When a youg guy asks his dad for the money he can only really expect to get when the old man dies and then he squanders it, what does his father do?  If the father is God, he welcomes his son back as soon as the young man comes to his senses, (Luke 15:11-32).

If a friend is caught in sin, what do we aim for?   “You who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness,” (Galatians 6:1).

And when we think about God as our shepherd, we can be thankful that not only does He lead us to green pastures and still waters but that He also restores our soul (Psalm 23).

Because although we worship a holy God who punishes sin and allows us to experience its consequences, He also loves us and longs to re-establish relationship with us.  Ultimately, He paid the highest price in order to do that.  Because of Jesus, there is nothing in all creation that can separate us  from the love of God. 

And the cross is thoroughly in keeping with God’s approach to people throughout history.  Because throughout the bible we read a story of God taking the initiative to restore His people.  In the section of judges that I’ve been looking at over the last few weeks it says simply that, “The LORD raised up judges who saved them,”  (Judges 2:16).  It’s the fourth stage of a cycle: rebellion, retribution, repentance, restoration and rest.

But even though we live in a restored relationship with God through faith in Jesus, we still need to appropriate the forgiveness that’s available to us.  We still sin.  We still need to put that right.  How do we do that?  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9.

It’s a fantastic promise.  It’s guaranteed.  When we have messed up, we can be restored. With God and with each other.