Mark Driscoll says restitution is a lost principle in the Evangelical church that must be rediscovered. I certainly agree. The biblical principle was included along with repentance in Basic Christian Doctrines class during my days at Christ for the Nations.
Restitution should extend into every area of relational life. This is especially true when one brother defrauds another through slanderous character theft. Authentic repentance will sincerely be motivated to restore what has been stolen from the persons good reputation. Unfortunately, less than honorable men choose to identify Evangelical restitution with the error of Catholic penance so as to be relieved from the responsibility of “putting back” what they have “verbally stolen”. Tragic and unprincipled.However, noble men like Driscoll [and Dr. Dan Juster] are faithful to maintain the integrity of scripture by reminding us of the portions of scripture that we often neglect or simply choose to ignore.
Driscoll rightly differentiates Catholic penance and Evangelical restitution. Questions at the end demonstrate the far-reaching application of biblical restitution.
Rather, Zacchaeus practiced restitution as evidence that he’d received God’s forgiveness. Restitution is making right to those that you’ve sinned against as a response to the work of Jesus in your life. It’s not penance. It’s justice. And it’s the duty of every Christian.
Many Christians are content with forgiveness and don’t feel compelled to make right what they’ve done wrong. It’s not enough to say, “Jesus, forgive me.” Yes, Jesus forgives. But Jesus also changes us. And that change should always result in a desire to make right what we’ve done wrong to the best of our ability.
Restitution shows the love and generosity of Jesus to the world and causes others to rejoice in the work of Jesus in your life. What is your repentance + restitution that would resulting in rejoicing? “
7 Questions To Ask Yourself Regarding Restitution
- What have you taken that you need to give back?
- How have you defrauded, and what should you pay?
- When have you been lazy, and how can you change?
- Whom have you neglected and what does restitution require?
- Which sinner have you not called out but only grumbled about?
- What sins have you tolerated, and what does repentance look like?
- Have you been greedy, and how can you be generous?