This is Part 2 of this series, to see Part 1, click HERE
I wrote a few weeks ago on the Table of Contents and how the books in your Bible are arranged. I grew up a Christian but fell away from it when I was a teen mostly due to the ignorance I had about the fundamentals of the Christian faith. How can anyone believe their Bible if they don’t even understand how it was arranged, what the thesis statement is, what the purpose of it is, who wrote it, how it was written and translated, etc. When I chose to reproach Christianity again, I chose to approach it logically and understand all of these things.
This time I want to talk about the thesis statement of the Bible. Rather, I want to talk about the thesis word of the Bible. What one word can sum up the message of the Bible from beginning to end?
Done guessing? It’s REDEMPTION.
Let’s take a very quick run-through of the Bible to get an idea of how this word redemption plays out. In the first few chapters of Genesis, God created humans and enjoyed a close companionship with them. Then humans rebelled against God by sinning (aka going against his ways). The consequence was a separation from God that results in death. Why result in death? Think of it this way, the humans had unplugged themselves from the provider of life who created them. By unplugging from that creator and source of life, they die. With the introduction of rebellion against God into our world (sin), our just God had to turn from them. Our just God cannot tolerate sin, pat us on the head, and say “oh, that’s ok.” No, there has to be payment and consequences for sin.
So the result was banishment from the Garden of Eden and an end to the close companionship with God that humans enjoyed. We see glimpses of a redemption plan already in the works at that time (see Genesis 3:15, which we will elaborate on in the next post). Generations go by and we see God approach Abraham (then Abram). He gives Abraham the promise of a people, a place, and a purpose. Through him and his grandson Jacob (renamed Israel by God), we get the people of Israel. God makes a covenant with these people through the laws he lays down to Moses, giving them a way to redeem themselves. Through the rituals of sacrifice he gives to them, they have the opportunity to pay for their sins through the sacrifice of animals. Only through the spilling of innocent blood can justice be served for sin.
But through this we know that God has a purpose for these people. It was through the Jews and the line of King David (who is from the line of Judah, one of the sons of Jacob/Israel) that the redemption of the entire world through the Messiah would be accomplished. That was the purpose which God gave to Abraham and his line.
The entire Old Testament is then the story of the Jews and their cycles of rebellion and submission to God. All throughout the Old Testament, however, there are hints of the coming of a messiah. This messiah would banish the old covenant that God made with the people of Israel through Moses (the rituals of sacrificing animals, etc. for sin) and would pay the ultimate price for sin. The chasm of sin which was created between God and people with the first sin back in the Garden of Eden would be bridged and God would provide all people in the world redemption for their sins. Our just God, who demands payment for sin, was providing a way for us to be saved, cross that chasm of sin and death, and have a companionship like the one that Adam and Eve experienced in the garden.
We know through the Bible that the messiah who came was a Jew of the line of David named Jesus. He lived a perfect life, free from sin, and shed his innocent blood to pay the ultimate and forever price for sin. The only condition to being saved of the just consequences of our sin is the acceptance if the gift God gave us: redemption. The New Testament (the epistles I wrote about in the last post) tell people of “the good news” that God has saved us from our own destruction and has offered us a free gift of salvation if we will only accept it. Good works are now the result and fruit of that companionship with God.
The last book of the Bible, Revelation, tells how this redemption will ultimately play out in the world and how all those who are redeemed by accepting the gift of Christ’s blood will enjoy eternity in the Lord’s presence, while all of those who do not accept it will receive their just punishment for sin.
The Bible was written over the course of 4,000 years, by 40 different authors from vastly different life circumstances, in many different styles of writing. But from the first chapters to the last, the book is cohesive and tells a story that can be summed up in one word: Redemption.
**I understand this was a very quick overview of the Bible, but I promise I will be going into more detail in the next few posts as we dig further into each of the Bible’s sections.