1. THE COSMIC STORY OF THE GOSPEL
What is God’s plan to redeem our broken world?
The implications of the Gospel are massive – involving the restoration of all of God’s good creation.
This is the Gospel story in the whole of Creation!
We all love a good story...
There's a reason why we are drawn to compelling stories of heroism and good triumphing over evil. We see this in the success of many Hollywood superhero blockbusters. We also see it in our own lives and the stories we all tell to make sense of some of the basic questions of life:
Where do I come from and what is my purpose in life?
What has gone wrong with the world and why are things broken?
How can we make it right - what is the solution to our dilemma?
What is our ultimate destiny and what hope is there to look forward to?
Every good story must answer these basic questions and we all are looking to find out how our lives fit into the big story of reality. This is why every world religion (even atheism and naturalistic evolution) tells a story that attempts to answer these questions. This is also known as a 'worldview'.
Worldviews are sort of like bellybuttons - everyone has one, but not many spend too much time thinking about them.
A worldview offers answers to the fundamental questions about life - questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. The Bible is our source for the Christian worldview - this is why it is important for us to see what it says about these fundamental questions. The story of Christianity and the Gospel is essentially the big story of reality and how we fit into it.
So what is the Bible's Cosmic Story of the Gospel?
The Cosmic Story of God's plan to redeem our broken world can be put into four main points:
Let’s take a look briefly at each of these below.
GENESIS 1:28 & 31a
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
...And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
God created a good world in which He places humans as His representatives to care for and steward His creation and live in loving relationship with Him. God gave us everything we needed to flourish and we lived in harmony each other.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Humanity rebels against God by defying His will, desiring to define good and evil for themselves, they eat of the forbidden fruit and thereby break their perfect relationship with God and infect all of God’s good creation with sin.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
God, in the fullness of time, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem His fallen creation by reversing the curse of sin and restoring right relationships between God and humanity to those who put their faith in his finished work.
The Cosmic Story of the Gospel answers the four main questions every worldview must address:
1. Where do we come from and what is our purpose?
2. What went wrong with our world?
3. How can things be made right?
...because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
God has set a Day on which He will judge the world and fully restore all of His Creation to perfect flourishing under His loving rule. Those who have trusted in Christ will be resurrected to rule and reign in His perfect eternal Kingdom.
...and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
4. What is our ultimate destiny and hope?
Nobel Prize winning author, C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Weight of Glory:
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.”
Our worldview is the light by which we see and make sense of the world we live in. It is like a pair of lenses through which you look at the world around you and make sense of it. How you answer these four questions will determine how you understand and live your life. Your worldview then is the thing by which you see everything else.
The Gospel's Cosmic Story provides us with a coherent and compelling worldview. It gives us the big picture of things - the big story in which we can make sense of the world and find hope. It tells us that history is not meaningless, but rather that God has an intended good purpose for all things which come to pass. It also tells us that life and human history are not an endlessly repeating cycle, but rather that it is moving towards an amazing climax and glorious end which gives us ultimate hope for this world!
This Cosmic Story of the Gospel is great news – since it means that God has a plan for all of history and creation!
But, how do you and I fit into this big story?
2. THE PERSONAL STORY OF THE GOSPEL
How can I be redeemed or saved?
The Gospel isn’t just a big story ‘out there’ but has massive implications for us individually as well.
This is the Gospel story in your life personally.
The Gospel offers to us a meaning that suffering can't take away, a satisfaction that is not based on circumstances, freedom which doesn't destroy true love and community, an identity that doesn't crush you, a basis and hope for justice that doesn't turn you into an oppressor, relief from shame and guilt that isn't just a diversion and hope that gives you the confidence to face anything - even death itself.
Sounds good right?
The Personal Story of the Gospel can be put into four main points:
But before you continue, you must know that as in every great story - the bad news comes before the good - so make sure to stay tuned until the end. Let’s take a look at each one of these points: