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7. Cover to Cover: The Story of the Bible

The Bible tells one story centered on the loving salvation of God

We don’t have to be told that something is broken within us; we feel it. The hungry ache for purpose; the unsettling state of loneliness; the frantic longing to feel satisfied; the draining battle with anxiety; the incessant burden of guilt and shame…things are not as they should be. The Bible acknowledges this brokenness, and it claims to hold the path to restorative life. Made up of sixty-six different books, the Bible tells one story centered on the loving salvation of God:

Before anything else, God existed: Father, Son and Spirit in a triune relationship of perfect harmony; and the Trinity’s love was so great that it overflowed into the creation of life! God spoke the world into existence, and he created humans in his image. The first people, Adam and Eve, lived in a perfect state of purpose, rest and intimacy with their creator.

This flourishing came to a halt, however, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and rejected his authority. As a consequence, sin entered the picture. A state of separation was created between humans and God, and suffering and brokenness infested God’s perfect creation.

But God had a plan of restoration. He promised Adam and Eve a descendant that would defeat evil and reverse the curse of sin.

God chose to work this plan through a man named Abraham. He told Abraham that he would make him into a large nation that would bring divine blessing to all the world. Abraham’s family grew into the people of Israel. Israel eventually ended up in slavery in Egypt, but God rescued them and led them in freedom to the land he promised Abraham.

God then created a covenant with his people, mediated by Moses. God pledged his faithfulness to Israel and asked for their faithfulness in response, that they might live in a relationship with him and serve as his representatives to the nations.

But while God held up his end and remained faithful to his people, Israel failed in their role over and over again. They worshiped other gods, and they disobeyed God’s standards of morality. God sent prophets to confront Israel in their sin and to warn them of the impending consequence: exile from their land and inheritance.

Unfortunately, Israel chose to continue in their disobedience, and they were taken into captivity. But the prophets also brought a message of hope. They said that God would one day send a king, from the line of the Israelite King David, who will fulfill the role Israel had failed in. This king will gather his people and rule over all the nations in an eternal reign of peace. He will bring blessing to all the world. In this day, the prophets said, God’s people will receive new hearts, and God’s Spirit will dwell inside of them to enable them to live faithfully.

The Old Testament ends with a resounding longing for God to come and rescue his people.

And then, Jesus, the Son of God, came to Earth. The Gospel accounts declare: Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s rescue plan! He is the longed-for King of Israel! Through his teaching and miracles, Jesus proclaimed the coming of God’s kingdom for anyone who grasped their sin and need for God’s mercy.

At the climax of his ministry, in the greatest act of love, Jesus gave his life on the cross to secure salvation and to bring life to the world. He died for sin so that those who put their faith in him might be forgiven and credited with his perfect life, made right before God.

Three days later, Jesus defeated death and rose from the dead! Believers are united to his resurrection life, filled with his presence through the Holy Spirit, and ushered into the “already-not-yet” of their eternal existence. Christians will live with God for eternity in a restored creation; however, in this current life, to know and worship God is to experience, in part, the glorious reality of their future. It is to experience a reversal of sin’s curse as their hearts are healed and transformed and as they receive God’s blessings.

Before leaving earth, Jesus commissioned his disciples to carry on his mission of bringing life to the world! Connected to Christ, Christians become vessels of his life-giving power, bringing God’s healing, freedom, renewal and eternal life to others.

The accounts in Acts provide a picture of this mission in motion, describing the spread of the Gospel of Christ all over the world. Christians share salvation with others by telling them of what God has done and by showing them Christ through loving service. This mission is anything but easy, but God isn’t thwarted by adversity; it is the very grounds his work thrives on.

The Epistles, letters written from the Apostle Paul and other followers of Christ to various church communities, unpack the application of the Gospel in one’s daily life. The teaching in these books convicts and encourages Christians to step more fully into the life they have in Christ, that they might also continue to overflow this life to the world.

Lastly, Revelation strengthens Christians with hope as they journey through this life and await Christ’s return. The book depicts the final victory of Christ and the destiny of his followers. God will heal and restore his people and his creation to perfect wholeness, and Believers will worship God for eternity, their souls enveloped in supreme joy, rest and satisfaction as they behold God’s glory.

God’s faithfulness is at the center of the story from start to finish. Cover to cover, we see God’s loving pursuit to draw us to himself, that we might know him and receive his abundant life and blessing.

RESPOND: Take a moment to praise God for his great love:

his love that led him to create the world;

to work his plan of restoration on sin;

to sacrifice his son to save us;

to unite us to Christ that we might be in a relationship with him;

to give us new hearts that possess life;

to honor us with a missional calling;

and to give us hope in a perfect future with him.

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