The Story of the Bible by Steve Weaver
Got a few minutes free? Would you like a feast for your soul? I would like to highly recommend Pastor Steve Weaver's blog here. He is currently preaching a six week series in his church on "The Story of the Bible," and has kindly made his sermon notes available on the internet to be viewed by a wider audience. I was so thrilled with what I read, I just had to write about it here. The God centered, Christ centered, Gospel centered message is something I believe everyone needs to hear. Are you ready for a feast? Here it is then... enjoy! - Pastor John Samson
THE STORY OF THE BIBLE
Pastor Steve Weaver
Everyone loves a good story! There is something about the words, â€œOnce upon a time . . .â€ that capture the attention and the imagination of both the young and the old. We never outgrow our love for a story. This is clearly evident by Americanâ€™s seemingly insatiable appetite for books, television and movies.
The Bible is often treated as merely a collection of many different stories with a moral lesson. A Christian version of Aesopâ€™s Fables. While it is true that the Bible does contain many different stories and that most of them have a moral lesson, the Bible is much more than what it is often treated as. The Bible is one story, with one overarching message. That story is the most compelling story ever written. Literally, â€œThe Greatest Story Ever Told.â€ It â€œis the story of a God who makes a special promise about a special Person who creates a special people to live in a special place with Him forever.â€
This message is the first in a series of six which seeks to tell the story of the Bible and show the unity thereof. These six messages will seek to unpack the following sentence:
The Bible is the story of a God who makes a special promise about a special Person who creates a special people to live in a special place with Him forever.
Each of the next five messages will take one of the main nouns from this sentence and show how that theme is played out through the entire Bible. For example, next Sunday Morningâ€™s message will be: â€œThe Bible is a Story about God.â€ The next weekâ€™s message will be: â€œThe Bible is a Story about a Special Promiseâ€, etc. But in this morningâ€™s message I want to provide an overview of the entire series, by offering a brief summary of each of the five themes in the sentence:
The Bible is the story of a God who makes a special promise about a special Person who creates a special people to live in a special place with Him forever.
Before we begin I must confess my indebtedness in my formulation of the above sentence to the works of Graeme Goldsworthy (like According to Plan, Gospel and Kingdom, and Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture) who has very helpfully defined the kingdom of God as: â€œGodâ€™s people in Godâ€™s place under Godâ€™s rule.â€ I am also deeply indebted to Paul Helmâ€™s childrens book titled The Big Picture Story Bible (one of my favorite books to help me understand and explain the Bible to my children) which describes the Bible as: â€œA big book, about a big God, who keeps a big promise.â€ Finally, I am indebted to Mark Dever's new two volume series on the message of the Old and New Testaments subtitled respectively: Promises Made and Promises Kept.
I. The Bible is a Story About God.
As early as the first four words of the Bible, â€œIn the beginning God . . .â€, we can tell that the main subject of the Bible is God Himself. God is both the author of Scripture and its Subject. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is Godâ€™s revelation of Himself to mankind. While Godâ€™s power and glory are evident in the created order, the fullest revelation of the character of God is found in Scripture. It is in the pages of sacred Scripture alone that the attributes of God are both cogently described and clearly displayed.
Without Scripture we could not know God. God is infinite (unlimited), we are finite (limited). The finite cannot comprehend the infinite. Therefore, if human beings were to ever know anything about God, God had to reveal Himself. Thankfully, this is exactly what He has done. Hebrews 1:1-2 states,
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.
These verses show us that God has revealed Himself in the pages of the Old Testament through the prophets and in the pages of the New Testament most fully in the person of Christ. God has revealed Himself in Scripture by both definition and demonstration. First, the attributes of God are defined as a:
God is Holy, Isaiah 6:3
God is Righteous and Just, Romans 3:25-26
God is Light, I John 1:5
God is Love, I John 4:8
God is Good, Gracious and Merciful, Exodus 33:19
God is Spirit, John 4:24
The attributes of God are also displayed for us in the various stories of Scripture (the subplots that support that major plot):
The story of Creation shows Godâ€™s power, glory and intelligence.
The story of the Flood shows Godâ€™s judgment while highlighting His mercy.
The story of Abraham shows Godâ€™s sovereignty and grace in election.
The story of Joseph shows Godâ€™s providence and faithfulness.
The story of Moses shows that God is faithful and true to His Word.
