When my family and I first moved into our house about four and a half years ago, we had some work ahead of us. Our house was built back in 1941, and quite a few elements of it were … unique … to say the least. It looked like it was originally about a third of its current size and it had been added on to, room by room, through the years. And one piece at a time, we worked to polish it and make it new again.
With a little bit of elbow grease, a lot of help from family, and some interior design genius from my wife Becca, it was not long before what we initially moved into became fresh again. One element of this restoration was found underneath a grimy, grayish carpet that was well-worn and a victim of both spills and pet smells. When the rug came off, what was revealed was a lovely wood floor original to part of the house. Once we ripped off that old crusty covering, we were able to restore it, and enjoy its beauty ever since.
So it is in many ways what God does with us; since the beginning of time, as it says in Genesis 1:2, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
As Pastor Josh pointed out in his message on Sunday, God created His “good” things in creation, and then He created us … whom He proclaimed to be “very good (Genesis 1:31).” We were the pinnacle of His creation, and after we chose to rebel against His ways and have what pastor, writer, and speaker Mark Sayers refers to as “the Kingdom without the King,” He has been active in restoring us into relationship with Himself ever since.
But how does God go about this restoration? And what must we do to lay claim to this active promise? The answer is really quite simple, though not always easy.
We must look to Jesus, acknowledge His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection as the key to our salvation, repent of our sins, and then obey God’s instruction and follow Him. There is no substitute for this belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. It is only God who brings wholeness to the broken, and not one of us is left without the offer to accept it. For as it says in Psalm 147:3, 10-11, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. … His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.”
In other words, upon God’s creation of us as His image bearers, we were made for so much more than to simply exist; we were designed to be the adopted heirs of the King. Consider for a moment these precious words of Paul about that truth in Romans 8:14-17 (ESV):
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”
Upon God’s creation of man and woman, our command to, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth,” was more than just instructions. It was an invitation into something greater—something eternal. And though this journey takes time, space, belief, and commitment, it allows for us to accept the very nature of our existence in ways nothing else can. God’s plan did not stop on the seventh day when He rested. For through creation, God made it possible for us to know Him all the more.
We only have to peel back the dirty and worn rug of our lives and see just how new it can be with the help of our Creator.
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19-25)
When God created us, He said we were “very good.” But the world outside our windows is not what any of us would call “very good,” is it? Next Sunday we will find out more about that together, in this great story of restoration. May the peace of Christ be with you all in the week ahead. Let’s go forth together and do what it is we were created for.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF …
- How have I been uniquely created in the image of my Creator?
- Have I accepted the offer of salvation and relationship with the One who created me and said I was “very good”?
- If so, how am I seeking to deepen that relationship? If not, why not?
- In what ways has God brought restoration to my life after I began walking with Him?