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From the Garden of Eden where the first two human beings lived in constant communion with God, to the Tabernacle in the wilderness where God dwelt in the midst of the children of Israel in veiled fashion because of the problem of sin, to the incarnation of Christ, all the way to the new Heaven and Earth where God will once again dwell unveiled in the midst of his people, God has always desired to live among his people.
And ever since the beginning of creation, God has been at work to create a people for fellowship. This is clear in scripture. It is not that God needs mankind in any way. No, God does not create his people out of a sense of deficiency in him, but as a means of overflowing in His love and glory to others. In other words, it wasn’t as if God became lonely and created man, but rather that God’s love and glory overflowed and people are the result. It was not emptiness in God that causes Him to create His people, but a super over-abundance in God that causes Him to create people in order that He might lavish them with Himself.
God created humanity in Genesis 1 and 2 by forming Adam out of the dust of the ground and Eve from his rib. He created a nation in Genesis 12 with the call of Abram out of the Ur of the Chaldees. He created a covenant community in Exodus 19-24 after delivering the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. But he created a New Covenant community by the death of his son on the cross of Calvary.
The very night before Christ was crucified, He transformed the celebration of the formation of the Old Covenant community (the Passover) into a celebration of the formation of the New Covenant community (the Lord’s Supper). When he held up the cup, he said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20). Christ was declaring that the work that he was about to accomplish the next day by the shedding of his blood was the work that would guarantee the blessings of the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 where the Lord declares that one day he would make a new covenant. In this new covenant, God promises, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD.
“For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
This is what Christ died to accomplish. He created a special people.
This column is the fifth in a series of six that seeks to develop the following summarizing sentence about the Bible: “The Bible is the story of a God who makes a spectacular promise about a supernatural person who creates a special people to live in a supernal place with him forever.” This week’s column has shown that the Bible is the story of a special people.
Steve Weaver is an Anderson County resident and pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church (www.farmdalebaptist.com) on 127 just across the Franklin County line.