The Lord's Ways With Peter; Soul's Restoration

John 21:15  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Βeloved Brother, -I do not believe that restoration means the recovery of peace, unless it be peace in the consciousness of the favor of God, which is enjoyed anew in the soul-the re-establishment of liberty of heart with God. One meets with cases where a Christian has fallen, yet in nowise doubts his salvation, or the efficacy of the blood of Christ; but the heart has got to a distance from God, has not the sense of what sin is, such as the presence of God always gives.
Now to be truly restored, the Christian must recognize the point of departure where his soul gave up communion with God, and sought its own will. It was thus with Peter. The Lord does not reproach him with his fault, but says to him, " Lovest thou me more than these?" That was the point where his soul had turned aside from the right way, where self had shown itself, confidence in himself. The Lord probes Peter's heart, and makes known to him the undercurrent of pride and false confidence which was found there. Until that moment Peter was not restored, although on the way to be so. When a brother in fellowship has fallen, and has sincerely acknowledged his fault as an evil, even when he may have been reinstated, he is always in danger of falling again if he has not judged the root of it. It is there that he got to a distance from God. Communion with God is not thoroughly re-established, self and its will are not thoroughly broken, as long as the Christian has not found the point where his heart began to lose its spiritual sensibility; for the presence of God makes us feel that. I am not speaking of a matter of memory, but of the state of the soul.... One meets with cases (where probably true deliverance had never been realized), like that of dear -, where despair takes possession of one in failure. Then it is a question of finding peace through the blood of Jesus, or at least of power to raise the shield of faith, of confidence in God.
A soul is restored when it enjoys the favor of God, not simply as certainty of salvation, but when the Spirit, instead of accusing, causes it to rejoice in the goodness of God. Restoration is not complete until there is enjoyment of communion with our brethren. I remember having seen horror at having sinned against grace, and at the dishonor done to the name of Christ, as the first effect of the renewed power of the word in the heart: then came the sense that grace has triumphed over all—blessed be God!
London,
December 31st, 1870.