I don’t know what you think of when you think about the Bible. One of the biggest misconceptions about it to me, seems to be this impression that it is a Big Book full of rules that somehow restrict your happiness. Yet as the years go on and I read more of it, one thing is apparent- this is a very wrong view. The Bible is actually a book of relationships not a book of rules.
I wrote a few weeks ago about my new Bible study reading plan and as I read the designated passages, I am amazed how God is opening my eyes and heart to more of who He is and how He has revealed Himself to mankind through history. It has amazed me to see how sin is so pervasive and yet God is so gracious and patiently works in and through His fallen people.
Throughout the Bible, there seem to be three main categories of relationships. Firstly, there is the revelation of God Himself in and through Jesus, next there is God’s relationship with His covenant people and finally, God’s relationship to His new creation.
First and foremost, the Bible is the Holy-Spirit inspired Word of God, where God reveals Himself to mankind. When we step back and see the overall message of the Bible, we can see the big picture of God revealing Himself though Jesus. As we read throughout the Bible, we see that everything is pointing to the One who would one day reverse the curse and bring restored relationship between mankind and God. This is the beating heart of the Bible. I love the passage in Luke 24:44 that shows the resurrected Jesus finally opening the disciples’ eyes to who He is and how all things point to Him: “Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (italics added).
From Genesis to Revelation, we see God’s relationship with His covenant people. Throughout the entirety of the Bible, God chooses people to be in special covenant relationship with Himself. Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the nation of Israel, David and then the Church; God in His merciful grace, enters into relationship with mankind. What a beautiful gift and opportunity! It makes me marvel alongside David,
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:3-6)
In relationship with God, a glimpse of the ultimate relationship is seen- one that will one day be consummated in seeing face to face.
The final category of relationship that we see in the Bible is that of God and His New Creation. So often I look towards heaven and completely forget about the new heaven and new earth. God’s plan was to one day restore all things. This is what creation is groaning for:
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:19-25).
As we read the Bible, may we think about the relational God whom we serve. The God who looked on sinful mankind and “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8). One day, every single knee will bow and confess Jesus as Lord and the greatest relationship of all will be shared:
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servant will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:3-5).
All I can say is Come, Lord Jesus!