School of Biblical Studies Final Paper

 

We can see God’s plan of redemption and salvation throughout the whole Bible. In it we can see God’s grace and love for humankind. This is the most important story of all and it can transform peoples’ lives and is our own history. We can see where mankind comes from and the development of the peoples of the earth. We can also see the character of God, why we need him, how he created a plan to save us, and the reason why he created the plan to save us, which is because of his great steadfast love for us.

Everything started when he created something out of nothing just by speaking things into life (Gen 1-2). Then, for his master peace, he created man out of his own image (Gen 1:27). God gave mankind the ability to think, to reason, and the ability to feel emotions just like he does. God also gave man the freedom to choose what he wants. This is called free will.

Man walked in perfect relationship with God in the Garden of Eden. It was here that they perfect union and communication with God. And this is what God created them for: to have relationship with them, to love them forever, for them to have life, and to share everything else he created with them.

The Bible says that God breathed into the man’s nostrils (Gen 2:7) giving him his own life. He loved this being since the very beginning. But mankind turned their back on God and they rebelled and disobeyed and they became evil because of their desire to be like God and to have his knowledge (Gen 3:1-7).

As a result of this act, sin entered the world bringing separation between God and man. This also resulted in bringing death, suffering, and hardships. It totally destroyed the perfection that God created and what he intended it to be at the beginning. Even though they didn’t physically die in that moment they started dying in that moment and they no longer had the promise of eternal life with God. They lost the privilege of standing in God’s presence and being with him always.

Although the Lord was angry with the situation and mankind suffered the consequences because of sin, in his merciful character and in his love for man he created a plan to restore the relationship and the perfection he wanted. So he made a promise of redemption because of his great love for mankind. God said in Genesis 3:15, “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.”

He graciously promised to send a Redeemer (the offspring of the woman) so that mankind would once again be able to have relationship with their creator and have salvation.

However, before this Redeemer would come, God started unfolding his plan by calling a man by the name of Abram. God chose Abraham (this is how God called him later on when he changed his name) because he was a man of great faith. Abraham did not originally know God and he and his wife were already pretty old and she could not bear children. Nonetheless, the Lord made a promise of a son to them and other very important promises to Abraham.

The first promise was that from Abraham the Lord would make a great nation (Gen12:2). The second promise was that God would give Abraham’s offspring land (Gen 12:7). Lastly, the third and final promise was that through Abraham all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen 22: 18).

Abraham becomes the father of the people of Israel but his descendants go into slavery in Egypt. This is where we see Moses enter the story who was a man chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery and fulfill the promise that God had made to Abraham.

Through Moses God gives his people the Law and makes a covenant (or an agreement) with them telling them that he will be their God and they will be his possession and be blessed if they obey this Law (Ex19:4-5; Deut 11:27). The very basics of the law were made out of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 and are as follows:

  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make yourself idols
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain
  4. Remember the Sabbath
  5. Honor your father and your mother
  6. You shall not murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  10. You shall not covet

 

This law was meant not just to bless Israel but also to separate them from the others nations of the earth. The Lord wanted them to be different meaning that they were to be holy as he was holy. He wanted to restore them, to give them an identity, and to make them his people because he wanted to be their God.

The Lord did bring his people into the land that he promised them after 40 years of wandering in the desert. Among his people he raised up a man by the name of David. The Bible describes David as a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14) whom God chose to make prince over his people. God gave David the promise that his kingdom shall be an everlasting one and his throne will be established forever (2 Sam 17:16; 1Chr 17:14). This kingdom that he is talking about is his own kingdom (the Kingdom of God) and is not just for the people of Israel but for all peoples. The Lord would welcome all of the nations as his people if they would follow him (Zech. 2:11).

Throughout a large portion of the Old Testament God gives hints or boldly declares that the Messiah is coming. Moses said it in Deuteronomy 18:18-19 that God would raise up a prophet like Moses and put God’s words in his mouth and that the people of Israel should listen to the prophet. This prophet was a perfect one and one who was blameless.

The prophet Isaiah tells about this coming Messiah too and he says that “the government shall be upon his shoulders” and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6). Isaiah confirms the promise made to David about his kingdom being an everlasting one saying that this this man shall be on the throne of David and over his kingdom and that of his government there shall be no end (Isa 9:7).

Micah prophesies that he will come from Bethlehem (Mic 5:2) and Zechariah says that he was going to be sold for thirty pieces of silver and that he would come mounted on a donkey (Zech 9:9; 11:13). All of these promises came to pass in the life of Jesus Christ, who walked among us, sent by God as a Redeemer. Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all mankind and through his death and resurrection the relationship between God and mankind was restored. This happened because he destroyed the power of the enemy, conquering death and leaving sin with no power over mankind.

One of the things that Jesus taught about and referred to frequently was the kingdom of God. He said that it is not coming in ways that we can observe (Luk 17:20). Jesus was meaning that his kingdom is not from this earth. He compared it to several things using parables. In Mark 4:26-29 Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a seed growing. In Mark 4:30-24 he compared it to a mustard seed. He later explained it again through the parable of the ten minas in Luke 19:12-27 teaching that the kingdom of god should be stewarded rightly.

In John 3:3 it says that those who are not born again cannot see the kingdom of God.

