(excerpt from a recent sermon on Genesis 1:1)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
I want to finish this series by thinking about the heavens, not as things seen (like space ‘n stuff), but as things unseen. The heavens. The realm of the heavenly. The abode of God. The heavens are God’s domain.
So much of our understanding is unseen. Ideas. Thoughts. Concepts. Our faith, also, is an unseen entity. We walk by faith, not by sight. Even so, God has gone to great lengths to reveal himself and to make himself as visible as our oft-as-pea brains can handle.
Think about the ways God has manifest himself throughout history. As a voice in a bush that was burning, but that wasn’t consumed by flame. Neat. A voice on the mountaintop in thunder and lightning. Neat. A pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. These things are spectacular, and quite honestly beyond my wildest imagination. Mostly, though, God shows us the effect of his presence. The red sea parted. Manna appeared every morning for 40 years. Water poured from a rock. Droughts. Rain. More lightning. Countless lives convicted, changed, transformed, empowered. Countless enemies brought low, defeated, conquered. These are the effects of his presence.
Then Jesus changed everything. The invisible became visible. The intangible became tangible. The Son of God took on flesh and became a man.
John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Hebrews 1:3, “Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,”
Colossians 1, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
This is special revelation. This is the stuff you can’t find out from a science experiment. And here’s what it says:
Jesus is God.
He said so. (John 8:58)
His friends said so. (Hebrews 1:1-3)
His Father said so. (Matthew 3:17)
He became flesh and walked around.
For a brief window in the fullness of time, God walked the earth as a man and demonstrated his Lordship of the visible and the invisible. He gave us a glimpse of the heavenly kingdom, and a promise to bring the kingdom in full when he returns. In the meantime, he promised to make the kingdom evident as he redeems and saves sinners, restores the image of God, and makes them to look more and more like himself.
The incarnation was amazing, but it was the preview/ the trailer. The fullness is yet to come.
Until that day, we are once again seeing God through the evidence of his presence, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the gift of God, his down payment and his guarantee. The Spirit is the seal of life everlasting upon the Christian. The unseen but true; the third Person of the Trinity.
Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to earth, and he proved that the unseen is God’s domain, too.
So what does this mean?
I often say, if Genesis 1:1 is true, then the whole Bible becomes quite significant. If this verse is true, God is sovereign over everything you see, everything you don’t see, everything you imagine, and the time in which you see, don’t see, and imagine.
A God who is so sovereign is terrifying… unless he gives you a reason not to be afraid.
If Genesis 1:1 is true, Jesus gives rest from the terror of a holy God.
Jesus is the rescue for sinners.
Because Genesis 1:1 is true, here is truth.
God is perfect. One God, eternally existing as three persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Man is sinful. Every man deserves death in this life and the next because God’s holiness cannot be compromised. The bigness of sin is not measured by how bad I behave, but by the significance of the one I’ve sinned against. Sin against an eternally perfect God, you’ve earned an eternal death sentence.
The good news continues. Jesus lived a perfect life in fulfillment of God’s law. He did what no other man could, because he’s Jesus.
Jesus revealed himself to be the God of Genesis 1:1, and offered himself as a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for sin. He died on a Roman cross, bearing the wrath that sinful humanity deserves. His shed blood perfectly satisfied God’s justice and wrath. His sacrifice is so perfect that any who take it upon themselves are redeemed by it.
This sacrifice is applied to your account when you turn to God in repentance and faith, turning away from sin and trusting in the work that Jesus accomplished on your behalf. When the blood is applied to your account, not only are you brought out of the red, debt paid, but you are also placed infinitely in the black as Christ’s perfect life and righteousness are given to you as a gift. You are viewed as perfect in God’s eyes by grace through faith IN CHRIST.
The Word says that all who turn to God through Jesus Christ are given the Holy Spirit, not only to seal our future salvation but to transform our lives now. God promises to make us over to be like Jesus… never perfect in this life, but ever moving forward.
Life itself pivots at Genesis 1:1. May we never fail to appreciate the significance of a Sovereign Creator!