written by Jimmy Newkirk, Associate Pastor (August 6, 2022)
Stories of creation, of Abraham, of Moses, Daniel or Isaiah, or any other Old Testament story sometimes just seem, well, so old. Likewise, the cultures and circumstances described in Jesus' day and that of the apostles simply don't resonate with our 21st century, Western culture way of thinking. Even still, there are times when the prophecies of Revelation can seem like such distant future. Today, how do we relate to the tumultuous circumstances and seemingly constant persecution of Paul? How do we comprehend the execution of James or exile of John? It’s all too easy to read these as unique stories without making the connection to our day-to-day life and culture.
While the Bible contains many stories, it is really one big story about God the Creator who made all things for His glory and who rules sovereignly over all time, place, and person. And, because the rebellion of mankind separated us from our Creator, we needed a Savior to restore our relationship and redeem creation for His glory.
Even on the heels of man's fall into sin, the Bible recounts God on mission coming for His people, reaching out for a lost world to save it, and His promise of the coming redeemer. Just as we see the spiritual separation from God in these first few chapters, we also see the origins of social separation that are clearly evident today: discord between husband and wife, hostility between brothers, and hostile brothers becoming hostile nations.
The Bible follows God as He demonstrates His righteous judgment in the flood, yet His mercy to Noah's family. We find God blessing and separating out a people, through the faith of Abraham, in order to fulfil His redemptive promise to Adam and Eve. Through the law and leadership of Moses, we read of God again blessing His people, freeing them from bondage, and teaching them what is holy, what is not, and the consequences of each.
Through each recorded event, we see mankind's failures and God's faithfulness. For example, God promised Abraham he would be the father of a great nation and then we find the names of the peoples recorded. He told His people He was holy and then gives the law to explain it. Prophecy spoke of blessings to those who obey Him and curses to those who betray. Episode after repeated episode provide examples, making us scratch our heads at the disobedience all the while following in their footsteps.
As we turn the pages into the New Testament, God most fully reveals Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. The Creator steps into His own creation to satisfy His own demand for righteousness. He alone makes the perfect sacrifice and creates a path into restored relationship and redemption. And just as God walked in the garden on mission, calling out to Adam and Eve, and just as God took on flesh to pay our debt, the Bible promises He will one day return to gather His people. All sin and death will be abolished, His creation and His chosen people will be restored, and His creative purposes fulfilled.
God progressively reveals His holy nature, scene after scene, chapter after chapter, book after book. Through over 40 human authors, using a variety of genres, and more than 1500 years, God tells one story and points to Jesus in all 66 books. Scriptures such as Luke 24 and John 5 reinforce this fact.
As we consider our purpose in life and as we attempt to make sense of personal or global circumstances, we must view it in the context of the Bible. We must connect Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden with the difficulty each of us face with sin and temptation each day. We need to recognize the relationship between Abraham's faith before the law was given and our salvation by grace alone through faith alone. We must live our lives on mission for Him today in light of His promises for tomorrow. And we can do all this through His Bible and the power of His Holy Spirit. Won't you commit to reading His story today?