God Has Found a Place for Us in His Story
It’s a shift in thinking that makes all the difference. Who is the story about? The gospel, which encompasses the stories of creation, the fall, redemption, and renewal, is God’s story, and we are invited into it. As Christians, we must approach our life, the world, God, and others through this lens. When we turn it around, trying to find a place for God in our story, we’re missing the point. When we make God’s story about us, we have religion.
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Religion is man’s attempt to reach God. The gospel is Jesus reaching out to man. There’s a difference.
As Christians, we accept the gospel and see it as the means to salvation, which it is, but once we’re saved, we can lose focus, adopting a -thanks for saving me Jesus, I’ll take it from here- kind of attitude. We then proceed to find a place for God in our story, using religion and principles from the Bible as a self-help guide to life. We do this. I do this. We forget so easily. This is where pride comes in. This is where we try to do things on our own strength, seeking our own glory.
The Bible is not a self-help guide. It’s the story of Jesus. He is present in it from beginning to end. His story is relevant to everyday life as a Christian, because it is only through our response to what God has already done, and is continuing to do that we will be transformed. God’s story is about his glory, and we are invited to join him for that purpose.
Consider the law as summed up in this commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself (Galatians 5:14). Yet, we love because Jesus loved us first. (1 John 4:19)
We cannot obey the law simply by trying really hard. There’s no room for boasting or pride. We are justified by faith alone in Jesus, who was the only one to perfectly fulfill the law. This frees us to then love our neighbor because we have already been fully loved in Christ. To really understand why, though, we need to back up and look more closely at God’s story. We need to go to the beginning.
― Michael S. Horton, The Law of Perfect Freedom: Relating to God and Others through the Ten Commandments
Creation: Adam and Eve, perfect creatures, in perfect harmony with each other and their creator, made in the image of God, given free will to choose right or wrong.
Fall: God already knew, before he made them, that they would choose sin. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. He already had a plan to save us. We were chosen “in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4.). How did Adam and Eve’s sin affect us? Sin, which brings death, entered the world through Adam. It is an inheritance, passed down, a part of our nature.
This sin keeps us from God because God is just and holy. We have all sinned, and it is truly horrible. What Jesus endured on the cross is what we all deserved. If not for what Jesus did next, we would be forever separated from God, with no hope.
Redemption: Jesus, who is God, paid the price for our sins by taking on human flesh, living perfectly in our place, dying an excruciating death in our place on the cross, enduring temporary separation from his Father, then conquering death, rising from the dead after three days, appearing before many witnesses before returning to his Father in heaven. When we confess our sins and believe that Jesus lived, died, and was raised again for us, for the forgiveness of our sins, we are redeemed. All sins, past, present, and future are forgiven and we take on the Christ’s righteousness so that we can enjoy a relationship with God.
Renewal: Though we have a new spirit that is saved, we still have sinful habits, and we’re being renewed, through the work of the Holy Spirit in us, to make us more like Jesus, in order to bring him glory.
What grace it is, that God has found a place for us in his story. Yes, he loves you, very much, and he does have a wonderful plan for your life. His love is a gift. He is yours and you are his, forever. And it’s all for his glory.
"Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!” Psalm 72:19