ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 347



T he S tories and the S tor y
335
Jesus also launches a new community of God’s people—the church—
creating the renewed humanity that God envisioned from the beginning.
This community is the focus of God’s work on the way to a completely
restored and healed creation. The book of Acts and the letters of the
New Testament record how the earliest churches continued the ministry
of God’s coming reign that Jesus had begun. The context of this ministry
changes over time and in location, but the ministry itself remains the same
for God’s new family: to embody and proclaim the Good News of God’s
victory through the Messiah.
In the end, the discovery of the narrative unity we find in the Scriptures is
not merely for the purpose of information. The Bible is an invitation. It calls
us to join the Story and take up our own role in God’s ongoing redemptive
drama. We read the Bible deeply and well in order to learn the true story of
our lives within God’s bigger Story of the world. We read the Bible to grasp
the cosmic scope and meaning of Jesus’ victory. And we read the Bible
to know what it means to follow Jesus ourselves. The path of the cross—
­selfless love and sacrifice—is the path for us, too. But that path also ends
in our own resurrection when the Messiah returns.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he
will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that
future day when God will reveal who his children really are.
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But
with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when
it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and
decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in
the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we
believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit
within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our
bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait
with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full
rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he
has promised us. We were given this hope when we were
saved.
From Paul’s letter to the Romans
The final theme of the biblical chronicle is life, the same theme that
began the Story. Through the power of the Spirit and the action of the Son,
the Father’s intention will be realized in a new heaven and a new earth.





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