Altar Culture – Restoration and Healing

chad In Christ, The Altar

I am doing a series of blogs on the culture of the Altar. It is  not just to lay the foundation of our culture as a church, but the altar in general and how the altar is a key place in our journey with Christ.

 

Having the right culture is liberating.  No matter what area of life we are talking about culture is key.  It could be a job, church or even in our families. It is the culture of those places that either frees us or limits us.   The Merriam dictionary defines culture as the beliefs, customs, arts, etc of a particular society, group, place or time. :a particular society that has its own beliefs, way of life, art, etc.  It is the culture of a business that often is the cause of high turnover in jobs or job retention. The same applies to churches as well. If the culture is life giving and freeing than people tend to want to be there and invite others to come as well.   The wrong culture in a church can make people feel unwanted with little desire to come back.

 

There are many aspects of the altar, but the one I want to focus on now is reconciliation and healing.  We could easily separate these two but I want to look at them together. Two of the biggest reasons people won’t go to church or go back to church is they feel they have done something that God won’t forgive or they have been hurt by someone and that pain is easier to deal with apart from the source.  Let me just say that you have never done anything that God won’t forgive. I promise the blood of Jesus can handle it. Often we know God will forgive but we can’t forgive ourselves and it is easier to lay that on God instead of dealing with our own unforgiveness. Hear me on this. God is not just interested in forgiving you.  He wants to do more in your life than you can imagine. Recall the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15? After demanding his inheritance from his father ( much against his father’s wishes), he squandered it on anything that sounded like fun. When the money ran out he was left with no home, no friends and completely destitute. His situation was so desperate that he was reduced to eating garbage with the pigs.  It was at this low point that the son said “ I will go home and be like a slave to my father. His slaves live better than this.”. But what a surprise he had when he returned home. You see his father had been anxiously waiting his return and watching for him to come home. He saw his son coming down the road and not only welcomed him home but put a ring on his finger, the best robe on his back, and sandals on his feet.  In other words the father restored him completely. What a great picture for us and what our Heavenly Father wants to do for us as well. No matter what we have done or where we have been our Father is watching with great anticipation for our return.

 

In 2 Chronicles chapter 7:14 we have a verse that is often quoted in prayers.

 

“And my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  NASB

 

What a great verse.  You know what I like most about this verse?  It is that God is answering Solomon’s prayer.  Back in chapter 6 Solomon is standing at the altar praying. In his prayer he lays out numerous different ways that the Israelite  people are going to mess up and how their enemies will beat them or take their land and even take them captive. After all of this he ends his ends his prayer with this. “ When all these things happen, if Your people return to You, You forgive them and restore things back to them and heal them.”  God responds and says I will forgive, heal, and restore them. What a Savior we have.

The altar is a place of sacrifice.  What so many people do not understand is that it is a place to lay down your pain, unforgiveness, and fear.  In return for laying these down you will receive restoration, forgiveness, healing, and love. You see the culture of the altar is one of forgiveness, restoration and above all-  love.

Do you need forgiveness, healing, restoring, reviving?  Whatever it is you can find it at the altar. You are destined to be a child of God. God has nothing less than this in mind for you.