The Grand Narrative

The plans of God for His people will be completed with certainty.

Today’s reading: Isaiah 24-26; Ephesians 4

1 O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Isaiah 25:1

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16

The “grand narrative” of the Bible, as Sinclair Ferguson calls it, was planned by God from eternity past. [1] We can summarize it by the terms: creation, corruption, conflict, and consummation. As Isaiah expressed it, these are “plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” Nothing that has happened, is happening, or will happen catches God by surprise. He is the Author of all of human history. He has planned it and His plans are sure to be completed.

Isaiah observes the chaos of the times, anticipates the coming judgment, but also promises that God will swallow up death forever, wipe away tears from all faces, and keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him (Isaiah 25: 8; 26:3). “Trust in the Lord forever,” writes Isaiah, “for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (26:4).

Paul, too, has the big picture in view as he exhorts the Ephesians to live in the unity of the Spirit of God. What has God done for them? He has sent them apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to equip them for His service. Why? God has done this so that they may grow in unity and maturity in Christ. These two objectives go together.

We, indeed, still live in the middle period of the grand narrative which began with corruption (Genesis 3:1-13) and continues with conflict (Genesis 3:15), but Jesus Christ has come announcing that “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). He told His disciples to pray that the Kingdom would come, so we know there is more to come (Matthew 6:10).

As you look at the ongoing corruption and conflict of this world, do you lose sight of the Kingdom and forget that God’s plans are being perfectly fulfilled and that they will be completed? Trust in the Lord, as Isaiah said. Seek unity and maturity, as Paul admonished. God’s grand narrative is unfolding and He will be glorified in His blessed people.

[1] Sinclair Ferguson, From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1982, 2014, p. 76

2 thoughts on “The Grand Narrative

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