If we are to read each portion of scripture in view of the broader story of scripture, then what is that bigger story? What is the overarching storyline of the Bible? In this episode, we cover the next three epochs of that overarching story: Jesus’ arrival, the church and her mission, and Christ’s second coming.
Last night after dinner my grandmother passed away.
We were close. But I think more than anything I’m sad for my grandpa, because he lost his life partner and best friend. He loved her so much. (They were that adorable old couple that’s more in love now than the day they were married.)
Death is an incredible reminder that things are not right in this world. Death is universally typical; but, as a Christian, it is my firm conviction that death is not “normal.” It is an intrusion into God’s good creation, a testimony to and result of humanity’s horrific plunge into deep-seated rebellion against a good God (what we as Christians call sin). And, apart from Christ’s return, it is something we will all face.
As the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes tells us, death seems to stamp the entirety of our lives up until that moment as “pointless.” Whatever was achieved, whatever good was done, whatever meaning was found, whatever joy was had, death puts a (seemingly) permanent end to it all.
But our hope — our only hope from death, the only hope my grandmother has in overcoming death — is the good news about this guy named Jesus, who, as the Bible tells us, is God become a human being for the very purpose that he might take upon himself this human predicament (death), face it square in the face, wrestle it down, and, through his own death on our behalf, deal death itself a deathblow, achieving resurrection-life through his own resurrection.
This is the gospel. This is our anthem as Christians: deliverance from sin and all of its nasty effects (including death) for all who lean wholly on Jesus for their rescue.
1 Cor 15; 1 Thes 4:13-18; 2 Tim 1:10; Heb 2:14; Rev 21:4.
On Sunday, January 24th, 2016, I began a Core Seminar on Redemptive History & Biblical Theology at my church, Lake Drive Baptist Church. During the course of this series I’ll be sending out emails recapping lessons and directing recipients to resources for further study.
Rather than just share these recaps with my church family, I’ve decided to share them here on the blog for anyone else who might be interested. I will be posting them occasionally over the next couple of months on a weekly basis or so.
See previous posts:
- Introducing Biblical Theology and Redemptive History (LDBC Recap 1/24/16)
- The Significance and Relevance of Biblical Theology and Redemptive History (LDBC Recap 1/31/16)
- Foundational Principles and Basic Frameworks for Redemptive History and Biblical Theology (LDBC Recap 2/7/16)
- Redemptive-Historical, Biblical-Theological Hermeneutics (LDBC Recap 2/14/16 Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 1 | Creation (LDBC Recap 2/14/16 Pt. 2)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 2 | The Fall (LDBC Recap 2/21/16)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 3 | The Flood & Noahic Covenant (LDBC Recap 2/28/16)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 4 | Abrahamic Covenant & the Patriarchs (LDBC Recap 3/6/16 Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 5 | The Exodus (LDBC Recap 3/6/16 Pt. 2)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 6 | The Mosaic Covenant (LDBC Recap 3/13/16)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 7 | The Wilderness Wanderings (LDBC Recap 3/20/16, Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 8 | Entrance and Life in the Promised Land (LDBC Recap 3/20/16 Pt. 2)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 9 | The Monarchy & Davidic Covenant (LDBC Recap 4/3/16 Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 10 | Wisdom and Songs (LDBC Recap 4/3/16 Pt. 2)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 11 | Exile & New Covenant (LDBC Recap 4/17/16 Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 12 | Return from Exile (LDBC Recap 4/17/16 Pt. 2)
This week was surveyed the role of the Gospel–or, the mission of Jesus–in redemptive history.
Overview of Biblical material
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – The life and saving work of Jesus.
- God becomes a human—Jesus of Nazareth.
- He works great miracles.
- He teaches great things.
- He is eventually killed by the Jews and Romans.
- But three days later he rises from the dead.
Role within redemptive history
We can summary the central role of the Gospel in redemptive history as follows: God becomes a human being—Jesus—and initially but decisively brings about God’s new-creational kingdom. He does this centrally through his death and resurrection.
As always, we will break this down into in various parts for closer examination.
- God becomes a human: the incarnation’s relationship to the Gospel
First, we want to consider the incarnation’s (lit. “infleshing,” i.e., the event God becoming a human) relationship to the Gospel and its fulfillment of this new-creational kingdom.
I like to maintain the habit of reading multiple books simultaneous. An interesting thing that happens occasionally is when two or more books happen to ‘interact’ over an idea as I read these books in conjunction. Something like this happened as I just finished Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel and am near the front end of Robert A. Paterson’s Salvation Accomplished by the Son.
In The King Jesus Gospel (which, by the way, is a good book, although many conservative evangelicals like myself will quibble over emphases and the way he frames/words things), McKnight makes the point that too often evangelicals have reduced the Gospel to the cross of Christ to the exclusion of “the full Story of Jesus, including his life, his death, his resurrection, his exaltation, the gift of the Holy Spirit, his second coming, and the wrapping up of history so that God would be all in all” (119). However, this was
Not so in the early gospeling [i.e., evangelism], for in those early apostolic sermons [he is referring to those in the book of Acts primarily here], we see the whole life of Jesus. In fact, if they gave an emphasis to one dimension of the life of Jesus, it was the resurrection. The apostolic gospel could not have been signified or painted or sketched with a crucifix. That gospel wanted expression as an empty cross because of the empty tomb (120).
That’s true. McKnight is right.
But, without necessarily pitting McKnight’s argument against Peterson’s (to follow), one might get the impression from McKnight that the apostle’s gospeling in the book of Act’s didn’t provide much comment (if any) on the theological, redemptive significance of Jesus’ death. … And that’s where Robertson’s observations serve as a helpful conversation partner.