A Total Disaster
au·ton·o·my: the quality or state of being independent, free, and self-directed
The bottom line: Since sin has damaged everything, God calls us to be concerned about everything.
When Adam and Eve forsook God-centered transcendence for the false-hope, me-centered transcendence that the Serpent offered, the result really was a total disaster. You and I still experience the effects of that disaster every day of our lives. What happened in the garden is truly the central catastrophe of human history. It is almost impossible to overstate the hugeness of its significance. Here is how big this disaster was (and is). When Adam and Eve fell, the entire cosmos fell with them!
Autonomy and Transcendence
What did the Serpent hold out to Adam and Eve that was attractive enough for them to consider stepping away from the one central thing for which they were made? He offered them an independent glory. If they would just step out on their own, they could be transcendent beings like God. The word for this is autonomy. Here was the lie (and one that is still being whispered in the ears of people every day): “The key to true transcendence is autonomy.” But it was a wicked and cruel lie. The quest for autonomy will always crush transcendence. Rather than the huge glories of living for the glory of God, I end up with little shadow glories filling the dim cubicle of my own glory.
The ongoing tendency to treat my life as if it were no bigger than my life. . . God has called you to a greater circle of concern than your own life. You see, when God enters our lives by his grace, he isn’t working to make our kingdom work so much as he is calling us to an excitement with, and dedication to, a much greater kingdom. . . it is only when you remember how big the effects of sin are that you will live the way God calls you to live. Here is the logic of living in light of the purposes of God: If sin’s devastation is as wide as creation, then the scope of redemption must be just as big. Therefore, we are called to live with the total restoration of creation in view.
What is the kingdom of God all about? What is the new life to which God has called me? What new meaning and purpose is to become the focus of my life as a child of God? What in the world are we Christians supposed to be doing anyway? God has called us away from our autonomous, self-focused living to live transcendently once again. This means to live with restoration in view in every situation, location, and relationship in which God places me. And what is God’s redemptive purpose? It is captured in the second to last chapter in the Bible, when God, seated on the throne says, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5). It is summarized in Romans 8:18—24, which pictures the whole of creation groaning, waiting for redemption. If the glory of God is reflected in all of creation, if the effects of sin reach to all of creation, and if the goal of redemption is to restore all of creation, then what should you and I care about? EVERYTHING!
You have been chosen to transcend—to transcend the boundaries of your own hopes and dreams, to transcend the boundaries of your own plans and purposes, and to transcend the borders of your own family and friends. You have been chosen to transcend the furthest reach of your own definition of glory to be part of a greater glory, the glory of God and his work of making all things new. Have you settled for living too small? In the midst of the total disaster of sin, have you settled for something good when you have been chosen for something great?
Have you treated the size of god’s grace as if it were no bigger than the size of your personal concerns?
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Adapted from A Quest For More. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the express written permission of New Growth Press. To purchase this and other resources, please visit www.newgrowthpress.com.
© 2008 by Paul David Tripp. Used by permission of New Growth Press. All rights reserved.