The Geneology of Christ: A Testimony of God’s Grace and Sovereignty

The Geneology of Christ: A Testimony of God’s Grace and Sovereignty

Matthew 1:1-17

“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, the son of Abraham”

 

            The sovereignty of God is more than just God controlling what will happen and his grace is more than just a byword. They are the outworking of God’s divine purpose, culminating in our salvation and the world's redemption.  We often gloss over the genealogies as a mundane list of names we find impossible to pronounce.  Yet, if we stop and reflect upon them, we do not just see a list of names in an endless march of generations.  We see the hand of God orchestrating and directing human affairs for his redemptive purposes. Time marches onward, but time marches to the tune of God’s purpose and control.

            In the genealogy of Jesus, we see four women (five if we include Mary) mentioned whose lives reveal the sovereign hand of God working to bring about the birth of Jesus and bring salvation to them individually. The first mentioned is Tamar, whose life reveals God’s sovereignty and grace at work despite our sins and misguided actions.  The story of Tamar and the sordid events of her life is recorded in Genesis 38.  The story highlights the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of Judah and the sons of Jacob.  In the story, we see the failure of disobedience, the lure of sexual immorality, the snare of self-righteousness, and the perversion of idolatry.  It is a story that would seem to justify Judah’s exclusion from the promise.  Yet, in the story, we see God sovereignly working to confront their sin and demonstrate His grace by using this event to establish the line through which the Messiah would come.

            The following two women mentioned (Rahab and Ruth) are both surprising because they were both foreigners who were descendants of tribes that were excluded from the promise.  Rahab was a Canaanite.  As a society, they had become so debased that God commanded Israel to annihilate them as part of His divine judgment (Deut. 7:1-2; 20:16-18).  It was not ethnic cleansing or genocide but spiritual judgment. As a society, they had reached a point of no return, so God decreed judgment.  So also, Ruth was a Moabite.  Moab was also judged by God and was excluded from the Jewish community (Deut. 23:3-6).  However, despite God’s judgment upon these two societies, it did not preclude individual redemption if the person repented and embraced the God of Israel. The fact that these two individuals were included in the Messianic line is a testimonial to God’s grace and His offer of salvation to individuals, even when those individuals were part of a larger society already condemned.

            The fourth woman is Bathsheba.  Her story is familiar as we read of David’s adulterous affair with a married woman and then his act of murder to conceal his sin.  Spiritual compromises inevitably lead to a further descent into sin as it grips our lives.  But God’s grace is available to forgive our sins, and His sovereign is sufficient to restore us to a right standing and weave our failures into the tapestry of His redemptive purpose.  Our sins and failures are never a threat to the sovereign plan of God, for His grace completely forgives our sins, and His sovereignty is not threatened or thwarted by our failures.   If we were writing the story of God’s redemptive plan, all four of these women would not have been included, for their story is a blight upon the family history and name.  Yet these are the people God forgives and uses to accomplish His purpose.  God’s mercy overcomes the guilt of sin and His sovereignty overcomes the effects of sin so that His redemptive plan is still achieved.  In God’s grace and sovereignty, it does not matter what our past has been; it only matters what the future will be if we surrender our lives (including our past) to Him and give Him complete control.  Instead of living in the past and being defined by the events of the past, bring your past to the alter of His grace and recognize that His sovereignty will overcome sin’s effects so that He will still complete His purpose for your life. 

            

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