Article by: Sarah Koontz
The story of the Bible, in my own words. This article is inspired by Scripture, the teaching of Dr. Vic Anderson and the writing of Barry Jones, James Smith, and Timothy Keller.
Humankind was created to image God—to reflect the character of the Creator on the earth.
Driven by a desire to be their own gods, humanity consistently rebels against God’s design and fails to represent His rule upon the earth.
No matter what humankind does, they cannot thwart the plans and purposes of Almighty God.
The Creator of the universe is continually turning chaos into order and lovingly revealing His character to all of creation.The Creator of the universe is continually turning chaos into order and lovingly revealing His character to all of creation.
He persists in His role as a loving Creator, and continually works among His people to show them that He is Yahweh—the ruler of heaven and earth.
God has invited humankind, repeatedly, throughout the eras to display His kingdom and His rule throughout the earth.
The master story of God’s glory continues as a melody throughout all time, yet the individual chapters have a unique sound all their own.
In different ages and different stages of His divine plan, He chose to reveal Himself in various ways to His creation.
The climax of God’s redemptive work occurred when God sent Jesus as His perfect representative to display His rule on earth.
Sadly, humanity at large failed to see, accept, and recognize Jesus Christ as God’s divine representative, the promised Messiah.
In spite of humankind’s apparent failure, Jesus succeeded in accomplishing all that God sent Him to earth to achieve.
As Christians, we look forward, with high expectation, to the culmination of God’s story at the end of the age when He fulfills His promise to return and renew His creation.
Our spiritual quest is motivated by our God-given desire to display His kingdom rule on earth.
We have received a personal invitation from God to join the quest, provisions for the journey, and can rest in our eternally secure outcome.
Yet, we are not promised that our pursuit of the spiritual life will be without hardship, trials, or challenges to overcome.
The Bible offers a grand scope of the human story and helps us understand where we’ve come from, where we’re going, and how to navigate the space in-between.The Bible offers a grand scope of the human story and helps us understand where we’ve come from, where we’re going, and how to navigate the space in-between.
God’s story compels us to take action in our own spiritual life and embrace life as a quest to share our eternal hope with others.
Because God is all the things we cannot be, His holiness is both attractive and dangerous to us.
We learn about the deadly consequences of approaching a holy God inappropriately in Leviticus 9-10 and Acts 5.
God’s holiness demands that God’s people should prepare their hearts properly before entering His presence.
It also inspires hope in the hearts of all who long for something more than this world has to offer.
Sin (falling short of God’s standard) has damaged humankind and left us with an undeniable bent toward evil.
Sin is not just an individual issue; it’s a global issue with global consequences.
God’s measured, just response to humanity’s sin is recorded in Genesis 3.
The main elements of the painful curse of Genesis 3 are: 1) relationship with animals cursed, 2) childbirth and childrearing are cursed, 3) relationship with man and woman is cursed, and 4) the ground is cursed.
Ephesians 2:1-3 declares that we are completely incapacitated by our sin, and have no hope apart from the intervention of Almighty God.
There is nothing we can do to redeem or restore our sinful state in our own strength.
The more we understand the depth of our sin, the more we appreciate the grace of God in forgiving our sins.
Although the Law (God’s just standard) helps us see our trespass and sin, it has no power to free us from our sin.
Because we cannot keep the law, it causes us to sin more and reminds us of our need for God’s grace.
By God’s grace, we can experience freedom from the law.
Grace is a gift from God that we could never afford to purchase on our own.
Romans 5 describes the outworking of God’s grace (unmerited favor) in our lives.
This passage helps us understand that our life with God is initiated by grace and sustained by grace.
The work of grace through the cross is a work of substitution; Christ was sent from God to exchange places with sinful people.The work of grace through the cross is a work of substitution; Christ was sent from God to exchange places with sinful people.
We are now reconciled with God and have hope that we will be able to experience God’s glory in full one day.
As recipients of grace, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we put to death the power of sin’s rule in our lives (Rom 6).
We are so immersed in Christ that His death becomes our death, and His victory over the power and reign of sin becomes our victory.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works so that no one can boast.”
Faith is confidence, trust, and reliance on God’s grace.
