Concerning our perceived effectiveness, the church has done a fair job of saving people from Hell, but a poor job of saving people from their brokenness. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples, not just converts. I am afraid in our enthusiasm to make only converts we have left a heap of lost souls in the wake of false confessions and hurry-up-sinner-prayers.
As a young enthusiastic pastor, I remember telling an older, seasoned pastor about a successful revival meeting where we had ten people saved (professions of faith). He busted my bubble, saying he did not count them until after a year had passed. He was right. How many times have we seen seemingly sincere people “give their hearts to Jesus”, then take their hearts back to the dreary mess they had just left continuing in their brokenness?
We live in a broken world full of broken people. Jesus came to redeem broken people and He sent the Holy Spirit to restore broken people. Those who are truly redeemed, stick around for the restoration (with some encouragement); those who make an emotional decision instead of a spiritual rebirth find “better things to do”.
I would like to use an antique car analogy. Let’s say an old and valuable antique car is headed to the scrap yard where it will be sold by the pound for scrap metal and then be melted in a furnace. There is potential in the old car if someone only knew its value, but the scrap man sees nothing but rust and crumpled metal. So along comes a man who is knowledgeable about antique cars. He asks the scrap man for how much he would sell the pile of junk. The price is settled on and the antique car dealer goes his way thinking about his rare find and the seller is excited about the money he received for the junk.
So, the dealer redeemed the junk car, he ransomed it from the scrap heap. He takes it to the shop and skilled workers take the junked-out car and restores it to almost original condition. The dealer redeemed it with a price. The shop guys restored it through skill and work.
Moral of the analogy: God the Father valued our souls and sent Jesus who redeemed us from our sinful state in an instant by His blood. The Holy Spirit through His work and power restores us back to more of the original condition—what God intended us to be.
“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 NKJV).
Just as God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage in a relative short period of time; He used forty years of desert living to deliver Egypt out of the Israelites.
The deep meaning of redemption concerns the buying of a slave (paying a ransom) with the purpose of liberating him from slavery. Jesus redeemed us from destruction by His own blood on the cross and through the work of resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, we are restored more and more to the likeness of Christ.
Titus 2:11-14 NKJV
(11) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
(12) teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
(13) looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
(14) who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
We don’t need our numbers embellished so we look good; we need broken lives restored, Hell emptied, and Heaven populated!
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt