Friday, November 24, 2006

The all sufficiency of Christ (1)


Christ's penal substitutionary death on the cross achieved many, many, many great things. Everything good we see in the world in fact. Every lovely sunset, every good moment with our friends, every answered prayer, every spiritual all comes from the cross. Jesus' work was all satusfying, all encompassing, and all sufficient.

Romans 8:22-23 talks about how creation is waiting eagerly for Christ's return, for the final completion of His work that He has started, for the end of the victory that He has won. Just like we do. Creation groans like we groan. Creation waits like we wait. Creation suffers as we suffer. God created Eden perfectly. It was a place so perfect, so paradisical that we can't really get our heads around it. It was better than anything we can really comprehend. It was perfect. Just like our vocabulary won't let us talk about Christ in the terms He deserves, so it won't let us talk about the perfection of God's creation as we should. But it was great, and created to be great.

So why is that how it is today? With earthquakes and tidal waves and electrical storms and whirlwinds. No. Thats not what God created the world for, not how it was meant to be. So God's lost control right? He gambled and the cards fell against Him...thats right isn't it? No. The disintegration of Eden starts more or less as soon as Adam and Eve disobey God and ate the apple. They were sentanced to toil on the Earth for their work, something they never had to do before the Fall (toil, not work). Nature and man were suddenly turned against eachother. Adams and Eve needed clothing after the presumably animals were killed to provide them. Sin + nature = disaster. And this is where we are. Jesus promises that there will be earthquakes but that this will not the the end, just the beginning of the birth pains.

Birth pains is something that takes us back to Romans 8:22-23. We're told that creation groans as if in the pains of we wait for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. So as our bodies will be redeemed, and we'll get new creation will be redeemed and there will be a new Heaven and new Earth.

How do our bodies get redeemed? By our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. By His death and ressurection. So i guess thats how creation gets redeemed, by the work of the cross. How wonderful the cross was. How right is D.A Carson when he describes it as 'the brightest and darkest of nights'. How sufficient is Christ's work that it not only deals with man and God's great seperation, but also with all the side effects of that, as seen in the fall of creation. One day, one day Christians will be in the perfect new creation, which will more real than we can know now, where we will enjoy Christ forever. How awesome the work of the cross. Sometimes i just sit and wonder at how God has thought of everything, and i know that sounds trite, but He really has!


nicolalouise said...

"Just like our vocabulary won't let us talk about Christ in the terms He deserves"

that appears to be chapter three of my dissertation...would you like me to footnote your blog?

FloydTheBarber said...

hehe, i would answer, but i am stunned by how well you are hiding from MSN and getting work done.

*warm applause*

nicolalouise said...

oh, i wasn't getting work done. just waiting for people to change their subtitles to include my name so i knew i was required... :p

thebluefish said...

sounds like a dissertation i'd like to read.

Peter Bolt, in The Cross from a Distance on illustrating the Cross:

It is the temptation of the teacher to clarify what seems difficult. Interpreters have often sought to this by inventing illustrations of proposing analogies for Christ's work on the cross. This is a temptation, however, that should be resisted at all costs. The track record of these manufactured illustrations has nmot been a happy one; they have been sometimes obscure, often bizarre or inhumane, and usually just plain heretical. Any illustration can get into trouble simply by virtue of the fact cthat it requires saying God's Word in other words, entalining an automatic shift away from God's Word. Although the preacher needs to 'illustrate' the world to which the Word is addressed, the Word itself should probably be permitted to speak for itself. In addition there are some thing that should never be illustrated. As with the Trinity, given the unique nature of the cross, analogies simply do not exist. We understand the cross, not by finding soem contemporary illustration that clinches the deal, but by listening carefully to the biblical context in which it makes sense. This may leave us with some unexplained mysteries, but, even so, we shall be closer to the truth when we live with the rough edges of God's Word that when we try to impose the smooth lines of our own fancy illustrations."