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“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).

THE CONCEPT OF “RESTORATION” IS OF FUNDAMENTAL IMPORTANCE IN BOTH THE OLD AND THE NEW TESTAMENTS. We can’t read the Scriptures seriously and not see that if we intend to be God’s faithful people, “restoration” must be a work we engage in. God has never — in any age of the world — left people without any standard which must be adhered to, in both belief and practice. “Restoration” means (a) being reminded of what the standard is, and (b) making constant efforts to bring things back in line with it.

If you have any acquaintance with basic science (or if you have ever looked at your teenager’s bedroom), you are familiar with the law of “entropy”: left to themselves, things descend into greater disorder and randomness. This law is as true in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical. Over time, things degrade. Without constant monitoring, maintenance, and “restoration,” we drift away from the standard God has set. And the descent into disorder is so gradual we often don’t admit to ourselves what is happening.

In our individual lives, we see the need for realignment with the Scriptures more easily, but perhaps we don’t recognize it as much at the congregational level. Local assemblies of Christians must commit themselves to a restoration of the apostolic order. If not, they will descend into greater “entropy” with each passing year — and there is no congregation where this tendency is not present.

If you’re a new Christian, look for a congregation that is committed to the principle of restoration. And if you’ve been a Christian for some time, remind the brothers and sisters where you worship that it is dangerous to be content with their past restoration efforts, as if New Testament Christianity has been fully restored and they can put things on autopilot from now on. Look for elders who are not afraid to lead their brethren in congregational acts of repentance and restoration. And look for brethren who know they need to be warned. “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1).

“The life of the Church depends on one thing: her return to biblical principles” (Otto Riecker).

Gary Henry — +

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