The Life of Jesus shows the glory of God on display for 30 plus years.
The Death of Jesus shows the wisdom, justice, holiness, wrath, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace of God. As John Piper once said about the cross, â€œThe wisdom of God has ordained a way for the love of God to deliver us from the wrath of God without compromising the righteousness of God.â€ The Bible is a story about God!!!
II. The Bible is the Story About a God Who Makes a Special Promise.
It is in the third chapter of the Bible, Genesis 3, that God first makes this special promise. But before we can understand this special promise, we must first understand the special problem of sin.
Although God created a world without sin and death, it wasnâ€™t long until human beings messed up a good thing. Adam and Eve disobeyed a clear and reasonable command by God to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They had been warned that the day they ate thereof, they would surely die. But instead of believing God, they chose to listen to the lies of the devil and as a result the whole human race was plunged into a state of sin.
God has never taken sin lightly and therefore Adam and Eve received the punishment which God had promised if they disobeyed. They died spiritually and began to die physically that very day! When God appears on the scene, He pronounces curses on each Adam, Eve and the Serpent. But in the midst of the pronouncement of the curses, there is revealed the first gospel promise. The Seed of the woman would one day crush the head of the Serpent.
This promise is developed in many ways as God progressively reveals His plan of Redemption, but at its core, Godâ€™s plan is to eradicate Satan on the battlefield of planet earth. This is how three different New Testament authors understood the purpose of the death of Christ. In 1 John 3:8, the apostle John declares:
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Likewise, the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:25-27a,
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For â€œHe has put all things under His feet.â€
Here the imagery is clear. Christ must put all His enemies under His feet in fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. The author of the book of Hebrews pulls it all together for us in Hebrews 2:14-15 when he says,
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Christ destroyed death by destroying the one who had the power of death, the Devil. Death came into the world because of sin and sin came into the world through the devil. Christ came to destroy death by destroying sin by destroying Satan! This work was initiated on the cross and will be finalized at the 2nd coming of Christ. The Bible is the story of a God who makes a special promise!
III. The Bible is the Story About a God Who Makes a Special Promise About a Special Person.
Clearly the New Testament is about the person and work of Jesus Christ. Equally clear is the fact that Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 5:39,
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
Similarly in Luke 24:27 Jesus is described in His post-resurrection appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as:
Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
These verses shows that not only is the New Testament about Jesus, so is the Old Testament! It is easy to see how the New Testament is about Jesus. After all, the first four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are basically biographies of Jesus. The rest of the New Testament is clearly dedicated to the explanation of the significance of the life and death of Jesus. But what about the Old Testament? How is the Old Testament about Jesus when His name is unmentioned?
One way to answer these questions is to understand that many passages in the Old Testament are predictive of the work of Christ. These passages explicitly describe something about Jesus in advance through prophecy. The first such prediction is the one we just examined in Genesis 3:15 which calls Jesus â€œthe Seed of the womanâ€.
Other promises include Genesis 12:3 which clarifies that this â€œSeed of the womanâ€ will be of the family of Abraham in whose Seed (Galatians 3:16) all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Other predictions of Christ include those which specify that Christ will be in the line of Isaac, Jacob and Judah. In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses says that one day God will raise up a Prophet like him, but one to whom the people would actually listen. God promised David that one of his descendants would sit enthroned as King forever (2 Samuel 7:12-14a). In Isaiah 7:14, the child called Immanuel (meaning â€œGod with usâ€) was prophesied to be born of a virgin. In Isaiah 53, the coming â€œServant of the Lordâ€ is described as suffering in graphic detail that points clearly to the suffering which Jesus experienced approximately 700 years later. Likewise, the Psalmist in Psalm 22 describes the passion of the Christ hundreds of years in advance. There is even a prophecy recorded in Micah 5:2 that â€œThe One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlastingâ€ would be born in a little town called Bethlehem! Then comes the New Testament where the promises made in the Old are finally and faithfully kept!
The Bible is the story about a God who makes a special promise about a special person!
