GOD. He has always existed. In the beginning He created everything. He declared all of creation to be good and designed it to operate in a state of interdependent harmonious peace. This state of perfect peace and beauty is known as Shalom. But all things did not continue this way. The creatures designed to bear God’s image —human beings– overthrew the rule of the Creator and embraced the created thing, rather than the Creator, as their authority. The result? The shattering of Shalom. Sin entered the heart of humanity. From that point on, death has reigned as king and all of creation has groaned under the curse of sin as humanity lives in a constant state of rebellion against the Creator. Everything broke—relationships, family, work, the arts, the environment, our physical bodies—and, worst of all, our hearts. Even still, God’s love was so faithful that, rather than ‘throwing it all away’, he purposed to restore all things back to himself, to fix what we broke, and to save his people from this state of disgraceful apostasy.
Because the imperfection of humans brought death into the world, it would take a perfect human to defeat sin and its consequences in the world. The problem: it is impossible to defeat death because there are no perfect humans, and therefore no human in whom death does not reign! The solution: the unfathomably superb part of this grand narrative, that God sent His only Son, Jesus, into the world in human form to live a perfect life. He then suffered an excruciating crucifixion, where he tasted death for everyone, and rose from the dead to prove that he was king and that nothing would overturn his original purpose for his creation. Jesus completed this stunning act of grace so that those who turn to him in faith and repentance would be restored back to right relationship with God. Because of Jesus we are restored to our original, intended state as humans living every day in the image of God, in the presence of God, for the glory of God. We are still broken at times, but He transforms our essence. As God’s people come together into community in order to live in the unbroken way God intended, we both experience and demonstrated a foretaste of what is to come in the future. Jesus will return to the earth for a second time to eternalize the plan of God, and finalize the work of redeeming all things. Until then, Jesus has established his church: a unified body of His people through whom he is at work on the earth today. And he has given us the Bible so that we can know everything we need to know about him, his plan for redemption, and our role in his work.