We just finished lesson 7 and finally entered into the New Testament perspective on the promises of God. Today we came face to face with the promised “seed” of salvation that we’ve been hearing so much about in the Old Testament. Seriously, the Old Testment writers knew a thing or two abour marketing schemes…their narratives and visions of the future kingdom have kept us up at night wondering if that promised King would ever show up! Surely they must have wondered that too! So, by the time we crack open the book of Matthew, the hope for the coming Messiah is at a feverish pitch.
The arrival of the King means many things for us today. The biblical story tells us that it is through this one being, the perfect God-Man, that all the promises of God are fulfilled (2 Cor. 1:20). We see this most clearly in those three promises given to Abraham:
- Promise: Man would be God’s People (a special people for the King). Fulfillment: Christ is the substitute for God’s People on earth. Because he lived a sinless, perfect life, Luke calls him the new Adam (Lk 3). Matthew subtly links Christ to the image of a new Israel (Matt. 4:1-11).
- Promise: Man would live in God’s Place (to dwell with the King). Fulfillment: Christ is the substitute temple on earth. He tabernacled among us temporarily (John 1:14) that we might come to know the life and transformation he offers our hearts (John 2:19; 7:37-38).
- Promise: Man would be the Recipient of God’s Blessings (when submitting to the King’s Rule). Fulfillment: Christ is the substitute vice-regent over creation – the King. In perfectly submitting to the law, Christ procures the blessings of God on our behalf. And he demonstrates to manking what the restored image of God in us should look like – how it possible to perfectly live as God’s People in God’s Place and under God’s Rule so we might enjoy great blessings.
Pretty cool, huh? That Christ fulfills the Old Covenant so that you and I might live in light of the New. But we also talked about how the New Covenant applies to us today. How do we enter into and enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant. And we learned from Hebrews 9 that it was not enough for the King to tabernacle among us and live a perfect life. His perfect, innocent, blameless blood was required so that the righteous requirement of the law might be met and our sin forgiven. He is perfect, unblemished lamb and died on our behalf. And so we see that God’s pattern for salvation never changed from the Old Testament to the New.Faith is still the vehicle for salvation and the pattern established by the blood sacrifice of a substitute. The difference in our lives is seen in the type of sacrifice that is offered on our behalf. Christ’s blood is far superior to that of goats, calves, or cows (Heb. 9:13-15) because it solves the problem of sin forever.
We’ve been tracing the biblical storyline of restoration from Genesis onward. And we’ve seen that the life and death of Jesus Christ initiates that total and complete restoration that is needed. However, we’ve only just entered into the New Testament. There is still a lot more to the story of biblical restoration. The kingdom is still immersed in sin. There is still pain and sorrow all around us. We still struggle with sin in our lives. Surely, this is not the restored Kingdom we heard about in the prophets???!!!!!
Next week we’ll look at the book of Acts. And we’ll discover that the King’s work on earth is not finished! We’ll learn that the special King Jesus Christ has one more act by which we might more fully be restored and we might more fully enter into and enjoy His kingdom.