The Gospel Begins and Ends With God - Part Two

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Gospel Begins and Ends With God
Part Two

Based on the introduction yesterday, I'd like to offer a few texts which will serve to elucidate this concept that the gospel begins and ends with God.

First, consider Him as the Creator of the gospel, as the Savior in the gospel, as the Sustainer of your relationship with Him, and as the One who will complete your quest for holiness. The writer of Hebrews calls Him the “author and finisher of our Faith” (Hebrews 12:2) or as another translation reads, “the founder and perfector of our faith” (ESV). Jesus told John that He was “the Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1:8), which simply means the beginning and the end. This is what the righteousness of God causes us to come to grips with in ways we never thought possible before. When God and the glory of His righteousness become the center of our thinking, God suddenly focuses in our minds as first and last, beginner and finisher. Consider the following thoughts along this line of truth.

Second, God made the first move to reveal Himself and His righteousness to mankind. He created Adam and then revealed His holiness to Adam. Adam did not stumble upon it, nor was he searching for it. God simply created him and revealed Himself to him.

Third, it was no different with Noah. God revealed Himself to Noah, and did so with favor and grace such that Noah and his family were chosen from the millions of inhabitants of the earth at that time to be saved in the destruction of the world (Genesis 6:13 ff.). Noah wasn’t looking for God. Noah didn’t know about the coming flood. Noah didn’t happen to stumble upon a set of plans for an ark. God revealed it all to him, from the fact of the coming flood, to the precise details of the plans for an ark. And when the flood waters subsided it was God who made a covenant with Noah, not the other way around.

Fourth, there’s Abraham, the idol worshiping fellow from Haran. Prior to Genesis 12 we read nothing of Abraham, called Abram at the time, except that he was the son of Terah. Then suddenly in 12:1 we read these strange words, “Now the Lord said to Abram…” What is strange is that there is no communication from God to Abram previously that we read of or know of. Yet this strangeness concludes for us that God broke into the pages of time and history, as it were, suddenly and effectively. He stepped into a man’s life and spoke to him, revealing Himself and His plans for Abraham. And not only this, but He stepped into this man’s life and made a covenant with him to bless him. The covenant was made by God with Abraham, not the other way around. And once again, Abraham wasn’t looking for God. Rather God sovereignly and suddenly took the initiative in revealing Himself.

Fifth, moving on to the amazing Moses, here was a fellow who was undoubtedly raised by his mother in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Yet God did not reveal Himself to Moses until he was 80 years old! And when Moses met God at the burning bush (Exodus 3) it was God who revealed Himself to Moses. Moses is not looking for God, rather he is minding his own business, tending his flocks. As Exodus 3:1-2 tell us, “Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro…And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.” The Lord also appeared to Moses suddenly and sovereignly. The deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, the most miraculous event in all of the Old Testament, began with God. It began with God revealing Himself to Moses.

Finally, one more example will suffice from the Old Testament. A young boy who was doing just what Moses was doing, tending his father’s flocks, was minding his own business when the prophet Samuel shows up to look for a king. 1 Samuel 16:12 reads that the Lord said to Samuel, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” As God did in the life of Moses to deliver Israel from the hands of Egypt, God did again in the life of David to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines and other Canannite nations. He broke into David’s shepherding life suddenly and sovereignly, revealing Himself and His plan to David. It is not surprising then to find that David is eventually called a man after God’s own heart. He was a man to whom God had revealed Himself, making the first move, and eventually taking over David’s heart and flooding it with the greatest joy, peace and contentment probably ever known among all mankind. God made this first move, not David.

Tomorrow, I'll end this series with some implications and applications based on this thought and these texts.

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