The Great Reversal – life out of death

By Dave Henning / January 16, 2022

“But if you see that God is the God of the Great Reversal — the God who always brings life out of death, resurrection out of crucifixion, the God who makes the last to be first and the first to be last — you will be able to take heart and be of good courage.”- Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller moves on in Chapter 4 of Hope in Times of Fear as he talks about the Great Reversal.  Hence, Bible scholar G. K. Beale refers to this as “God’s ironic overturning of human wisdom.”

As a result, Beale argues, God deals with people in two different, yet similarly ironic ways.

1.  Retributive reversal.  In this reversal, Pastor Keller observes, the desired successes of sinful living end up being curses.  Furthermore, sin contains a boomerang effect.  Therefore, those who betray wind up betrayed.  And liars get lied to.

2.  Redemptive reversal.  Here God chooses the weak over the powerful and the foolish over the wise to save the world.  Thus, God saves through weakness – not despite it.  Certainly, the faithful appear cursed.  But when they persevere in faith, they find themselves in the midst of blessing.

Consequently, Beale stresses, the Bible’s remarkable message states that everyone winds up caught in the matrix of one of these two life patterns.  In addition, Pastor Keller states:

“The good things of this world seen as blessings . . . but received without God become curses.  They will drive you and consume you.  And so the most just thing God can do to those who reject him is to give them up to what they want (Romans 1:21-25).  However, the hard things of this world seen as curses . . . but received with faith in God will be turned into blessings.  Every person lives within one of these matrices; each one of us is traveling along one trajectory or the other.”

Today’s question: What does seeing God as the God of the Great Reversal mean to you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the January Short Meditation, “These small beginnings”

About the author

Dave Henning

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