Some of the most important and powerful words in the Bible start with the letter R (in English). These key words describe the spiritual process we are all undergoing and are loaded with rich meaning. So, R you ready?
Regeneration: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Ti. 3:5). Regeneration is spiritual rebirth (being born again), the act of God whereby we become new creatures. Regeneration is not a superhuman act of man but a supernatural act of God. It is not the improving of the old nature but the imparting of a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17). Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (Jn. 3:7). It’s not optional; it’s essential!
Renewing: To renew means “to restore to a former state, to make new or as if new again, to restore, or refurbish.” Certain things must be renewed—driver’s, hunting, fishing, and business licenses, memberships, car tags, insurance policies, leases, and more. Renewals usually involve a fee and, if it’s important to us, we are willing to invest the time and money. Spiritual renewal also costs us something—prayer, time in the Word, dedication, worship, and soul searching. The Holy Spirit’s power renews us daily—“Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).
Refreshing: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Ac. 3:19). To refresh means “to provide new vigor and energy by rest or food, to make fresh again, to reinvigorate (a person, the mind, or the spirit).” Sometimes we get weary, drained, discouraged, overwhelmed, or stuck in a rut and we need a spiritual refreshing. It comes from being saturated in God’s Word and presence.
Revive: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Is. 57:15). To revive means “to make alive again.” Revival occurs when God breathes fresh life into His church. Revival is not just a series of scheduled services; revival is when God sovereignly shows up and shows out. It is similar to the word “resuscitate.” We’ve all seen dramatic scenes where unconscious people receive mouth to mouth resuscitation and chest compressions, and they are revived. Revival is Holy Spirit CPR! Billy Sunday observed, “Revivals don’t last, neither does a bath, but it sure helps!”
Restore: “He restores my soul” (Ps. 23:3). To restore means “to bring back to a former, original condition.” We watch TV shows where old, dilapidated buildings and rusted out cars are restored to look brand new. If man can turn clunkers into classics, what can God do with our soul? Notice it is HE (the Shepherd) who restores our soul. Spending quality time with the Shepherd produces spiritual restoration. God is restoring us back to what Adam and Eve had with Him in the Garden of Eden and even better. Right now, we receive partial restoration; at the resurrection, we will experience total restoration—God will restore everything that has been lost, stolen, broken, or forfeited in our lives.
Remnant: “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5). A remnant is “a remaining small part, quantity, or number of something.” We are part of a righteous remnant that is preventing this world from being totally overrun with evil. Isaiah 1:9 describes a dark time of spiritual decline in Israel’s history, “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and . . . Gomorrah.” In other words, if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and grace, they would have been wiped off the map in judgment. Why hasn’t God allowed America to be destroyed? Because a righteous remnant is standing in the gap and interceding for Him to have mercy and heal our land. God always has a faithful minority who will not bow down to the gods of this wicked world.
Reconciliation: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled” (Col. 1:21). Reconciliation is the process by which God and people are brought together. We were estranged from God due to our sin, but Jesus bridged the gap and restored us to a right and harmonious relationship with Him. A Greek word translated “reconciliation” means “the changing of places.” We have changed places from a position of enmity and hostility to a position of unity and harmony. If you feel far from God, guess who moved? He hasn’t changed. We occasionally drift away from Him but He always seeks to reconcile us.
Repentance: “The goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). Repentance is genuine sorrow for and the forsaking of sin. Repentance is not just when we cry; true repentance is when we change (Mt. 3:8)! Repentance is something both sinners and saints need. Jesus called five of the seven churches in Revelation to repent (Rev. 2:5, 16, 21; 3:3, 19). Repentance is not just a one-time trip to an altar to get saved; repentance should be part of our lifestyle (Ps. 51:10). Repentance always produces positive results (2 Cor. 7:10-11). Good news: God allows U-turns!
Redemption: “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold . . . but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pt. 1:18-19). To redeem means “to buy back out of captivity with a ransom price.” We were held hostage by Satan and sin, but Jesus paid the ransom for our release. To redeem also means “to bring good out of bad.” Job, in the middle of his crisis, declared, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25). In other words, somehow God is going to turn this around in my favor and bring good out of this bad situation.
When we repent, we are reconciled, regenerated, redeemed, renewed, restored, revived, refreshed, and made part of God’s righteous remnant. All of these R words describe what God has done and is doing in our lives as we approach the rapture and the resurrection. Oh, wait, those are two more R words. Time to write a sequel.