Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 30 December 19:
Note: Here is a short video overview of chapters 1-11 of Genesis: https://youtu.be/KOUV7mWDI34
Genesis 1:1 — “In the beginning, God….”
The first thing God wants you to know is that He is the Creator, and what He creates is good, a point repeated seven times (seven — the number of completeness and perfection) in chapter one. God reveals Himself in His creation (see Romans 1), and in the first chapter of the Bible, we have revelation of The Holy Trinity – God’s oneness and His three-ness – all at work in creation as One. In verse 1:2, we are introduced to the Holy Spirit (more about the Holy Spirit — https://thebibleproject.com/explore/holy-spirit/). However, the role of the Son in creation remains less clear at this point. The Book of John, which we will read later, completes the picture – “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 was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)
The Greek term used for “word” in John is “logos,” a word which really has no sufficient English equivalent. Though Logos is often equated to logic, it means far more – the ultimate reality and the source of everything, including wisdom, purpose, meaning, and life’s essence. Proverbs 8 tells us that this Logos existed before the earth’s creation. John tells us this Logos is, in fact, Jesus, the Son of God. Of Himself, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
In Genesis, the first thing God commands is, “Let there be light.” John introduces Jesus as “the light of men.” Of Himself, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) As you begin reading the Bible this year, understand that the purpose of the entire Bible is to reveal ‘history’ – His Story. The Bible (66 books that tell one story) is intended to reveal Jesus Christ, the Living Word, the Way, the Truth and the Life, The Light of the World, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior.
The great story of the Bible has four parts: God’s creation, the fall, God’s redemption through Jesus Christ, and God’s final restoration when Christ returns, makes all things new and reigns over a new heaven and earth. The bookends of the story (Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22) are times when there is no sin, no pain, and perfect unity and peace in Christ. From Genesis 2 onward, we learn why people need salvation through Jesus and why there is no other way to salvation but through Jesus. Our readings this year will show us, just as all three persons of the Holy Trinity are involved in creation, all three work inseparably in salvation:
– John 6:44 — No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
– John 3:3-8 — Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God…. unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
– Ephesians 2:18 — Through [Christ] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
– 1 Corinthians 2:14 — The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
– Romans 8:10-11 — If Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
In this age of redemption, those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are saved from the penalty of sin, are being saved from the power of sin in their lives (ever increasingly through sanctification), and will be saved from the presence of sin when Christ returns. When we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ we become new creations, born spiritually as children of God. We have immediate access to the Father and are free and empowered to grow into maturity in Christ (sanctification). Jesus’ prayer for us is we “know” Him and have unity with Him and in Him so He is glorified on earth and so our joy may be complete. Experience eternal life today!
– John 3:3 — Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
– Galatians 6:15 — For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
– 1 Thessalonians 4:3 — For this is the will of God, your sanctification….
– Philippians 1:6 — And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
– John 17:3, 22-23 — And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent…. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
– 2 Peter 1:3-12 — His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.
Matthew 1:1 — The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ….
Finally, the genealogy of Jesus tells an incredible story about the power of God’s grace along with the future and hope it provides every sinner who God redeems through Christ. “The Lord is… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) No one’s sin is greater than God’s love and grace – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Read John Macrthur’s explanation of how the genealogy of Jesus reveals God’s Amazing Grace — https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A287/the-genealogy-of-grace
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) — 30 Dec 19: Invite someone to read the Bible with you this year.