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“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.” ~Psalm 143:5
The great story of redemption–the great story of history–is a life and death adventure crossing all boundaries of nations, people groups, languages, and even the physical “laws” of nature. It is the story of how mankind lost their essence–our first parents lost life–and how mankind has been restored to life. It is a long story filled with injustice, terror, and the beauty of holiness. It is a story that has not yet ended, though we know, in broad terms, how the ending shall come in–in life! And, because life is the object, the ending shall really be a new beginning….
In the beginning of history, the first man and woman were created by God and given free access to the Tree of Life. Through the sublety of a tempter and the man’s free action of disobedience, they were driven out from before the presence of their Creator–and also from the Tree of Life. Their bodies began to die as they faced the consequences of their sin. And ever since then, all their children have died one by one in consequence of their sins against God.
But God was not done with his creatures whom he had made as living beings. He had already arranged a plan by which a great number of the children of that first man and woman would live forever. Every one of them would die, but at the end of history, everyone would be resurrected. Then God would separate them out–the ones who had hated him he would condemn to everlasting death, but the ones who had loved him, he would give to them eternal life.
But how could this be? God cannot just ignore the sin of the first man and woman against him–he cannot just ignore the sins of all their children against him! God is just and holy!
God ordained a substitution. Jesus Christ was appointed to come to earth, take on humanity, and bear the punishment of death that is required in order for God’s justice to be satisfied. Christ having done this, life is restored everlastingly to those he choses. They are made into living beings, in all the fullness that that meant when God created the first man and woman.