I’ve already gushed over the Book of Genesis once. But here we are again.
My Bible study group is walking through Genesis again and it’s almost my week to lead. As providence would have it, my week is focusing on the creation account — which I think is one of the richest texts about God in the Bible.
Our God is unlimited, incomprehensible and eternal. There is no end to what we can learn about Him. And Genesis was the book that opened my eyes to that in a life-changing way.
Today I want to look at a couple of threads that are started in Genesis and woven through our redemption story.
In the first chapter of Genesis, God creates the world from nothing. In the beginning, there was God in His fullness, existing from an eternity past. And then in His goodness, He spoke the world into existence.
The ultimate creation
During the six days of creation, God forms and fills the earth. He creates a world that is good, abundant and complete. Genesis 2:2 says, “And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done.” What does God say at the completion of His creation? “It is finished.” And what do Adam and Eve get to do in this creation? Walk with God. Live in His presence.
Many, many years later, the Son of God, hanging on a cross for the redemption of the world, ushers in a new creation with those very words. Jesus declares, “It is finished” (John 19:30). 2 Corinthians 5:17a says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”
As Christ’s new creations, sinners can once again walk with God as Adam and Eve did. No more priests, temples or sacrifices required. Christ covers the gap between man and God and we are again welcomed into His presence.
And take heart, there is still a final new creation to come. Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”
A few verses later, God declares, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (v. 6).
In this new creation, Scripture promises that we will again dwell with God, and there will be no death, mourning or pain. All glory will go to the one who deserves it most.
The ultimate rest
After creating for six days, God set apart the seventh day and called it the Sabbath, for on it “God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (Gen. 2:3b).
God rests, not because He is tired, but because He is taking His rightful place as ruler over His creation. God’s rest does not expose any weakness in Him, but serves as a reminder to the Israelites (and to us) of who exactly they are to worship and how little they can accomplish without Him.
As the evening breaks on another Sabbath day some 4,000 years later, Jesus offers up His spirit and atones for the sins of the world, bringing rest to all who would trust in Him.
In Matthew 11:29, Jesus declares, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Then, as Hebrews 1:3 says, “After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” His work is finished and He takes His rightful place in heaven.
We’ve seen God institute Sabbath rest and Jesus bring it to completion. Now let’s go back and look at the first Sabbath again.
With day seven, that holy day of rest, the rhythm of the creation account is broken up. The previous six days ended with “And there was evening and there was morning, the __ day.” Day seven, the Sabbath, doesn’t have a time marker declaring the end of the day. Why? Because the ultimate Sabbath rest of God’s people will never end. And on the day that our ultimate Sabbath rest comes in full, God will reign over His new creation and we will be in our rightful place — worshiping the only One who is worthy.
The ultimate destination
Both of these threads, ultimate creation and ultimate rest, originate in Genesis, bring us to Christ and then lead us to the same place at the time of His return: worshiping at the feet of our Creator God, who is faithful to sustain us.
As Revelation 7 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ ” (vv. 9–10).
Thanks be to God.