04 Affection-Related Restoration

By John Thiel, Godly Affections That Motivate Series, mp3

Scripture reading: Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

We want to delve upon the restoration that is generated by our affections upon God. We live in a world today where atheism and Catholicism have affected the great majority around us; and the circulation in the schools of the theory of evolution especially demeans the human race. It lowers the nobility of the human race to the animal, to a miserable appreciation of the honour that humanity has. But of course, this honour has also been lowered because of sin. Yet in the study of the Bible there is revealed to us the true honour and nobility that man has been imbued with.

What Is Man?

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

God created the animals, but they were of a very low order compared to the human being. Man was created in the honourable image of the Creator Himself. This is something that makes us marvel, if we will but open our hearts to it. The psalmist himself marvelled at this:

Psalm 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all [things] under his feet:

What is man? God has made man in His own image, and He had such a high regard for man that He put him in a position where he was to actually have dominion over the works of God’s hands. God made man in such a way that he could correctly govern the works of His own hands.

All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man. {SD 7.2}

As they were watching God creating the world they were deeply interested, especially when man was created.

Human beings were a new and distinct order. {Ibid.}

They were made a little lower than the angels, but the angels were watching because God was creating man in His image – a new and distinct order. All the inhabitants of the others planets must be of a different order; but here was a new one.

They were made “in the image of God,” and it was the Creator’s design that they should populate the earth. They were to live in close communion with heaven, receiving power from the Source of all power. Upheld by God, they were to live sinless lives. {Ibid.}

God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God, and is capable of partaking of the divine nature, of cooperating with his Creator and executing His plans. {SD 7.4}

As you permit your mind to absorb the meaning of all this, it fills you with amazement. I wasn’t there to begin with, but God created man; and I was born because He created him. He created man with a design that we could be of such noble position – in the image of God, capable of partaking of the divine nature, and of cooperating with Him in executing His plans. “A superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God.” Does that not raise our affections to our Creator? “What did You do to me? You created us in Your image.”

But as we know, sadly sin came along and affected this beautiful creation in God’s image in a very negative way.

When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. {AG 246.2}

But then came the sad interlude:

Through sin the divine likeness was marred, and well-nigh obliterated. Man’s physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become subject to death. {AG 246.3}

Here we stand today, after millennia, as a race that has been stunted by sin, no longer with that lofty stature of God that the human race was first created in. The image of God was well-nigh obliterated. We are in a very marred condition in comparison to what God first made. But God says, I still want to win their affections back to Me. The consideration of God’s stature lifted up Adam and Eve’s hearts to God in affection, and God says, I will stir your affections even more deeply. Now that sin has marred your experience, what will God do now?

Enmity

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This is the first intimation of the gospel of Jesus Christ that was given to Adam and Eve. Enmity was to be installed into man against Satan, and Jesus, by the gift of Himself, was the seed that was to bruise Satan’s head. We have been marred by sin; the beautiful image, the glory of man, has been marred, obliterated. Yet God says, No, I have loved you. For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

When you permit yourself to meditate upon this and explore the connotations of these things, you realise something, you can feel your affections rising to God, similar to an animal that has been thrown in the rubbish, as it were, and has been badly treated and wounded, but has been picked up and restored back to life again by a person. How does this animal now relate to his master? With special love. Those dogs that have been released from a terrible suffering, love their master with a love that is much different to that of an ordinary animal that has not suffered like that. And here we are: we are suffering under sin. Adam and Eve had fallen, and they were running away from God, and the image of God’s glory had been marred within them.

But man was not abandoned to the results of the evil he had chosen. {Ed 27.1}

Place yourself in Adam’s shoes. “I’m lost, and I’m running away from God.” But he wasn’t abandoned.

In the sentence pronounced upon Satan was given an intimation of redemption. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” God said, “and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This sentence, spoken in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. Before they heard of the thorn and the thistle, of the toil and sorrow that must be their portion, or of the dust to which they must return, they listened to words that could not fail of giving them hope. All that had been lost by yielding to Satan could be regained through Christ. {Ibid.}

There you are in Adam’s situation, and you hear this. How does your heart respond? The affections of Adam and Eve must have been so strong; they gave themselves to God and really trusted that wonderful promise and their affections governed their life. All that was lost through sin was to be regained through Christ. All? What is this all? How far does that take us? Through Christ there was to be a restoration of everything in the human?

