The Multi-Millennial Plan
Christopher B. Harbin
We have trouble thinking long term. We struggle with our desires for immediate gratification. In psychology we speak of children maturing as they learn to delay gratification and plan or wait to have their desires fulfilled at some point in the future, be that five minutes, five hours, or a question of months. As adults, we often have to think in terms of years, and it is often just as much a struggle for us as it was for us as children. We steel ourselves with trite phrases like, "Good things come to those who wait." Just like the Nestle Quick bunny, however, we find it difficult to wait for the plan to come together. How can we hope to grasp the long-term nature of God's plans, including a plan that spans not simply days or months, but thousands of years?
The name of God's plan for our reconciliation is grace. It flows from the good, loving, merciful, and forgiving character of God. It began a long time ago. Paul says it began even before the creation of the world. All along, grace has always been the plan. This plan dealt with the idea that we would live holy lives without defect in God's immediate presence. God chose to fashion us and claim us as children to live before God in harmony, unity, and love.
We might say that this was the plan, but then sin went wrong. That is the most common way we hear the plan referenced. That is the way we tend to picture the story from Genesis 3. Paul, however, does not describe it that way Paul. He says instead that we are still living in the light of God's original plan, the very same plan God established before even beginning the work of creation. In this plan, God determined to become part of creation in Jesus Christ, clearing the way for us to live in harmony and unity with God forever.
Paul says that grace that lies behind it all, the very same grace and love which gave rise to the creation in the first place. Paul does not seem to believe that ...
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