The story begins with a good, right, and perfect God creating everything through love and communication. God's intention for earth was that humans, animals, and the rest of the created world would flourish as they lived together in mutual service, harmony, and joy. God made humanity as His image-bearers, welcomed them as His family, and led them to extend His good reign throughout the earth in order to bring forth all of creation’s abundant potential through work, play, and rest.
Genesis 1:1-3; John 1:1, 3-5; Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 90:17; Proverbs 12:14; Psalm 92:12-14; Deuteronomy 10:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Psalm 24:1; Psalm 74:12; Psalm 47:7
Rather than remaining in loving union with God, and trusting His goodness in everything He created for them, the first humans made the choice to rebel against God, serving themselves by listening to the lies of the evil one and deciding to manage good and evil on their own. This resulted in disunity and brokenness between God, humans, and the rest of the created world. God's creation was no longer a place that expressed the fullness of the justice, mercy, and steadfast love for which it was intended. Rebelling against God’s good intentions, people became isolated and separated, falling further into hatred, violence, and selfishness. Sin entered into God’s good creation like a parasite and began eating away at it.
Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12:9; Romans 5:12; Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:23; Genesis 6:5; Romans 1:22-25; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1-3; Genesis 4:7
God in His steadfast love did not abandon His original desire for the flourishing of humanity and creation even as sin and death infected everything. God communicated His love again and again in words and actions, and made promises called covenants, including a covenant relationship with the family of Abraham who became the nation of Israel. He graciously called this covenant community to live in union with Him and be a blessing to all as they worked, played, and rested. In calling them to be His holy people, they were set apart to walk with Him and be a light to all nations in all their ways as they reflected God’s good reign. However, they failed to embody God's heart for the world and rebelled. But in keeping His side of His promises, God rescued them again and again. Even as generation after generation attempted to manage good and evil on their own terms, some people turned back to God, hoping for the day when He would bring salvation through a promised Servant King, a Messiah, who would reconcile God’s family, draw the nations to Himself, and restore all of creation.
Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 35:11; Leviticus 26:9; Exodus 19:5-6; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 96; Isaiah 42:1-16; Isaiah 49:5-13; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Jeremiah 23:3, 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:10-11, 26-29, 36-38
In God's steadfast love, He provided the answer for humanity to all His covenant promises in Jesus who embodied God's justice, righteousness, and salvation for all who trusted in Him. In Jesus, we see the fullness of what God intended for humanity and creation. As both fully God and fully man, Jesus lived in perfect relationship with God, all of humanity, and creation throughout His entire life on earth. He worked, played, and rested for the glory of God and for the life of the world. And He was the Messiah, God’s King and suffering servant for us, who would atone for sin, reconcile God with His family of people from all nations, and extend God's rule of joy and justice to the ends of the earth. But if Jesus was the only One to save, that meant the other powers on earth weren’t. So humanity killed Jesus on a cross as He willingly bore the sins of the world in His body. However, three days later, He conquered sin and death through His resurrection, and God's Kingdom reign began to be made known throughout the earth. The long awaited restoration had dawned for all who believed!
Psalm 111:9; Philippians 2:8-11; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Corinthians 1:19-20; Hebrews 9:15; Romans 10:11-13; John 1:29; Acts 10:38; Hebrews 2:14-15; Mark 10:45; Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Peter 2:24; John 3:16-17; Colossians 1:12-17; Colossians 2:13-15
With Jesus as our Savior, Healer, Redeemer, and King, we are invited into His completed covenant promise of restored union with God, one another, and His creation. Jesus ushers in both the Kingdom of God and connects us to be God's multicultural covenant community - His Church - sent into the world to bless all nations. This history-altering, world-restoring, and life-transforming Good News is to be shared and showed by us throughout the whole earth as we continue to live by His ways while we work, play, and rest. This is our place in the story now. Together, we live as a foretaste of what has already dawned and what will soon be fully revealed when God brings His reign of joy and justice to fulfillment when Jesus returns.
Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21-22; Acts 1:8; Luke 14:12-14; Ephesians 2:13-22; 1 Peter 1:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Acts 2:42-47
King Jesus will return one day to fully reconcile God with man, and heaven with earth. Everything will be good, right, and perfect. Jesus will fully usher in God’s Kingdom of joy and justice. And He will remove once and for all the sin, evil, and brokenness, along with those who listened to the evil one and chose to be their own gods, managing good and evil on their own terms. God will be with us and we will live together as His multicultural family in mutual harmony, service, and community. We will love God, each other, and His creation, and we will continue to bring forth the potential of His creation through work, play, and rest in the reconciled heaven and earth as we reflect His goodness, glory, and grace forever.
Psalm 90:1; Matthew 5:5; Habakkuk 2:14; Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 7:9-10; Isaiah 65:17, 21-25; Revelation 21:1-6; 22-27; Revelation 22:1-2