In Colossians we are told to put off the old man and to put on the new man. Is it possible that we can be renewed? And to what position can we be renewed? We may be renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us.

Restoration

When that promise of Genesis 3:15 was made there was a hope to be restored back to the image of God again. Although sin had marred the human race, those who accepted this beautiful gift would be renewed in knowledge; they would have an image of God within themselves. They would be renewed after His image. The creation of God would be restored.

Yet the race was not left without hope. By infinite love and mercy the plan of salvation had been devised, and a life of probation was granted. To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized–this was to be the great work of redemption. {AG 246.3}

Though the moral image of God was almost obliterated by the sin of Adam, through the merits and power of Jesus it may be renewed. Man may stand with the moral image of God in his character; for Jesus will give it to him. {AG 246.4}

This is the restoration of the nobility of man that is to be given. When people have lost the sense of their nobility they become belligerent. You see it in people who end up in the gutter. They see no more value in themselves, and they let themselves go. But to the sinner who discovers his sinfulness and the obliteration of God’s beautiful image in him, God comes with this message and says, You can begin to feel value again through My gift. And as you feel your lack of value, your unworthiness, when you really feel what a miserable specimen you are, that feeling is installed with an amazing picture of the atonement of Jesus, so that that image that I had lost is fully restored. This is what these statements are saying.

Not By Magic

Let us contemplate how the Scriptures express it. Through the story and work of redemption something is to be restored in us, and it is here expressed in very practical terms. God gave gifts:

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

What for? To renew us in God’s image.

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,

Notice that we are to be restored by the knowledge of the Son of God,

Ephesians 4:13 …unto a perfect man,

Unto what measure?

Ephesians 4:13 …unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

When false doctrine gets hold of you, you lose the sense of your nobility. But when we take hold of the pure doctrine it is restored within us.

Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

This practicality of the renewing work through Jesus Christ is something I can never get away from. It is a practical engagement through the gifts that God gives, through the ministry of pastors, apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers. The work of Jesus is being established while we have this time of probation on this planet. And we are to be restored to the full image of Jesus Christ. He has come and made it possible. But this is not some sort of magical thing. When God created man, man had nothing to do with it; he was just formed out of the dust, a beautiful image, and then God breathed into him the breath of life. There was no participation from man there. But now man’s involvement is required in the restoration of that image. It is not done by magic.

How does it happen then? If you really let God’s word permeate your intellectual mind you begin to wonder, What? Is this real? Is this for me? As your intelligence tells you what an unworthy creature you really are, you then see this and you are amazed. Now what are we to do that will produce this image?

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord [the image of God/His character], are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We who have been marred by sin, and in whom the image of God has been well-nigh obliterated, as we decide to accept this beautiful promise that God gave to Adam and Eve, the fulfilment of which is before us as we look at Jesus, we are to engage in our part in this so that the image of God will be restored. Not by magic, but with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord. As we look at the image of God we look at His character, we admire His glory, and our affections are touched. And as we continue to admire Him we are being changed into that image that He first created us in. First of all, in character; and then, as we continue to follow the Lord, our bodies begin to be affected, until finally, when He comes again, He restores our bodies perfectly. But in the meantime He is working to restore His image in us internally, in our being, soul, and spirit. How is He doing it? By our beholding, the Spirit of God does it. Our part is to cooperate. This happens not by magic.

By Beholding

What are we meant to be doing? To behold Christ; and what does this mean?

Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. {6BC 1098.1}

Because what will happen through Christ? The image that we have lost will be restored.

When we take Him as our personal Saviour, this gives us boldness to approach the throne of grace. {Ibid.}

It affects our affections. We come boldly to the throne of grace, because He has recovered our love for Him.

