“[T]he heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God” (Ezek. 1:1).
Ezekiel does not begin with man’s sin but with God. Sin is not the center of the universe, God’s thoughts, or His eternal plan. Unfortunately, in the way we often think about the Lord, sin usurps the place that belongs to God’s glory. It is good to be concerned about sin, but it is better to trust God. After all, He must convict and correct. If we do not leave those things to Him, concern over sin leads to morbid self-centeredness and a subconscious denial of the efficacy of the cross.
We must begin with God’s glory, something borne out in many books of the Bible: “In the beginning, God” (Gen. 1:1). “The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him” (Lev. 1:1). “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). “That which was from the beginning” (1 John 1:1). “The revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1). Imagine a book of scripture starting where our theology often starts: “The book of the wretched sins of mankind (and especially yours).” Before we or any of our problems existed, God existed. He did not create everything just so He could pull off a marvelous rescue at the cross. He planned to be one flesh with us. He chose us in Christ to be a people, a city, and a temple out of whom His glory would shine like the sun in its strength. To achieve this did require redemption; so dedicated was God to His vision that He gladly suffered to see it through. But redemption was a contingency plan. Saying that redemption was the whole plan or the most important part of it is like saying that repairing a flat was the main point of a family vacation. The word of the Lord Jesus to us is, “Fear not; I”—and not sin—“am the first and the last” (Rev. 1:17). All glory be to Him who is, who was, and who is coming!