Most people believe that Christianity is about behavior. If I am a good person I go to heaven. If I am bad, I go to hell. Well, let me tell you, that’s not the gospel. The word “gospel” means “good news.” That message is not good news because none of us are good. None of us can even live up to our own standards, let alone God’s. A theologian once put it this way: imagine that you had an invisible tape recorder that recorded everything you have ever said. And when die and stand before God he says, “I am going to play it back. The I'll take every time you told someone else how to live and then see if you lived up to that standard.” Who could pass that test? Nobody. That sort of standard would be horrible news.
So what is the good news? It a story. And here is how it goes:
Act 1: Creation. We were created to be completely satisfied in God the Trinity. And in Eden that’s how humanity lived. In perfect peace in harmony with God.
Act 2: Fall. When Adam and Eve sinned they left that peace to run their own lives. That sin was rebellion against God and deserved to be punished. That sin separated them from a perfect God. That sin tainted humanity and was passed on to Adan and Eve’s offspring. This is why the world is like it is. We are all fallen and selfish people. We are all longing for God but settling for lesser things (power, sex, money, popularity, belongings and stuff etc…)
Act 3: Redemption/Grace. But God didn’t leave humanity the way we were. He promised Eve that one of her descendants would put things right. Then he made the same promise to Abraham and to David. Then Jesus came. A son of Eve. A descendant of Abraham from the house of David. God become man. Jesus lived the perfect life required to be in a right relationship with God. He spent his ministry healing people and giving them glimpses of the way the world is meant to be – free of the decay and oppression of sin. Then, he died a brutal death. But it was no ordinary death. It was a substitutionary death. He took our punishment. He died our death so that we could get credit for his life. And to prove it worked God raised him from the dead. So we can be brought back into an Eden-like relationship with God because of the work of Jesus.
And how do we take advantage of this deal? Put our faith in him. That’s it. Faith in Jesus brings us back to God.
Act 4: Restoration. But our redemption isn’t the end of the story. God is working to put the world back together. He does that in us and through us. In us: he works in our lives to grow us into the kind of people who live lives pleasing to him. He does thus through the power of the Holy Spirit and through his word. Through us: he is working through the way we love our neighbors to show people that a) this world isn’t supposed to be like this and b) one day he will restore all things.
You see, heaven isn’t about sitting in the clouds with fat babies playing the harp. Heaven is about living forever in a restored Eden. We will be in perfect harmony with one another and with our creator.
So that’s the gospel story. The gospel isn’t about what we do. It’s the story of what has been done for us. And our little church startup wants to be a part of that story. We are a small group of the people of God and we want to love each other and our neighbors. We want to live for Jesus in San Francisco because this city is filled with people who need to hear this story.
If you want to chat about any of this – please shoot us an email. We’d love to meet you and hear your story.