Trading broken for whole
Something had me thinking about bones. Strange, I know. Maybe it was the skeleton decorations starkly hanging throughout my neighborhood in anticipation of Halloween. Maybe it was the Bible lesson in my children’s Sunday school classes about Ezekiel and those dry valley bones.
Or maybe it was all the people, broken and breaking around me, my own heart in constant need of repair.
The Bible has more than 80 references to bones, including the fulfilled Old Testament prophesy that not a bone in Jesus’ body would be broken (Psalm 34:20, John 19:36).
Why is this significant? As believers, we are called the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27). We are made of many parts designed to function as one - not splintered over secondary issues or denominational bias. We cripple the Church when we become divided.
The bones of Old Testament saints like Joseph were buried and carried for more than 400 years by the Israelites. These bones were freed from captivity in Egypt (a place symbolic of sin in Scripture), wandered through the wilderness, and then finally returned to the Promised Land (Joshua 24:32, Hebrews 11:22).
Why is this significant? It is a foretelling journey of God’s faithful promise to bring His people, and their decaying bones, home to Him. It is a glimpse into our destiny as believers (I Corinthians 5:1-10).
When God made woman and brought her to Adam, he said, “This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23).
And why is this significant? This is how we, the Bride of Christ, are intended to live: connected to our God without any break in relationship with Him (II Corinthians 11:2).
We were made to abide in Jesus.
So when one of my girl’s fractured her ankle bone, all while I was stirring inside over Biblical bones, I perked up knowing God was offering bona fide revelation.
Our family orthopedist, a Christian who specializes in the skeletal system, explained that by God’s design children typically break or fracture their bones instead of spraining or tearing ligaments. Ligaments heal with scar tissue but bones heal with bone, as if nothing has ever happened. The bone repairs itself and, over time, is made whole again without any direction from us. No scar tissue. Less damage. More trampoline jumping and abundant life.
Bones heal with bone as if nothing has ever happened. This struck me. The Holy Spirit was revealing the parallels for how the Maker designed our bones - our physical frame and foundation - to mirror how He designed the rescue and reality of our spirits once in Christ.
We are made in His image (Genesis 1:27). We were made to be one with Him. But sin broke our relationship with God. Our bones are not just weak apart from Him; they are dead (Ephesians 2:1).
This break with God cannot be mended by good deeds or self-fabrications. What medical science often ascribes to nature, we can credit to the Creator. Just as the physical bone restores itself by God’s design, the Lord restores our spiritual bones by His mercy and saving grace.
"He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted …" (Isaiah 61:1-3).
This is salvation.
He moves swiftly to initiate our spiritual healing. No input from us is needed except to consent to His care. We cannot save ourselves any more than we can heal our own broken bones.
“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
All that is required of us is faith in a process that God set into motion before the formation of the world, to join us to Himself (Ephesians 1:4).
When we respond and ask Jesus to indwell our spirit and mend our hearts to His, we are born again and our spiritual bones immediately come alive. There is no longer a break in fellowship with Him. No dislocation or loss of connection.
“This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live” (Ezekiel 37:5).
This is regeneration, the second birth that exchanges our broken pieces for His holy wholeness and enables us to see the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3).
The mysterious healing of our bones that causes new bone to grow into bone and form whole again without a trace of the previous break, this is justification. It is “just as if” our sin never existed. We are “justified freely by His grace through redemption that is in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:23-24).
Instead of a broken relationship with God, we have a fully restored, fully accessible relationship through the righteousness of Jesus. Instead of God looking at us and seeing the damaged, mangled parts in our lives, He sees the perfect blood of the Lamb, who has not just covered our most immoral acts (past, present and future) but has taken them away (I John 3:5, Psalm 103:12).
Once we’ve been saved, we’ve been regenerated, justified and are in the gritty and glorious process of becoming more and more like Him.
This is sanctification, being set apart and set on the course of rehabilitating every wound and scar caused by sin. My sin, your sin, their sin. All of it. Our dry, brittle, broken bones have the Spirit of the living and eternal God breathing life into us.
The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit, a shattered heart, cracked open by Him and for Him so that you and I can be fully restored (Psalm 51:17).
God uses every trial, temptation and transgression to break and rebuild us into His holy home.
"You have broken me— now let me rejoice … Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Psalm 51:8-10).
Be encouraged when the Lord dismantles parts of your life. This is the precision of the Great Physician who loves us too much to leave us broken (Proverbs 3:12, Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 12:6).
Be encouraged when you feel like you're being stretched and skinned and sucker punched. This opposition comes from our adversary but provides an opportunity to grow strong spiritual bones in us through the power of our Advocate. Like lifting weights, the more resistance we have the stronger we will become in Christ.
While we were sinners, dead in our flesh and separated from God, Jesus died for us and took on our brokenness, pain and punishment so that we could be made alive - whole and able to walk in newness of life (Romans 5:8). He broke through sin and conquered death when He rose again, ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus redeems our valley of bones, no matter how deep the break or wide the fracture or how long they’ve been in the grave. He fulfills God’s promise to rescue, resuscitate and revive us.
This is the gospel, the good news victory message that gives life eternal and empowers us to run free today.
"He has sent me to … proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners" (Isaiah 61:1).
Blast the ram's horn. Blow the shofar. Broadcast God's power to rebuild, restore and renew the lives of all who believe in Jesus as Lord (Isaiah 61:4, Joshua 6:4-5).
This is the great commission. Go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to trade their broken for His whole (Matthew 28:18-20).
"But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)