This is the story of your salvation. This story includes your conversion, but extends through time-twisting dimensions, immeasurable privileges, and lavish gifts beyond anything our brains can contain.
Scripture’s first words capture creation’s first moments: “In the beginning, God. . .” (Genesis 1:1). And before the beginning — God. Before anything at all, before the first light shot through to introduce history’s first tick of the clock, God was enjoying eternal, trinitarian relationship with himself.
Then at some “point,” the Father, the Son, and the Spirit decided to make history — literally. This point happened “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). And there you are, at the beginning. God knew you before there was a “before,” at a time when the Father loved the Son, also “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). You begin as part of a trinitarian plan, not yet as a created reality, but with the people whom the Father gave to the Son from out of a world he had not yet made (John 17:6). During this pre-creation era, God directed his will at you. You were chosen.
But history had to happen first, in time. Your story continues when God formed Adam, his first jar of clay, from the dust of the ground (Genesis. 2:7). And you were there in Eden too. Before you were born, God anointed Adam to represent you specifically, and the rest of humanity with you (Romans 5:18–19). But our first king Adam failed, so you and the entire nation of humanity failed with him. That first sin heard ‘round the world kickstarted the long, checkered story of the Old Testament people — murder, floods, slavery, plagues, wars, and exiles.
And while that wild rush of redemptive history was unfolding, God knew you. With Jeremiah we say God knew us before he formed us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5). God knew you in eternity before anything was made, and he knew you in history, before your arrival here on earth. And through the sometimes sordid story of God’s Old Testament people, all the authors of the Old Testament told the greater Story about the Redeemer who would some day fulfill every ancient promise (Luke 24:27; 44–48).
Then it happened. After thousands of years of waiting, the Father sent his Son down to his people, to walk around in history (John 5:36). The Son was to be the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45–47), the final King. Long ago, when the first Adam sinned, God told the serpent that his head would be bruised (Genesis 3:15). Later, as the last Adam’s cross punctured into the top of the “Place of a Skull” (John 19:17), history’s oldest redemptive promise came true.
But suffering on the cross was part of a bigger task Christ needed to accomplish (1 Corinthians 15:17–19). Even more was needed for your full redemption. Sin’s death grip on us demanded everything of Christ — his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Christ needed not only to suffer, but to be glorified. And as difficult as it is for us to understand on this side of heaven, Scripture tells us that just as we were there in Eden with Adam, we were there in Israel with Christ — crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6), buried with Christ (Romans 6:4), raised with Christ (Romans 6:5), and as he ascended into heaven, seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). You were there.
You Are Here
Then came the day when God personally knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). You show up in redemptive history for the first time, your arrival planned and anticipated for ages. And at some point in your life history, you were brought out from under God’s wrath and united to Christ under God’s grace; from being represented by the first Adam to represented by the last Adam, Christ. Throughout the story of the world and the story of you, God has gathered his cloud of witnesses together (Hebrews 12:1), whether a child’s time on earth lasts for one minute or one century.
And here you are, somewhere along the course of your Christian life. At some point in either your earthly or heavenly future — a few minutes from now, a few years off, or after a few more centuries have come and gone — the Son will come back to this alien land, this first earth (Revelation 21:1). He will gather together you and everyone else whom the Father has given to his Son (Mark 13:27), and you will finally be home. If you are in Christ, in one sense, you are already there.
More on redemptive history from Desiring God: