ISSUES OF FAITH: All a part of the divine plan

IT IS A story that goes all the way back to the beginning of creation.

Heard in the echoes of the inner chambers of God’s heart with his proclamation “let us make man in our own image” (Genesis 1:26) is the promise of this one born to die.

Even then, with his foreknowledge did he see the possibility of the fall, of humanity’s rebellion, the reign of sin, the dominion of death, how his own people would forget and betray him.

He even glimpsed the chains the fallen angels would wear in hell (Genesis 3:11, 6:5, Romans 6:23; Judges 2:10; 2 Peter 2:4).

Yet he said, “Let us make man in our own image.”

He moved forward with his plan, which led to him taking on flesh, placing himself under the burden of the law (Galatians 4:4), and dying as a ransom for all humankind (1 Timothy 2:6).

The birth of our Lord Jesus Christ was not a “Plan B,”or “C,” or “D.”

It was what God had in mind when he spoke to Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

It was the culminating event of God gathering all nations to himself through Jesus’ birth that the prophet Isaiah spoke about (Isaiah 60:1-3).

Every sacrifice made on altars, every law, every king and every victory in battle experienced by God’s people pointed to this one child, who would offer himself up as a once and for all sacrifice for the sins of the world (Hebrews 7:27).

It is this son that was presented and dedicated at the temple that would satisfy everything that the law demanded and exchange his perfection for our total imperfection (Luke 2:25-35; 1 Peter 1:24; Romans 5:6-11).

This child born in rags and in the filth of a stable is the king of kings, born to bring the heavenly kingdom and its fruit to you and I (Mark 1:15; John 18:36).

Thinking of that baby held tightly by Mary, it is overwhelming to think of how soon her arms would be outstretched unable to comfort him at the foot of his cross; how those first borning cries would be replaced by his final words on the cross, the last great battlefield, where death’s sting, Satan’s full power and all sin was pressing on him.

This great battlefield, red with Christ’s blood, that was silenced by a cry, an earthquake and God’s great love (Matthew 27:51-52; John 3:16).

This is a battlefield that we will never have to step on because of our champion and savior Jesus the Christ who won us victory (Revelation 12:10-11).

Love first spoke about when he proclaimed “let us make man in our image.”

To think he was prepared to lay his life down for you at the onset of creation so that you may be his forever and dwell in his house forever.

This is God’s story for you.

Not because you did something to deserve it.

Not because you earned it.

This is his story for you because it is the story of his undeserved love for you that goes all the way back to the beginning of creation (Ephesians 2:3-6).

With this in mind, as we begin a new year one new day at a time, keep the words of Mark close to your heart, “The beginning of the gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ, the son of God” (Mark 1:1).

Just as when he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to pen these words, now is not the beginning of God’s redemptive story.

For Mark it was the beginning of the news of God fulfilling his long expected promise of deliverance and reconciliation.

It was the beginning of that news spreading and changing lives, turning the whole world upside down.

This new year, this new day that we find ourselves in is also the beginning of that reality, as the lord comes to us anew every morning with his mercy.

If you are hearing of God’s plan for you for the first time, welcome to your new beginning.

If have been wandering from the faith, have this be a renewed beginning.

If you reside every day in this reality, begin to find new ways to live it.

Embody this good news.

Take it with you today.

Share it with those in your lives.

Tell the story of God’s love.

Don’t put it away with the Christmas decorations, or take it out of the ears of your children with the Christmas carols.

Surround yourself with the truth that you are not here by accident or coincidence, and that God does notice you.

You have always been and always will be on his mind.

To God be the glory.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Patrick Lovejoy is minister of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. He can be contacted at 360-457-4122 or [email protected]

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