The Foundation: The Cross
The modern church world has moved from the foundation of the cross: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The cross is the foundation that God planned from before the creation of the world. The terra firma—the person of Jesus Christ and His perfect sacrifice, the believer’s position in Christ, the building of His body, the church—all were planned before the creation of the world.
The physical evidence of God’s creation speaks of His magnificent order and structure that bears witness to our conscience that there is a marvelous Creator. Paul said, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). However, before the beginning or manifestation of His making earth, God ordained—planned in advance—every detail of the earth’s creation. “Of old (dateless past) hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands” (Ps. 102:25).
Paul would quote this in Hebrews 1:10, “in the beginning (origin) hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” There are bountiful scriptural witnesses to support that God made the earth, and He made it habitable for Adam and all mankind.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (Jn. 1:1-3).
The Godhead can be seen in the creative work by understanding that God the Father was the architect, Jesus Christ was the builder, and the work was accomplished by the Holy Spirit. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:16-17).
Perfect sacrifice of Christ
The perfect unity of the Godhead bears witness to the Father’s perfect love for His Son. When our Lord Jesus humbled Himself and became man, He came to redeem man as a man without sin. He was the “last Adam.” He has forever changed His former glory with the Father, a glory we do not know, to an even greater glory. By His redemptive work on the cross, He will forever have the marks of the crucifixion (redemption) in His body. The nail scars in His hands and the wound in His side that Thomas saw, Israel will one day see when He returns (Zech. 12:10). His plucked out beard that Isaiah spoke about, along with the other wounds that He received upon his back, will forever testify of His life that He gave for our ransom (Isa. 50:6). “His visage was so marred (disfigurement of face) more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isa. 52:14). Is it any wonder why the disciples found it so difficult to recognize Him? Mary in the garden tomb did not recognize Him at first. Cleopas and his friend on the road to Emmaus at first did not recognize Him until Jesus took the bread and broke it, and then their eyes were opened. Was it by divine revelation, or did they just then happen to see the nail scars in His hands? John saw Him when he was given the vision to write down “the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him” (Rev. 1:1). What did John see that may seem peculiar to us all? The elders told John not to weep and that the lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed to open the book. John saw something totally different when he looked: “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6). Later, in the book of Revelation, he tells us that it was in the plan of God regarding “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
Our Position In Christ
The plan of God is what He predestinated. He ordained the way people must be saved, by the cross of Jesus Christ. He predestinated our position in Christ, for those who freely choose to accept His grace by faith (faith is the means by which we receive the saving grace of God). Grace represents God’s manner in dealing with mankind: “In God is my salvation” (Ps. 62:7). Once the repentant sinner accepts God’s gift of salvation through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross he is born again. God immediately places that individual into Jesus Christ, by means of spiritual baptism (Rom. 6:1-6; I Cor. 12:13). This is the predestinated position God has ordained for believer’s to go once saved: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated (ordain) us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1:4-5).
This wonderful redemption that God supplied brought reconciliation to all who would trust and believe it. Paul would remind the Ephesians of this: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will” (Eph. 1:7-9). Paul goes on to explain God’s predestinated plan and how the believer comes into God’s inheritance: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11).
Paul would further explain how we can participate in the plan that God predestinated by telling us the manner in which one receives the invitation. Is it by God’s election? Does God choose who will or who won’t be saved? No! God is not unjust, and God’s nature of love sought a plan that would redeem all who would believe: “That we should be to the praise of his glory (a glory He could not have if He predestinated certain people to believe and they had no choice in the matter) who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted , after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:12-13).
Next month, we will explain God’s predestinated plan to build His church.