I have a horrible habit: I often flip to the back of a book and read the last page first. I know - terrible. I used to do it with every novel I read, but I have gotten better at waiting to get to the end. Still, I am always tempted to hurry up and see how it all works out.
As I wrote my last post about how sin destroys our relationship with God, I felt a similar tension. I wanted to hurry up and tell you the rest – that God has given us Jesus to restore peace between Himself and us. However, we need to hear the whole story to truly understand it. We need to hear the bad news - that sin has ruined our peace with God – in order to see what good news it is that Jesus came to mend that relationship.
Ephesians 2 : 1-7, emphasis mine
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Praise God for those two words. Though our sin creates a gap between God and us that we could never cross on our own, what does God do? Sit with arms crossed, waiting for us to come apologize? No. He takes the first step. He bridges the gap. Even though we pulled away from Him, He pursues. The one who has done no wrong came to take on ours.
And He does more than that. Jesus does not only wipe our slates clean, leaving us in some neutral state with God. He also fills us up with His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Now God the Father loves us and delights in us just as He does His Son. He adopts us, and we are a part of His family. Jesus restores our peace with God, but that peace is not just an absence of conflict. It is the peace of a right relationship. It is intimacy. That is GREAT news, especially when you consider what our status was with God before Christ entered the scene.
Already But Not Yet
Even though we get to “flip to the back” of the Gospel and see that we get a “happily ever after,” we are still living in the middle of the story. I still sin and pull away from God. We still live in this broken world, and we feel the effects of that brokenness every day. Is this the way the story ends?
No, Jesus is better than that. He restores all of our relationship with God - past, present, and future:
- All our past sins are completely forgiven, and we never have to make up for them.
- We presently have access to God. We are His kids, and He is our Father.
- One day in the future, our relationship with God will be completely whole and restored.
Even though our relationship has been already made right and there is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less, there is still more to come. One day, we will see Jesus face to face and worship Him perfectly forever, with no entanglements of sin or brokenness. And that part of our story will have no end and no last page.