Here’s the most important thing you need to know about God: He loves you and went to great lengths to prove it. He created us in His image, created a world for us to manage, and had high hopes of an intimate personal relationship with us that would last forever.
Then He did an astonishing thing. He gave us a choice: whether to love Him back and let Him direct our lives OR to run our own show because we thought we could do a better job.
Giving us free choice was a huge risk. (God wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. After all, who wants to be loved by robots?) Sadly, though, as history has repeatedly demonstrated, when left to our own devices, we don’t always make the right choices. We’re definitely not as competent, wise, fair or as caring as God when it comes to managing our lives or the world around us.
God’s Broken Heart
Our capacity to make bad choices is what the Bible calls sin. It totally messed up God’s original plan and created a chasm between God and Man that broke His heart. As a holy God, He couldn’t intimately relate with unholy creatures unless something could be done to wipe our tainted slate clean. But He knew all our puny efforts to earn our way back into His good graces would never be enough. Our debt was too big. He’d have to find another way to get His kids back.
And He did.
He sent His only son, Jesus, to earth to settle our account. Somebody had to pay for our sins, so Jesus stepped up to the plate and said He’d take care of it. Name one other person who has ever loved you like that?
Three days later God raised Jesus from the dead in an unbelievable in-your-face act that declared to all the world that sin would not get the last word. God was still in charge. He could conquer even death. His world would not be hijacked by evil forever.
But there was a catch.
A New Kind of Choice
Remember the part about God not coercing us into anything? Well, even though He did His part–sending Jesus to wipe out our debt and make a way for us to come home–He still wanted us to love and follow Him by choice. So our part of the deal is to admit we haven’t done a good job of running our lives and choose to accept His outrageous gift. In return, we receive total forgiveness, a new life as part of His family of believers here on earth, and life forever with Him in heaven after we die.
This guy is seriously in love with us.
Now, let’s be realistic. God knows we’re still going to mess up. We’re still human. So… once we acknowledge His rightful authority over us, (which is a smart move, since He is, after all, God), the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our heart to help us make better choices from now until we see Him in person (Whoa. What do you wear to that meeting?) He also gave us the Bible. It includes the history of His people, His love letters to us, and guidelines for living the kind of life that will give us meaning and hope.
But, as they say in those infomercials, “Wait! There’s more!” That’s not the end of the story.
God has work to do. He’s on a reclamation mission to complete His unfinished plans for the world and He’s made us coworkers. Our assignment is to love the world, fight injustice, show mercy, take care of the planet, and share His story with those who haven’t heard.
It’s a big job and we won’t always get it right. He knew that. We’re works-in-progress. So He offers ongoing forgiveness if we ask for it. It’s called grace, unmerited favor. (How does He keep doing that?) God doesn’t want anything to separate us from His love ever again.
It’s not rocket science. Well…actually…it’s more important than rocket science, but just not as complicated. If you want to learn more, check out some of the resources linked to this page. Just remember, you don’t receive the benefits until you choose the gift.