“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.” -Ephesians 1:3–6
I hadn’t intended to have this much time lapse between posts on this blog. The corona virus has certainly changed things. I once again have home internet service as my WiFi sources are not available for the foreseeable future, and my hope is to write much more often. We each have some way of being a blessing to each other even in the midst of this enforced separation. My hope is that this blog will be a blessing to you.-Chuck
I had a conversation some time ago where this statement was made: “Well, the cross is just God’s method of fixing his mistakes.” I would have been taken aback if I hadn’t heard that sentiment expressed before. In fact, I’ve found it’s a rather common belief. I believe the argument goes something like this: God had made a perfect creation but mankind sinned and became alienated from God. The cross was an afterthought to address the problem of man’s sin, and the church is a temporary institution until God can establish His earthly kingdom with Jesus as its head.
It may sound plausible from a human reasoning standpoint but the Bible doesn’t support it at all. I was reminded of this when reading the book of Ephesians. Paul is always a challenging writer and this epistle is some of his finest writing. He begins the letter with an astounding claim. God had a plan for the redemption of mankind in place before He ever uttered the words, “Let there be light”, long before sin came into the garden. Our difficulty in understanding this, I believe, lies in our lack of understanding about the nature of God.
We like a God who we can understand, a God we can explain. A God who conforms to our whims and desires. In other words, a God who is a bigger version of us. Someone who gives us what we want, demands little or nothing from us, and will eventually take us to heaven. Personally, that’s not a God I find very appealing, because he’s not big enough, he’s not wise enough, he’s not righteous enough, and he’s not loving enough.
Among the writings of the Old and New Testament perhaps the Psalmist best summarized the nature of God:
“Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from eternity to eternity, you are God.” -Psalms 90:2
God has always been and will always be. He is not limited by time and space like we are. He exists in the past, present, and future all at once; for God, there is no such limitation as time. It’s why when Moses asked His name he was told, “I AM THAT I AM”. God is, not was or will be, but IS. And with that existence comes perfect wisdom and intelligence. Isaiah wrote,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the LORD’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8,9
Our minds are incapable of fully comprehending the mind of God. Because of our limitations of time we can’t perfectly see the future; we can only predict what might happen, based on what has already occurred. But God can see what we call the future because He already exists there. Having said that, it doesn’t mean the future is a fixed conclusion. God guides events toward a certain outcome but has given us the freedom to choose actions which may lead to an entirely different one. God desires men and women who choose to be his rather than mindless automatons who have no choice.
Paul is recognizing that God, having existed before creation and being eternal, knew what would happen before He created us. When He made us He gave us the ability to choose either obedience or rebellion and disobedience. God had already seen what would happen. Adam and Eve would be deceived by the serpent, choose to disobey God’s command, the creation would be cursed by that choice, and we would be powerless to produce a solution. He already had a plan to redeem mankind before sin ever appeared. He revealed it in bits and pieces throughout the Old Testament, first seen in Genesis 3:15:
“I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
The He refers to the Messiah, who was revealed to be Jesus Christ. The Messiah would defeat Satan’s plan to destroy the creation (us) through His death on the cross (Satan striking his heel). While some would insist that this proves God had to come up with an alternate plan, Paul tells us this was God’s plan all along. God had no plan B because He didn’t need one. Through His infinite wisdom God knew what would happen and already had a plan for exactly what we needed. As Max Lucado so eloquently once said, “When Eve took a bite of the fruit, a cross appeared on the horizon.” The Old Testament prophets were given an imperfect vision of the plan, but understood it was coming. We are privileged to see it in its full revelation. It was there before creation and will last for eternity. And it’s an invitation extended to every one of us. Because THAT’s the God we serve.