There’s a TV show that my family and I watch called American Restoration. The star is Rick Dale. 1
Watching Rick restore whatever his clients bring in is an amazing process. Usually what they bring in has been dropped, crushed, rusted or in some other way destroyed. But after Rick and his employees have worked on the item it looks and operates just like it just came from the factory. Even better than watching the restoration process itself, though, is seeing the joy that bringing something back to “like new” brings to Rick Dale. There’s no doubt that what Rick is doing is his passion. Not many people would have the patience to take a broken, dented and non-working item, take it completely apart, clean and repair each individual piece, sand, repaint and put the whole thing back together again so that it not only looks brand new, but works like it was made to work.
You know, we’re in much the same shape as those broken and dented items that folks bring to Rick’s Restoration workshop. We have been broken and scarred to the point that we are almost not recognizable as the same types of humans that God created on the sixth day of creation.
“Through sin the divine likeness was marred, and well-nigh obliterated. Man’s physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become subject to death. Yet the race was not left without hope. By infinite love and mercy the plan of salvation had been devised, and a life of probation was granted. To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.” (E.G. White, Education, p. 15)
Can you imagine how God’s heart must break when He sees the marks that sin has made on our lives?
As damaged as we are, though, we can be restored. Before Adam and Eve ever sinned, God had a plan to repair the damage that sin would do – to bridge the separation that sin would open up between God and the beings that He created. God’s instrument of restoration is Jesus.
“The thought that God’s eye is watching over us, that he loves us, and cared so much for us as to give his dearly beloved Son to redeem us, that we might not miserably perish, is a great one; and he who opens his heart to the acceptance and contemplation of themes like these, will never be satisfied with trivial, sensational subjects.” (E.G. White, Christian Education, p.188)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
That’s part one of our restoration process – the earthly part. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, His death is applied to our lives so that when our names come before God, He won’t see our sins, He will only see that our debt has been paid. Our relationship with Him is restored to “like new” condition.
But wait, there’s more!
Part two of the restoration process is even more exciting. When Jesus comes to take us home to Heaven, something miraculous will happen. We will be changed into our original, pre-sin condition so that we won’t just be “like new,” we will be completely new.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-55
One of my favorite pastors, Walter Pearson, preaches about the moment when we are caught up in the clouds to be with Jesus. At that moment, we will realize both that we are face to face with Jesus and that we will have our incorruptible bodies. We will look at Jesus and see, for the first time what “made in God’s image” really looks like.
I don’t know which part of our salvation/restoration seems more miraculous – yes, changing our sin-battered bodies into God’s original design is amazing, but I think the real miracle takes place when the Holy Spirit touches our sin-stained hearts and cleanses and fills them with a love for our Creator and King. How can God fix something so broken as a sinful human being?
Allan Dale Golding gives an illustration that might help us understand God’s restoration process.
“When we were missionaries in the Philippines, we vacationed in Baguio City in the mountains of Northern Luzon. While there, we visited the St. Louis Silver School, where silversmiths are trained. We admired exquisite workmanship in the workshop and gift shop, and took home a souvenir—a pure silver money clip embellished with a distinctive design. I carried that clip for the next 24 years. One day it finally broke as I slipped a few bills into it. I then took the two pieces of the money clip back to the silver school in Baguio. One workman, about my age, asked if he could help me. I explained my predicament and laid the pieces in his outstretched hand.
“After examining the pieces for a minute or so, he looked up at me and said, ‘I designed this clip. I was the only one to make this design. I made all of these that were ever made.’
“I asked, ‘Can you fix it?’
“He said, ‘I designed it. I made it. Of course I can fix it!’”
Jesus designed and created us. He made the plan to fix us when we fell and if we will let Him, he is waiting to re-create us in His image again.
“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” John 3: 16-17AMP