THE GOSPEL IN PLAIN ENGLISH

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He also made the first man and the first woman. You know-that original “binary” system. Such a great design!

(Note-I think they were probably in better shape than this…)

God gave them complete freedom, but in order to provide true freedom, and in order to demonstrate what they would do with their freedom of will and thought, he gave them one simple test. All they had to do was refrain from eating from one particular tree out of the many in the garden. He warned them that if they disobeyed, death would come to them, rather than the endless blissful life they had been created to enjoy. God is perfect in all his ways, and it is not possible for Him to tolerate anything less than perfection. God’s justice is as great as His love.

Lucifer, a created being who was insanely envious of God, decided to attack God’s creation, and led the man and woman to do what their creator told them specifically not to do. They blew it, and ate the fruit. Their offspring were resultantly cursed with death also, rather like an inherited disease is passed on from one generation to the next. The curse not only affected humanity, but all of creation, since God would not allow fallen man to live in a perfect world.

Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

The descendants of Adam and Eve (for these were the names of the first humans) also inherited a tendency to disobey, and to do things their own way rather than God’s way. Instead of worshipping and seeking their creator, they began to think only of themselves, and to attack and to use each other. They used the incredible nature God had created them with against Him. They created their own gods, which were lifeless and powerless, but which in their minds were more like they thought God to be like. Since there is no life apart from God, because He created and sustains all things, the future for humanity was very bleak and hopeless. They now were descending, not evolving, and deteriorating in character and beauty.

However, God, being infinite in nature, had forseen how His creation would turn out. He had wanted to create humankind with free will. He knew how they would use that free will, but also knew that in order for Him to be fair and truthful in all respects, their rebellion would have to be played out in reality, in order for a perfect race of God-loving men and women to be formed over time. So God had a plan B all along, and implimented that plan in the middle of human history.

Image by Hello I’m Nik 

Being in nature triune, God himself entered the world in the form of human flesh, while still being its sustainer in all respects. He was born to a virgin named Mary, and was therefore not only entirely divine but entirely human also, his father being the creator of all things. His name was Jesus, and he was the Christ-the appointed one; the Messiah who would end the curse of death.

Jesus lived a perfect, if short life. When tested, as Adam and Eve were, he obeyed his Father, and passed the test, to Lucifer’s consternation. In the heavenly realm he was now recognized to be The formiddable force which would trump all others.

However, there were many around him who didn’t like him. They hated what he said. They mocked his claims. They dispised his popularity among the people, who, they thought, had no right to decide for themselves who Jesus really was. Jesus, by his words and actions, revealed exactly who he was, and it was at his trial, arranged by those who hated him most, that he declared he would be revealed in the clouds of glory: a description reserved only for the Messiah. This, for the haters, was the last straw. They knew without doubt that he was claiming to be God (Matthew 26:63-66) and they had him executed, in shame and apparently humiliating defeat. What they didn’t know was that they were fulfilling the will of the Father all along.

They should have remembered from their own history that a lamb was to be slaughtered to atone for the sins of the people, and here was The Lamb of God. In his death, Jesus Christ was atoning for the sins of the world. He suffered punishment in our place. He was paying the perfect God for the debt of sin-a debt that we cannot pay-not only of Adam and Eve, but all their offspring, of all time. They-we-were provided forgiveness of our sin and rebellion, because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Only one thing remains for us to do: to turn from our rebellious nature, and accept the Son of God into the centre of our being.

Three days after his death, Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb, even though it was guarded by Roman soldiers. If his haters, or the Roman governors could have, they would have produced that body for all to see, to put an end to the movement of people who saw Jesus as their risen Lord and master. But they couldn’t. He had risen. It was not possible for the Son of God to remain in death, and the Father-the creator and Lord of Life-raised his body to a state of perfection, as He will do to all those who love him.

Jesus was seen several times by his closest followers, and then by a gathering of over five hundred all at once. Increasingly, people realized that what had happened was all foretold in Old Testament Sciptures, written by many different authors over a very long time period, as well as being predicted by Jesus himself while he as alive among men.

The gospel is good news. Told by Jesus, and by those who followed him, the good news is that anyone who turns to him and away from their rebellion against God, will be forgiven by the Father because of his sacrifice. God, a perfect being, can only accept perfection, and when he sees the follower of Jesus, imperfect though he or she may be, he sees Jesus, his perfect Son. And this is what He has promised us: eternal life. When this fallen, degraded and sinful body is spent, and when our fallen character traits are gone, what is left of us will be transformed into the perfection that God intended for us all along. And life, and glory, and beauty, and perfection, and joy-which all belong to the Perfect One-will be ours also.

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