Power to Restrain

The Lord God hears the imploring of His servants. He prepares them for this purpose. They intercede for the people to whom He directs them. He brought them up in His ways to see their iniquity and disobedience, and to restrain Him from completely destroying them. From the time He created a people for Himself He appointed servants that can intercede for them. For His anger over a people in iniquity can only be suppressed by pleading Him. And we see men like Moses, David and the prophets implore Him to be merciful toward His people, who are but dust. “And it came about, when it had finished eating the vegetation of the land, that I said, ‘Lord GOD, please pardon! How can Jacob stand, For he is small?’” (Amos 7:2).

Unless God appoints men to petition for His people, His wrath is not contained. The same is true of the churches today. There must be men in them that plead for their souls. Or else, the wrath of God continues to devour them. They will remain without grace and spiritual blessings – the gifts that assure a heavenly place. Furthermore, their life becomes miserable and they eventually become a by word to the world around them. This was exactly what God was doing to Jacob until Amos implored for him. He would have annihilated him, if He was not reminded of his stature. Many churches are feeling His wrath, but they simply do not consider it as His work against them. It is primarily because they cannot examine themselves to know they are in the wrong. So, they do not consider that God is indeed acting against them. But, all this can be avoided, if there is a person appointed by God to make petition for them. Such person you are, since God called you to serve Him by making you righteous by faith.

To many this is far-fetched, since they say: is such work necessary? Does He need someone to implore Him, if He knows He would change His mind? Or, why appoint someone to restrain Him when He Himself has the power to restrain from executing His wrath? First, it is He who teaches His servants to implore him. So, such work is necessary. Second, He who is holy and will not tolerate sin relents and lays the way for restoring men only through imploring Him. For this reason, Jesus constantly prayed for the salvation of Israel. The disciples and those after them too prayed. Paul throughout his letters to the churches indicates to them as to how incessantly he prays for their steadfastness in faith. The churches too were instructed to pray for the sins of one another. Indeed at one place the Spirit says that he who turns a sinner from his ways has saved his soul from death. As long as the churches disobey God in the manner of His calling, forgiveness, grace and righteousness, they are under His abundant wrath. The only way for them to be saved is by our petition for them wherein He shows compassion and provides them the way to hear His word from us. One thing we must never forget of God: He is a very loving God and full of mercy. His love is vast than the depths of the oceans. The only thing that makes Him pour it on the churches is our petition for them. Hence, God sent Christ to us “whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:21).

God sent this Christ to us by the imploring of others that we should turn from all our evil ways by having obtained His love; i.e. Christ to you through me and to me through the one before me and so on. And having obtained His love, we are bound to implore for those who are yet to become like us. This is the continuity that works in all those called to serve Him which works for the restoration of all things. God has set a time for it. He alone has the knowledge of it. And in order that the time He set to reestablish the things He desired has its fulfillment, He calls men to serve Him. This is the act God seeks from the churches to restore all things in Christ: repentance for the forgiveness of sins. It results in righteousness, grace, peace, joy, blessings and promises God established before the Law. Now, such restoration takes place only when we implore God on behalf of the churches. So, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:5).

There is certainly a kind intention of God’s will toward us when He determined in Himself to adopt us as His sons. It is to lead us to fulfill His will; not just in making us like His Son Jesus Christ, but also to help us walk in His footsteps. This then makes us (and all who were made righteous) His servants. And we serve Him more than in the form of servants, i.e. as sons, bearing the burden of Christ by adoption. We implore Him so that we restrain His wrath upon the disobedient. To this end God magnificently worked in us. He adopted us through Christ so that we obtain His presence just as Christ. This too is part of restoring all things which He spoke through the prophets. As we utilize His presence and implore Him for the churches, He relents and provides them an occasion to seek Him. He will lead them to us. We will not fail them, since by adopting us as sons He gives us all things necessary to lead them to Him. What is the outcome? A revival for those whom God gave us and a reward for us; they will know Him just as He intended. They too will receive all things as sons through Christ. This is the victory God longs through us. Men will overcome sin and the flesh by the supply of God. The power of faith will pass on from one to another, thus creating a chain of events that indicates the restoration of all things.

Such chain of events God first created through Jesus. For the Scripture says, “and said to them, ‘You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him’” (Luke 23:14). He brought a revival among Israel and yet without any guilt. Numerous people believed in God and were restored to Him. The reason: God’s undying presence with Him. It gave Him God’s righteousness and the power that comes from it. So, not even Pilate and his law found a single charge against Him. Yet, it was the sin in men that put Him to death, which God willfully accepted for the restoration of all things. Listen: when you are called by God to serve Him, there are no charges against you. It is because His adoption of you as son gives you the righteousness that was in Christ. This does not mean you will be free from accusations. For it is only natural that the sons of God serving Him be falsely accused. You will die daily. But, it only means you are continually made to live to the glory of God. What then? The power of Christ will all the more shine from you causing many more to be restored to God.

See the authority Christ gives you when God calls you to restore men to His kingdom. He gives it to you, because He chose you to implore Him for them. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). He will give you the power from above. You will have the wisdom and authority to bind that which God intended to bind and let go of that which He did not desire. You will discern between the righteous and the unrighteous. You will judge between works to bring glory to God. When you sow among men the peace of Christ, it will be bound in heaven forever. If you let go the men that deemed your gospel as foolishness, God too will let go them. He will let you bind the ones you desire to be like you. As you implore Him for them, He will bind them for salvation. He will work in your desire and with His righteousness in you that they receive the Christ appointed for them.

Do you know how God used Paul so vehemently for His kingdom? It was by the immense desire He placed in him for the churches. He wanted the churches he established in Christ to stand firm till the end. He gave him the measure to implore Him for them. He sent him on journeys to encourage them and to teach them. He made him write letters to them which taught them of the Kingdom. Beyond all this He also gave him the heart to plead God for the salvation of unbelievers and his countrymen. His power vigorously helped him to travel from place to place to induce in Christians the power of faith. He led him to find people and restored them to the things He wished. He knew sufferings awaited him, but filled him with strength to overcome them. He gave him the keys to His kingdom. And where Paul bound and let go, so it was done in heaven. God did make full use of him. “But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, ‘Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also’” (Acts 23:11).

Proclaiming the gospel to the churches that are in need of restoration is a unique work. It is completely done under God’s plan. The reason I say this is that at times one may not even have to go to places to fulfill His calling. At other times he may have to travel to any place God sends him. Our service to Him solely depends on His choosing us to implore Him that we restrain His wrath upon men. It is He who appoints us for the people He desires to save. It might be for our people or for the people He chooses for us, or both. It hinges on his reasons “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:26).

Posted in 2012, Archives.