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Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

Christianity ought to radically change the way that we see people and relate to them. As I am currently working through the parables of Jesus, I have been struck by how many of them address our relationships with people. In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus intimates that all people are our neighbors–even the person we are most frustrated with (for the Jew that was the Samaritan). Further, Jesus is more concerned with us living like neighbors than determining who fits that bill. In the parable of the wedding feast, Jesus indicates that we should be reaching out in love to all people. Living in a kingdom that is upon us and yet awaits fulfillment (already/not yet) should open our eyes to see the poor, the downtrodden, and the needy in our midst.

The gospelradically changes the way we see ourselves and other people and how we relate to them.  Using the four gospel truths of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation, here is a basic guide to poeple:

  1. Creation:  God created the world and he made it good–everything in it, including you and me, belongs to him. Every breath is a gift.
  2. Fall:  God’s good creation has subjected itself to corruption. We have sinned and what God made good has been broken.
  3. Redemption: God promises to fix his broken creation through the death and resurrection of His Son, the God-man Jesus Christ.  People who trust Christ are healed of their corrupt nature.
  4. Consummation: God will send Jesus back to finally redeem those who trusted him and he will finally and decisively make all that is wrong in the world right.

Seeing ourselves in the right light:

  1. 1. We are created beings. We have value.
  2. We are broken. There is much about us that isn’t good–we need to be familiar with this aspect about ourselves. Our nature has been corrupted in a way that we cannot fix by ourselves.
  3. We can be redeemed through Christ. Our corrupt nature can be done away with and replaced with a new one. We don’t deserve this–its the most marvelous gift.
  4. We are not yet what we will be.

Seeing other people in the right light:

  1. They are created beings. They have value. Not one is worth more than another.
  2. They are broken. We should expect them to fail and even hurt us at times.
  3. They can be redeemed by grace. No one deserves this–that is why everyone should hear about it.
  4. Those God saves he will perfect.

Seeing ourselves in relation to other people:

  1. You are created and therefore have value to offer other people.
  2. You are broken and thus have the potential to do great harm to people made in God’s image.
  3. You are saved by God’s grace. You don’t deserve this–its a gift so you are no better than anyone else.  This salvation does grant you a unique potential to bless others.
  4. You are saved, you are being saved, and you will be saved. God isn’t done with you yet.

This paradigm has the power to radically change the way we see people and relate to them. As C.S. Lewis said–humans are immortal beings–that changes everything. Christians ought to be the humblest of all people.

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Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “I did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill.” The “law and the prophets” is common NT parlance for “the whole Old Testament.” Jesus is saying that he is the appointed end of the OT. He himself is the fulfillment of every OT promise. Some of those promises have been fulfilled in his life, death, and resurrection whereas some of them are awaiting final fulfillment at his promised return.

What does that tell us about the Old Testament? It tells us that the Old Testament is not a separate narrative. The OT is not the story about God and the Law whereas the New Testament is the story about Jesus. A direct implication of Matthew 5:17 is that the OT and NT are one narrative–one story of redemption in Christ. The OT is a book of promise and the NT is a book of promise and fulfillment–but the focus of both is one and the same . Both tell of the same promise and one in the same God who accomplishes redemption for all who would believe in Christ!

Genesis 1-2 are the account of life in perfect fellowship with God. Genesis 3 is the account of man’s rejection of God’s rightful rule and then all of Scripture from Genesis 3 on is the narrative of God promising to reverse the fall and restore his fallen creation–He promises to do this through his only Son, Jesus Christ. Let me give you an example:

Genesis 3:15 tells us of God’s curse upon the serpent after the fall, God says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

While Satan continually will impede us through temptation and the free reign of sin in the human heart, Christ will deal the final blow to Satan’s head ending his feigned rule. This is clearly Paul’s understanding of Genesis 3:

(13) And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, (14) by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (15) He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. -Colossians 2

(22) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (23) But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (24) Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. (25) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (27) For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” – 1 Corinthians 15

Christ in his death and resurrection “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame.” Rulers and authorities are short hand for demons–the evil angelic powers in this world. Jesus in his death and resurrection has disarmed them and in the cross he has overcome Satan’s greatest desire–to see the world forever enslaved to sin! In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has sealed Satan’s fate and promised to return to finally crush him.

The curse of sin in Genesis 3 is death–death entered the world because of sin. Jesus became the curse of sin for us:

(13) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us- for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” -Gal. 3

(14) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Cor. 5

Jesus bears the wrath of God for sin on our behalf reversing the curse of the fall for all who would believe. We see this throughout His life too. He stands up to Satan by the Word of God when tempted in the dessert. He comes preaching for men to repent and believe because the “kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt. 4:17, Mark 1:15). He heals sicknesses and birth defects–results of living in fallen world. He casts out demons–a picture of Christ’s overcoming Satan and freeing men from slavery to sin! He raises the dead, proof that in the end he will conquer our two great enemies sin and death!

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets–he is the one who has disarmed Satan and sealed his fate–He will crush Satan’s head and He will usher in His perfect kingdom where we will reign with Him!

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