IV. The Bible is the Story About a God Who Makes a Special Promise About a Special Person Who Creates a Special People.
The Bible is a story about a special people. From the Garden of Eden where the first two human beings lived in constant communion with God, to the Tabernacle in the Wilderness where God dwelt in the midst of the Children of Israel in veiled fashion because of the problem of sin, to the incarnation of Christ, all the way to the New Heaven and Earth where God once again dwells unveiled in the midst of His people, God has always desired to live among His people. And ever since the beginning of creation, God has been at work to create a people for fellowship. This is clear in Scripture. It is not that God needs mankind in any way. No, God does not create His people out of a sense of deficiency in Him, but as a means of overflowing in His love and glory to others. It wasnâ€™t as if God became lonely and created man, but that Godâ€™s love and glory overflowed and people are the result. It was not emptiness in God that causes Him to create His people, but a super over-abundance in God that causes Him to create people in order that He might lavish them with Himself.
God created humanity in Genesis 1 and 2 by forming Adam out of the dust of the ground and Eve from his rib. He created a nation in Genesis 12 with the call of Abram out of the Ur of the Chaldees. He created a covenant community in Exodus 19-24 after delivering the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. But He created a New Covenant community by the death of His Son on the cross of Calvary.
The very night before Christ was crucified, He transformed the celebration of the formation of the Old Covenant community (the Passover) into a celebration of the formation of the New Covenant community (the Lordâ€™s Supper). When He held up the cup, He said, â€œThis cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you!â€ (Luke 22:20). Christ was declaring that the work that He was about to accomplish the next day by the shedding of His blood was the work that would guarantee the blessings of the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 which says:
â€œBehold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- (32) not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. (33) But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (34) No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, â€˜Know the LORD,â€™ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.â€
This is what Christ died to accomplish! He created a special people!
V. The Bible is the Story About a God Who Makes a Special Promise About a Special Person Who Creates a Special People to Live in a Special Place With Him Forever.
It was the idea of the special place in which God desires to live with His people that first caused me to start thinking in lines of this series. I was talking to my kids the other night after reading their Bible story about the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden when I began thinking about this idea of Godâ€™s apparent desire to dwell with His people. It was evident in the Garden of Eden where God used to walk and talk with Adam. It was also evident in the fact that God had a Tabernacle built so that He could dwell veiled in the midst of His people without sinful humans being consumed by the radiance of His holiness. This desire is glorious apparent also in John 1:14 which says that, â€œAnd the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.â€ The word â€œdweltâ€ in this verse literally means â€œto tabernacle or to pitch oneâ€™s tentâ€. God has always desired to live among His people, but sin keeps God from dwelling among His people as He desires, as He truly is.
But one day our sin will be removed forever and we will have glorified bodies that will allow Him to live with us as He has always desired. We read about the fruition of this desire after redeemed humanity has been restored in Revelation 21:1-7. There John writes,
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." 6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Satan is defeated, sin is destroyed and God is victorious over all! This is how the story of the Bible ends. It ends with Godâ€™s special people in Godâ€™s special place, all because of a God who kept His special promise about a special Person!
All good stories, we are told, must have characters, a plot, a setting, a conflict and a unifying theme. Well, the story of the Bible has it all!
For characters, this story has God, the Devil, and a cast of thousands.
For a plot, this story has the ebb and flow of the history of the nation Israel, and even the whole history of the world serves as a stage for the action in this cosmic drama of redemption.
For a setting, this story has the entirety of planet earth with heaven and hell in the balance.
For a conflict, this story has Satan in rebellion against God and Godâ€™s active work to destroy him forever. Relatedly, this story also has humanity in rebellion against God and Godâ€™s active work to redeem a people out of fallen humanity for Himself.
And, for a unifying theme, this story is the story about a God who makes a special promise about a special Person who creates a special people to live in a special place with Him forever.
THE STORY OF THE BIBLE (Part 2)
Mothers know that children who are raised in church when asked virtually any question about the Bible give the same answer: God. Although this predictable answer is sometimes humorous, the answer is given for a good reason. Children learn early on that God is the right answer to so many questions. Who made the world? God. Who made the trees? God. Who made the sun? God. Who made the stars? God. Who made you? God!
Somehow as we grow older we forget this simple answer and begin substitute more complicated answers for everything. The purpose of this message this morning is that children and adults alike would answer the question: â€œWhat is the Bible about?â€ with the simple answer: â€œGod!â€
This message is the second in a series of six that seek to develop this summarizing sentence about the Bible:
The Bible is the story of a God who makes a special promise about a special person who creates a special people to live in a special place with Him forever.
