The Big Story of the Bible, Part 13 - Chapter 12: Completion
December 1, 2022 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
God’s Big Story begins before Creation and ends with New Creation. It started with a plan between the Father and the Son to redeem a people. The Story ends with those redeemed people basking in the glory of the Father and the Son for all eternity. The Story weaves through all of human history and ties the Bible into a unity. The Completion of the Story is still future and involves the final restoration of God’s people and creation.
We receive a glimpse into God’s end game when Paul writes in Ephesians 2:7, “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” God loves rebellious sinners back to life because he wants to display the “immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness” for all eternity. God is most glorified when the depth of his grace is magnified and enjoyed by his people.
Revelation 21 and 22 give us a glimpse of the “immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness.” Hear the words coming from the heavenly throne: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4). The covenant promise of relationship with God is consummated with no more barriers. Sin will be eradicated and removed. Death will be no more. All that has caused pain and suffering will be gone. The new heavens and new earth replace the old creation that has been marred by the curse of sin. The pinnacle of new creation is the pure, uninterrupted, undefiled joy in the presence of God. That is the ”immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness.”
One of the distinguishing marks of the Apostle Paul’s ministry is his longing to the completion of God’s Story. Using the metaphor of a tent for his earthly body, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:2, “For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.” In facing the prospect of death, Paul confesses in Philippians 1:23, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” And, as he approached his execution, Paul describes fellow Christians as “all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). He even described on of the marks of the Thessalonians’ new faith to be their eagerness to “wait for his Son from heaven” (1 Thes. 1:10).
Christians long for and look forward to God’s final display of the “immeasurable riches of grace in kindness.” This is demonstrated when we groan in our earthly bodies, longing for our heavenly bodies. This longing is revealed when we set our hope in Christ alone for the restoration of the world. This longing purifies us as we find deeper joy and satisfaction in Christ. This longing for the Completion of God’s Story is a distinguishing mark of followers of Christ.