Redemption: The Gracious Rescue

Continued from The Fall: Shattered Mirrors

The good news is that God is reforging the shards! When he is finished, no trace of the breakage will remain. For God has formed a rescue plan. Not willing to abandon his creation to evil, God has purposed to redeem and restore the world by setting a new people apart for himself.

Although hints of this plan are given even before the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden (Gen. 3:15), God’s redemptive mission truly began to take shape when he called Abraham.13 God promised to give Abraham two things: A son (and descendants) through whom the world would be blessed (Gen. 12:1–3), and a special land that would belong to his heirs forever (Gen. 17:7–8).14 The promised son was Isaac. The descendants were the children of Israel. The land would be Canaan. God later rescued this people from slavery in Egypt and consecrated them as a special nation (Ex. 1–15) over which he himself would reign as sovereign king (Ex. 19:3–6; Num. 23:21; Deut. 33:2–5).

Once Canaan was settled, God promised David, the greatest of Israel’s earthly kings, a son who would be forever enthroned over his people (2 Sam. 7). The entire story of the Old Testament is the outworking of these two covenant promises to Abraham and David. It is the story of God’s glory gradually returning to earth through this people, chosen and redeemed to bear his image.

Israel, however, failed to reflect the glory of the Lord as they should. Israel’s history in Scripture is marked by repeated cycles of rebellion against God, exile from God, and deliverance by God. In spite of God’s grace and longsuffering, the hearts of the people continually turned to idols instead of their Covenant Lord. God repeatedly sent prophets to denounce their rebellion and idolatry, warning of the impending judgment that would surely fall upon them. They usually refused to listen. But a kernel of hope was buried in the prophets’ oracles of doom. God promised that he would not utterly forsake his people. He would preserve a remnant of people, to whom he would faithfully fulfill his promises (Isa. 6:9–13; 10:20–22). He would send a suffering servant to lead the people in a second exodus. And he would create a new world (Isa. 40–66).

This rescue plan comes to fruition in Jesus, the son of David, the son of Abraham (Matt. 1:1). Born in fulfillment of God’s promises (Matt. 1:18–25), Jesus is the ultimate descendant of Abraham, the heir to David’s throne, and the remnant of Israel (Gal. 3:16; Rom. 1:3). Jesus is the suffering servant who, through death and resurrection, ransoms God’s people, inaugurates his saving reign, and ushers in the new creation (Mark 1:15; 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:17). As the great theologian Herman Bavinck summarized, “The essence of the Christian religion consists in this, that the creation of the Father, devastated by sin, is restored in the death of the Son of God, and re-created by the Holy Spirit into a kingdom of God.”

This has been only the briefest overview of the ways in which God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ. But there is one more dimension of God’s work in Christ that we must understand.

Next: Restoration: New Man, New Creation

Excerpted from Christ Formed in You by Brian G. Hedges

Shepherd Press