Just as in a great symphony there are different movements that make up the entire masterpiece, in the Bible there are four great movements or stories that make up the whole. Creation. Fall. Cross. New Creation. Put together, these four themes can give us the big picture of the entire Bible. Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees, and we simply need to step back and take in what God has done and is doing. I hope that this will help you rejoice in His amazing and sovereign plan that is for our salvation and His glory!
Creation. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” (Gen. 1:1) are such familiar words as almost every English version of the Bible translates this first verse the exact same way. God created all things, showing both ownership and care for what He had made. His great plan had begun!
Fall. The Bible wastes no time in presenting the great predicament that mankind has found himself in since the beginning. At the start of Genesis chapter 3 Adam and Eve are already presented with an opportunity to sin, and they turn from God to sin and death. So do we: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (Rom. 5:12).
Cross. God’s solution to His creation turning from Him and the fact of their spiritual and physical death is effected in His Son, through His death on the cross. The One promised from the moment of the Fall (Gen. 3:15) came as the God-man who alone could atone for our sin. “And you, who were dead in your trespasses…God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:13-14) Christ and His work on the cross is looked forward to throughout the Old Testament and looked back upon throughout the New Testament.
New Creation. The last “event” in all of history as we know it will be the New Creation, when God will consummate all things by abolishing sin, evil, and death. Those who are in Christ will enjoy a New Heaven and New Earth in new bodies that will never be tainted by sin or its’ effects. God will be worshiped and we will enjoy Him and His creation forever with joy that we can only imagine now. God’s plan for our salvation and His glory will have been realized as He exclaims at the end of the Bible: “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” (Rev. 21:6b)
May we respond to the big picture of the Bible as John did at the end of Revelation: “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)
Second Corinthians 5:21 has long been a favorite verse of mine: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This passage became more and more beloved to me the longer I studied and meditated on it. I will never get over this and I pray that you won’t either. Christ actually took our sin (if you are saved, if you are in Christ) and gave us His righteousness! My favorite point right now from this sermon is “The Sinner’s Standing.” The fact that God actually sees me before Him clothed in the righteousness of Christ is unbelievable and one of many reasons that He is worthy of all of our worship, praise, and to live our lives for Him. One of the main reasons that Christ died on the cross was “so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Sermon Preached July 1, 2012 candidating at Immanuel Bible Church in Bellingham, WA for Pastor of Family Ministries.
A few weeks ago my wife and I were in the kitchen when we heard a terrifying sound: a huge crash coming from our son’s room and then screams of fear and pain. I ran into his room to see the most frightening scene I have witnessed in my life yet: my 4 year old son was crushed under his dresser that had completely fallen on top of him. He had pulled all of the drawers out as he was putting something away and it toppled onto him. All I remember in the seconds between seeing what happened and lifting it off of him was his body crushed, and his head sticking out from underneath the top of the dresser with a look of terror and “help” in his eyes as he screamed. We are so thankful that he was fine. The Doctor said he just needed to take it easy for a few days, and as I write this he is happily playing energetically as he normally does.
Maybe because our pastor is preaching through Isaiah 53, the next day I thought of the verse speaking of Christ that says, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him…” (Is. 53:10). It is no wonder that Christ cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46b). When Christ was bearing sin on the cross and taking the full brunt of God’s wrath against sin, it is not just as if God saw His Son crushed “under the dresser” (sin) and turned away, but rather that it was actually His will for Him to be crushed. This is why some “Christian theologians” have so mistakingly called substitutionary atonement “divine child abuse.” They have a completely unbiblical view of the fact that Christ was both man and God and came into the world for this plan of salvation that had been in the works since before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). In His humanity Christ cried out as He was crushed by sin and His very Father’s wrath as He bore our sins: “But He was wounded for our trangressions; He was crushed for our iniquities…” (Is. 53:5). In His deity, Christ was resolute: “…And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” (John 12:27b-28a).
When we think of Christ’s sin-bearing from the perspective of God pouring out His wrath on His beloved Son, it can be shocking and seem “scandalous.” But when we think of it from the perspective of Christ bearing our sin, we praise the One who did this for our good and His glory. Thank you Lord for this truth: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)