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Back to the garden (2)

5.  God sent Jesus to redeem and restore what was lost.

Again, we need to see beyond the center of the picture to the edges.  This means we don’t narrow or limit the mission of Christ.  It was to reconcile man to God, but there was more.  Colossians 1:15 speaks of Him reconciling “all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”  At the cross, the fracture between man and God was set right but much, much more occurred --- all things were set right.  The bones of the universe were set back into place and healing began!

6.  Jesus’ death on the cross was the culmination of a human life that represented God fully and completely. 

Listen to what Paul says in Philippians 2:5-8:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,  taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

What happened in the life of Jesus and at the cross was what didn’t happen in the garden!  God was honored totally!  The cross has power to redeem because it was the culmination of the life that God deserved from everyone but received from no one until Jesus. 

7.  Therefore, Jesus was given rule over everything.

 

Back to Philippians 2, this time verse 9-11:

     Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
             and gave Him the name that is above every name,

 
 
            that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
             in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 
            and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
             to the glory of God the Father.

Church --- this is our song!  This is our Lord!  This is our life! This was why Peter said, “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him,” (Acts 2:24).  This was why He told His disciples “All authority has been given to Me in heaven an on earth,” (Matthew 28:18).  The last Adam was everything the first was not and that is our salvation.  The last Adam is the new Lord and that is our life.
 
We're now all the way back to the garden.  Jesus has done what Adam (and Eve) didn't do and received the dominion they forfeited.  God rules through Him.  This is the kingdom (reign) Jesus spoke about establishing in the gospels.     

8.  His reign began with resurrection and moves toward resurrection.

All that was out of order in the universe was set right by Christ.  And like a bone that is set, it moves toward a day when the cast will be removed and everything is fully healed.  So the universe moves toward a day when bodies are resurrected (1 Corinthians 15) and creation is restored (Romans 8:19-23).  All of this began with His resurrection and will culminate when all are resurrected. 
 
9.  If we don't see the "NOW," we'll miss the "WOW."
 
Our problem, as I sense it, is that the resurrection of Jesus happened two thousand years ago while the resurrection of all will take place at some unspecified time in the future.  Because the first was so long ago and the second could be just as far off, we are left with this sense of disconnectedness in regard to the two events.  It's like we're adrift in a huge ocean between two masses of land that we have never seen.  
 
Nothing could be further from the truth or more damaging to our spiritual vitality!  Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23).  That means the resurrection started with Him (the way the harvest started with the firstfruits), but it continues in all who become His disciples.  At baptism, we are raised with Him (Romans 6:4-5).  We receive His life --- resurrection life (Ephesians 2:6ff), life that is beyond sin and death (Romans 6:9-11; John 11:25-26).  It is not without reason that Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."  We live in the age of resurrection --- the dead are being raised!  The new Adam is creating a new humanity who share in His resurrection life.  Furthermore, He is moving the rest of God's creation to newness by bringing it to the purpose for which it was made (Colossians 1:16).  Winter is yielding to spring.  Darkness is being overtaken by light.  Death is being overcome by life.   
 
This is why Paul desperately wanted the Ephesians to understand God's "incomparably great power . . . exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead," (Ephesians 1:19-20).  God had brought people back from the dead before, what Paul wanted them to understand was that in the resurrection of Jesus God was starting the process of all making all things new (Revelation 21:5). 
 
How sad for people to think that nothing is happening right now when under the reign of Jesus, our Father is making all things new!
 
 
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