2 Kings 5:1 “Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.”
Kingdom thinking makes us realize that the same Jesus who died on the cross (John 3:16) is the same Jesus who created the world (John 1:3-4). In other words, Kingdom thinking honors Jesus as Redeemer as well as Creator. There is no separation between the two. But, there is a tendency to separate the two. When we preach the cross for individual sinners and do not apply it to the created order we are separating the Redeemer from the Creator.
A good analysis of the two coming together is from Hugh Welchel when he says: “Redemption gives us a picture of the way things could be:
- The objective of God’s work in redemption is to free people to be what they were created to be.
- Redemption is deliverance of the physical world.
- Redemption restores the life-giving potential of all aspects of the created order, making a degree of flourishing possible in this age.
We must understand the full meaning of redemption. Christ died on the cross not only to save us but also to restore all things. Grasping the full implication of the gospel should make Christians interested in evangelism as well as serving their neighbor and working for peace and justice in the world.”
For most of God’s people this will be played out in the work place. This is why our work matters to God and should matter to us as well. Albert Wolters in his book CREATION REGAINED states: “What was formed in creation has been historically deformed by sin and must be reformed in Christ.”
Redemption in Christ is as big as His creative work. Redemption’s final goal is to push sin out of every corner of this creative world. Perhaps this is what the prophet Habakkuk meant when he said: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14) We have been redeemed for a purpose and that purpose is to see the ‘reclamation of all things.’
God is concerned about His works. We read in Genesis 1, in the creation story, that He created all things and called it all “good” and being the Creator – He not only lays claims to all things, but also to destroy the works of the devil. We read this in 1 John 3:8: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
We all will play a part in this process. That is why our work matters to God. We look at the situation today and see what is going on in our government, economy, education, the media, entertainment and business and we can easily be overwhelmed with the challenge.
What we must keep in mind is that God has called us to be faithful and obedient in our ‘work’ or ‘sphere.’ Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like a yeast that is put into the dough and spreads throughout. Look at the history of the Kingdom of God from the time Jesus started His ministry with the words: “The kingdom of God is at hand. The kingdom of God is near.” From that time on the Kingdom of God, like yeast, has spread throughout the world and is still spreading. Kingdoms of this world have come and gone, but the Kingdom of God is still here and spreading.
How did it spread? It spread by normal folks seeking the kingdom of God in their own lives and working it into their various fields or spheres. An Old Testament example of this is with Naaman in 2 Kings chapter 5. Naaman was: “a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded. Naaman had leprosy, but there was a Jewish slave girl in Naaman’s household who told the wife about Elisha the prophet in Israel who could heal Naaman.”
Naaman was healed, and the bottom line in all of this is when Naaman makes this statement: “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” What an impact this made in the king of Aram’s household and officials! What did God use but a little Jewish slave girl, in her workplace (as handmaiden to Naaman’s wife), who mentioned the prophet Elisha that could heal him – and he was healed by obeying the word of the Lord’s prophet. Word of this spread.