God's Rescue Plan
A quick search of the phrase “rescue plan” on the Internet brings up several results of “fall rescue plans,” which are generated by various safety companies and unions to protect workers who have to work at dangerous heights. The definition of such a plan reads: “A strategy or procedure, planned in advance, to retrieve safely a person who has fallen….” This is exactly what God has done for us. We are a fallen people and He has a rescue plan, one which was planned in advance to save us all. As we approach Easter, let’s take a look at this problem we have, how it is possible, and God’s perfect rescue plan.
“For all have sinned and continue to fall short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23)
“Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death resulted from sin, therefore everyone dies, because everyone has sinned.” (Romans 5:12).
“For the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23a)–we’ll come to the second half of this verse later–
The problem we have is sin and sin leads to the death. We are all born into sin and we all face death as its consequence. So that’s the problem, but we have a loving God who loves us as His children and He has a solution to this problem, but before we get to that, let’s look at how the problem was possible.
How It Was Possible
Many people, believers and nonbelievers alike, struggle with understanding why sin or evil exists in the first place. In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis explained our situation like this:
“If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata—of creatures that worked like machines—would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.”
Free will is the only thing that makes love possible and worth having, if you remove free will then love disappears too. So because we have free will we have the potential to sin, and we read in Genesis 3 that humans gave in to the lies and temptations of the Satan and we chose sin, which separated us from God. But our loving and all powerful God had a rescue plan, and this coming weekend we celebrate that plan: Jesus’ death and resurrection, the ultimate atonement for our sin and the ultimate defeat of Death.
The Rescue Plan
“I’ll place hostility between you and the woman,
between your offspring and her offspring.
He will crush your head,
and you will bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
This is the first declaration of God’s rescue plan. Jesus is the offspring (or seed in other translations); Lucifer, of course, is the snake to whom God is speaking; and the blow he will deliver is a mere bruise, something temporary—this is the death on the cross. But Jesus will crush the head of the snake: this is Jesus’ resurrection, the ultimate defeat of Death. This is God’s perfect rescue plan, laid out in advance.
"And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife." (Genesis 3:21)
“God taught us from the very beginning that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” (Hebrews 9:22)
Since that very first sin, it has been the shedding of blood which acts as atonement for sin. God’s rescue plan runs through the entire Bible; all of the rules for sacrifice and atonement point to our need for a perfect Savior, and Hebrews 10 covers this best. The writer calls the old system under the law of Moses a shadow, a dim preview of things to come.
“For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, ‘You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I said, “Look, I have come to do your will, O God—as is written about me in the Scriptures.”’” (Hebrews 10:4-7)
“For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:10-14)
The first half of Romans 6:23 explains our problem, and the second half explains God’s rescue plan: “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are all guilty of sin and the penalty is death. It was made possible through our free will, but God loves us so much that He has a plan to save us through Jesus’ death and resurrection, His blood which washes away our sin and redeems us for all time. As we head into Easter weekend, remember God’s perfect rescue plan.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.