The Gospel Story-arc Plot Line
The God of the Bible is a great Creator and King. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” to be places where his rule was fully honored and obeyed. God also sent his Spirit into the world, so that creation included more than just material things.
God created Adam and Eve, the first humans, and blessed them with four types of perfect relationships: with Him, with each other, with self, and with the rest of creation.* When God finished, he saw all that he made and blessed it, and said it was “very good.”
Soon a rival spirit called Satan entered the world. Satan used a serpent to tempt Adam and Eve to rebel against God. Adam and Eve gave into the temptation and disobeyed. As a consequence, the four types of perfect relationships became broken.
In response, God announced curses on the serpent, on Adam and Eve, and on the ground. The earth was no longer “very good.” Sin and death became part of the world, as did pain, suffering, evil, and unbelief. Still there was hope. As part of the curse on the serpent, God promised to put hostility between it and the woman, and between "the offspring of the serpent" and someone called “the offspring of the woman.” The expression, "offspring of the woman," points to a person who would be born in an unusual way. No man would be his father. Instead, he would be born of a virgin, and God would be his father. Since God would be his father, “the offspring of the woman” would have both the nature of God and the nature of man.
The hostility between the serpent and “the offspring of the woman” would divide humanity into two sides going forward—the side of the serpent vs. the side of “the offspring of the woman.”
God’s promise indicated that someday there would be an epic conflict between the serpent and “the offspring of the woman.” God said that the serpent would “bruise” the heel of “the offspring of the woman,” causing him to experience pain and suffering. But God also said that “the offspring of the woman” would “bruise” or “crush” the head of the serpent, indicating that “the offspring of the woman” will win the epic conflict. (When you crush the head of a serpent, the serpent loses!)
The victory of “the offspring of the woman” indicates that he would also be a Savior. He would rescue people on the side of the serpent and restore all things, including the four types of broken relationships.
At the end of God’s promise, one question remained: Who is “the offspring of the woman? Meanwhile, as God’s plan for “the offspring of the woman” unfolds in history, Satan would do everything he could to deny him a place in the world.
Over time, God revealed more about the character and family line of “the offspring of the woman.” He revealed that “the offspring of the woman” would himself be a King. He would also be a Prophet and Priest. God also told of the circumstances of the Savior/Restorer’s birth, and of the miracles he would perform to prove his identity. Eventually Jesus came into the world as the promised "offspring of the woman." Jesus was born of a virgin at Christmas. He grew into adulthood and lived a perfect life. He also performed many miracles.
But the people of Jesus’ day rejected him and murdered him on a cross. Jesus died willingly, knowing that his suffering and death was the “bruising of the heel” predicted in Genesis 3:15. Jesus also knew that his death would pay the penalty that people deserve for joining in the rebellion against God. Jesus spoke of his great love as motivation for dying to pay for our sin and rebellion, saying: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.”
After three days, Jesus rose to new life in power and victory over death. His resurrection marked the beginning of “the crushing of the serpent’s head.”
Forty days later, Jesus ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God to be exalted as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus remains seated for now at the right hand of God the Father, where he is interceding for us as our high priest, and building his Church, calling people from every nation to become believers in him. Someday Jesus will return to judge the earth for its sin and unbelief. Then, “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord;” to confess, in other words, that he is the Savior and Restorer that God promised to send. But it will be too late for people who refused to believe on Jesus in their lifetime. The judgment against them will be final, separating them from God forever. Meanwhile, it is still possible for people to be saved from judgment and from their brokenness through faith in Jesus. Jesus said: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Through faith, Christians begin to experience restoration of the four broken relationships now, although only in part.
Jesus will completely fulfill the promises of restoration after the final judgment, when the first heaven and earth pass away and everything begins again in the new heaven and new earth.
Believing in Jesus now means acknowledging him by faith for who He is, the Son of God, the promised Savior, Restorer, and Lord of lords. Believing in Jesus now also means trusting in him as our Substitute, believing that he made payment in full for our sin through his death on the Cross. It also means believing that God raised Jesus from the dead to be exalted at God's right hand in victory over sin and death.
To become a believer in Jesus, here is what the Bible says: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
When someone becomes a believer in Jesus, they immediately receive God's forgiveness. Their relationship with him is restored. And they receive grace to overcome broken relationships with others and with self, as we await the coming restoration of all things.
*See Myers, Bryant L. Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. Rev. ed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011, Location 1706, Kindle.
Copyright © 2017 Randal L. Gilmore. Permission granted to use for evangelism/educational purposes only. Contact the author for all other permissions, including use as part of a larger publication.
A PDF of The Gospel Story-arc Basic Gospel Presentation is available.
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