Read His Words Before Ours!
It’s been a hard eighteen months, hasn’t it? A pandemic (and accompanying struggles), social unrest, tragic loss of life, a divisive election cycle, personal attacks and online debates, and the list continues. Right about now, I think we can all relate to Paul’s words in Romans 8:22-23,
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in labor pains until now. Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits– we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
Something within each of us longs for peace and a perfect world. We long for justice, righteousness, and love to prevail. Whatever our background, personal theology, faith, or lack thereof, this desire reveals the truth of the Bible when it cries that the broken world in which we live – fraught with so much sin and heartache – isn’t the way it was supposed to be. And – praise the Lord! – one day it won’t be like this any longer.
The first two chapters of the Bible are so beautiful. They present a perfect world just as God designed it to operate; a world without sin, heartache, trial, loss, suffering, or sadness of any kind. But by the third chapter, perfection is lost when sin enters the story, and all manner of brokenness quickly ensues. In fact, read one chapter beyond that, and murder takes place!
In Genesis 3:16-19, God lays out the initial consequences faced by men and women as a result of their sin (toil, increased pain in childbirth, etc.). But humankind’s spiritual condition as a result of the fall is far more grave. From the moment of the first sin, throughout all of history, humanity as a whole are “dead in our trespasses” (Ephesians 2:5) and “slaves of sin” (Romans 6:17). We are leading lives we were never meant to live, suffocating in a brokenness for which we were not designed, and so we groan.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis illustrated this truth well when he asserted, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
We were made for another world, and another world is precisely what is offered to us! All human efforts throughout history to construct utopian societies, to return to the Garden, to reach perfection, tranquility, or peace on our own, have failed.
Imperfect humans simply cannot create perfection.
But God, in His grace and mercy, constructed a plan that has never, and will never, fail. His plan was one He promised way back in the Garden of Eden, when sin first entered the world! Revealing His great love for His people, even in the midst of their sin, He says in Genesis 3:15, “I will put hostility between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. [Jesus] will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
The entire rest of the Bible unfolds God’s grand plan to restore the world to what He originally intended, an obliteration of sin and a restoration to righteousness in Christ, a destruction of heartache and pain and a return to peace in the Lord.
This plan looked like God sending His Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins so we might take on His righteousness as our own and be granted eternal life in Him forever. What glorious news!
Romans 6:17-18 says, “But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over, and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.” This is the promised change we undergo when we “confess with [our] mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in [our] heart[s] that God raised him from the dead.” (Romans 10:9)
Just as the first two chapters of the Bible are beautiful in their perfection and peace, the final two chapters of the Bible are just as beautiful (if not more so!) as we see the promised perfection and peace we anticipate! May you embrace these words from Revelation 21:3-4, and may they bring you hope and peace!
“Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.”
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!