As I write this eBulletin, I’m awaiting the news of a coming child. For a man, the thought of a son often fills him with joy and delight. The hopes and dreams of teaching a son, seeing someone who reflects your image fills the future with hopes and dreams.
As idyllic as a new father can be, the realities of parenting suddenly set in. This little life can’t be controlled, but shaped. The exertion of the will, the independent spirit, and the desire to do it for oneself can give way to subtle or explicit rebellion. For many fathers, this grief can be overwhelming.
When God breathed his life-giving Spirit into Adam and placed him in the Garden, he was the final piece of God’s masterpiece of creation. Adam was the son of God (see Lk. 3:38). Made in the image of his Father and given the tasks of mediating God’s presence to the world while ruling God’s creation as God’s representative, Adam knew the joy of the closeness of walking with God (Gen. 3:8). Yet Adam rebelled. He disobeyed his Father’s command. And the result was chaos for Adam, the creation, and the cosmos.
The Father, however, is good and faithful. His ways are redemptive. He promised Adam and Eve that they would have a son who would come to crush the head of the evil serpent (Gen. 3:15). As Genesis unfolds, it is structured around several genealogies (“These are the descendants of…”) which remind us that God is going to bring about his son, the serpent-slayer to renew the fallen creation. This son will come through Abraham’s line (Gen. 12:1-3).
By the time Exodus begins, this son is now a nation, enslaved by the Egyptians (see Exod. 4:22-23). God calls his son out of slavery (Hos. 11:1), but this son fails just as Adam had. This son worships other gods. This son disobeys the commands of his Father.
God is relentless in his promise to his son. David wants God’s presence to dwell near his people and offers to build a temple for the Lord. But David has been a man of war – there is too much blood on his hands. So the Lord promises David that he will have a son who rules on the throne forever and ever: “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2 Sam. 7:13-14).
These sons, however, aren’t as successful nor as faithful as David. The kingdom divides. The people are led into exile. The throne of David looks like it has been cast into the dust (Ps. 89:38-45). And that’s how the Old Testament ends.
Hope resounds in the very first first of the New Testament: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). Here is Abraham’s son! Here is the son of David who will rule forever! The serpent crusher has arrived!
He heals the sick. He makes the lame walk. The dead are raised. The curse is being reversed. All looks hopeful. And then…the Son of God is crucified. Nailed to a cross. It looks like the serpent has crushed the Son. But this Son, by his death, is crushing the serpent. His cross is placed at Golgotha – the Place of the Skull. The stake that holds the Son of God is placed into the skull.
And three days later, he is raised. He brings about the new creation. He reverses the curse. And he takes ordinary people, wayward people, sinful people, and saves them. They become part of his body (Eph. 2:16) are now called “sons of God” (Gal. 3:27-29).
This is the good news! The Bible is the story of how God is bringing us into his family. Forever loved. Forever being shaped into his image. Being shaped with the hope of future glory, freed from a rebellious past, and secure in the Father’s love.
You who are in Christ are all sons of God. And that is a good reason to rejoice!