By beholding we become changed, morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character. {Ibid.}

We begin to become installed into Him, assimilated to the One who is perfect in character.

By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being. {Ibid.}

What is engaged here? If you look at Jesus the way we have been doing it so far, you see something that He is doing and that absolutely causes your affections to go out to Him. The image of Jesus is cherished; your affections cherish Him. And as the affections are bound up with Him it captivates your whole being. When someone is really captivated by something they can’t be distracted; they are absolutely caught up in it. And if someone comes in between they quickly say, Go away, go away… They permit nothing to interfere with their affections to Him. This is how the image of God is to be restored in us. It is an affection-motivated restoration. Beholding Jesus, seeing Him in my sin and degradation, marred together with me, beside me in my sin, numbered among the transgressors. What a story to meditate upon. He is beside me in my temptations, suffering with my temptations. Does this not have a mind-altering effect? Does it not provide a mind-altering impact? As our mind is occupied with this amazing story things begin to happen inside of our mind. The Holy Spirit comes and restores the image of God within us. We enter into a willing captivity, because His image is cherished and we are captivated.

And Continuing in Truth

To be completely restored, to be removed from the captivity of Satan, Jesus tells us we must engage together with Him in this way:

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

How important is truth? It is an engagement of my intelligent mind in truth – abiding in the study of God’s word, continuing in that word, coming to know the truth. And what will the truth do? Not error; truth, absolute truth – what will it do? It will release me from Satan’s captivity and work within me the restoration of the image that God had first created in me.

John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Not by magic, not by God doing some voodoo upon us. It is an intelligent engagement with Him, digging for truth as for treasure. And as we discover Jesus in the truth He will set us free. He will restore in us His image by the pure truth in the hands of God’s chosen instruments. In the unity of the truth the instrumentalities will be working to establish in us the full image of Jesus Christ. Some pastors, some prophets, some apostles, etc. – through this ministry we are to be restored. God help us to really take this on board.

The Lord, by close and pointed truths for these last days, is cleaving out a people from the world and purifying them unto Himself. {AG 246.6}

What is He doing? God is purifying a people unto Himself. God is restoring His image in them. How does He do it? By our careful study of the Bible truth. As we do this and we fasten our attention upon Jesus, fixing our eyes upon Him, by pointed truths for these last days God is cleaving out a people from the world and purifying them unto Himself.

We are living today in a world of Christianity that says, Does it really matter what you believe, what the doctrines are? People say, “Oh, I’m tired of doctrines all the time; I just want to believe in Jesus as best as I know, and the Lord will do the rest.” I’m sorry, God tells us in clear terms that we must know the truth and must continue in the word, fixing our eyes upon Jesus as the word unveils Him to us. So we open ourselves to this truth by which He cleaves us out of the world, beholding until the glory/character of God is transferred to the soul, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. As we now behold, studying Jesus, the Spirit of God who formed us in God’s image in the first place (because He was the moving activity of the Creator) is transferring the glory of God, from glory to glory, inside of us. He is restoring the image of God in us.

Even As By the Spirit of the Lord

How does the Spirit of God do this? Are we expecting some sort of magical power? How does He work in us this perfecting of character, this glory to glory? Pay close attention now, because we are here studying the word of God which is going to do its work correctly if we cooperate with Him correctly.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:

And what will the truth do? It will change us.

John 16:13 …for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show [it] unto you.

How is it that “even by the Spirit of the Lord” we are going to be changed? By beholding. So what does the Holy Spirit do to change us? By our beholding He will take of Jesus and show Him to us in the depth of the knowledge that only the Spirit of God knows. The Spirit of God is a knowledge inside of God and of Jesus that we don’t see unless the Spirit comes into us and makes it abundantly clear to us. What do we know of the Spirit?

