He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke their bands apart. (Psalm 107:14 NASB)
The Lord is faithful! We are not! The God of Restoration is the One with the power, the ability, and the faithfulness to break the chains of sin of everyone that will believe.
Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD, or can show forth all His praise?
We need to give thanks to the Lord for He alone is faithful. The only reason we ever find ourselves in need of restoration is because we have failed. We have ran or turned from God. We are the ones who have forsaken God, not the other way around.
The Bible is very clear on this subject. All have sinned. All are born in unrighteousness. God's requirement for entrance into His Kingdom is perfect righteousness. This poses a problem since no flesh possesses righteousness on their own.
There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. (Romans 3:10-12 NASB)
The text of Scripture makes it abundantly clear that not one single person can do good or please God. Not one.
The Bible makes it very clear that all flesh is in active rebellion against God. It is not that we are just innocent, neutral creatures who if just given the right opportunity and circumstances could choose good and right. No, we do not even have the desire to do right.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:6-8 NASB)
Paul makes it very clear in his writing that man is totally depraved. When he speaks of someone being "in the flesh," he is referring to unregenerate, spiritually dead mankind. Those people who are "in the flesh," not only do not subject themselves to God, they are not even able to do so.
This is the essence of total depravity. It doesn't mean mankind is as bad as they could be, although if God did not actively restrain sin mankind could sin as much as he or she chose, it means that man is completely incapable of remedying his sinful standing before God from anything he finds within himself.
This is why man needs a Savior. Man's will in the natural state is completely enslaved to sin. Caught up in endless chains. He needs someone to break his chains for him to be set free. That person is the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we were given the just due of our sin we would all perish.
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NASB)
Every person deserves hell. This is why salvation is said to be a gift of God's grace. If we receive salvation, we are receiving something we did not merit and we did not deserve. What do we ultimately need to remedy this situation?
Well, according to Jeremiah it is from the heart that deceit and sin are found, so it is our heart that needs to change. We can't change our hearts and according to Paul's writing, we wouldn't want to anyway. Those who are enslaved to sin want their sin, they choose their sin, and if left to their sin, they would die in their sin.
We need a new heart! Only God can give us a new heart, for only God has creative power!
"I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord God, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land."
Notice that in every instance in this passage that it is God doing all the work. It is God taking the action. It is God creating the new heart and replacing the heart of stone with a heart of flesh.
It is God causing the people to walk uprightly. There is no causal action on the part of the creation but every causation is on the part of the Creator.
Also, notice that the people will not be sorrowful over their sin and their deeds until after they have received their new heart. Man is not capable of pleasing God or having belief or true saving faith in God without receiving a new heart. This is why from the Reformed perspective we say that regeneration precedes faith.
We can't produce a new heart and we can't produce righteousness on our own. Our only hope is that someone can come to where we are at and have the power to set us free!
Jesus Is That Person! Jesus Is Our Hope!
You can read of Christ's death burial and resurrection in the gospels, primarily in Matthew 27 & 28. In Jesus' death He paid the price for sin for all those that will believe. In His resurrection, God proved that He had accepted Christ's payment for sin.
There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help.
Jesus Christ has the power to save! Jesus Christ alone has the power to save. Nothing created can make atonement for anything created. It takes the Creator to make atonement for the created. By God's grace we have the free gift of salvation by His grace and through our faith.
In Christ's sacrifice He broke apart the chains of sin. When we leave the cross having placed our faith and truth in Jesus Christ for salvation, we walk away leaving our chains behind. They no longer have any claim over us. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit as it was written about in Ezekiel and we have the very power of Christ working in us to overcome sin in our daily life.
Sin no longer has any right to take up residence in our life. We have a new will and new desires. We can now choose God and choose righteousness.
This is the ultimate solution to the sin problem. God demands perfect righteousness to enter His Kingdom and we don't have it. By God's grace, through the salvation found in His Son, we can have righteousness credited to our account.
In the atonement, our sin is placed on Christ and He pays the ultimate price for our sin. In our regeneration and salvation we are credited with Christ's righteousness based on our faith in Him. So, from God's vantage point we are no longer at enmity against Him. We are no longer sinners but righteous and it is not our righteousness that we stand before God justified but Christ's!
Thank God for His Restoration power! Thank God for His salvation power! Thank God for sending His Son to break my chains of sin apart once and for all eternity!