All too often, modern evangelicals think that the greatest aspects of the history of redemption are over. The great events associated with the biblical heroes and the corresponding scarcity of such things today can make it tempting to think that God is done acting in history. Some have even said that the church is but a parenthesis in God’s redemptive plan. Two millennia after the coming of Christ, it is easy to think that the modern church has no real role in the progress of redemption.
However, while Jesus purchased redemption for His people two thousand years ago, the current age in which we live is no afterthought. This age is indeed central to the unfolding of God’s plan, for, as today’s passage tells us, it is for our sake that Jesus was made manifest in these last times (1 Peter 1:20).
The first thing that we must note about verse 20 is that all those who live after the first coming of the Christ live in the last days. It is in these last days that God is bringing to pass His promise to bless all peoples through the righteous seed of Abraham (Gen. 12:3). The age in which we live is indeed central to God’s redemptive plan, for through the church’s missionary efforts He is bringing the elect from all nations into His kingdom.
New covenant believers play an essential role in God’s kingdom. The fact that the interval between the first and second coming of Christ is called the “last days” shows us how important this period of redemptive history is — so important in fact that though Christ was foreknown before the foundation of the world, He was not fully revealed to His people until the new covenant age (1 Peter 1:20). The vital part we play in God’s plan is shown in that Jesus was not “made manifest” until the beginning of the times in which we now live.
Moreover, it is through Jesus that we also believe in God (v. 21). There is no true faith in God without corresponding faith in Jesus. He remains the central figure in our redemption, regardless of the importance of our own age. For as Peter has said previously, He alone offered the perfect sacrifice to save God’s elect (v. 19).
Given that we are not first-hand witnesses to many of the great events in the history of redemption, like the deliverance from Egypt or the earthly ministry of Christ, it can be hard for us to consider the age in which we live to be all that important in God’s plan. Yet in our day, God is fulfilling His promise to extend the knowledge of Himself throughout the whole earth. Do what you can do be a part of this work through prayer and the financial support of missionaries.