There are today many as ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s work upon the heart as were those believers in Ephesus; yet no truth is more clearly taught in the word of God. Prophets and apostles have dwelt upon this theme. Christ Himself calls our attention to the growth of the vegetable world as an illustration of the agency of His Spirit in sustaining spiritual life. The sap of the vine, ascending from the root, is diffused to the branches, sustaining growth and producing blossoms and fruit. So the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Saviour, pervades the soul, renews the motives and affections, and brings even the thoughts into obedience to the will of God, enabling the receiver to bear the precious fruit of holy deeds. {AA 284.1}

What does the Holy Spirit do? As you study the Bible and search for the truth, and as you look at Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes of Jesus and shows Him to you, and it diffuses life through you through the manifestation of Jesus in the reading of the word. He pervades the soul. He causes you to be captivated by what is written there. I often meditate about this. You can read the Bible and think, Yes, yes, I know all that; and you can prove the doctrines as much as you like, but you don’t get the affectionate bonding. What do we really need to do? We need to study and let the Holy Spirit take of Jesus and make it real to me. That is what is meant when it says the He “pervades the soul, renews the motives and affections, and brings even the thoughts into obedience to the will of God, enabling the receiver to bear the precious fruit of holy deeds.”

I love the way the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy give us practical truth, practical, changing powers; not just this magical mentality, this mystical thing that so many religions today have installed into the mind of even Christians. They are waiting for magic to happen. No! It is the cooperation of the intelligent person with the written word, and the Holy Spirit revealing the deep things of God.

Who but the Holy Spirit can work with human minds to transform character by withdrawing the affections from those things which are temporal, perishable, and imbues the soul with earnest desire by presenting the immortal inheritance, the eternal substance which is imperishable, and recreates, refines, and sanctifies the human agents that they may become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly king. {3SM 138.1}

Can you see the restoration in the image of God by the Holy Spirit here? The Holy Spirit can work in the human mind. The human mind is an intelligent entity, and the Spirit comes to us and applies what we are studying in the Bible and makes it big to the mind, withdrawing the affections from the things which are temporal. When your affections are bound up with certain temporal things these things take pre-eminence over God and Jesus in your life. Jesus gets put in a corner somewhere and you get excited about what you are doing with the things of this world. Hasn’t this happened to us as we were here listening to the word of God and as we study it sometimes? Your affections go out and you realise, What I’m doing, my past life, is not quite right; but then we go back to what we were doing again, and then what we heard and what affected us in those times of meditation is lost again. But if we decide to cling to this, to continue to exercise our minds with this, I am not going to spend my affections upon the things that distract me. I will concentrate my affections upon that which I have gained by the work of the Holy Spirit and through the instrumentality of the pastors and teachers and prophets. As this is willingly engaged in, the Spirit of God will imbue the soul with earnest desire by presenting the immortal inheritance, “This is yours now; the image of God is yours, the eternal substance which is imperishable;” and He “recreates, refines, and sanctifies the human agents that they may become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly king;” that they may become part of the Godhead, which is the royal Family.

Affection-Motivated Faith

This is an amazing, motivating influence. Our affections are very powerful agencies within us, aren’t they? When you become affectionately bound to someone, nothing matters anymore. When I become affectionately bound to certain attractions, nothing stops me; I’m going to barge on, doing what I want to do. Affections are very powerful. And if those affections are centred on Christ what will it do? It will change me. It will have a mind-changing effect on me. I will make changes in my life because I am affectionately bound to God, to Jesus. Affections centred on Christ develop in us the image of God.

When we speak of faith, there is a distinction that should be borne in mind. There is a kind of belief that is wholly distinct from faith. The existence and power of God, the truth of His word, are facts that even Satan and his hosts cannot at heart deny. The Bible says that “the devils also believe, and tremble;” but this is not faith. James 2:19. {SC 63.2}

What is faith?

Where there is not only a belief in God’s word, but a submission of the will to Him; where the heart is yielded to Him, the affections fixed upon Him, there is faith {Ibid.}

Not just believing that I must be saved through Jesus, not just believing that the Bible is true, but studying the word of God until our affections become stirred and fixed upon Him – then faith becomes operative.

–faith that works by love and purifies the soul. {Ibid.}

Faith that works. We will do the works of God’s will, and people will look at us and say, Oh, you’re trying to be saved by works. But we know that this is a weird statement, because our affections are so centred upon Jesus, and they have been so stirred, that we will do the works that purify the soul.

