The Gospel Picture
Today I would like to share the direction or flow to what I would call the big picture of presenting the gospel.
There are many different ways to be salt and light to the people around us. There is not a single, one size fits all in every situation. However, there is value in understanding what the big picture of the biblical story line is when integrating our thoughts and ideas to other people in conversation.
I know that many people today have a certain amount of disdain for any sort of big picture type of metanarrative. The thought of any grand overarching explanation is just too simplistic to possibly be true. This is unfortunate, particularly concerning the four main themes portrayed in the Bible to help us understand man’s condition and need for a savior. Our culture has moved to place of rellative value over objective truth. The question has become will this work for me? Rather than considering whether or not it is true in nature.
However, for those willing to ask what is the meaning of life and how can a person find redemption? The four main connecting themes in the Bible are creation, fall, redemption and new life. Each of these categories are able to have deep touch points of meaning for humanity, and we have the opportunity to be engaged in helping others to discover some deeper meanings to be explored. This can also help us to be more at ease in our conversations without having to feel the pressure of performance. We can be more mindful of how we can be helpful to others rather than being self-focused.
Creation: We have spent a considerable amount of time on this topic in the blog, so there is a lot of good information archived that you can go back and look at. The main point in this is that there is no good explanation for the reason and purpose of the universe, apart from God being the maker and sustainer of it all. The probability of the cosmos self-generating itself is zero! Those who hold the notion that there is no need for God, therefore there is no God is akin to the Story of the Emperor’s new clothes.
There is a great amount of peace in our hearts knowing that God has created us and has a profound love for his creation. The fact that the universe is the product of design lays a solid foundation for discovery of who this God is that has created everything we see, if the person is willing to go where the evidence leads them. C.S. Lewis in his work titled God in the Dock, develops the idea that it is not God who is on trial as to whether or not he exists. Rather, it is humanity that is on trial concerning whether they will choose to believe in and follow him.
Fall: It is pretty obvious that we are all broken in some way. Even though there is a current of thought that we are all born basically good. However, this thinking does break down over time…. We are all in need of a savior, no matter what our station in life is. Most people, if they are honest will come to acknowledge that there are always issues at play. How often will someone tell of the wrongs that others have done unto them? Questions about social justice can find their root cause in the fall of Adam and Eve. We often do not think that the fall is such a big deal, but it really is. The fall has changed everything. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones portrays just how important it is to understand the immense significance of the fall. He says “According to this biblical view of man, all these other things, such as unhappiness and misery, even physical illness, and the other things which torment and trouble us so much, are the results and the consequences of original sin and the Fall of Adam. They are not the main problem, they are the consequences, or symptoms if you like, and manifestations of this primary, this ultimate disease.” This is a universal problem for all of humanity, that is not easily explaned by naturalistic causes.
When other people complain about things with us in conversations, this is an opportunity to not only empathize with them, but to go to the next step to segue to the redemption story. This can be a golden opportunity to share our faith in Christ.
Redemption: I like to refer to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as the pinnacle of human history. His life was and is the most dramatic turn of events to ever occur. Jesus split the calendar from B.C. to A.D. I prefer to use these terms rather than BCE and CE because there was no such thing as a "common era." These terms are a recent invention to attempt to take the life of Christ out of this penultimate shift in our calendar.
Humanity has been given the opportunity to find true freedom and redemption from sin, death and hell through the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Ancient literary history tells us that this is true. Concerning the New Testament, we have more physical copies of this text than any other ancient document, more than 24,000 of them. By having this vast resource available, we can compare one to another to have astounding accuracy to the content of the material.
New Life: By living by faith in Christ, we become new creatures. Everything about how we view the world around us changes by looking through the lens of faith and trust. The scriptures tell us that God mysteriously places the Holy Spirit within us to guide us through the twists and turns of life. Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again. This term “being born again” embodies the totality of becoming a new person in Christ. Some folks dislike the words "being born again" because they think it hard for people to understand. I have heard it called Christianeeze , however it is a term that Jesus used purposely to get the attention of Nicodemus. His curiosity leads to Jesus explaining the necessity of salvation and the Holy Spirit's presence in the life of a believer.
There is also great value in the testimony or story of how much our lives are renewed and changed when a person becomes a Christian. Redemption brings meaning and purpose to our lives in such a dynamic fashion. This has tremendous eternal consequences.