Understanding God’s Program of Salvation
The Rector’s Letter to the Congregation, February 24, 2019
Human beings rebelled against God, and God undertook to take care of their rebellion. The work He did to accomplish this is what the Bible calls salvation. It is important to know and understand what God has done and is doing in the salvation story.
The story of salvation began in creation. God chose to create us humans and all creation. God was not compelled to create. He did not need us for anything. Indeed He loves our worship, but the worship we offer Him is so full of imperfection that He would miss nothing if it were not present. He has multitudes of angels who worship Him with perfect worship. And even without the worship of angels, God in the Three Persons, is complete in Himself and needs no outside entity to add to Him. There’s nothing to add. He is complete and perfect. So, He did not need to create, whether angels, nor us, nor the rest of creation. He created us out of sheer magnanimity. We thank Him for creating us to enjoy His beautiful creation which human sin has marred and distorted almost beyond recognition.
After humans were created, they rebelled against God and bought into the lie of Lucifer the enemy that self-determination, independence from God, was the way to success. God did not abandon the rebels. He came down and met them. He shed the blood of animals and dressed the rebels with the skins of the animals. The rebels had tried to dress themselves in their own way using leaves of trees. So early on we see that removal of sin can be effected only by the shedding of blood. So serious is the phenomenon called sin.
In Genesis 3:15, God promised that a descendant of the woman, with no man’s involvement, would crush the head of the serpent, Lucifer. In Genesis 12:1 – 3, God called Abraham to be the bloodline through whom the blesser of the whole earth will be descended. In Genesis 22:18; 26:4; and 28:14, God tells Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, respectively, that: “…through your descendant (singular) all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This is the same personality referred to in Genesis 3:15, the descendant of the woman.
There are periods in history when God seems to be doing nothing to further the salvation story. But nothing is further from the truth. God is always working to bring His program of salvation to fruition, the desired end known only to Himself. In Exodus, we saw God redeeming the Israelites from mighty Egypt. The Israelites had zero chance to liberate themselves on their own. It was God’s mighty hand that struck Egypt and freed the Israelites.
In the book of Leviticus, God is training the Israelites, the descendants of Abraham, in heavenly culture to prepare them for deployment into the world to propagate His ways and prepare the world to receive the promised redeemer. That is where the story of salvation is as we begin reading the book of Leviticus.
Creation— Fall— Promise of a crusher of Lucifer— Call of Abraham— Isaac— Jacob—the Twelve sons of Israel (Jacob) –each son became the head of a tribe.
This week’s special reading:
Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore (2007:5, 9, 13, 17)
“You don’t have to stay in the pit. Even if you deserve it. Even if you’ve known nothing else. Just call it a day. Maybe you’re wondering why you can’t get satisfied there. After all, didn’t Paul say we should learn to be content in any circumstance?
A pit is one place you’re not supposed to be content. Quit trying to make the best of it. It’s time to get out. When Christ said, “Come, follow me,” inherent in His invitation to come was the equivalent invitation to leave. The laws of physics tell you that if you try to get one place without leaving another, you’re in a pretty severe stretch. And you can only do the splits so long.
…No matter where we go, a pit can always fit. On any path we can spin our wheels and throw mud until we dig a ditch right into the middle of an otherwise decent job or relationship. Soon our hearts sink with the dismal realization that we’re no better off in our new situation. The scenery around us may have changed, but we’re still living in that same old pit. We start scrambling to figure out how we are going to dump that pit we dragged in. The problem is the pit can be so close we can’t see it.
…We can grow so accustomed to the surroundings of our pit that we wouldn’t think of moving on without it. Imagine you’ve been living in an old RV so small you can’t stand up straight. There’s clutter everywhere. The lavatory smells, but you’ve gotten used to it.
Now imagine that you’ve been offered a brand-new home on solid foundation with big closets and wide spaces. You rev up the motor of the old RV and plow it right into the new living room. A new place to call home! You settle back in your RV seat, take a deep breath, and poise yourself to feel something fresh.
But the breath tasted a lot like that old lavatory.
… You’re in a pit when …
- You feel stuck. You feel you can only have a kicking and screaming fit or submit.
- You can’t stand up. You feel ineffective and utterly powerless against the enemy’s attack.
- You’ve lost vision. Unlike that rank old RV, pits have no windows. The darkness impairs your sight.
Without windows, you’re convinced you have nowhere else to go. You could look up, but you’re too busy looking at your sinking feet. You become what the Bible calls stiff necked. The confinement exhausts you with the endless echo of self-absorption. You can’t see out, so you turn your sight in. Nearsightedness breeds hopelessness. You feel too buried in your present state to feel passionate about a promised future.”
Grace and Peace,
The Reverend Edward Kironde