Through this faith the heart is renewed in the image of God. And the heart that in its unrenewed state is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, now delights in its holy precepts, exclaiming with the psalmist, “O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97. {Ibid.}

Is that the expression of someone whose affections are centred upon the Lord? You can’t stop talking and thinking about Him.

And the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1. {Ibid.}

With the work that the Spirit of God has been doing with us I will now follow everything that He is doing within my heart in showing me Jesus and filling me with motivation; and that motivation of my affections will renew me in the image of God.

Withdrawal of Affections

So according to that statement, what do we do with our affections then? We have read that, as the Holy Spirit shows us Jesus He withdraws our affections from those things which are temporal and perishable. So anything that the world provides for your affections now becomes nauseating to you. You have no affections for them anymore. I used to, yes; we used to enjoy the things that the world provides; but intelligently we know very well that this is passing. This has been exercising my mind for years. I used to enjoy certain things, and then I would think, Huh! What’s this? This isn’t going to last very long; this is nothing satisfying to my soul. So while the world plays its affectionate attractions around me, I go, Pooh! that doesn’t satisfy me. But so many of my friends and people around me will say, Oh! isn’t that nice! They come and want to talk to me about everything else but what I want to talk about! But my affections have been drawn out to the Lord, and my joy is in Him. And that is worth following in your mind activities. Nothing else! Only if they are connected with the affections to Jesus can I find pleasure in the other things. I enjoy gardening because God is very close to us in the garden. I enjoy the things that this world has only as they are connected with Jesus. Our affections are drawn to Him. But what must we do so that they stay there? We must take away our affections from that which is temporal.

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

The apostle is talking to people who have made an experience with Jesus, and have been affected by the beauty of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His suffering and temptations with them, and who have risen to a new life. But now what must they do? They must not seek anything on earth anymore, but things which are above, where Christ sitteth.

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

You can look at things that people get excited about in the world, and to you it is dead. I don’t know why people get excited about video games. I don’t know why people get excited about the internet. I really don’t know. Why do people get excited about all these things? If we get excited about the creature and the things that the creature does, we are not dead. But it says here, Ye are dead, and your life is hid; where? Where do your affections and enjoyments go? With Christ in God!

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

That is our only reason for salvation – because we are affectionately bound with Jesus. And when He comes we will appear together with Him because we are one with Him. This is a practical reality.

The Lord, by close and pointed truths for these last days, is cleaving out a people from the world and purifying them unto Himself. Pride and unhealthful fashions, the love of display, the love of approbation–all must be left with the world if we would be renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created us. {AG 246.6} 

To be renewed after the image of Him who created us – that is what gives us meaning and purpose and a noble sense of worth. Don’t you want that? Don’t we want this? We want to be filled with the knowledge of the image of God that He created us in in the beginning. We want to be restored to that, and this is how it happens:

Pride and unhealthful fashions, the love of display, the love of approbation–all must be left with the world if we would be renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created us. {AG 246.6} 

Our affections have to be on Jesus to be renewed. That is the only way. How practical do we want it?

By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. {AG 246.7}

I love the way that the Spirit of God makes things practical to our appreciation. And if I want to be filled with transforming joy and happiness, if I want to be transformed into the image of God and the nobility of heaven, then this is what our occupation of mind is all about and what we should be doing.

The desire to be a new creature can be fulfilled, the original image we were first created in we can have here and now, especially in knowledge. Let us do what is here portrayed and explore the interaction of our affections – pride, unhealthful fashions, love of display, and love of approbation. Let us explore the interaction of those affections with the affections stirred by the Holy Spirit of God. This is what we will do very systematically, week after week, so that we can see with clarity that the affections of pride, for unhealthy fashions, love of display, and love of approbation, are indeed things that are very much part of us. But we need to see that there is a higher affection by which we can let them go entirely and let them die.

May God bless us as we continue to research this imperative subject for our salvation.

Amen.

Posted on April 13, 2017, in Divine Service Sermons, Godly Affections That Motivate Series, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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