The object of our faith is the atoning sacrifice of the blood of Jesus Christ (Rom 3:25).
The three dynamic components of faith are knowledge, assent, and commitment.
Because God is the One who has done everything on our behalf, the only reasonable response is faith.
Although we have received this amazing grace, by faith in Jesus Christ, we must still battle daily against our fleshly desires and the sinful passions that pull us away from God.
Sin is deeply rooted in our flesh, compelling our desires, and motivating our actions.
Satan and the world work with our flesh to pull us away from God by justifying our desires for self-preservation, self-fulfillment, and self-exultation.
Culture often fuels this fight by justifying sinful behavior and reinforcing desires that pull us away from God.Sin is deeply rooted in our flesh, compelling our desires, and motivating our actions. Culture often fuels this fight by justifying sinful behavior and reinforcing desires that pull us away from God.
Yet, Jesus Christ has set the perfect example of how to radiate God’s rule while existing in the flesh.
The Spirit empowers us to live more like Jesus by helping us orient our lives toward the things of God.
As we set our mind on the things that the Spirit desires (Rom 8), we learn how to engage in our battle with the flesh in a way that glorifies God.
As the Spirit influences our day-to-day life, we will begin to experience the life of the Spirit in us, transforming us and naturally producing godliness within us.
Our desire to please God and feel God’s pleasure motivates us to make more laws in our own human effort to keep God’s law (legalism).
The story of Job teaches us to obey because of who God is, not because our good behavior has the ability to earn us the blessing or favor of God.
Living under a specified pattern of spiritual discipline helps us maintain spiritual focus, but we must view these rules as a means to an end and not an end in themselves.
The primary purpose of spiritual disciplines is to reorder and reconstitute our pattern of life according to the Scripture, not to earn favor in the sight of God.
Prayer is an essential spiritual discipline for all Christians.
As we pray, we actively seek to align our will with God’s as we engage in an assertive act of submission, humility, and trust.
Prayer is a declaration of faith in what we can’t see, and we can’t necessarily feel, but we believe to be true.Prayer is a declaration of faith in what we can’t see, and we can’t necessarily feel, but we believe to be true.
When we pray, we are actively combating the power of the flesh and acting in submission to God.
Prayer helps us recognize our true motives so that we can be confident that our decisions are motivated by our love for God and our desire for His glory to reign on this earth.
When we focus on what God has clearly said, we gain an understanding of His precepts and become aware of wrong paths.
We must accept by faith that much of God’s will and plan for us is secret—known only by Him.
We do not need to know His will to walk in faithfulness to His Word.
There is evidence, fact, and truth that confirms these Christian beliefs.
It is our responsibility, as Christ-followers, to learn how to share this reality with others (evangelism) confidently.
If we make evangelism about what we believe, we lose the boldness that comes with the power of conviction, reason, and truth.If we make evangelism about what we believe, we lose the boldness that comes with the power of conviction, reason, and truth.
Instead, we must approach evangelism as an opportunity to share God’s invitation to share in His love, unity, and joy with the world.
It is our job, as image-bearers of God, to do everything we can to reflect His rule upon this earth and share His invitation with anyone who will listen.
My response to the grand story of the Bible is to humbly submit myself to God’s work and God’s ways as I seek to live out my days as an image-bearer of the one, true God.
In the same way that Jesus lived to bring glory to the Father, I too must live to bring glory to the Father.
This is the only proper response to God’s story of redemption and grace, and this is my mission until Christ returns, and all is made right in this topsy-turvy world.
It gives me great hope that we serve a God who will not give up on us, no matter how many times we fail to understand and live out the purpose for which He has created us.It gives me great hope that we serve a God who will not give up on us, no matter how many times we fail to understand and live out the purpose for which He has created us.
We have blessed assurance and can trust the One whom we serve, because of His character, enduring love, and redemptive work in this world.
The biblical story of redemption is compelling, full of hope, and appealing.
God’s story is an invitation to join the people of God, people who have dedicated their lives to reflecting God’s glory and God’s reign on earth.
Wow! Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?
When we keep in mind the story of the Bible, our evangelistic cry becomes, “if you hate the injustice, pain, and sorrow you see in the world, I am here to tell you how God is going to make it right in the end.”