Monday, July 6, 2020

The Beginning and the End

In the beginning, God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—created the heavens and the earth, land and sea, sun and moon, vegetation of all kinds, and a multiplicity of creatures.  It was good.  Then, He made man—male and female—in His image.  And it was very good.  It was very good until man chose to use his God-given free will to defy God and try to become his own master.  God’s glorious creation fell.  At the time, God promised redemption, but it would be a long time coming.  God and man, Part One.

In the fullness of time, God the Father sent His only begotten Son Jesus to earth, in human flesh: God incarnate.  Jesus spent three years proclaiming that He—the Son of Man mentioned by the prophet Daniel—had come to initiate the redemption of the fallen world.  At the end of those three years of public ministry, Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sin of Adam and Eve and their descendants.  The Apostle Paul describes it this way: “But the free gift is not like the transgression.  For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”  (Romans 5:15).

The incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption after Adam and Eve fell.  But just as the story of creation and the fall involved both God and man, so does the story of redemption.  Our redemption has been purchased by the blood of Christ.  But.  Man—each man, each woman—has a role to play in the redemption story.  We can access the redemption paid for and offered by Christ only by faith.  We must make the choice to make Christ our Lord and Savior, to recognize that His way is better than ours.  This is, in essence, an invitation to return to the Garden of Eden and make our choice: to abide in Christ or to pursue our own way…. God and man, Part Two.

Jesus Christ is indeed the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  He is our beginning: He created each of us, forming our inner parts in our mothers’ wombs.  He is also our end: He will be our Savior, or our Judge.  

The moment we choose to become bond-servants of Christ, to be saved by faith in His grace, we begin our path toward heaven.  We can rest in that salvation, depending on Christ’s faithfulness even as we struggle with our sin nature.  Again, the Apostle Paul assures us that He will perfect the work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).  Paul also exhorts us to partner with His Holy Spirit: “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  (Philippians 2:12-13).  This is one of the New Testament’s great mysteries.  At the very least, it is an invitation to pursue Christ as our Omega, our eternal end, choosing moment by moment to make Him our Lord and Savior.