The following post is reprinted with the permission of Crossworld and author John Spadafora.
The fall of humanity that threatened to undo God’s original plan begins to be reversed in Jesus. Three realities are foundational to this reversal and inform our perspective of work.
Jesus’ cosmic work fulfills God’s original plan to display His glory throughout the world. Through it, He destroys the devil and his works. Through it, He gives humanity life and freedom from the bondage of sin and fear of death. Through it, He redeems humanity to flourish in the way God designed from the beginning.
Not only that, Jesus’ cosmic work also demonstrates for us both God’s love through giving of Himself in His Son, and God’s justice through bearing the punishment for sin and evil that justice requires. It’s these two divine characteristics — love and justice — that we most display in our work.
There is the general sense in which God rules over all — everything is under His control: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). However, the New Testament presents a more specific reality: Jesus announced that His kingdom was at hand. King Jesus was present. He gave us glimpses of His kingdom through His miraculous works and words that led to the healing and flourishing of people. He taught about His kingdom through parables, and He taught His followers to pray for His kingdom to come.
Colossians says that we who follow Jesus have been brought into His kingdom (1:13). As we live and work on mission by living out the priorities of the kingdom, we give people a preview of the kingdom.
Colossians speaks of God’s original plan to display His glory throughout the universe as His purpose “to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (1:20). That is His ultimate purpose and end: the reversal of “the vandalism of shalom” (Barry D. Jones, Dwell: Life with God for the World). If the fall in Genesis 3 brought enmity, brokenness, death, and separation from God into the universe, the entrance of Jesus brings well-being (shalom) and reconciliation in every sense to all things. Jesus’ work reverses the fall.
This cosmic global process begins at an individual level, with people who are alienated from God being reconciled to Him through belief in Christ. When God reconciles us to Himself, He not only saves us from sin, but He saves us to the original purpose for which we were created: to worship and enjoy Him, displaying His glory throughout the world in our lives and in our work.
This “already but not yet” kingdom has enormous implications for each of us. In our work, we steward God’s creation in love and justice while we influence and shape culture to reflect Him. We are ambassadors of King Jesus’ reconciling purposes, looking to that final day of Jesus’ return when His kingdom will be manifest in its fullness … and giving our neighbors a taste in the meantime.