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Plan A, revisited

21 August 2011 by Matt Gumm

There is a progression to the plan of salvation. The Bible isn’t fiction, but it has the feel of a literary narrative, driving forward toward its inevitable conclusion with all the drama of a novel. One of the things that contributes to this is the way Scripture reveals to us the plan of redemption.

The first hint, of course, is in Genesis 3:15, where the promise is made that the offspring will crush the serpent’s head. God makes promises to other Old Testament believers, including Abraham and David, and the Old Testament is packed with hints about the coming messiah and future redemption.

One of my favorite examples of this is found in both Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36, which presents the idea of a new heart. These are both Old Testament promises to Israel which also find fulfillment in the New Testament for believers.

Paul augments this when he writes in Romans 9 that the true children of God are not those descended from Abraham by the flesh, but those who are children of the promise. Later in Romans, he tells us that there was a mystery that was “kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations,” to bring about the obedience of the faith. (Rom. 16:25)

Paul also speaks of the mystery of Christ “which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed.” The mystery is that “the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:4–6), part of God’s grace promised and given to us before time began (2 Tim 1:9, Titus 1:2). It was spoken about by God to us in bits and pieces through the prophets, but revealed fully through His Son (Heb. 1:1–2).

Whatever the wording of the Catechism, what’s presented here upholds the Biblical notion that God’s plan of salvation is the one plan He had from the beginning, not the backup plan because humanity messed up Plan A. At the same time, there is the parallel truth that God’s plan of redemption has been unfolding throughout recorded history and becomes more clear as time progresses. The pinnacle of that plan was the cross, but the climax is yet to come, when Jesus the future king returns, to judge and to reign.