The Content of Redemption
Well, I never intended to miss nearly a whole week of blogging, but my mornings have been busy lately, and blogging has had to take a back seat (probably a good thing). Last time out I promised to talk about "rest" as it is used in the Bible, but as I have thought about it the subject just seems to broaden quickly in my mind, and soon I am thinking of the whole Creation / Fall / Redemption / Restoration saga that is the Bible story. So then the question becomes, where does Biblical rest--or more precisely, not only rest by its opposite, work--fit into that plan?
I hope to consider these things in the coming posts, but first I want to share with you a quote from Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth. A year or two ago it seemed that every Christian in the blogosphere was reading this book, but I'm just now getting around to it. In her opeing chapter, she's speaks of God's command to Adam and Eve--"Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it"--as nothing less than a Cultural Mandate. A mandate to build a social world (a culture or civilization) and to harness the natural world. This, broadly speaking, is our calling. Pearcey writes, "The Fall did not destroy our original calling, but only made it more difficult. Our work is now marked my sorrow and hard labor."
But God's plan of redemption is a plan to reverse and ultimately nullify all the deleterious effects of sin. It is a plan of restoration. In the end, the universe will once again fully reflect the glory of its Creator. And we Christians, as the first fruits of that redemption plan, are expected to take part, by the power of the Spirit residing within us, in this mighty restoration project.
Because of Christ's redemption on the cross, our work takes on a new aspect as well--it becomes a means of sharing in His redemptive purposes. In cultivating creation, we not only receive our original purpose but also bring a redemptive force to reverse the evil and corruption introduced by the Fall. We offer our gifts to God to participate in making His Kingdom come, His will be done. With hearts and minds renewed, our work can now be inspired by love for God and delight in His service.from Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey (p.48-49)
The lesson of the Cultural Mandate is that our sense of fulfillment depends on engaging in creative, constructive work. The ideal human existence is not eternal leisure or an endless vacation--or even a monastic retreat into prayer and meditation--but creative effort expended for the glory of God and the benefit of others. Our calling is not just to "get to heaven" but also to cultivate the earth, not just to "save souls" but also to serve God through our work....
This is the rich content that should come to mind when we hear the word redemption. The term does not refer only to a one-time conversion event. It means entering upon a lifelong quest to devote our skills and talents to building things that are beautiful and useful, while fighting the forces of evil and sin that oppress and distort creation.