“What is the real reason we have embraced the Ultimate Restoration of all things?”

In the debate following Love Wins I often hear the accusation that we just want a more comfortable and palatable theology, one that lets us off the hook to do whatever we want with no consequences. Nothing could be further from the truth.

First, this truth has only magnified the reality of the importance of how we live right now, in this life, on this earth. God is breaking into our world with His justice, now. Not just in the future or somewhere else but He is dragging the future kingdom, the "shalom" into the present. This leaves one with the sharp sense that to really follow Jesus means to care about what He cares about, right now. And to be out of alignment with what He cares about means we will collide with Jesus Himself. Not a safe or pleasant thing. However good in the end, it will be a regrettable experience. Just because we believe in hope for all doesn't mean we believe in the absence of pain, regret, shame or loss. There is a deadline. There are consequences. We live only one life in this world and then the "judgment." But we believe this judgment to be meted out through a just and loving God who will do what is right for everyone. It will be a justice that restores. The question is, “Do you want to be a Restorer or a Restoree”? (Isaiah 61) Do you want to be the person who created the “devastations” that will need rebuilding or the one who participates in the astounding work of redemption Jesus began at the cross?

It has been amazing to see more clearly that God has a plan for this world where His will is to be done "on earth as it is in heaven". It has given us the desire to participate fully in what He is doing now; a holistic restoration that includes everything from our bodies, minds and souls to the social and environmental evils we find ourselves living among.

The second reason this is not simply the adopting of a more comfortable theology is because it goes far beyond just us. It's about the One we love. If you are in love with someone you want everyone else to love them as well, this is only natural. Or if you see something breath-taking, you are compelled to pull others into your joy. It is as if it is not complete until you do. It is the nature of beauty and glory; it must be shared.

We do not want nor can we conceive of billions of our fellow humans somewhere in a corner of the universe rebelling and hating God, forever. Not just because we would mourn their pain and loss but because we can't imagine a universe without all eventually coming to love and worship God. It would be most painful for us to see our perfect Father scorned by anyone ever, just as we would feel about our earthly father being rejected if he was indeed a man worthy of honor.

We have an unquenchable desire for all to see God for who He truly is because we want them to enjoy Him forever. Piper says God is most glorified when we are most delighted in Him. WE WANT GOD TO BE GLORIFIED BY THE WHOLE EARTH AND ALL OF CREATION! We want God to be loved and worshipped because we have found Him to be the Source of all that makes life beautiful and worth living ...love, beauty, glory, creativity, adventure, truth, comfort, and peace. It is the natural God-given response to want others to love someone you love or something that simply captures your heart.

So why do we believe the restoration of all things is true? Because we desire "everything that has breath to praise the Lord"... we want everyone to see how glorious and beautiful He is... we want everyone to experience the unspeakable joy of worshipping Him! We believe God has woven this into our hearts and desires. Llisten to just one of many songs being written today that share this powerful and insatiable desire to have everyone worship this "God of all Glory"...

"God of the heavens
King of matchless worth
Lord of all nations
Judge of the earth
by mercy we come
and out of love we cry...

God of all glory...
Savior of the world.
Holy One Eternal...
Let your praise fill the earth, O fill the EARTH,
O let it fill the earth...fill the earth...

We raise holy hands...
We extol the Kings of kings.
We rend our whole hearts...
as a fragrant offering.
And lifting up one voice...
resounding out one cry,
O let it ring, let it rise...

OH let it fill the earth!
...fill the earth. Song by Jeremy Riddle

When we encounter true beauty and real joy it must be shared with others. The reason we want all to be restored is the very same reason you grab your spouse or friend (or even a stranger) to come and share in a glorious sunset or a stunning piece of art. The thought of billions of people, and more real, those whom we know and love, going without ever seeing or experiencing the amazing beauty of God is altogether painful and unthinkable.

Beauty by nature must be shared, and joy in order to be fulfilled or "complete" must bring others into it to experience it. Beauty, and the joy of it, begs to have others join in our experience.

And with God, because He is the very Source of all that is loving, lovely, holy, and just we cannot imagine a universe where all will not eventually and willingly love, worship, serve and glorify Him forever.

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." (Rom. 11:36)

"Therefore God Exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:9-11)