The Point (Banjul)

19 December 2012

Gambia: The Redemption Plan

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God has always revealed his plans to his people, primarily because they are going to be concerned as executors or simply because they would be the agent through whom the plan would be realised. Prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah God said: "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?" (Genesis 18:17) In like manner, he divulged his plan for the redemption of humankind to Mary and Joseph--as key agents.

An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said to him: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20-21)

After the creation, God put Adam and Eve in charge of the Garden of Eden. "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26) The couple ruled over everything God had created, without exception. What a huge responsibility that was! But then Adam and Eve faltered when they listened to Satan who deluded them and they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. When that happened, they lost the authority as well as their status as rulers over God's creation. Worst still, by such an act of disobedience, they unknowingly had given Satan leeway to become the ruler of the world.

On that same occasion, God revealed the redemption plan he was going to put into action. He declared: "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (Genesis 3:15)

The offspring of the woman was actual reference to the birth of the Messiah, who would be born of a woman. This event was later confirmed by the prophet Isaiah who prophesied thus: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14) Immanuel means 'God with us.' Indeed, God will assume the form of a human being and would come to the earth with a definite mission -- to save humanity, (salvation);to rescue it from the fall (redemption);so humans could occupy their rightful place in God's kingdom (restoration); and to make peace with God (reconciliation). It was a high-powered one-man delegation with authority to reverse the status quo. Things were to be restored to their original position when human beings were in control. What Adam and Eve lost when they were duped by Satan, 'the offspring of the woman' had come to restore. It would mean crushing Satan's head at the cross where his (Jesus) feet would be nailed. The coming of our Lord Jesus was to retrieve from Satan what the latter had stolen from Adam and Eve.Humanity had to be saved and rescued from the hands of the evil one--Satan--and God had revealed how this would be done.

Nobody could best fulfill such a mission successfully except God's son, Christ Jesus. The One who bore that name that is above any other name because at his name alone everything on earth or under the earth must bow and confess him as Lord. "Therefore God exalted him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9)

God has revealed his rescue and recovery plan with his son at centre stage. This rescue operation was so important for God that he had to delegate his son. In the Gospel of John we read: "The Word became flesh and made his dwellling among us." (John 1:14) The sin committed by Adam and Eve constituted a major problem in the sight of God; to save humanity required consequently a powerful hand. The act of treason they had committed could be compared to indelible ink spilled on God's apparels that only the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross could wipe clean. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22) God in his compassion consented to delegate his son to accomplish the task of restoring humanity to its rightful place as ruler of the world -- a place that was lost when Adam and Eve bowed to Satan.

It was going to be an extraordinary birth. The child would be born without an earthly father. He would be born of the Holy Spirit. Prophet Isaiah reveals: "For unto us a child is born unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace." (Isaiah 9:6) The son's role was clearly defined. We already know that this birth would be by a virgin named Mary--who had been highly-favoured. Favoured, not only because she was the one chosen to bear God's son but also because as the angel put it: "the Lord is with you."

A great light had come into the world to brighten lost hope and reveal to humankind that all was not lost. God was doing a new thing that would recover the kingdom from Satan. At the coming of Jesus; "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (Isaiah 9:2) No longer any need for despair! "Arise, shine for the light has come..." (Isaiah 60:1) Joy to the world the Saviour has come!

God is still on the throne, working his purpose out and nothing, no other force can by any means frustrate his plan. He promised to raise a prophet that would work closely with us: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him......I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him." (Deuteronomy 18:15,18)

That prophet has equally brought the good news to us Gentiles. "I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6b) God's redemption plan is intended for all humanity irrespective of race or nationality.

Our Lord Jesus is Saviour of all because it is the world that needs a Saviour. He came to seek and to save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10) Do you feel lost and in need of a Saviour? Remember you cannot save yourself and there is no other name by which humanity can be saved. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)Come to Jesus! Remember you are not safe until you are saved!

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