Over the past couple weeks, we've been discussing Creation from The Beginning to The Fall and finally Restoration. We want first to warn you. This post is not short and to the point. We're going to throw a lot of information at you. Take your time and read, reread, and re-reread sections. Spend time in meditation and prayer over this information. Some of it might rock you, and that's ok. At any point, if you have a thought, question, or comment, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Our hopes are for you to grow deeper in your relationship with God. We want to help fully restore you with the Creator and author of our lives!
Let's begin diving into Restoration - the final act of Creation but the beginning of how God will use inadequate people (inadequate because of their inward bent and separation from God) for short and enduring restoration until He came in human form to offer His life as a means to reconcile mankind with their creator.
Let's take a minute and answer a couple of questions:
Do you know what a scapegoat is?
Scapegoat is defined as:
a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency.
Do you know what Impute means?
Impute is two fold and defined as
1: to lay the responsibility or blame for often falsely or unjustly
2: to credit to a person or a cause
Keep these two words handy as we begin unpacking Restoration.
We'd like to start with a statement from our Biblical Foundation Material written by Matt Allen:
This restoration between God and us is what Fully Packed Adventure Ministries is all about. Restoring a fractured relationship between God and us will also allow God to help us heal and restore relationships with others such as friends and families because of the grace poured out by Jesus Christ in the lives of those He has saved.
Remember those two words we just discussed? Impute and Scapegoat. God came in human form to die for our sins (scapegoat and part one of the two fold definition of Impute - take a minute to review these words). God bore the full weight of our imperfections (2 Corinthians 5:21), our inward hearts, our selfish desire to look out for numero uno. In this one act, he restored our relationship with Him (see part two of Impute). By bearing the weight of our imperfections, he then credited us with salvation - making it possible to approach God and spend eternity with Him in heaven.
So, how do we receive this salvation? How do we partake in the full restoration of a relationship with God?
Let's take a look at what Matt Allen has to say on this:
In terms of worldview, many religions explain a way to achieve salvation and eternal life. Essentially, these views can be classified in two ways:
Works righteousness: Through human achievement, good works, or adherence to a moral code, eternal life can be merited.
Divine accomplishment: God has graciously provided salvation through His will and work. For the Christian, this means that the righteousness of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross is imputed to those who believe on Him.
As we consider our worldview as a Biblical worldview, we must understand that other faiths and other belief system would offer different paths to salvation. As Christians, we understand that in John 14:6, Jesus asserts that He is the ONLY way to salvation and restoring a relationship with God the Father. Even in the Christian church, we often get confused as to Christ being our only means to salvation. We think that following the rules established in the Bible or being kind to others assures our salvation.
Do you remember those five Latin statements we asked you to look up: Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Escritura, Solo Deo Gloria?
These five statements will help you understand how we can partake in salvation. Let's take a minute and find out how we got here:
During the Protestant Reformation, it came to light that the Catholic church had strayed from the centrality and singularity of the Bible’s message that salvation is only through Jesus Christ. Romans 1:17 was instrumental in transforming the life and theology of Martin Luther. John Calvin, Martin Luther, and the Apostle Paul were absolutely convinced that salvation is not through us meeting certain conditions or stipulations. The reformer John Calvin is famed for the 5 solas, which are simple statements describing the hope of salvation that pertains to each follower of Christ by way of the New Covenant. These Latin ‘sola’ statements are profound, simple, and rooted in Scripture. Despite being straightforward to defend using the Bible, these statements have been widely misunderstood within Christianity and have generated much controversy. - Matt Allen FPAM Biblical Foundation Material pg. 34
Let's unpack the five Sola statements:
Side Note - Unpacking: These five statements can be an easy way for you to explain to others what you believe. These shape the worldview of the Biblically literate Christian and clearly differentiate a follower of Christ from one who is nominally religious. Keep in mind that we live in a post-modern society that is opposed to absolutes of any kind. Our generation has been indoctrinated that truth is relative and that no one has the right to claim to be correct in topics such as God and faith. But these five statements are clear ways for Christians to explain our absolute understanding of how God through Christ has restored our relationship with God.
Sola Fide - By faith alone. The idea here is that only by placing our faith in the person and work of Jesus the Christ can we be saved. Faith, specifically placed in Jesus Christ is singular in its ability to assure one’s personal salvation.
Romans 3:22-24 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
II Peter 2:20-21 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Solus Christus - John 14:6 shows that Jesus makes the exclusive claim to offer salvation and the way to a right relationship with God the Father. This statement of exclusivity is increasingly viewed as ‘fundamentalist’, ‘radical’, and intolerant. More than any other claim of Christianity, this statement that ONLY Jesus can save us is an offense and causes many to reject Christ, and thereby Christianity. This should not surprise us as the Bible promises this timeless reality. (Look up- stumbling block, offense….)
I Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.
Sola Gratia - It is only by grace that we are saved. Built upon the theology of Paul, we are saved by grace alone, and not by works, lest anyone should boast. This is very key as many Christ-followers have been deceived into thinking that they somehow have earned or deserve their special status of Christians.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by faith you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Sola Escritura - Just as Christ is our only source of salvation and reconciliation with God the Father, the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) are the only source of knowledge the believer has into the identity, nature, and work of Jesus the Christ. An in-depth study on the Cannon of the protestant Bible would be beneficial to understand how we have come to receive the 66 books of the Bible, and why others found in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles have been excluded. As a ministry, Fully Packed affirms the inerrancy of the Bible in its original language and recognized that although God used imperfect men and women in compiling and writing the various books of the Bible, He alone is the inspiration and the author, making this an inerrant and holy compilation of Scriptures.
II Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and rebuking in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Solo Deo Gloria - To God alone be the Glory. This statement is so essential for understanding God’s reasoning for saving us. Yes, God saved us because He loves us, but most of all, He saved us to show His ability to save, His mercy, His grace, and His singular place as the Creator and Redeemer of His people.
As followers of Christ, we must understand that all of our thoughts, words, and actions should serve to glorify God and give testimony to what He has done for us. God will always get the glory, either through our willingly acknowledging Him, or through our painful mistakes and failure to take Him into account. In terms of our salvation, we have been offered salvation through Christ for our good AND His glory.
Romans 11:36 For from Him and through Him and for him are things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
Five Solas information above is from Fully Packed Adventure Ministries Biblical Foundation material pgs. 35-37
Here's a way to remember these five statements:
Sola Escritura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
To wrap up Restoration... we are all inadequate, but through imputation (the act of imputing - review definition above) we are saved i.e. our relationship with God is restored. Thus, allowing us to bring Him the glory (sharing His good news of unconditional love, grace, understanding, and guidance - discipleship) thus furthering His kingdom.
The tricky part of this is remembering that we are here to embody Christ and bring Him the glory to people searching for restoration in Him. Some have been taught bad doctrine, misguided, hurt, or have never been invited into a relationship with Him. This is what we're going to dive into next week - Fully Packed Adventure Ministries Biblical Foundation Module 2 Personal Ministry.
Take some time to think about what your motivation is for inviting others into a relationship with God (restoration). Take note - as followers of Christ, our motivation must be love and a genuine concern for the physical and more importantly, the spiritual well-being of others. And this concern for others MUST TRUMP our concerns for ourselves - this is personal ministry. A selfless partnership, bringing people to a restored state with our Creator, helping them see His will for their lives, thus glorifying Him and furthering His kingdom!
Thanks and God Bless!