “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. ALL HIS TRANSGRESSIONS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED, THEY SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED UNTO HIM: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”
To the Christian who has backslid and done wrong, God does not therefore say, “Stay afar off. I cannot bear to look at you. You have hurt me too much by your actions and you are too filthy to be cleansed.” Instead, like the Father in the parable with the Prodigal son, while he never condones the sin, he invites the backslider to return in repentance. He tells him, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Such is the extent of the grace of God, a grace that is freely offered to mankind and a grace where, even “…where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20-21)
Given that God’s grace is so great and so bountiful, it is not a grace to be trifled with, exploited or trivialized, for it is precious. It extends to us what we do not deserve, provided that we turn from all of our wicked ways and return to the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10).
This grace does not last forever though, which is why making things right with God is always so urgent. Hebrews 3:15 states,“TODAY if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…” In 2 Corinthians 6:2, it states, “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.)“
Even if you are deep in sin right at this moment and into this world’s wicked and corrupt system, God encourages you to come out of it and promises to receive you, once you do. His Word says “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”(2 Corinthians 6:17)
Notice that, unlike the way that human beings, even some in the Church, tend to behave, God didn’t say that after you come out, separate from wrongdoing and wrongdoers and turn your life over to Christ or repent for some sin that you were guilty of as a Christian, that he would ostracize you, look down at you, scorn or condemn you because you were once involved in such wrongdoing or with such wrongdoers. No. Instead, he has said in his Word, “I will RECEIVE YOU.”
To be received by the God of Creation is what is most important. Even if people reject you, once you are accepted in the beloved, this is the principal thing. For, only God has the power to forgive sins, which are against him, first and foremost. Only he has the power to justify and he alone has the power to render a sinful man righteous, imputing upon him the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Only he has the power to also cleanse his children from unrighteousness and only he has the power to wholly sanctify.
Mankind has not this power and of a truth, could never stand in the position of judge to condemn another as a complete write-off and hopeless, as every man and woman was born a sinner, have the sin nature within him or her and is in need of the Lord’s saving grace and power.
While it is the duty of a Christian therefore to inform people of what God’s Word says without compromise, to state the truth always (even exposing that which is sinful) and to separate himself from wrongdoing and unrepentant wrongdoers, no Christian has the right to look down at a person who, having a track record or past full of sin, has obeyed the Lord and come out of those situations, surrendered his heart and life over to the Lordship of Christ, been washed in his blood and cleansed from all defilement or a person who, even as a Christian, sinned against God but repented and has been forgiven by the Lord for his wrong.
As further evidence that God’s heart has always been for RECONCILIATION AND RESTORATION, in Deuteronomy 4:23-31, Moses told the Lord’s people (the children of Israel), that they could be expected to be punished by the Lord if, after he took them into the Promised Land, they turned away from him and worshipped other false gods. However, Moses, knowing something of God’s character, was careful to point out that, if in the middle of them being punished, God’s people had a change of heart, repented and returned to their God, that God was merciful and would not abandon them because he was faithful.
Moses told the Israelites:
- “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
- When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger: I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
- But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (FOR THE LORD THY GOD IS A MERCIFUL GOD;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.“
That God’s heart has always been for RECONCILIATION and RESTORATION therefore is clear to see from his dealings with his children the Israelites in the Old Testament. Yes he punished them for their iniquities and he does the same by chastening his children in the household of faith (the Church), today but he never stopped loving them with an everlasting love and always longed for them to return in sincerity to him (Jeremiah 31:3; Isaiah 44:21-22; Jeremiah 4:1). God’s arms were open to receive them upon genuine repentance, even as it is today for every wayward child of his that has gone off on the wrong path.
In Jeremiah 3 and 4:1-2, despite Israel’s reprehensible conduct and treachery against God, he was still ready and willing to forgive them of their sin, if only they repented and turned from their evil ways. God stated through his Prophet of the children of Israel:
- “They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet RETURN again to me, saith the Lord.
- Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
- Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.
- The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. And I said after she had done all these things, TURN thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.
- And the Lord said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, RETURN, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. ONLY ACKNOWLEDGE THINE INIQUITY, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord.
- TURN, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
- And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more…
- But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
- Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord. A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God. RETURN, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God...
- If thou wilt RETURN O Israel, saith the Lord, RETURN unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove. And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory. For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.”
In the scripture read from the book of Jeremiah above, given Israel’s sins and that they were unrepentant, although God loved them dearly still, he could not bless them in their sin and so, one can sense the pain in his heart when he stated through his Prophet, “But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations?” He longed to bless them but could not.
God does not only want to be RECONCILED with mankind and for his children to be RESTORED to him therefore but he also wants to bless his children. He delights in doing so. However, he cannot when his children rebel against him, deviate from the right path and refuse to repent.
When we adopt that hardened position, God withholds the blessing and it grieves his heart because of his love for us and him wanting to bless us. When, due to our sins, we make wrong choices, leave him out and don’t repent, he is left with no choice but to withhold his hand of blessing from us.
In Jeremiah 5:23-25, God stated through his Prophet, of his people:
- “But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and YOUR SINS HAVE WITHHOLDEN GOOD THINGS FROM YOU.“
Similarly, in Isaiah 59:1-14, the Prophet told God’s people:
- “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
- None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
- Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace. Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”
Nevertheless, despite the extent of the sins of God’s people, in 2 Chronicles 7:14, the Lord conveyed through his Prophet, even as he does today with his Church, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
(Written on 3rd and 10th February, 2022)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 2 – ‘Would God Want Me Back Now?’
- Note 3 – ‘On The Lonely Road Back To Restoration’
- Note 4 – ‘Once You Repent, There Is Always Hope In Jesus’
- Note 5 – ‘Forgiveness,The Sea Of Forgetfulness And Freedom’
- Note 7 – ‘The Backslider And The Book Of Lamentations’
- Note 11 – ‘What Is Repentance?’
- Note 13 – ‘Backslider, Repent!’
- Note 16 – ‘Come Away…To Jesus’
- Note 19 – ‘What Jesus Thinks Of You Is All That Matters’
- Note 27 – ‘He Is The God Of Second Chances’
- Note 26 – ‘The Faithfulness Of God – Remembering How Far We’ve Come’
Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:
- Note 134 – ‘So You Have A Prayer Life – How Is Your Repentant Life?’
- Note 208 – ‘The Revenger And The City Of Refuge’