New City Catechism 26.2
Question 26: What else does Christ’s death redeem?
Answer: Christ’s death is the beginning of the redemption and renewal of every part of fallen creation, as he powerfully directs all things for his own glory and creation’s good.
Jesus Christ came into this world as a man, where he lived his life in obedience to God and died in the place of men. The redeeming work of Christ was for the primary purpose of achieving the forgiveness of sins and the counting of righteousness to the children of Adam, culminating in their deliverance from the curse of death by resurrection from the dead and the sharing of glory with God forever. God became man in order to redeem men.
But redemption does not stop with humanity. It extends to the created order as well. Because the earth was created to be ruled by man, it is specifically the redemption of man that results in the restoration of the earth to the fulfillment of the potential inherent in its design. When we are raised from the dead in the coming day when Christ returns, the earth itself will be set free from its bondage to decay, meaning it will no longer serve the tragic purpose of being a graveyard for our bodies. Instead, it will become a holy temple where God’s presence dwells with man forever. The redeeming work of Christ has cosmic implications.
Suggested passage for personal or family reading: Romans 8:18-25. What does this passage teach us about the connection between the redemption of humanity and the redemption of the earth itself? How should we respond to it?
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