Summary – The Gospel in Genesis 1-50 and in the City

Summary – The Gospel in Genesis 1-50 and in the City

Genesis has introduced us to the Creator-Redeemer God who graciously gives mankind a garden-temple in which to serve God and from which to extend the worship of God throughout the earth.

In Adam all mankind rebels against God and is banished from the temple-garden. Prior to banishment from the temple-garden, a promise is given of a second Adam, who would not succumb to Satan’s temptation and would finally defeat Satan.

After the progression of sin and rebellion, mankind and the earth are eventually judged by God in a worldwide flood. Consequently, after the flood Noah and his descendants are given the renewed kingdom responsibility in a new world, but they also fail to extend the worship of God, choosing instead to congregate at Babel. Again, the world is judged; this time through dispersion.

God then chooses Abraham and his descendants to be the family through which the worship of God will be extended throughout the world and through which the nations of the world will be reunited in worshipping God.

The story line of Abraham’s family keeps the reader wondering whether they will be the people who will extend the worship of God throughout the earth and unify the nations in the worship of God. The story unfolds with moments of success in their being the people who carry out God’s purposes but also includes too many moments of forgetfulness, neglect, and outright rebellion against God’s purposes.

As we read Genesis through eyes and hearts illumined by New Testament revelation, we understand that the successes and failures of the descendants of Abraham provoke us to anticipate the One whom God promised would ultimately defeat Satan and not only succeed where Adam had failed but would triumph more gloriously over sin and death. Through this One the worship of God would be extended through the earth and the nations of the world would be unified in their worship of God.

Today, because of the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin and death, through His body, the church, His kingdom is quietly being extended through the earth and people of all nations are joining together in worship of the Triune God. This kingdom will be consummated in the New Heaven and Earth.

Cities are not the only places where there is evidence of that happening, but in a unique way, city churches can become a microcosm of the multi-national, multi-ethnic, world-wide worship that God desires.

Cities churches offer a greater possibility for tasting the cosmopolitan worship of the New Creation, where people from every tongue and nation will join together in the worship of the living God.

Cities offer opportunity to those who are now the seed of Abraham in Christ to be His people in extending the worship of God among the nations of the earth and seeing the diversity of the world brought together in unity in Christ.

Cities are the crucibles which test the power of the gospel to create new communities that are unified in their love of Christ and in their commitment to do justice and love mercy in the midst of depravity and diversity.

The Gospel for the City in Genesis 47:28-50:26

Reunion and restoration to Canaan (47:28-50:26)

As the story of Genesis winds down, we are wondering about the outcome of the Abrahamic promise that God’s people would bring blessing to the nations. Ironically, the people of God are in exile from their promised land; yet while living as strangers in the midst of a powerful nation, they have opportunity to be the bearers of blessing.

Not only do they have opportunity while in exile to bless the nations, but here they receive the blessing of their father, who speaks to each of his sons a blessing that is suitable to them. Through the blessing of Jacob upon his sons, they are assured of the continuity of the Abrahamic promise and their ultimate return to the land of promise.

The Abrahamic promise has passed from Abraham to Isaac and then to Jacob.  Jacob has seen his descendants multiply and in some slight measure, through Joseph, he has seen blessing come to the nation of Egypt. Jacob had only sojourned in the Promised Land and wants to be buried there permanently with Abraham and Isaac.

Now that the patriarchs are off the scene, we wait to see how the seed of Abraham will live out their responsibility to be faithful to God and to be a blessing to the nations.

The final chapter concludes with a promise of redemption, i.e. that the Lord will visit his people and deliver them from Egypt and bring them to ‘rest’ in the Promised Land. The ‘rest’ of the land anticipates the ‘rest’ that the Messiah would bring. Jesus inaugurates this rest in his first coming and consummates it in his second coming.  We now enjoy rest to our souls but long for rest for our entire being.

The gospel assures us that the ultimate rest will come in God’s time. Meanwhile though believers live in exile from their heavenly home, they do so with a spirit of hope and expectation. They serve a God who is capable of preserving them in exile, blessing them in exile, and using them to bless others while in exile.

While serving God in the city we live with assurance that we are strategically located in His story of the progress of redemption. We are here to participate in the advancement of God’s purposes of ‘calling out of the nations a people for His name.”

In some sense, any place in this world is like “Egypt’ because all believers live as strangers and foreigners and do not enjoy the consummate rest. If we are here, we are not home. Perhaps even more so, urban centers with their density, diversity, and heightened depravity create a deeper awareness of exile and a longing for ‘home.’  However, like Jacob’s family, we accept that God in His sovereign wisdom leaves his people in Egypt, delays the consummate enjoyment of rest, and employs His people to carry out His purposes. Meanwhile, we pray, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.”