The Christian faith is first and foremost a story- a true story unfolded for us in the Bible. While there are laws and commandments in the Bible, these laws and commandments serve to tell us more about the main character and author of the story: God himself. The story is all about God: who he is, what he has done, and why this matters for you and me.
Not only is the story all about God, the story begins with God. Before there were oceans, animals, cities and people, there was the one true and living God- not an abstract and impersonal force, not a collection of many gods, but one God who always existed as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Theologians throughout the history of the church have described this unity and diversity of God as the Trinity (three-in-one and one-in-three).
God is utterly unique and unchanging in his glory, beauty, power, justice, wisdom and love- there is nobody like Him. He is distinct from everything else we know and, in every way, he is infinitely greater than we could ever imagine!
We know It can be difficult to wrap your mind around these ways of describing God. It’s like trying to fit all of the water on the earth into a coffee cup. But even though we cannot know God exhaustively, we can know him truly through his story.
There are four major chapters to the story of God. This is the plot of the storyline…
Like a skilled artist, God created everything that exists and he gave everything a purpose. But his masterpiece, his most prized creation was humanity. In fact, he invested human beings with special significance as his very own image. Mankind was the crown of his creation, made to worship and enjoy God Himself, made to have an intimate relationship with God Himself, and made to reflect God’s moral beauty in all of the world as a governor over God’s creation. Everything was in perfect harmony by God’s design. There was no evil, no suffering, no sickness, no crime, no jails, no racism or division. There were no commercials featuring starving children, no news stories of child abuse, sex-trafficking, terrorism or natural disasters. There were no funerals because there was no death. Though it’s hard to imagine, there was only beauty, love, and acceptance. God looked at all he had made and said, “This is very good.”
But something tragic took place. The people whom God had created in love, were tempted by God’s enemy (known as “Satan”) to believe the lie that life would be better if they walked away from God, made their own decisions, and became their own authorities. They were deceived and tragically made the decision to try and take God’s place. The results of this decision were absolutely devastating. Just as the whole sports team is penalized when one player commits a foul, so the whole of humanity and the rest of creation were brought into ruin, misery, and brokenness through the disobedience and rebellion of Adam (and Eve). This is what the Bible calls “sin” – and everybody is effected in every aspect of their lives by sin. Our minds, our desires, our emotions, and our bodies have been infected. Our society at large is distorted by this destructive intruder. This is why we look around our city and see poverty, disease, greed, crime, racism, pride, divisions, and death. Sin is the source of governmental scandals, educational failures, and our culture of selfishness. Things are not the way that they were meant to be. But the main character of this story would not give sin and rebellion the final word.
The Fact of the matter is that the story could have ended in misery and ruin. God had every right to abandon his broken and rebellious creation. He could have “thrown the book” at humanity, but instead, he throws his grace at humanity. As we read the rest of the story, God reveals Himself as a redeemer- and the beauty of his character shines through each scene. He constantly intervenes in the struggles and suffering of humanity in order to bring healing and hope. He sets his love on a seemingly insignificant people and he makes a promise: “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” He commits to them in love and he shows them that absolutely nothing will cause Him to break his promise or loosen his loving grip on their lives. But the climax of the story, the greatest expression of his commitment, the fulfillment of all God’s promises comes in his gracious decision to enter into his broken creation in order to heal it. God sends his Son on a rescue mission. The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, becomes a man. This is where the story is completely reversed! The entire creation was ruined by the sin of one man, but in his great love, God would bring rescue to the entire creation by the righteousness of one man, Jesus Christ. He came and he lived the kind of life that every human being was meant to live. He lived in faithfulness to God- like we were always meant to live. He worked like we were always meant to work. He loved like we were always meant to love. But he also came to die the death that we all deserved to die- as our substitute. He took our place in judgment, so that we could take his place in glory. That is rescue, that is freedom, that is love! As one pastor has put it: “The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God. But the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” Jesus Christ, Son of God, who is fully God and fully man, was uniquely qualified to rescue us. And in the most climactic moment of the story, Jesus rises from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus Christ proved his identity and authority as our only hope for rescue. In his resurrection, Jesus demonstrates that he is the King-even death can’t tell him what to do. He battles with sin- and he wins. He battles with death- and he wins. He blazed the trail for us to follow, by faith in His work for us. But the story does not end here.
In the final chapter of the story, the same Jesus who defeated death itself, declares “I am making all things new!” This includes every person who trusts in his finished work for their rescue, but this is a sweeping statement that covers the entire creation. The entire creation will be made new. In the final chapter of the story, the sin, misery and ruin that effected the entire created world will be no more. Relationships will be restored between people groups, but most importantly, our relationship with God will be restored- and it all happens by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. There will be no more pain, suffering, or disaster- there will be no more death. Everything in creation will be made right. Jesus Christ doesn’t just take us back to where we started in creation, he takes us beyond what creation was into what creation was meant to be. He makes all things new, not all new things. He doesn’t scrap the broken things, he restores them. This is the hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is God’s story.
We believe that the story of God makes sense of the world in which we live. We come to understand why things are like they are, but we also have the hope of restoration for our neighborhoods, the institutions of our city, our work, our culture and the lives of the people we meet. We believe that the story of God reshapes our stories and makes sense of our lives.
If you have questions about what we believe, we want to hear from you! We will do our best to help you understand what Grace Mosaic is all about.