After Jesus died, the first Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit and started spreading the good news about Jesus. They were persecuted for their faith and some of them were even killed for it. One of the persecutors was a man named Saul who hated Christians. However, one day he had an encounter with Jesus and became a Christian too (Act 9). The Lord changed his name from Saul to Paul. Paul became an apostle and was one of the founders of Christianity. He sent letters to the people of God throughout the world and a lot of the New Testament is made up of his letters.

Paul talked about righteousness and also justification by faith. Regarding righteousness Paul defines it as the kind of behavior that pleases God. He says that we should present our bodies to the Lord as instruments of righteousness (Rom 6:13) meaning that we should take care of our bodies to be clean and holy before the Lord. We see this concept again in Rom 6:16 when Paul says that obedience leads to righteousness. He mentions that having been set free from sin we have become slaves of righteousness and that righteousness leads to sanctification (Rom 6:18-19). He quoted Ps 112:9 in 2 Corinthians 9:9 to say that God’s righteousness endures forever. Paul proves his point again in Eph 4:24 when he says that to be to the likeness of God is to be righteous and holy.

In Eph 6:14 when Paul uses the analogy of the armor of God he says that righteousness is the breastplate, which is used to protect ourselves against the enemy. Another analogy that Paul uses is found in Philippians 1:11 when he says that righteousness is a fruit that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

When we look at 1 Tim 6:11 we see that Paul encourages Timothy to pursue righteousness. So this makes us think that righteousness is something we don’t always have but need to seek and pursue. When Paul mentions the concept of righteousness it is related to the law or according to the law. To have righteousness a person must follow or be obedient to the law because the Law is the measurement of what is right. To be declared righteous is synonymous with saying “the person has been totally obedient to all that the law has required of them.” They are seen as completely obedient in God’s eyes.

Paul talked about the new life that we have in Christ and in Ephesians he describes what does this look like. He said that the truth is in Jesus and that in order to have new life you have to die to yourself. In order to die to yourself you have to die to the way you were before like a corrupt person with deceitful desires. Then, you need to put on the new self, which is the one that has been created in the likeness of God. The one who has new life speaks truth, gives no opportunity to the devil, doesn’t steal anymore, and only talks about things that build up the body. Paul says that we have been sealed by the Spirit of God for the day of redemption (Eph 4:17-32).

Mankind is called to the ministry of reconciliation just was Paul was called. He explains our call to the ministry of reconciliation in his letter to the Corinthians that it’s the message of Christ coming to earth to reconcile man with God. God did this through his son Jesus Christ who reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Jesus did not count the world’s trespasses against them but entrusted this message to us. Therefore, this makes us, believers in Christ, ambassadors of Christ. He says that we should regard no one according to the flesh, because if anyone is in Christ he has become a new creation, leaving the old behind. It was for our sake, that Jesus became sin even though he knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:11-21).

So, God’s plan of redemption and salvation for his people has not been completed yet we find ourselves right now in the age of tension, which is described in the following drawing:

 

Since the time of the prophets God has been speaking about the second coming of the Messiah. Jeremiah said that this was going to be a time when God was going to avenge himself on his enemies (Jer 46:10). Ezekiel described it as a time of doom for the nations (Ez 30:3). Joel said that the sun shall turn into darkness and the moon to blood (Joel 2:31).

In the New Testament we see Jesus who died but resurrected to later be taken up into heaven and sit down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Luk 24:50). Nevertheless, he promised that just as he went up into heaven he would come back and then the full plan of redemption would be complete. We are still waiting for that great promise to this day.

What we know about the second coming of Jesus is that he will come in the same way he left. This was told to the disciples when Jesus was taken up to heaven (Acts 1:8). He will come visibly in bodily form and will bring with him those who have fallen asleep which Paul confirms in 1Thes 4:13-18. Those who don’t believe or obey the gospel of Jesus Christ will be judged (2Thes 1:7-8). For this time when the Lord comes back we need to be ready because we don’t know when he is coming back (Matt 24:42).

We will be with him forever in heaven and this is something Jesus himself said (John 14:3) and the Lord confirmed it through John in the book of Revelation (Rev 21:3-4). Besides living with him, we will be rewarded on that day as Paul mentions in 2 Tim 4:8 but we need to live godly lives while we wait for him who is our blessed hope when he appears in glory (Tit 2:13). It is important that believers preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples of him until this second coming happens which we call the great commission (Matt 28:19-20).

In Revelation John sees the one called Faithful and True coming on a white horse, clothed in a robe dipped in blood, a sharp sword coming out of his mouth, and the armies of heaven following him. In his robe and on his thigh he has written the name King of kings and Lord of lords. Scripture says that the beast, kings of the earth, and armies came to make war against him. The beast was captured with the false prophet and they were thrown alive into the lake of fire. The rest of the people that came to make war against him were slain by the sword from his mouth and birds gorged on their flesh (Rev 19:11-21). However, those who are invited to the supper of the Lamb are blessed (Rev19:9).

This is the plan of salvation and redemption God set up from the beginning after the fall of mankind: making a people out of Abraham, establishing his kingdom through David, and bringing Jesus to die for us and resurrect him from the dead so that we can have life with him. We are eagerly waiting for the last part of his perfect plan of redemption, which is his second coming. There is hope for believers in Jesus Christ and his promise of eternal life!

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