The Great Promise of the Scriptures

What was lost in the Fall? One could answer life, innocence, righteousness, freedom, or a host of other things, and be correct. Yet none of these garners the label "greatest loss." The greatest loss incurred by the Fall was lost communion with our Creator. But what man lost by sin, God restores by grace. Uninterrupted, unfettered, unadulterated communion with God is the great promise of salvation.

In fact this promise of God is like a ribbon woven through the Scriptures. We witness it when God enters into a covenant with Abraham and promises, "And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you" (Genesis 17:7). It lies in the background as Israel reassures Joseph with this promise of God's presence, "Then Israel said to Joseph, 'Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers'" (Genesis 48:21). We hear it in the words of God when He promises the nation of Israel if they are obedient, "I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people" (Leviticus 26:12). We not only have verbal promises such as these but also see visible types of this reality in the Old Testament: God leads the nation of Israel in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13), he supplies manna from the sky (Exodus 16), the tabernacle, and later the temple signify God's very real presence with His people. And yet all of these visible manifestations of God's presence with His people were temporary in nature. The cloud and fire vanished, the manna ceased, the tabernacle disappeared, and even the Temple's walls were torn down.

In the New Testament the promise manifests itself in the humiliation of the Son of God. He becomes flesh, Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). John wonderfully pictures this promise coming forward when he says, "The word became flesh and 'tabernacled' among us" (John 1:14). One would think the promise would lose force with the ascension of Christ, but it is just the opposite. Christ promises that in his departing "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:15). And some of his last words to the disciples before ascending to the right hand of the Majesty of God, Christ reassures the disciples, "Lo, I am with you always even to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). We see this promise realized in an even greater measure with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost (Acts 2).

But even all of this is not the perfect uninterrupted, unfettered, unadulterated communion we shall enjoy by the promise of God. We still await that day, but make no mistake, that day is coming. It has been promised. John beautifully paints the picture for the reader in Revelation 21 giving us a glimpse of this promise being finally and fully realized in the New Heavens and the New Earth. The new city Jerusalem descends from the clouds and a loud voice echoes from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be their God." God making His home among us forever! Our souls and bodies ache for this day—a day on which God will finally dwell with us in uninterrupted, unfettered, and unadulterated sweet communion forever. Then we will fully understand the significance of that which was lost by sin and the significance of that which was gained by grace. For on that day we shall gaze upon His beauty and inquire in His holy temple (Psalm 27:4). There we shall be made like Him and enjoy Him forever (1 John 3:2). On that day we will rejoice like never before, because He has chosen to make His home among us. He shall be with us and we with Him, face to face, forevermore. What was lost by sin is secured by grace. What a promise and what a realization awaits us. What was lost in the Fall? One could answer life, innocence, righteousness, freedom, or a host of other things, and be correct. Yet none of these garners the label "greatest loss." The greatest loss incurred by the Fall was lost communion with our Creator. But what man lost by sin, God restores by grace. Uninterrupted, unfettered, unadulterated communion with God is the great promise of salvation.

In fact this promise of God is like a ribbon woven through the Scriptures. We witness it when God enters into a covenant with Abraham and promises, "And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you" (Genesis 17:7). It lies in the background as Israel reassures Joseph with this promise of God's presence, "Then Israel said to Joseph, 'Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers'" (Genesis 48:21). We hear it in the words of God when He promises the nation of Israel if they are obedient, "I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people" (Leviticus 26:12). We not only have verbal promises such as these but also see visible types of this reality in the Old Testament: God leads the nation of Israel in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13), he supplies manna from the sky (Exodus 16), the tabernacle, and later the temple signify God's very real presence with His people. And yet all of these visible manifestations of God's presence with His people were temporary in nature. The cloud and fire vanished, the manna ceased, the tabernacle disappeared, and even the Temple's walls were torn down.

In the New Testament the promise manifests itself in the humiliation of the Son of God. He becomes flesh, Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). John wonderfully pictures this promise coming forward when he says, "The word became flesh and 'tabernacled' among us" (John 1:14). One would think the promise would lose force with the ascension of Christ, but it is just the opposite. Christ promises that in his departing "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:15). And some of his last words to the disciples before ascending to the right hand of the Majesty of God, Christ reassures the disciples, "Lo, I am with you always even to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). We see this promise realized in an even greater measure with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost (Acts 2).

But even all of this is not the perfect uninterrupted, unfettered, unadulterated communion we shall enjoy by the promise of God. We still await that day, but make no mistake, that day is coming. It has been promised. John beautifully paints the picture for the reader in Revelation 21 giving us a glimpse of this promise being finally and fully realized in the New Heavens and the New Earth. The new city Jerusalem descends from the clouds and a loud voice echoes from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be their God." God making His home among us forever! Our souls and bodies ache for this day—a day on which God will finally dwell with us in uninterrupted, unfettered, and unadulterated sweet communion forever. Then we will fully understand the significance of that which was lost by sin and the significance of that which was gained by grace. For on that day we shall gaze upon His beauty and inquire in His holy temple (Psalm 27:4). There we shall be made like Him and enjoy Him forever (1 John 3:2). On that day we will rejoice like never before, because He has chosen to make His home among us. He shall be with us and we with Him, face to face, forevermore. What was lost by sin is secured by grace. What a promise and what a realization awaits us. 

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