Christians all over the world have invented a nice, neat little way of explaining the Gospel. It goes something like this:
1) You’re a sinner
2) Jesus loves you and died for you to take away your sin
3) You’ll go to Heaven when you die if you repent and believe
In reality, I don’t think these points explain the Gospel very well at all, because it says that first and foremost you are a sinner - and this isn’t true. Your name is not ‘sinner.’
While these three points sum up aspects of the Gospel, and God’s plan to save mankind, it starts in the wrong way. It starts with you’re a sinner. But that part of the Gospel starts in Genesis 3 when the Fall happens. What happened to the first two chapters of Genesis? The ones where God creates a world out of love, forms humankind so precisely and beautifully, showering them with love and grace and kindness? Isn’t that what our identity truly is: ‘Loved by God?’
I think many people don’t listen to our attempts at spreading the Gospel because we’re not showing them their true identity, value, and worth. If we start with you’re a sinner, that immediately puts God as a harsh god who is angry at what humans have done, who sent his son in a fit of rage to put right what never should have gone wrong. No wonder people don’t want to listen to us.
But if we tell how God formed the earth out of nothing (whether through the Big Bang over a multitude of years or literally in seven days), created humans in His own likeness (meaning we were always created to be in relationship with Him), and adorned us with worth, value, and purpose, writing love on our hearts, I think people will be more interested.
We just have to look at what is happening in our culture to realize that society is desperate for a sense of identity and worth. People get upset if they don’t reach a certain number of likes on Instagram; reality shows are more popular than ever as we try to act like these ‘stars’ or laugh at their misfortune; others are gossiping about people in order to feel better about their own life; hundreds upon thousands upon millions of dollars are being spent on clothes, makeup, jewelry, cars, and many more empty things in a vain attempt to be better, have more, and be more than the next person. What has happened?!
The truth is, the only way we will find true satisfaction and worth is through Jesus. When we realize that we have been created with a purpose, that someone loved us enough to die for us, and that we have an inheritance in Heaven waiting for us…that changes everything.
And when we realize that we deserve absolutely none of that - because yes, although our identity is first and foremost ‘loved,’ we still brought sin into the world by wanting to go our own way, find other means to a sense of worth, and forget about God - I am left completely and utterly speechless. I could try to write how heart-breaking yet incredible, shattering yet beautiful this truth is, but I will never be able to articulate the astounding transaction that Jesus paid for us.
So let’s be Genesis 1 and 2 Christians, not Genesis 3. Let’s tell people that God loved them (and, by the way, the English vocabulary does not have the same words that Greek does to portray this life-changing sort of love; this love is different to any other we have tried to explain). Let’s tell people that God still loves them. Let’s tell people that because of this astounding love, Jesus came into the world to save us from the mess that we created.
Think about it: when a temple gets destroyed, and there is just rubble and remains on the ground, it is still a temple. A broken, cracked, messed up temple, yes, but it’s still a temple. Its primal identity doesn’t change. It didn’t magically turn into an apartment building or a deli when it crumbled. It’s a broken temple that has no hope of fixing itself and is in need of massive restoration from the ground up - but it’s still a temple. So it is with us. When we start in Genesis 1, we tell a story that is more beautiful and much bigger than most Christians today tell, a story that needs to be heard by the world. We don’t have a hard time realizing how messed up we are. I know I’m broken. I know I’m deeply flawed. I know I’m not good enough. You don’t need to shout those things out at me from the corner of the street with your sandwich board - I already know.
But you tell me I have inherent worth and value based on who made me, not what I do and I think, Really? Are you sure? But…’
(Page 13, ‘It’s Not What You Think’ - Jefferson Bethke)
That changes everything. It is counter-cultural, it is extravagant, and it is bold. It is the truth, and it has the power to change lives.
Alice is 18 and from England. She gave her life to Jesus about 5 years ago, and was baptized in July 2015. She feels that she is called to creative evangelism after receiving many prophecies from various people. She's a keen musician, photographer, writer, and speaker, and she hopes to involve all of these passions when sharing the love of Jesus to the world. She looks forward to moving to a city to attend university, engrossing herself in youth culture and wider communities.