Coming Home
by Dr. Ken Matto
One of the most misunderstood journeys in a Christian’s life is the one where we come home. I am not speaking of the home going of the believer but I am speaking of the times when we sin against the Lord or when we drift in our Christian walk off the narrow path. It is the time when we take one of the exits off the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) and venture into the world’s territory. It is at these times when we have taken our eyes off the Lord and have allowed our fleshy nature to become our guide which has only catapulted us into sin and despair. It is at these times when we feel like we have lost our salvation only because we have lost the joy of our salvation and the intimate walk with God. It feels like we are lost in the frozen tundra and unable to find a safe haven with the ominous 6 month winter all around us.
When David sinned with Bathsheba, God had given him a long time to confess that sin but it wasn’t until about a year later that Nathan the Prophet came to him and told him that he had sinned against the Lord. At the beginning of Nathan’s discourse about the poor and rich man, David became angered that the rich man took the only sheep of the poor man. David was so deceived about his sin, he had no idea that Nathan was speaking the parable of him. Then David realized he had sinned and although God forgave and restored him, he still had to pay for the consequences of that sin. The narrative can be found in 2 Samuel 12.
When the anger of Moses was kindled against Israel for complaining they had no water in the wilderness of Zin, Moses struck the rock twice (symbolic of the Lord Jesus Christ dying twice) and the water gushed out. The double striking of the rock was a disobedience against God in the area of unbelief. Moses claimed part in the miracle also, see Numbers 20:10. As a result of this disobedient act, he was disallowed from leading the people into the promised land. While Moses was a saved man, yet his disobedience caused God to judge him by not allowing him to go into the promised land, Yet God in His mercy allowed Moses to go up to the top of Mount Nebo and Pisgah to see all the promised land.
There is always mercy in the judgment of God here on earth. The only time thee will be no mercy is at the White Throne Judgment on the last day. When God deals with His children and sees them sin, there are always consequences but these consequences are not eternally related. The sins of David and Moses were dealt with here on earth and did not affect their eternal salvation. This is because all the sins of the believer have been paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2 Samuel 12:13, we read, And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Notice in this verse we see that God had already forgiven the sin of David and the only way his sin could be forgiven was because of the cross. The eternal aspect of David’s sin was dealt with but the judicial penalty was not. God took the child in death and David could do nothing to escape that penalty. God includes this narrative to show us that sin does have an effect in the lives of the believers. Just because our sins have been forgiven and forgotten, does not negate the fact there will be judicial penalties for our actions.
Any Christian who has been caught up in a sin for a period of time would have to admit that they have lost something in their lives. If they would sit down and assess where they departed from the narrow road to the present day, they would see a loss in their life. It may not be a loss of finances or something tangible akin to that but they would discover they have lost much of their spiritual walk. It may be loss of desire to study the word or lacking understanding of the word. It may be loss of ministry opportunities whereby you see other Christians passing you on the biblical knowledge scale and God using them and bypassing you. You cannot sin against God and expect not to lose some portion of your Christian life. It is when God begins to place us on the backside of the desert is when we need to start asking questions as to why we are there. If you have no known sin in your life then you might be there for training and sifting, but if you have known sin in your life, then you are there for discipline and purging. Basically if we find ourselves under the hand of God, we know why we are there, but being rebellious, we always think we are doing nothing wrong.
What happens then when something goes awry in our Christian walk and we catch it and face it? Can God bring me back to the place where I once was? Is it possible for me to be restored to an intimate fellowship with God? Guess what, the Bible offers some great comforts to the Christian who wants to come home again.
God is ready to restore the wayward child
(Isa 57:17-19 KJV) For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. {18} I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. {19} I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
Our Heavenly Father does not want His children walking around believing that He is out to harm them. Whenever a child of God sins or has been sinning, the first place they need to go is to the Lord. God can begin the process of healing and restoring a wayward son or daughter. God knows the impact that sin has on His children and how it hurts their Christian walk and their fellowship with Him. God is absolutely aware of our situation and stands ready to help. God is a loving and caring Father towards His children and not a despot. It is the people who misunderstand the Christian’s relationship to God that set the wrong tone in the churches and in the understanding of many Christians. Our heavenly Father loves us beyond what we can fathom and that love is an active love and not a passive love. He will not allow us to wallow in the pig pen of sin because that is no place for a Prince or Princess of Heaven. If you have been outside looking in because of sin, then it is time to come home to our heavenly Father. Because of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, we may be restored instantly, our Father hears the cry and prayers of His children. (Psa 3:4 KJV) I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
We may go through a time of filtering
(Isa 48:10 KJV) Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
If there is one way to restore a child of God, it is the most proven method in the world and that is through the furnace of affliction. Many times God shapes and molds His children through this method and it helps remove the dross of sin from us and make us purer for the Master’s work. When God uses this method He makes us stronger which prepares us for the task at hand.
Sinful living creates loss in our life
(Luke 15:31 KJV) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
The Prodigal Son wanted all his inheritance so he could spend it on good times but when the money ran out so did the good times. He finally comes home and the older brother is upset because his father killed the fatted calf and threw him a party. Notice a part of the above verse "and all that I have is thine." The inheritance of the older brother was still intact and it all belonged to him when his father died. The foolish son had no more inheritance and would now be subject to working and saving for his future. There is always loss whenever we choose to disobey God and it does not necessarily mean physical things, it may be spiritual in nature. Maybe once we had a teaching or preaching position in the church and we have now been replaced by someone else and it now seems we are on the backside of the desert wondering when the Lord will use us again. It may take time to test us to see if we have all the desire of worldly pleasure out of our life, then the vessel is ready for the Master’s use.
Restoration is Refreshing
(Psa 23:2 KJV) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
If there is one characteristic of sinful living, it is anxiety. Whenever a person lives in a sinful condition, they wait for two things: Getting caught and waiting for the hand of God to fall upon them. Whenever we get right with God, it is like parking our weary body beside a still pond in the green country. It brings a blanket of peace over us. Peace is a great inheritance to the child of God and allows us to bear up under many things in the world. God is ready to restore our souls and bring us by the still waters to give us a peace that the world cannot understand. Quite frankly, I don’t understand it, I just enjoy it.
Our Salvation is unaffected by our sin
(John 6:37 KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
(Rom 11:29 KJV) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Probably the most comforting element in the believer’s life is that their outward performance does not affect their salvation status before God. Christ came to redeem the elect and as long as the elect are still in a fleshy body there will be sin. Christ paid for the sins the elect will commit because this is the essence of the gospel and the doctrines of free grace. Now I am not speaking of a person living in outright sin without any conscience because this would only prove that a person was never saved. It is only the true believer who wishes to expunge any sinful ways in their life and seek restoration. The plain unbeliever and religious unbeliever care nothing for restoration and their relationship to God. This is because the dead are unconscious to the things of God. When God saved us, He saved us eternally and qualified His children for Heaven by means of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. God will not take back the salvation He has freely given us, if He did, then how or why would we want to repent since we would then be in a state of spiritual death and would not know we needed salvation. A Christian’s desire to come back home is evidence that God has given His children eternal life because a believer’s life is build upon the foundation of grace and that is the catalyst of desiring a right relationship with God.
God is ready to restore us and use us once again in His great plan of evangelism for this world. Don’t stay out in the world or don’t even borrow any ways of the world as these bring us into conflict with Scripture. Isn’t it time, you came home?
(1 Ki 13:15 KJV) Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.    (2/4/01)