What the Bible is About 01

12/16/2021

The Bible is about how Jesus brings sinners into a relationship with God that will never end. It is a story of grace and mercy. It is a story about love and forgiveness. It is a story that centers on person--Jesus--and what He did--died for sinners and rose to imperishable life.

God Shows Love to Sinners through Jesus

It is a story that can be given different titles. It can be called the story of reconciliation because Jesus reconciles those who are alienated from God back to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). He makes peace between a Holy God and sinful rebels. It can be called the story of salvation because Jesus saves those who are destined for destruction from what is coming to them (Acts 4:12). It can be called the story of redemption because God purchases and frees those who are shackled in bondage under the power of sin and death (Ephesians 1:7-10). Deliverance, restoration, and re-creation are some other options.

All possible titles for the Bible's story have something in common. They all summarize the story of how Jesus brings sinners into a relationship with God that will never end. They highlight different aspects of what Jesus does. They look at what Jesus does from a different angle. But they are looking at the same Jesus and the same story from the same book. The name Jesus means, "The Lord saves," or, "The Lord is salvation" (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is the Lord, and Jesus saves sinners. He brings them, by His grace and power not theirs, into an unending relationship with God. This is the Bible's story, the story of redemption in Christ.

God Gives the Gift of Eternal Life

A relationship with God that never ends is the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). This is another way to summarize the Bible's story. It is the story of God giving people eternal life through Jesus. The Bible is one large book made up of 66 small books. The Bible's 66 small books are divided into two testaments, the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books). The Old Testament spans from creation to about 400 years before Jesus. It promises, predicts, and prefigures Christ in various ways. The New Testament begins events surrounding the births and ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus and ends with the sure expectation of Jesus' return in the future. It chronicles the fulfillment and realization of what the Old Testaments promised, predicted, and prefigured, namely, Christ and the redemption that He accomplishes.

The 39 books of the Old Testament have different kinds of writings arranged in four sections: the Pentateuch (the first five books), the historical books (the next twelve), books of wisdom and poetry (the next five), and the Prophets (the final 17). The 27 books of the New Testament contain four gospels (theological and historical biographies of Jesus), one book of history (Acts of the Apostles), 21 letters (also called epistles), and the Book of Revelation (a unique blend of letters and prophecy). Both testaments, every section, and each individual book are vital parts of one overarching story, the story of God giving people eternal life through Jesus.

This answers what the Bible is about. But why is the Bible about this? Why is the Bible about how Jesus brings sinners into a relationship with God that will never end (i.e., eternal life)? There are two answers to this question because why can be asked in different ways. The answers are distinct but inseparably related. First, we want to know the origin of this story. Why does it exist? Where does it come from? Second, we want to know the goal of this story. Where is it going? What will it accomplish? One answer looks back and the other answer looks forward. Both answers tell us about the nature and significance of the Bible's story, the story of redemption in Christ Jesus.

God had a Purpose from Eternity

Why is the Bible about redemption in Christ? Because redemption in Christ was and is God's eternal purpose. We look back, therefore, to God himself and his eternal purpose to understand why the things in the Bible exist and happen. God chose what he wanted to do based solely on His wisdom, desires, and unchanging character. He did not consult anyone or call a meeting. He did not take a survey of popular opinion. There was no one else. There was nothing else. There was only God dwelling in eternity-this is beyond comprehension since we live in time and think according to temporal succession-in the blissful perfection of divine joy, peace, freedom, holiness, delight, and infinite love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:3-14; 3:7-13). "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" (Psalm 90:2).

God determined what he wanted to do. He determined to create and oversee a world where he would give people eternal life through Jesus, who is God the Son become a man. He is the Savior of the story of salvation, the Redeemer of the story of redemption, the giver of eternal life to all who believe. He is the Christ, the anointed King who conquers God's enemies, delivers God's people, and rules over all things in justice, righteousness, mercy, and gracious love and faithfulness; whose kingdom will have no end.

Why is the Bible about redemption in Christ? God determined that His world would be about it; and the Bible simply tells us what the world is about. Ours is a world where Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the liberating message of redemption, is actively bringing sinners into a relationship with God that will never end. The Bible tells us so.

God has a Goal for the Future

Why is the Bible about redemption in Christ? Because it explains where the world is headed and how it will get there. The redeemed of God look forward, that is, to dwelling with God forever in resurrection glory (Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15:42-58; Revelation 21:1-4). We anticipate a grand display of God's radiant glory where we will be living and holy reflections of his character who see Him and sing of Him in a proper way. The Bible is the story of how Christ makes this happen. He attains resurrection glory; he shares resurrection glory with others (Hebrews 2:10). We look forward to this end-goal of all things.

This is why the Bible is about redemption in Christ: God is going to dwell with a redeemed people forever in glory, and redemption in Christ is how he does it. This is where the story is headed. This is what Jesus is accomplishing. This is what history is moving toward. This is the hope of Christians everywhere. This is the gift and the message the church shares with the world in with genuine compassion and strong conviction. It is inevitable because it is linked to God's eternal purpose. God is creating a people holy unto himself in Christ. Come! Join the festal gathering and worship your Lord and Maker through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).

As we look back to God's eternal purpose, we must look forward to the end-goal that His purpose had in mind. The Bible's story connects the two. The story of redemption is birthed in God and his eternal purpose. The story of redemption is completed when God, at the end of the ages, dwells with his redeemed people forever in glory.

Think of two dots connected by a line. One dot is God's eternal purpose that He freely determined in eternity past without consulting any outside source. The other dot is the future and grand display of God's glory where He shares personal fellowship with a large group of people who reflect Him, love Him, and sing His praises. The line that connects that dots is history. We know about the dots and the line because God has told us about them in the Bible. The Bible's story, therefore, is about how God purposed redemption, how God accomplishes redemption, and how God completes and consummates redemption. It is all done in Christ. It is all part of one story that is from God, for God, and unto God (Romans 11:36). There is a simple scheme to things:

(1.) Before Creation: God purposed redemption in Christ in eternity past

(2.) In Creation: God accomplishes redemption in Christ in time and history

(3.) A New Creation: God completes and consummates redemption in Christ to close out this age