The focus of this message is on the very first part of that sentence: â€œThe Bible is a Story about God.â€ This morning we will trace three distinct themes through Scripture which show plainly what the Bible teaches about God. Weâ€™ll see that the Bible is the story of a God who reveals His Person, requires perfection, and redeems His people.
I. The Bible is the Story of a God Who Reveals His Person.
In the very first verse of the Bible God is already revealing Himself! He is revealing Himself as Creator! â€œIn the beginning God created...â€ Had God not revealed Himself we could never know God. God is infinite (unlimited), we are finite (limited). The finite cannot comprehend the infinite, unless the Infinite condescends to make Himself known to the finite. This is exactly what God has done. Like a mother or father who seeks to communicate with her babies, God has stooped down to our level and spoken to us in our â€œbaby-talkâ€.
There are two ways in which God has revealed Himself to His creatures. First, through what is called â€œgeneral revelationâ€. This is revelation of God that is available â€œgenerallyâ€ to all people. The primary example of this type of revelation is creation. God has revealed Himself in creation as Psalm 19:1-4,
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Likewise, Paul states in Romans 1:20,
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
Although this general revelation through creation renders mankind without excuse concerning their knowledge of the existence and power of God, it is insufficient for us to know God most fully. For this knowledge, we have â€œspecial revelationâ€. This is revelation of God that is available through special means to a special people. This revelation is found in Scripture and ultimately in the Christ who is revealed in Scripture. God reveals Himself in Scripture to us in two ways: by revealing His nature and His names.
First, Godâ€™s nature is revealed as His attributes are both cogently defined and clearly displayed. God is revealed to be:
One, Deuteronomy 6:4 and 1 Corinthians 8:6
Infinite, 1 Kings 8:27 and Acts 17:24
Eternal, Psalm 90:2
Sovereign, Daniel 4:34-35 and Ephesians 1:11
Immutable, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, and James 1:17
Omnipotent, Matthew 19:26
Omnipresent, Psalm 139:7-12
Omniscient, Psalm 139:1-4
Holy, Righeous and Just, Isaiah 6 and 1 Peter 1:16
Loving, Merciful and Gracious, 1 John 4:8 and Exodus 33:19
The nature of God is revealed as God's attributes are clearly defined in Scripture.
In addition to the attributes of God, the names of God reveal to us the character of the God of Scripture:
I Am Who I Am, Exodus 3:14-15
Yahweh, Genesis 12:1
Yahweh Yireh â€œThe LORD will provideâ€, Genesis 22:8-14
Yahweh Shalom â€œThe LORD is peaceâ€, Judges 6:24
Yahweh Raah â€œThe LORD is my shepherdâ€, Psalm 23:1
Yahweh Rapha â€œThe LORD who healsâ€, Exodus 15:26
Adonai â€œLord, Masterâ€, Exodus 4:10-12
Elohim â€œMighty Oneâ€, Genesis 1:1
El Elyon â€œMost Highâ€, Genesis 14:18
El Roi â€œThe Mighty One who seesâ€ Genesis 16:13
El Shaddai â€œAll-Sufficient Oneâ€ Genesis 17
El Olam â€œEverlasting Godâ€ Genesis 21:33
And in the New Testament:
Yeshua â€œYahweh is Salvationâ€
Christos â€œAnnointed One, Messiahâ€
Kurios â€œLord, Masterâ€
Ultimately, God has revealed Himself in the Person of His Son: Jesus.
John 1:1-3, 14, 17-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (18) No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Colossians 1:15-19, 2:9 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (17) And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (18) And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (19) For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
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,
The Bible is the story of a God who reveals His Person!
II. The Bible is the Story of a God Who Requires Perfection.
The God who created us demands and deserves our humble worship and obedience. He had every right to issue the one, solitary commandment to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and to establish the penalty for disobeying as death!
Every page of Scripture shouts to us of the holiness of God and the perfection which He requires of His creatures. We often brag, â€œWell, Iâ€™m not perfect!â€ But few realize what a serious problem that really is. No, weâ€™re not perfect, but God requires perfection!
In Genesis 3 we see God requiring perfection in the aftermath of Adam and Eveâ€™s disobedience as they, their descendants and the earth itself is cursed because of sin. Because of Godâ€™s perfect standard He cast Adam and Eve out of His present, outside the Garden of Eden!
