What is the Gospel? Part 1: God the Creator
For most of the summer months, I experienced a very dry season in my relationship with the Lord. By this, I mean that I did not feel close to the Lord, my emotions would be up and down and get the best of me, and I just felt like everything I was going through and processing was happening by myself with few men to help me through it. Thankfully, one great brother here in Nairobi asked if I wanted to read a book called What is the Gospel? together. The book’s goal is to be clear on what exactly is the gospel, or the “good news,” about Jesus. This is so foundational to who we are as followers of Jesus. We never get past the gospel.
I recently read a post by one of my former professors:
A church member once asked Martin Luther, "Why do you preach the Gospel to us week after week?" Luther replied, "Because week after week you forget it." We never graduate from the Good News that Jesus gives us grace.
This encouragement and exhortation has been so good for me. I am going to write a series of blogs summarizing what I have been learning about the gospel and I hope that it may be helpful to you.
The book What is the Gospel? summarizes the gospel with four categories: God the Righteous Creator, Man the Sinner, Jesus Christ the Savior, and Response–Faith and Repentance. First and foremost, the Bible is a story, one that is focused on redemption, but redemption was not needed from the start.
I am working on memorizing verses from each of these categories in order to be able to consistently remind myself of the foundational truths of the Scripture. I need to preach these truths to myself each day. Feel free to join me in memorizing if you want!
For this first blog, I want to look at God the Creator and in the next one, I will focus on Him as holy and righteous.
So, God is the Creator. This is the beginning of the Christian message and it is absolutely vital. I know that how the world began is extremely controversial but we cannot shy away from it. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Was this 6500 years ago? Was it millions of years ago? I am not 100% sure and likely never will be, but I do know that our Holy Scripture is clear that God is the Creator.
Genesis 1 goes on to describe how the world was created through God speaking it into being and it all came from nothing. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Romans 1:20 says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” We have seen so much beauty here in Kenya (and I hope you have seen some of the pictures) and it all points back to a designer, a Creator.
Two other sets of verses for this truth are Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 2:16-17:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
God created man to bear His image. This gives inherit worth to every human being. Every person has value. Genesis 1:31 says that God saw everything He made, including man, and it was all “very good.” God has created humans. He has created everything. We as people are made. Therefore, we are owned.
I know this idea is also controversial to much of the world as a lot of worldly wisdom says we are independent and to only live for ourselves. However, Genesis 2 teaches a different story. It shows that we live within the boundaries of our Creator. God has the right to tell us what to do since He created us. Thus, God forbid man and woman from taking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of God and evil. Ultimately, the tree is a call for humans to be faithful and obedient to our Maker. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil reminds us that Adam and Eve (and therefore, all of humanity) had limited authority, were creatures, and were dependent upon God for their lives.
This is the baseline of the gospel. We are created and it was all “very good” at the beginning. The world still declares the glory of God. I hope this post has been helpful. Feel free to join me in memorizing the verses in this post. My post next week will be on God as the Holy and Righteous One.