The great evil that entered the world and that we have perpetuated for thousands of years in our selfishness and hate have been reversed in Jesus, and is being reversed in our world even now through His Holy Spirit invading and transforming and bringing His Kingdom to Earth.
Reversal of Evil
Joseph replied, ‘Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.’ He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart. – Genesis 50:19-20 (MSG)
Have you ever had someone tell you a story and the deeper you dig the more issues seem to arise? They come up with answers but it just feels like things don’t actually make sense or line up. That’s how reading the Bible can seem sometimes, or at least how it is sometimes presented.
The Old and New aren’t so different
Most of the time the Bible is presented as two parts; the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT). Christianity tends to favour the New Testament as if it overrules, corrects or renders the Old Testament irrelevant. I’ve heard it asked, and even asked the question myself, “why is the God of the OT so different from the God of the NT?” The problem with that question and that way of looking at the Bible is that it ignores most of the Old and the New Testaments, favouring instead only certain passages and popular characteristics of God that are presented in each. When we dig we find that in the OT and the NT God is presented as compassionate and critical in both!
Jesus Accomplishes the Set-Up
If there is one significant difference between the OT and the NT, other than their length, is that the OT looks forward to Jesus, and the NT looks back on Him. The whole story of the Bible revolves around Jesus, is fulfilled in Jesus, and only makes sense with Jesus. The OT was not one way of doing things that failed and so had to be replaced with Jesus. The entire story of the OT expected Jesus to come and finish what it was starting. The Law and the prophets were all anticipating Jesus, needed Jesus, and were fulfilled in Jesus. And Jesus Himself embraced the OT because of that. We have in the Bible two parts of the same story.
Evil Gets Reversed
In Genesis there is a story about a man named Joseph. It’s a pretty messed up story about how a group of brothers sell their youngest brother (Joseph) into slavery, and then he ends up in prison, falsely accused of sexual assault. Horrible things happen to Joseph. And yet at the end of the story we find that he has been redeemed, risen to power in Egypt, was able to save the entire known world from famine. He was even able to save his brothers lives. Joseph makes the statement that even though his brothers did something with evil intentions, God reversed it to do something good! That is the story we have in the Bible! Not just in Genesis, but the entire book! That is the Gospel!
What that leaves us with is the remarkable and joyful revelation that the entire story of the Bible is about how Jesus wins, and we can join Him! The great evil that entered the world and that we have perpetuated for thousands of years in our selfishness and hate has been reversed in Jesus, and is being reversed in our world even now through His Holy Spirit invading and transforming and bringing His Kingdom to Earth. Sometimes I feel like we have lost, or are losing, and will lose to the darkness of this world, but the story of the Bible is clear: if we follow Jesus, we win. Jesus was crucified and resurrected. The evil intentions of this world are no match for the work of Jesus. That is the whole story of the Bible.
Previous: Part 3 – Love God and Love Others
Next: Part 5: coming soon
Evan Oxner is the author of Let’s Be Blunt : What’s Really the Point of Christianity? and the lead pastor at Amherst Wesleyan Church in Amherst, Nova Scotia. He insightfully explores questions about God and life in much more detail in Let’s Be Blunt. Find more about Pastor Evan Oxner, his book, and free study guide at www.evanoxner.wordpress.com.