By S.C. Shaw
I recently went to a conference with some leaders with my church. We learned some interesting statistics about our new Post-Christian culture. I wasn’t even aware that this was such a major thing of our time. We learned how the next generation of people are growing up in a world completely oblivious to the bible and the gospel in general. The only upside to this is the excitement that can come from someone hearing the amazing saving grace of God for the first time without bringing any false or just messy life stories to the gospel from their past. My attempt in this blog is to breakdown the gospel story as simple and short as I can for those who just don’t know.
Here’s how I would explain the gospel story to people who know very little to nothing about Jesus Christ.
The God who created everything in this world and the whole universe has created you and me. He created man and woman very different and special from all His other creations. He made them that they may be in perfect fellowship with Him forever. God wasn’t in need of anything or lonely. In fact God is so powerful and mysterious that He is Three in One. He is One God but with three very distinct persons or essence. I know that is hard to understand, but if God could be fully understood what kind of God would He be? We will never fully understand Him.
Everything we need to know about Him and His saving grace, He has given to us in His Word, the Bible. But this awesome God creates us because of His overflowing love and creativity. He simply wants to share Himself with His creation. One of the most amazing mysteries is that God has given us the ability to make choices. What God wants more than anything, what He values above everything else in His own glory. That sounds weird and egotistical I know. But remember, we are not talking about a person. We are talking about the God who has not only made all things but upholds, rules and is in control of all things. The words for that are “sovereign and providence”. That’s a good word to know. So, what else can be above God’s glory? It is only right to put His glory first. Why does this matter? Because God creating us able to make choices means; one, this shows His power and glory, two, man and woman choosing to love and obey Him is more glorious than God just making mindless robots. And notice how I’m not using the term “free will” but able to make choices. I think the idea of free will is different and not a correct term for free agents able to make choices. But that’s a whole other blog topic.
So God makes both man and woman. He creates them special, meaning they possess certain qualities and characteristics of God Himself. God made them in His image or likeness. Not bearing a physical resemblance, God is all Spirit. But we are able to know Him and understand Him more than all the rest of creation. We share similarities with God. Mainly, made for fellowship with Him but with one another as well.
There is another side of this story. That is the side of evil. Lucifer was the most beautiful angel in heaven. So much so that Lucifer wanted to be like God. He wanted to be worshiped. So God, protecting His own glory, cast Lucifer out of heaven along with some of the angels that wanted to follow him. Now called Satan, the Devil, the Tempter, the Deceiver and many other names. Lucifer would be apposed to God forever.
I tell you this because God gave rule and dominion to Adam and Eve (the first man and woman). They had free reign of it all except for one tree they were not to eat from. Why did God do this? Because God must test man to know if they will choose Him or not? Turns out, the first test was failed by our representatives, Adam and Eve. They had a relationship with God that no one else in this world has ever experienced and they still failed. How did they fail? Satan came to them when they were in the garden and tempted them to eat of the tree God had told them not to. To make a long story short, they ate and they broke the relationship they had with God. They now know sin and have cursed all of creation with them. Doesn’t seem fair? Remember, they were far closer to God than we can ever be this side of heaven. No one would have done any better. The represented us wholly and completely. God in all His perfection can have no part in sin. Sin is the opposite of who He is. That is why the covenant was broken. Darkness, evil and sin entered to world and God must make things right again. How? By destroying sin and sinners.
After that the world was in chaos. Now sin in abundance entered through this one sin. God makes promises and covenants to people He sees are seeking after Him. God showing undeserved grace and mercy on us from the start. God pours out His graces on His people over and over again as His people struggle with sin and idolatry over and over again. God gives them His commandments, ways to atone for their sin by imperfect and continual sacrifices through the blood of animals and other sacrifices.
Fast forward to the New Testament (the second grouping of books 400 years after the Old Testament ends. God’s perfect timing has come for the truth and final redemption for His people. He sends Himself in the second person of the Trinity, comes to earth as Yeshua or as we know Him best (Jesus the Christ) the man. This man is 100% God, and 100% Man. God is doing the impossible to bring His beloved rebellious people back to Himself. God again constantly showing His people grace and mercy. Why would He do this? First, because He made promises in the Old Testament (the first grouping of book in the bible that ends 400 years before Jesus enters the scene). Second, God saves us because saving us shows His glory even more than destroying us would. Even though He would still be just and glorified if He did destroy us. Once Adam and Eve sinned, God had every right to kill off His rebellious creation and start over again. But He doesn’t. Instead He has planned since before He created the world, that He would save us. That’s right, God not only knew that man would sin, but He is working out all of history for His ultimate plan of glory and our ultimate good. Again, hard to understand fully I know.
Jesus comes and is getting ready to start His ministry after 30 years on earth. He works hard and is growing in who He is, but His ministry has not started yet. There’s some cool stuff that happens but it is not till Jesus is 30 years old that Jesus actually starts His ministry. Jesus starts His ministry by getting baptized. It’s a great example of how the new Christian should start their walk with God. Baptism isn’t a means of salvation. Just like Jesus was already God and already perfect in His life, and yet He still gets baptized to start His ministry. We are saved by God and have full assurance of heaven before we are ever baptized. But just like our lives will look very different after following Jesus. Baptism is just an outward sign to everyone of your inward conversion. Just a little side note.
Let’s continue with the life of Christ. He performs many wonders and awesome things (you should pick up a bible and read John to read about Jesus life). But we are in summary form here. Jesus finds men to follow Him on His journey. These 12 men walk with Jesus for His entire ministry. Which is only 3 years.
At 33 Jesus and His ministry are going to come to and end. One of His disciples named Judas, betrayed Jesus for a little money. Another example of a man in a position closer to God than we will ever get in this life and still chooses evil. He makes a terrible decision. Anyway, Jesus is turned over to the authorities and is crucified. But Christ crucified was always Gods plan. Crucifixion was the worst way someone could experience death. Jesus, after being beaten a lot, is hung on a tree and dies. But that’s just the beginning of the story. After three days Jesus is raised from the dead by God. He was confirmed dead by professional killers. In fact, if they were unsuccessful in killing someone, they in turn would be killed. Needless to say, they took their killings very serious. Failure wasn’t an option.
Jesus was dead for 3 days and He rose. The whole point of Jesus dying was so He would rise. This is what secures the believers eternal life with Him. We die to ourselves and rise with Him. Not only a new life here on earth but an eternal life with Him in heaven. When Jesus rose, He made Himself known to over 500 eyewitnesses and the world would never be the same again.
Much happened after all this, but this is where I would encourage you to start reading the Bible. Once Jesus ascended back up to heaven, His people’s ministry exploded here on earth. Jesus sent His Spirit down to dwell within His those who choose to follow Him to give them all the power and wisdom they need to make more disciples. Christians aren’t special except that we admit our sin and failures, rely on God’s grace alone and He empowers us to do good, gives us a secure place of eternity with Him and the desire to be steadfast till the He returns.
I pray this was simple and clear enough for someone who has never heard the gospel. My goal in everything is to have more people hear this amazing grace story of Christ and the salvation He offers to all. You can choose to believe or deny, but you need to know what the truth is before you decide. Please don’t hesitate to contact me and ask questions.
I wrote a more extensive blog on the fuller Gospel story you can read here if you are intrigued. The Good News
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Ministry Page www.MisfitMinistry.com