We also see God requiring perfection in Genesis 4 as He rejects the improper sacrifice of Cain.
In Genesis 5 (often called â€œthe chapter of deathâ€) we see Godâ€™s requirement of perfection as Godâ€™s judgment upon sin is realized in this list of genealogies in which each descendent of Adam is listed ending with the morbid phrase, â€œand he died.â€
In Genesis 6-9, Godâ€™s requirement of perfection as God destroys the entire human race because of their rebellion against Him, sparing only the family of Noah.
We also see Godâ€™s requirement of perfection in Genesis 11 as God scatters in judgment all those who had united together against Him at the Tower of Babel.
Weâ€™re not going to go through every chapter of the Bible, but we could! Suffice it to say that Godâ€™s requiring of perfection is seen throughout the Old Testament: in the giving of the Law to the Children of Israel after being rescued from Egypt to the Sacrificial system which was the only way that sinful men could approach a holy God, to the destruction of Korah and his 250 followers because of their rebellion against Godâ€™s leadership through Moses, to the slaying of Aaronâ€™s two sons: Nadab and Abihu, who had attempted to offer â€œstrange fireâ€ in sacrifice to God, to the fact that Moses was forbidden to enter the land of Promise because of one act of anger.
We also see Godâ€™s righteous requirements in His judgment upon the rebellion of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC by allowing them to be taken in captivity by Assyria and by His judgment upon the rebellion of the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 BC by allowing them to be taken in captivity by Babylon. That is basically the end of the Old Testament!
But the teaching that God requires perfection is not just an Old Testament concept (contrary to popular opinion). Jesus actually raised Godâ€™s standard in His Sermon on the Mount. There he taught that â€œunless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of Heaven.â€
God also killed people in the New Testament. In Acts 5, God killed Ananias and Sapphira because they lied to Him. In Acts 12, God killed Herod Agripa I because he did not give God the glory. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul says that many Corinthian Christians were now dead, because they took the Lordâ€™s Supper in an unworthy manner. God still requires perfection!
God still has wrath against sin according to Romans 1:18, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
No unrighteous person will enter Heaven:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, (10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 5:5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Revelation 22:14-15 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (15) But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
The God of the Bible requires perfection! But, thank God, thatâ€™s not the end of the story. The perfection which God requires, He also freely provides! The Bible is also the story of a God who redeems His people!
III. The Bible is the Story of a God Who Redeems His People.
If we were to envision all of human history as a tapestry which is all beautiful until Genesis 3 when a thick dark ugly black string is introduced that continues on through the present day. However at the precise point of the insertion of this black string of sin, there is also introduced what some have called â€œthe scarlet thread of redemption.â€ This glorious thread of salvation also continues through the present day and will eventually bring about the end of the dark string of sin.
I noticed this week that one of my red ink penâ€™s tips had gotten stuck in the edge of my Bible so that nearly 30 pages near the end of Leviticus and the beginning of Numbers had become stained with red ink. There is a very real sense in which every page of the Bible is stained red with the Blood of Christ. From Genesis to Revelation this â€œscarlet thread of redemptionâ€ stretches from cover to cover!
The same God who shed blood in Genesis 3 to provide coats of skins to cover Adam and Eveâ€™s newly discovered nakedness is the same God who is worshiped in heaven in Revelation 5 as a slain lamb who has redeemed people from every tongue, tribe, people and nation. And in between is the story of a God who always seems to be at work redeeming His people. This is the case, because His people always need redeeming!
According to Exodus 6:6, the story of the Exodus is the story of redemption. There God tells Moses to tell the children of Israel:
Therefore say to the children of Israel: â€˜I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. (7) I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (8) And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.â€™â€
The prayer of the Psalmist David in Psalm 25:22 is â€œRedeem Israel, O God, out of all her troubles!â€. In the very next psalm, Psalm 26:11, David prays for himself, â€œRedeem me and be merciful to me!â€ This cry is at once the greatest need and the greatest expectation of the Old Testament Israelite.
In the pages of the New Testament, God shows up in the person of Jesus Christ to fulfill this great need and expectation.
Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Titus 2:13-14 Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (14) who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. (12) Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (13) For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, (14) how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (15) And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Revelation 5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying:
â€œYou are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.â€
The Bible is a story about God! A God who reveals His person, requires perfection, and redeems His people!