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Restitution signifies the restoring of a thing which was lost. You might give a person anything, whether he had once possessed it or not; but it would be quite improper to call it restoring unless he had once possessed and then lost it. The human family once possessed a perfect mental, moral and physical nature as represented in the person of Adam their head. Beautiful and majestic in form, God-like in the mental and moral qualities of his being (in God’s image) and commissioned to be the King or God over all earthly creatures („In our likeness let him have dominion over the beasts, foul, fish,” etc.) he stands before us the picture of human perfection. He passes the inspection of the great Jehovah and is pronounced a „very good” man. He was not a God–no it had not been God’s purpose to make another God, but a man: „Let us make man in our image.” We should not suppose that to be mentally and morally in God’s image means that we will have the same mental and moral capacity; but, our justice, mercy, love, truth, and powers of reasoning, deciding, etc., while limited in capacity are the same in kind, as the justice, love, etc., of God, so that he can say to us: „Come let us reason together.”
But before Adam had ever learned to use his powers fully, sin entered, and death followed, degrading and destroying by its various agencies of sickness and vice the once noble form, and the perfection of his intellectual and moral faculties.
We have seen that God foresaw the necessity of this victory of evil over man, that he might learn forever the lesson, that sin and death go hand in hand and both are his enemies; while obedience to God and life and happiness are indissolubly connected, and that God is his true and best friend. We see God, the loving Father permitting evil for man’s good and taking advantage of its presence to prove to man His unalterable character, „the exceeding sinfulness of sin,” the Justice of His Laws, The boundlessness of His mercy, „The exceeding riches of His grace,” and „the great Love wherewith He loved us,” by redeeming us from all sin through Jesus Christ. We have seen too, how that as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall the many be made righteous, (just). (`Rom. 5:19`) and that in His due time God intends to bring all men back to the condition of perfect manhood where they will again be „very good.” This is restitution, the restoring to mankind of the power, qualities, and things lost through the first Adam.
We next inquire who will be restored, and answer all of Adam’s family except „The Bride” of Christ, „The Virgins her companions follow her,” and the few who commit the unpardonable sin, sinning willfully, after that they have received the knowledge of the truth, and who count the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing. [`Heb. 10:26-29`.] These three classes have made a covenant with God by which they renounced their rights to the benefits of restitution and the perfect fleshly condition. They declare that they will take up their cross and follow Jesus. Instead of living with the world they will become dead to the world. Instead of expecting a restitution of the flesh they agree to crucify the flesh. Why do they make this covenant? Because of the joy set before them in God’s part of the covenant, which is, that if they thus die with Jesus to all earthly interests they shall be joint-heirs with him to a heavenly inheritance. If with Him we give up and crucify the human nature, we shall be made partakers with Him of the divine nature. Those who do not enter this covenant to crucify the human nature retain it; and will be raised and restored to human perfection. Another thought is that now is the time to suffer and die with Him. It cannot be done in the next age. For there is no death there, neither sorrow nor suffering –for the former things are passed away. This is the age of sin and evil and crucifying; the next will be for Glory and Restitution. [`Rev. 21:4`.] True, the restored family may come to the fountain and drink of the river of water of life freely, have an abundant supply of their life, yet it will be different from having immortality as a fountain of life, „springing up in YOU” so that you will never thirst, neither need come to that river to refresh yourself or to continue your life.
So it is written, „If we suffer [death] with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” „If we be dead with Him we shall live with Him.” „If we suffer with Him, we shall be glorified together.” When?–answer –„Being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain unto the [chief or first] resurrection from among the dead.” Diag. `Phil. 3:10`. From the moment we enter into this covenant of death and life–suffering and glory with God, we begin the work of crucifying the human nature and God begins also at the same time to develop in us the divine nature by imparting to us the Holy Spirit. Once entered into, the covenant or agreement is unalterable, the matter is fixed and sealed. „Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” [`2 Cor. 1:22`.] We can never have part with the world in the restitution because by our covenant we have abandoned the human nature; the question with us now is, shall we continue to develop our new nature [which now is but an embryo condition] until at our birth [resurrection or translation] we come forth „spiritual bodies” like unto Christ’s glorious body.”
Who will develop, this higher nature–many or few of those who enter the covenant? We answer: All of them, except those who openly ignore the value of the „blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified,” i.e., set aside and ignore the value of Christ’s death–as their ransom or purchase and we believe this will be a small number.
So to speak, Jesus enters the covenant for us. He agrees to guarantee that our part of the contract shall be fulfilled. All such sealed ones are set apart, from the world and dealt with differently; even as our’s is a different hope and calling from the world’s. We have been begotten of God, are now in our embryo condition; and all will ultimately come to birth in His likeness who abide under the blood of the covenant, but if any of these members of „the household of faith” go forth from their house upon which is the blood of the Paschal Lamb, these will be destroyed. (`Ex. 12:22,23`.)
We see then, that the only ones who do not reach the birth [resurrection] among all who are begotten and sealed by the Spirit are those who renounce the „blood of the covenant” and withdraw themselves from its protection, they sin against light, knowledge, and against the Spirit’s direction and leading therefore it is called „The sin against the Holy Ghost which hath never forgiveness.”
Aside from these, the entire household of faith being begotten of the Spirit are all, children of God; and are all ultimately to reach his likeness. „He who begun the good work in us will complete it.” But there will be a difference in our positions according to the way in which we „run the race set before us.” All who run will ultimately reach the end of the race, but the prize, of our high calling in Christ Jesus will be obtained only by those who „so run that they may obtain.” This prize is to be the Bride of Christ, to be made one with Him, and therefore, to „Sit with Him in His throne” and to „inherit all things.”
In what way, do we become overcomers and gain the victory, and win the prize of being part of the Bride? By presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, by crucifying our fleshly will and nature, becoming dead, so that our own will, will neither be known nor done by us, but in everything we must seek to know and do the will of Christ. When dead, you will seek to eat, drink, talk and be clothed, not as the world might dictate, nor your own tastes desire, but according to the best information you can obtain of the will of God concerning you. This is a
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hard work and it involves much pain to the old nature to be thus crucified and ignored. It is so difficult a task that we never could accomplish it unaided. But we hear the voice of Him that saith: „My grace is sufficient for thee.” „Seek and ye shall find.” „This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith.” According to our faith in God we draw supplies of strength. We desire to overcome, we seek his grace, we find it and as we become daily more filled with the new divine nature the victory over the old nature becomes more easy. This is the first company, the bride–the body. Like their head, Jesus they have been willing sacrifices.
The second or great company are of the household also. They have made the covenant to die, but poor frail humanity shrinks from becoming a „speckled bird,” a target for this world’s sneers and ridicule. They love the favor of God and the favor of man also. They restrain themselves from presumptuous sins, and console themselves that they are far better than many others. They have not the power of faith to lay hold of God’s promised assistance. „How can ye believe who receive honor one of another and seek not, the honor that cometh from God only.” (`Matt. 5:44`.) Thus „through fear of death they are all their lifetime subject to bondage;” these will be freed from their bondage soon; they are to go into the time of trouble, be „delivered over to Satan (the adversary) for the destruction of the flesh (which they would not willingly crucify) that the spirit may be saved.” They love the present world, to some extent, therefore do not overcome it. But Jesus, who became the surety for all believers, will not suffer the Divine nature begun in them to become extinct.
Oh, how great and loving is the plan of God. How grand the prospect of restitution for the world, to the likeness of Perfect Earthly man. But how much grander our hope of being elevated from this to the „new creation.” Who would not lay aside every weight, and run with patience for the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus.
— August, 1880 —