Already but not yet is a theme that rings throughout the New Testament church and history. Christ has come; Christ has defeated sin and the grave; Christ has won the final victory. Yet we still longingly await His second coming. We still wait for the end of sin and death and heartache and destruction. The full storyline of the Bible has already been written, but is awaiting completion. Trevin Wax explains this storyline as follows:
Creation: One Hebrew word sums up the picture of Genesis 1 and 2: shalom. Peace. Earth was full of God's shalom, the kind of peace in which everything works according to God's intention. The world was made for human flourishing; there we could live in joy in the presence of our Maker, worshiping God by loving Him and one another forever.
Fall: Adam and Eve rejected God's rule over them. We refer to their rebellious choice as "the fall," and because they represented all of humanity, their action affects us too. We have -- through our attitudes and actions -- declared ourselves to be God's enemies. This rebellion results in physical and spiritual death.
Redemption: Thankfully the loving Creator who rightly shows Himself to be wrathful toward our sin is determined to turn the evil and suffering we have caused into good that will be to His ultimate glory. So the next movement shows God implementing a master plan for redeeming His world and rescuing fallen sinners. In the Person of Jesus Christ, God Himself comes to renew the world and restore His people. The grand narrative of Scripture climaxes with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Restoration: The story doesn't end with redemption. God has promised to renew the whole world, and the Bible gives us a peek into this glorious future. The restoration of all things will take place in two ways. Christ will return to judge sin and evil, and He will usher in righteousness and peace. God will purge this world of evil once and for all.
Beaux Williams gave us an excellent explanation of how the fall brought a curse upon man, woman, the serpent, and all of creation:
· alienation and condemnation before God
· alienation between each other
· death (Physical and Spiritual)
· the ruin of all humanity
hostility between the serpent and the woman
hostility between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman
Ed Stetzer, The Big Story of Scripture, ChristianityToday.com, November 28, 2012, accessed December 12, 2018, https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2012/november/big-story-of-scripture-creation-fall-redemption.html.
Beaux Williams, Looking Forward to Christmas, Sermon, Calvary Baptist Church, Holland, MI, December 2, 2018.
I would like to invite you to join me in recognition and celebration of the Advent Season. It may be you have faithfully observed Advent every year from your childhood. Perhaps this is the tradition you learned from your parents or the church you grew up in. Or it may be you are completely unaware of the meaning of the Advent Season. Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, the season of Advent is a time in which we look with eager anticipation towards the revelation of our Savior Jesus Christ. The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” “Advent looks back in celebration at the hope fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s coming, while at the same time looking forward in hopeful and eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when He returns for his people” (Outreach.com). In a time of busyness and distraction, it is an opportunity for us to reflect and remember God’s great redemptive work of sending his Son, Immanuel, God With Us.