Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. – Romans 8:21-23
“Good … Good … Good … Good … Good … Good … Very Good.” Seven times in the first chapter of Genesis alone God looks at his creation and calls it “good.” Plants and animals. Light and darkness. Mankind himself and everything God had made. Good.
But that perfect creation – just the way God had designed it – didn’t stay that way for long. Sin enters, and the fall of man leads to a curse over all of creation. Thorns and thistles, pain and grief, enter into God’s good creation, and it’s no longer the way it’s supposed to be. When struggling in the midst of this fallen and broken world in which we still live, it is easy to feel that the goal of life is to escape such a world into a spiritual realm. But God has something better in mind for us and for the world He created. And Easter proves it.
When Jesus rises from the grave on Easter morning, everything changes. There are many significant aspects of the resurrection, and one of them is that it signifies and starts the restoration of all of creation. The Bible teaches that Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t theoretical or spiritual but rather bodily, in flesh and blood. And this matters because it combats the dualism we can so easily feel that “matter” is bad and “spirit” is good. It reminds us that Jesus’ goal wasn’t to escape the material world and his human body but rather to see it transformed and renewed.
The hope of the rest of Scripture is not that we will leave our bodies and this world behind to go float on clouds with God; rather, the promise is of the creation itself being freed from the curse and redeemed alongside our very bodies (see Romans 8, printed above). Jesus’ resurrection was only the beginning, the “firstfruits,” of what God intends to do with his good creation gone bad. He hasn’t given up on his world or the glorious plans He has for his creation and his people.
And that is why we move into all areas of God’s creation to be a part of God’s work of reversing the effects of the Fall and making our world and ourselves what God created it and us to be. Where has God called the members of your small group individually to spend their time and energy to this end? How does the bodily resurrection give meaning to what sometimes feels like a “secular” or “meaningless” task? Where would God call you as a group together to reflect the reality of caring for God’s creation – bodies, plants, animals, and all the rest of it? God’s Word tells us that Easter changes everything for his people and his creation. What better conversation to have together than helping each other see how that’s true in our lives each day?!?
Death, ugliness, and other bad things are being conquered and restored to the life, beauty, and goodness of God’s glorious design. One day, Easter promises, all will be back to good again.
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You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.
You Can Change
How do we mortify sin? How do we address the sin in our lives that reignite like a trick birthday candle we thought we had already blown out of our lives? This is a careful and thoroughly theological book that is hopeful without avoiding honesty. It is practical without being legalistic. It gets to the root of the sinful areas of our lives without offering a prescriptive regimen to hide behind avoiding the grace that has the only true power to teach “us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp
Small groups would be easy if weren’t for the people in the group! This book will help equip you to see your own sin first and provide the courage and humility to address it in others.
The Heart of a Servant Leader
This is a collection of letters written by Jack Miller to people experiencing real-life concerns and struggles. Through these gracious and honest letters you will learn how to humbly offer to others (and yourself!) hope, repentance, and courage that flows from the truth of the gospel of grace. Though this isn’t a “how to” book full of nifty steps to Your Best Gospel Life Now. It’s a glimpse into the heart of a person who has found food at the Cross, and you watch (and learn) as he humbly points others to the feast.
Comforts From The Cross
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
This 31 day devotional will bring you to the foot of the cross to remember and celebrate the truth of the gospel of grace, and develop skills that will help “inform, free, gladden, and enliven your soul every day.” Becoming proficient in applying the Gospel of grace to our own hearts is a key skill that is well worth our effort to develop.
- Christ PCA - Nashville
Scott Sauls and CPC Staff
Listen to sermons from Senior Pastor Scott Sauls and other CPC pastors at a sister church.
- Lookout Mountain PCA
Joe Novenson and LMPC Staff
Check out sermons by Senior Pastor Joe Novenson and other LMPC pastors at a sister church.
- Steve Brown Etc.
Steve Brown’s unique blend of orthodoxy and controversy, humor and profundity, and a refusal to play religious games will give you permission you have needed to stop being so uptight. And even if it’s for 30 minutes, you just might experience radical freedom, infectious joy and maybe even a bit of surprising faithfulness.
- Tim Chester: reformed spirituality and missional church
Tim has an incredible way of applying the Gospel of grace that is both practical and honest with a consistent skillful affinity to point us to Jesus. He is director of The Porterbrook Institute; a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK; and the author of over a dozen books including Total Church and You Can Change.
- Of First Importance
Living Each Day in the Good of The Gospel
Here you will find a growing collection of gospel-centered quotes to help reorient your thoughts toward the splendor and grandeur of the person and work of Jesus.