“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
In our last study we looked at God’s plan – a plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed together in eternity, before creation, before time began. We saw how the plan unfolded in the garden of Eden as the serpent deceived the woman and through that deception has deceived “the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). We saw how God quickly took control of the problem and presented the solution – “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). Jesus Christ won that victory on the Cross.
Overcoming the World
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15
God has won the final victory for each of us through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross .. but .. what about thousands of years of human suffering on earth? What about the power of evil in our world? What is God’s eternal plan for all of that?
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In just one brief statement, Jesus Christ summarized God’s eternal plan. Let’s consider it in four stages:
God Has Spoken
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4
God did not abandon Adam and his wife after they began to die in the garden of Eden. That wasn’t His plan. God’s plan was and is an epic adventure to go through every part of life with them, struggling with them, suffering with them, providing for them, rescuing them.
The first part of God’s provision was to cover their nakedness (e.g. guilt and shame).
“Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
The next thing God did was to remove them from the garden because it had become a dangerous place to live. If Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life, they would have lived forever in the terrible position of unrighteousness and enmity with God. That was not part of God’s eternal plan. His plan was to rescue them.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:22-24
God did not keep His eternal plan a secret from His people. He spoke to them directly, through “the prophets” and “by His Son.”
When Cain became jealous and angry, God said to him – “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:6-7). After Cain killed his brother, God provided another son for Adam and Eve through whom the “Seed of the woman” would eventually be born (Genesis 5:3). God’s plan from eternity.
When the wickedness of humanity became so great that God was grieved in His heart and considered destroying all of mankind, He chose to save Noah and his family through His grace. “So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:7-8). God’s plan from eternity.
When the human race rebelled against God, the Lord chose Abram telling him – “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). God’s plan from eternity.
When God purposed to set His people free from the oppression of Egypt’s pharaoh, He chose Moses – “And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:7-10). God’s plan from eternity.
When God purposed to establish an earthly throne for His Son, He chose Samuel – “Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons” (1 Samuel 16:1) – and God told Samuel to choose David to be King – “And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:12-13). God’s plan from eternity.
When God purposed to save the world, He sent His Son – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). God’s plan from eternity.
In the next part of our study we will look at the second part of God’s eternal plan: to have “Peace In Christ.”
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”