Daily Devotional for Saturday March 2, 2013
One of the Most Encouring Things the Bible Teaches is that God is a God of Restoration
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, some people think God chose who he was going to be saved even before they were born. I tend to think He just knew who was going to follow him and who wasn't. What is your opinion?
ANSWER: It is the age old debate about "election." God in His omniscience knew before the foundations of the earth was formed who would accept Him and who would reject Him. Having said that, despite His knowledge, man has the free will to accept or reject Christ and God DOES NOT interfere with that free will choice, meaning each person is responsible for what they do with Jesus. Otherwise, there would be no need for preaching the Gospel, there would be no point in evangelizing, and all of the commandments regarding telling others (Romans 10) would be meaningless.
One of the most encouraging things the Bible teaches us, is that God is a God of restoration. The Bible tells us that we all sin and fall short of God's glory, but what happens to us after we sin is what I want to focus on today. One of the most visible sins in the Bible has to be Peter's denial of Christ. After following the Lord, living with Him, seeing the miracles, hearing the teachings, even being so bold to proclaim Jesus to be, "The Son of the living God." This same Peter in fear of his life denies even knowing who Jesus is!
If the story of Peter ended there, it would indeed be tragic. However, we see that same Peter, just days later in John Chapter 21 being restored to fellowship by Jesus. We then read about that same Peter in the book of Acts, becoming a pillar upon which the early church was founded, boldly proclaiming Christ without regard to his own life any longer. The lesson is that in spite of our sin, God is a God of restoration so that He can use us to fulfill His plan.
After we sin, the most important thing we can do before the restoration process takes place is to confess our sin and ask God's forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God wants to forgive you! God wants to cleanse you! But you have to make the first move. You have to swallow your pride and admit to God you sinned. You have to be sick enough of the sin to want to be rid of it once and for all.
I am not talking about that "morning after" confession either. I am talking about that confession that says I am sorry, and I am ready to walk away from this sin once and for all. We all feel sorry for our sins after we commit them. The issue is whether we are ready to deal with them once and for all, and allow the restoration process to begin. My friend, it is not God holding back that process, it is you. You have to be serious about getting rid of the sin that is in your life.
Once we make up our mind and decide to make the necessary changes to walk away from our sin, we then confess our sins and repent, and have now opened the door for God to restore us. You see, God never stops having a plan for your life. Don't forget, your purpose is to serve and glorify Him. He desires to restore us to fellowship, not only because He loves us, but because He still has work for us to do.
If you are looking for that peace, that joy, that abundant life the Bible speaks of; I am telling you that you will ONLY find it in a daily, intimate relationship with Christ. You will only find it in a life totally and unconditionally surrendered to Him and His will. You will only find it when you are fulfilling your God-given purpose of serving and glorifying Him with your life.
Be encouraged today, God is not through using you. He still has a perfect plan and purpose for your life. It is now up to you. Just like He restored Peter, and used Peter in a mighty way, God wants to use you. The only difference between you and Peter is that Peter turned from his sin, repented and confessed his sins to the Lord...thus opening the door to God's forgiveness and restoration.
I love you and care about you so much. God loves you so much. Turn from your sin, confess and repent of those sins, and let God restore you today. No matter what you have done, God's grace is sufficient and His love is endless. He wants to say to you, just as He said to Peter, 'Do you love me? Feed my sheep."
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,