Who Done It? A Godly Mystery!
Everyone loves a mystery. The good ones have common elements: Hero, Villain, Plot, Sub-plot(s), suspense, twist, climax, resolution. When the story is over we are emotionally moved to identify with the outcome. The emotion cans be positive or negative, the identification can be with the hero or villain. God has presented us with a mystery that had been hidden for generations.
Hero: Triune God
Pot: the perfect creation has been cast into darkness by Satan. How will God (if he can) redeem his creation.
Sub-plots: Cain and Able, David and Bathsheba, the Kings and Prophets, etc.
Twist: The cross. Our hero (Jesus) seems to have been beaten by Satan. The Hero loses.
Climax: The resurrection. Sin and death are defeated. Satan no longer holds captive those who are followers of Jesus.
Resolution: the church age, as it lives out the reality of the resurrection in a continuation of the redemption of all of creation. The second coming of Jesus is the finally, the curtain call, of the story.
We are living in the resolution! We have a privilege that had been kept hidden for generations. We are now minsters of the gospel, called to make known the Word of God, through which the mystery and its resolution has been made known. God in his mercy has made known to us a way through the veil of sin, to be forgiven, washed in the blood of Jesus, to have hope to live with Him forever.
But I have a question, why did God keep the gospel hidden for so long? Three passages give us clues.
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" Romans 5:6
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." Galatians 4:4,5
"making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." Ephesians 1:9,10
The answer is somewhat elusive. The bible doesn't come right out and say, but we do know that the time was right and the events of time had become full, complete, and sufficient. So, what was the rightness and fullness?
It happened before, you know, back in Genesis,
"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5
Sin had run rampant. The whole earth had turned against God. It was so bad that God regretted creating the world. This seemed to be the climax of the story, and that Satan had won. God lost the cosmic battle over man's heart and he was going to destroy it all, but was he? The twist in this sub-plot took Satan by surprise. Instead of destroying all of creation God only destroys man, and even in this he spares the ones who had stayed faithful to Him.
The fullness of time was not a positive moment. It was the wickedness of man's heart. If not for God's actions all would have been lost. If we take the Genesis genealogies at face value it was around 2000 years from creation to the flood, and from the flood to Jesus another 2000 years.
The fullness of time between the flood and the cross was the same thing, the wickedness of man. This time it included the insufficiency of the law to bring about the heart change (righteousness) required by God to redeem His creation. Something had to be done to deal with sin and to fulfill the requirements of God's holy nature as illustrated by the law. It seemed hopeless because everything in creation was (is) insufficient.
BUT, at the right time, when we were in sin, God sent His Son to fulfill the requirements of the law. The climax to Satan and the world was the cross. In that moment everyone but God thought the Father had lost. When the darkness couldn't be any thicker God pulls back the veil and reveals the twist: Jesus is resurrected, death is defeated and sin no longer has a hold on creation!
Today we are ministers of this great story, making known the word of God and God's victory. The sub-stories in the process of resolution are the skirmishes between Satan and the Church. In his death throws the evil one is still trying to thwart God's plan, but everyone who knows the Word understands that the battle of redemption is over and now we are fighting for the hearts of those who are still lingering in the shadows.
Paul says in Romans that the whole of creation groans waiting for its resolution. Peter says that God is not slow in keeping his promise to resolve all of Creation, but that one day the totality of God's creation will be consumed by fire and something more majestic will takes it place!
To this we have been called! The story is ripe for the telling. Are you with me? I'm just saying.