Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
EFCA Advent Devotional 2015
Series Title: Christmas In the Storyline of the Bible: Peace In the Midst of Tribulation
Series Theme Text: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Advent: Week Two
From Tribulation to Peace – The Prince of Peace: Redemption Promised (Isaiah 9)
In the early chapters of the Bible, the storyline is established: God created all very good, yet Adam and Eve sinned when tempted by Satan, and because of this sin they, and all their progeny, lived with a sentence of death and condemnation. Sin distorted and destroyed God’s very good creation. But God would restore and renew through the promise of an offspring as pronounced in the first mention of the gospel, the protevangelium.
Biblical Framework: Conflict Experienced and Peace Promised
This explains the biblical framework of the conflict between sin, strife and tribulation and the peace promised by God and experienced by humanity through his ordained means. For the people of God, the time between the fall and God’s curse, and the promise made by God of life and the destruction of Satan and sin being fulfilled, seemed interminably long. Time and again, offspring would serve as a king, and one would wonder if this would indeed be the king through whom the enemy would be crushed and peace and blessing would once again be attained. But the number of those who served in this role as king matched the number of failures ultimately to fulfill God’s promise. The enemy had not been crushed and peace and blessing had not been attained.
There is only one way back to the Edenic experience with God, and it would only be through God’s ordained means. Any and all other means would result in death. God’s people wondered, had God reneged? Had he forgotten his promises? Was there any hope?
To continue reading, please go to pages 8-9 here.