The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Big Picture, #4

Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41—NIV)

But it is not God's will that all the members of the race of mankind perish in the Lake of Fire. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ suffered the fate of those who sin against God. He did this on our behalf, appeasing God's anger on behalf of every human being who would accept the salvation God is offering.

Now we have people who have been reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ but who are little more than raw material in terms of the destiny to which they have been called: to be in the image of Christ; to be at rest in the Person of God through Christ; and to be trained so as to be able to fulfill one or more of the several roles and tasks set forth above.

This is a program of development so vast as to stagger our sensibilities. Yet it all shall be accomplished to perfection. Whether you and I are willing to cooperate with the Spirit of God all the way to its full accomplishment depends on us, on the choices we make each day.

Adam and Eve were on the earth, and then came their descendants. The patriarchs played out their role. Sin increased until the flood of Noah's day.

Abraham was called from Ur of the Chaldees along with his family. From Abraham came the nation of Israel. Then the revelation of God's moral Nature through the Ten Commandments. The purpose of the Law was to keep sin under control until the promised Seed should come.

Then the Word of God made His appearance, the One upon whom all is to be established.

The atonement was made followed by the resurrection, which death and Hell were unable to prevent.

The Holy Spirit was sent down from Heaven so the good news of the atonement and resurrection could be proclaimed, and also so the work of fashioning the rulers of the Kingdom could be accomplished.

Notice how everything that takes place depends on what has gone before. World history is the long process of establishing all things in Christ until He is Lord of all.

The full revelation of the Kingdom came through the Apostles, but then was lost, as God knew it would be. We cannot just be handed the Gospel of the Kingdom. Rather it has to be wrought out in human experience, as is true of every dimension of God's eternal purpose in Jesus Christ.

A great deal of Gospel work took place, particularly in Europe, throughout the hundreds of years from the first century until the Protestant Reformation. At the time of the Reformation the Bible was translated and made accessible to believers who were not part of the clergy.

From that period to the present we have seen many of the original apostolic doctrines restored, such as salvation by faith rather than by meritorious deeds, the priesthood of the believer, water baptism by immersion, the reality of the born-again experience, the need for personal holiness, and the prospect of the bodily return of Jesus Christ.