The Lent season is upon us. It is the season in which we celebrate our Saviour’s resurrection and the sacrifice He made in order to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8) and provide a way for all of us to come to Him personally for salvation. His redemptive work on the cross, however, does not stop with human-creatures. It includes the entire created order – the earth, animal kingdom, and cosmos. For a good read on what science can teach us about the nature of time, life, and the expanding cosmos, check out “The Cosmic Dance“, by Greg Boyd. In it is shown implications that we partake in, for ill or for good, determining the future. This can shed light on the passage of scripture that says we can speed the Lord’s coming (2 Peter 3:12) when we partner with God, bringing creation closer to the day of God’s final redemption for us all.
Another good read on what Jesus’ work on the cross accomplished is found here. Quote:
God accomplished many things by having his Son become incarnate and die on Calvary. Through Christ God revealed the definitive truth about himself (Rom 5:8, cf. Jn 14:7-10); reconciled all things, including humans, to himself (2 Cor 5:18-19; Col 1:20-22), forgave us our sins (Ac 13:38; Eph 1:7); healed us from our sin-diseased nature (1 Pet 2:24); poured his Spirit upon us and empowered us to live in relation to himself (Rom 8:2-16 ); and gave us an example of what it looks like when we live in the kingdom (Eph 5:1-2; 1 Pet 2:21). Yet, I believe all these facets of Christ’s work can be understand as aspects of the most fundamental thing Christ came to accomplish: namely, to defeat the devil and his minions (Heb 2:14; 1 Jn 3:8). He came to overcome evil with love.
I love the way my friend and our partner Roslyne Smith on Shepherding All God’s Creatures says about the talk we heard given by Tony Campolo at the recent Sarx Creature Conference:
One of my favourite parts of the day was meeting and listening to Dr Tony Campolo, who I remember being a familiar Christian voice for the animals when I first became involved in animal welfare over 30 years ago. I found the way he described the kind of love from the Holy Spirit that enables us to care for animals very emotional. And I love the way he emphasises Romans 8, how “not just we ourselves are in the process of salvation, but ALL of creation is groaning, is suffering, is in travail, waiting for the sons and daughters of God to deliver it from its oppression. ALL of nature shall be rescued; the wolf and the lamb shall lie down together. We should live as though we are living in the Kingdom of God now and, when Christ returns the Kingdom of God will become actualised; the end of history is the end of violence”.
Our Saviour came so that we might “have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10); He also came that ALL creatures on the earth will be redeemed from suffering, and have life more abundantly. Part of being followers of Christ, reconcillers and peacemakers (2 Corinthians 5; Matthew 5:9), is also fulfilling the scripture in Romans 8 by becoming the Sons and Daughters that begin delivering creation from its oppression. We do this until the day “when Christ returns [and] the Kingdom of God will become actualised; the end of history is the end of violence”.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for all you have done for us on the cross, making a way for us to come back to you, to have a relationship with you; for making a way for us to live peacefully with one another and with all creation, that will reach its culmination when the fullness of your kingdom comes and your presence is again all in all! We remain steadfast, watchful, and ready in anticipation of the joy that will accompany that day, not only for your human creation, but for all creatures, great and small!
And now we know that you have “given us all we need to live a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them [we] may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, [we] make every effort to add to [our] faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Peter 1:3-7)
We pray dear Lord, that we will learn to include animals and the earth you gave us to care for as that for which we also will show love in all our actions. Amen
For those who may not have been brought up in a tradition that celebrates Lent and would like to know more about the subject, there is a lot of information online, or go here.
Thank you for reading and following our blog; we pray you are blessed by it and will share it widely with others! ~Kathy