I’ve really been loving the work of the Bible Project over the last few years. They’ve created short explainer videos providing outlines for every book of the Bible, with an eye toward helping viewers connect the smaller stories of folks like Abraham, David, and Esther with the overall biblical narrative.
They also create videos analyzing important biblical themes. Their newest one unpacks the meaning of the idea “The Day of the Lord.”
I highly encourage you to watch this video, particularly in the Easter season, because it clearly connects the Resurrection of Jesus Christ with the victory of God over the forces of evil–Sin, the Devil, Death, and the human institutions that knowingly and unknowingly conspire with them.
Absolutely central to the Cross are the ideas of representation, solidarity, and substitutory atonement. The idea that Christ died for me, in my place, so that I can inherit his Sonship is critical to historic Christianity.
However, if the substitution at the Cross is divorced from the victory of God over evil for the sake of renewing and rescuing the world, then a number of key biblical themes will be distorted.
First, we will misunderstand the nature of God–rather than the Triune God acting in concert, out of love, to redeem the world, we come to view God in a more pagan way, as if one god were taking out his violent bloodlust by consuming his meek, loving son rather than destroying the world.
Second, we will misunderstand the afterlife–rather than understanding that the end-game for the Father is to place all things in this universe under the feet of Christ so that God can be all in all, and so that Creation will be joined together with Heaven as a New Creation, we will think that all that happens after we die is that our souls depart from our bodies to be directed toward cloudy fields of bliss or fiery pits. This will cause us to discount the value of our physical, material world, and the connection between what we do in the present with our bodies and our work and our future glory.
Finally, we will misunderstand our salvation–that we are not merely saved from something, but also saved for something. Salvation is not just a gift to the individual, where I am spared from wrath and just judgment for my sin and selfishness. Salvation is also a corporate calling–it is union with the Body of Christ, and a commission to be Christ’s healing and empowering presence in the world, by the power of the Spirit.
The Resurrection frames our understanding of the Cross–and this video provides good background context. I hope you watch it.
And, as promised, here’s a hymn for the second Sunday after Easter: