Things are not as they should be. Everyone can see that. We turn on the TV, check social media or talk with our neighbor and everything wrong with the world is on full display. But then, we also know we are not as we should be. We bicker, we lie, we snap at our kids or spouse, we are consumed with worry or envy. Things are not right— but why? And, what can be done about it?
We try our best to make rational sense of it but all the pieces do not fit into a coherent whole. If everyone has their own way of living, their own truth, their own definition of good, where’s the common ground? Where’s the firm foundation upon which to build a life that won’t fall apart? In order to understand the world, and our own hearts, we need a point of integration that is not subject to change.
We need something that is bigger— and better— than ourselves. We need something true and perfectly good. We need something we can trust. In fact, we need Someone. The One who called Himself the Way, the Truth and the Life is the point of integration of all things. And the Gospel is God’s cosmic overarching gracious plan to make everything right through Jesus Christ. And I do mean everything. Oh, and He is inviting you to be a part of it!
A perfect Beginning
Let’s go back to the Beginning: what we like to call the truly “good ole days” when everything was right and good.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, everything that is. As a part of Creation, He made humankind as image-bearers of God and they lived in perfect relationship with the Creator and with one another. “
Our Sin Separates us from God
This perfect relationship was marred by sin. Sin is basic rebellion against God. Since the very first people to walk the earth rebelled against God’s command about how to live in the Garden, each person has been born into the sin nature. Regardless of how good we may be, we are not perfect. Indeed, we all know the truth of the passage that reminds us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
That betrayal of the relationship, that disobedience to God’s will, that human inclination to make our way and be our own god, caused a disruption in the connection between human beings and God. We went from knowing fully and being fully known to a constant “can you hear me now?” reality. We used to talk with God directly. That relationship was broken. We used to walk with God personally. That connection was marred. We severed the relationship in ways that we cannot fix from our side and the cost of that breakdown includes the consequences of sin, in this life and in death. “The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).
Jesus is the way to relationship with God
Into the brokenness pours God’s grace– His unmerited favor, giving us what we don’t deserve and never could earn. Grace is the harmony of the attributes of God. Grace is the way in which God’s holiness and God’s mercy, God’s righteousness and God’s love, God’s power and God’s tenderness, God’s sovereignty and God’s open handedness, God’s hiddenness and God’s revelation, God’s very nature as God is expressed. And by grace, God expresses His graciousness in relationship to us.
In defense of His holiness, God could have left the relationship broken, but in His mercy and love, God poured Himself out in grace. That grace has a name, it is Jesus.
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8
Through Jesus Christ, God offers each of us the opportunity to repent of our sin and have a reconciled, restored relationship with Him now and forevermore. It’s a full coverage plan that’s paid in advance in full, by Christ. Never again will you have to ask “can you hear me now?” and never again will God have to ask you the same. The lines of communication will be clear and God promises to never leave us nor forsake us.
All you have to do is accept God’s gracious offer. Repent of Sin and repent of your sinfulness (the fact that the relationship is broken), acknowledge that God has done everything necessary for restoration in and through Jesus Christ, and ask God to make that relationship personal with you now and forevermore. God will answer that prayer immediately by sending the Holy Spirit into your heart and life. You will be reconnected to God and thus begins a new life in which you learn to walk with Him moment by moment, step by step, day by day. We call that discipleship.
Reorienting our point of integration
One of the benefits of restoration with God through Jesus Christ is the restoration of the relationship with yourself. That may sound strange but the truth is that we were not designed to serve as our own point of integration. We are not gods but we make idols of ourselves and our own identity when we are disconnected from the True God in whom we find our real identity.
When we reconnect with God, Jesus becomes the point of integration for our lives. Colossians 1 expresses it this way, Jesus “is the image of the invisible God…by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
If you didn’t get all that, don’t fret. Here’s the gist: God the Father wants to be reconnected with you. He provides that reconnection (reconciliation) through Jesus. Once you’re reconnected with Jesus, everything else starts to come together. If you’ve ever wondered why your life, your thoughts, your relationships are frazzled it’s because you were never meant to serve as your own point of integration. That’s Jesus’ job. He’s the one who holds it all together. He puts things right between us and God, He puts us in our right mind, and he puts us right with other people.
Restoring our relationships with each other
When sin came into the world not only was our relationship with God severed, but so too were our relationships with one another. After breaking things off with God it took almost no time at all for people to become violent, self-interested, self-serving, jealous, raging and murderous. Need evidence? Just look around. But we were made to be in a healthy whole relationship with God and with one another. God created us to live in relationships, in community. And in Jesus Christ, restored relationships can take place as well.
As we grow in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ we begin to cultivate the mind of Christ and the eyes of Christ and the heart of Christ for the world that God so loves. That love compels us to seek reconciliation with others across all lines of hostility and division. Trust me, once you’re reconciled with God, you want other people to know that joy and peace. And you also want the peace you have with God to pervade your relationships with others. You literally become an ambassador of God’s reconciling peace in a world at war. It’s quite a calling and we’d love to be with you as you walk in the Way.
There are a myriad of places to go to get started on your life of discipleship. We’ll direct you to one ministry partner whose resources have helped millions of people around the world come to know Christ personally,called CRU and their site has resources to help you take the first steps in your walk of faith. If you’d like to connect with us directly, we’d love to hear from you and we’ll help you find a body of believers (a church) where you can become a part of the community of people who, like you, are now living in restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ by grace, in faith.
You can contact us here.