Perspectives on Restoration (1)
Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. Psalm 2.10-12
The context for restoration
The apostle Paul explained that it pleased the Father that in Jesus Christ, all things should be reconciled to God (Col. 1.20). Jesus came into a world in rebellion against God, a world under the rule of Satan and the lie, a world that was lost, disordered, corrupt, and abusive of the goodness of God which abounded in it in infinite and varied ways.
In a very real sense, not much has changed. Our world still seeks to break free of the constraints of God and His Law (Ps. 2.1-3). It traffics in lies and deception (Ps. 12.1-3), promotes material gain and self-interest (Matt. 6.24), and uses the goodness of God with ingratitude, indifference, and even hostility to His divine purposes (Rom. 1.18ff.).
In such a world, Jesus accomplished a great work of reconciliation. By His life, death, and resurrection, He bound the ruler of that world and launched a project of plundering his household (Matt. 12.22-29), taking every thought and everything captive to His rule and order (2 Cor. 10.3-5), for the praise and glory of God (1 Cor. 10.31). His work gained Him the eternal Kingdom of God, which He has given to those who believe in Him and obey His Word (Dan. 7.13-18). His Father has appointed to His subjects the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5.18, 19), the ongoing phase of Jesus’ achievement whereby the fallen world is being recovered, restored, and renewed.
We who have received the ministry of restoration look to God and our Lord Jesus Christ to direct our efforts, and the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to instruct and empower us for our work (Phil. 2.13; 2 Tim. 3.15-17). We expect the work of restoring the reconciled world to be arduous, time-consuming, gradual, ongoing, and fraught with potential for bringing glory to God. So we take up this calling and work gladly, looking to Jesus and drawing on His resources to help us, each one in our own sector of the fallen but reconciled world.
Psalm 2 provides us with some general guidelines, items on a restoration agenda that can help us to focus clearly and work diligently in our individual callings.
The aim of restoration
The temporal aim of restoration is blessing (v. 12). We want the goodness of God, which everywhere abounds by His grace (Ps. 33.5), to be recognized, appreciated, enjoyed, and used for His glory, so that His goodness will encourage us to repent from sin and embrace of the reconciling work of Christ (Rom. 2.4).
For this to happen, we need the wisdom of God (v. 10). We are Christ’s royal priesthood – rulers and priests (1 Pet. 2.9, 10), whose calling is to bring everything within our purview under the feet of King Jesus as a holy offering to His Name (Ps. 2.10). Christ Himself is the Wisdom of God, the very treasury of all wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2.3). For us to succeed in our calling, we will need to see Jesus clearly, hear Him continuously, obey Him explicitly, and follow Him into whatever relationships, roles, or responsibilities He may be pleased to assign to us. Only as we grow in wisdom will we be able to bring God’s wisdom to light, and thus restore the right use of all things for His praise and glory. Wisdom begins in the fear of God (Ps. 111.10) and grows from there by instruction to discover the plan of God for all aspects of life in the world (Ps. 2.10).
As we grow in wisdom and instruction, our vision of what the blessings of God can look like for our world will become increasingly clear. It is not our mission to deprive the world of its fun, or to impose on it a regimen and order of dourness and doom. We seek the happiness God intends for all His creatures, happiness which can only be found in submission to King Jesus and His Law (Ps. 1.1-3), according to His Kingdom agenda (Rom. 14.17, 18). We don’t want anyone to perish in their sin (Ps. 2.11), so we give all diligence to make our own calling and election sure, and to labor diligently to bring the goodness of God and His blessings to our world.
The restoration project
Our project for restoring the reconciled world takes up the pattern and template established in Scripture, mirrors the work of Jesus, and seeks above all that He might be seen, known, loved, and worshiped throughout the world. This is the ultimate aim of all our work of restoration, both that which we undertake in our own lives and that which we pursue in the world (Ps. 2.11). We believe that, where restoration is accomplished, the worship of God will increase, and the joy and happiness of those who worship will abound as well.
As the work of restoration proceeds, Jesus fills His people with Himself; His Church becomes more visible as His Body incarnate; His Spirit overflows in rivers of living water to refresh and renew the lost world; and we His people labor in all our endeavors to bring more of the goodness and joy of the Lord to the world (Eph. 1.15-23; 4.8-10; Jn. 7.37-39).
When we read Psalm 2, we may tend to see in the “kings” and “judges of the earth” only those who are in rebellion against the Lord (vv. 2, 10). And, indeed: our desire is that all kings and nations and peoples, and all their cultures and institutions, would break free of the bonds of misguided affections, exploitation, oppression, and mere self-indulgence to know the true happiness that is to be found in serving Jesus. We have hope that, as we persevere in our labors, even those who do not come to faith in Jesus, and even those who continue to regard themselves as His enemies, will see the wisdom, beauty, goodness, and joy that prevails in the restored world, and will submit themselves – in spite of themselves – to the purposes and ways of God (cf. Pss. 66.3; 81.15).
God’s answer to a broken world, a world in rebellion, a world indifferent to and even scornful of His mercy, grace, and goodness is to point that world to His King and His rule, and to call the peoples of the world to submit themselves and everything in their lives to Jesus, in loving and joyful service. And we to whom the ministry of restoring the reconciled world has been given are the means and agents whereby God intends to realize that objective.
1. How would you explain the ministry of restoring the reconciled world to a new believer?
2. Why do we have hope of making real progress in the work of restoration?
3. How can you make Christ’s restoration agenda a more continuous presence in your own life?
Next steps – Preparation: What opportunities for restoring the reconciled world will you have today? Commit them to the Lord in prayer.
T. M. Moore
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