Paradise Regained!

garden-of-eden-landscape

In the beginning everything was good. In fact, God put His stamp of approval on all creation and declared that it was “very good.” But when Adam and Eve turned away from God, everything went bad . . . very bad. Paradise was lost because God made good on His promise—“You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17)—and delivered His cosmic curse.

But the promise of the God’s glorious Gospel of redemption is that paradise will be found again when the Lord Jesus Christ consummates His Kingdom:

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3)

Think about it this way. Jesus Christ came to reverse the curse. Through His sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection, death has lost its sting. One day soon, Jesus will return and we will live forever in the new heavens and the new earth, no longer cringing under any curse. Jesus crushed the curse on His cross. You and I will not fully realize that victory on this side of the grave, but His victory is certainly and completely won nonetheless. “It is finished!” Now that is worth reflecting upon, don’t you think?

The curse has affected everything, both vertically and horizontally. Apart from Christ, our relationship with God has been broken and cut off. We have been evicted from paradise and banished to live east of Eden. We live as enemies of the Eternal One because nothing we do is done for His glory. We are as selfish as we are self-absorbed. Self-rule is the order of the day. We place self upon the throne of our lives, and God is as far from our thoughts as the east is from the west. As for our horizontal relationships, love for others has been replaced with self-love; serving others has been replaced with self-service; kindness has been replaced with contempt. In short, our lives are thoroughly messed up . . . but only until Jesus shows up.

When we, by grace through faith, are raised from death to life, everything begins to change. Instantly we are welcomed back into the presence of the Almighty. We come off the throne of our lives and God resumes His rightful place. And our relationships with others begin to heal and become whole. When we understand just how much we have been forgiven, we begin forgiving others . . . all others. Self-absorption is replaced with self-sacrifice as we begin to lay our lives down for the glory of God and the good of others. We begin to catch a glimpse of paradise regained and what it will look like on the other side of the grave.

So . . . knowing what is ultimately coming in your life because of the love of God for you expressed in Christ Jesus, how does that make you feel about yourself and your life right now? How does it make you feel about others? The more we look forward to our promised paradise, the more we will begin living for it now. As hard as it is to imagine a time and a place where there will no longer be any curse, it is the Gospel truth and it is to inform every aspect of our lives—right now, right where we are, this very day.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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