I’ve recently been re-watching a television show that I started several years ago. I’d seen the first two and a half seasons, stopping somewhere in the middle of season 3 because I was bored (clearly, I dropped it right before things got interesting). I had seen an episode or two from season 5, so I knew that the story continued and that the main characters lived (The show centers around mass murderers and FBI mysteries, so the threat of death is imminent in every episode).
As I was re-watching the show, right in the middle of season 3, the main character died!
I was thoroughly confused because I had seen her alive and well in later episodes. (She faked her death to escape from the bad guy, you know the drill). Had I not watched those later episodes, I would have believed she was dead. I would have watched with much more anticipation and much more fear, confused and uncertain of how things would turn out. Because I knew she would be okay, I was able to see the twists and turns in the plot and pick up on the clues and foreshadowing of the resolution.
We have a drastically different perspective when we know the ending before we know the beginning or the middle. The conflicts don’t seem as serious, the tragedy doesn’t cut as deep, and the fear is always rationalized with, “Well, I know she is alive in the next season, so this can’t kill her.” Even though there are twists and turns, even though I can be confused or afraid of the outcome, I know that ultimately, my favorite character will live to see another day.
Our faith is like this. While we may not be able to see the end of the episode in which we find ourselves, we know the ultimate ending. We know that we have a Redeemer who has conquered death, been raised to life, and is coming to give us eternal life.
From the foundation of the world, this has been the story of faith. God has revealed the ending: that He would one day send a Messiah, a Redeemer, who would rid the world of sin and death and grant us eternal life. The Israelites clung to this hope, expectant of a Savior and a Messiah who would come to save them. They knew the beginning and the end, but less about the middle. They died, believing that God would one day send His Redeemer to the world to save and cleanse them from their sin. They were saved by their faith in what was to come. They spent their lives offering sacrifices to God, but these sacrifices were only meant to offer them atonement for a time. They had to be offered year after year, continually reminding the people that their redemption was forthcoming.
Jesus changed all of this. His death on the cross was the eternal sacrifice that was needed to save humanity from sin. Because of Jesus’ eternal nature, His sacrifice covers sin for eternity, for all who place their faith in Him.
While the people who lived before Christ were also saved by faith (Heb 11), we have a great privilege of living after the resurrection of Jesus. We are able to place our faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. The glory of His promise and His redemption is made known to us through God’s Word and through the witness of believers who came before us.
We know the ending! More than that, the details of the middle are clearer for us than they were for those who came before us. We know the object of our faith: Jesus Christ. What a wonderful truth, that even though Christ’s work was known before the foundation of the world, we have the privilege of living on this side of it. We can put our faith in God knowing that the work of redemption is complete.
Even though the work of our justification is complete, we live in the tension of the “already but not yet.” Christ’s work of salvation and redemption is complete, yet our world is still broken. We still face pain, persecution, trials, hardships, and death. The final work of Christ is yet to come. The very end of the story is sure, that Christ will return, He will defeat Satan, and He will establish His kingdom in a new heaven and a new earth, but the details of our lives and circumstances are still playing out. We know the ending, that our eternities are secure in Christ, but we aren’t sure how this season will conclude.
I often find it much easier to trust God for my eternity than for my current circumstance. I think that the God who has the power to create the heavens and the earth, raise the dead, and create life, is not powerful enough to provide for my financial needs or meet me in seasons of loneliness. I get distracted by the current state of my life that I forget the victory has already been won!
In this season of Lent, let’s together continue to focus on the power of Christ’s resurrection and what that means for us every day. He is risen! Nothing is impossible for Him! We trust Him with our eternity; let’s trust Him with our today.
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