As a child growing up in Oklahoma, I was drawn to the story telling of newsman Paul Harvey. A regular part of his broadcast was a feature called "The Rest of the Story." His way of telling the story and the fact that you didn't know who it was about until the very end made it so compelling to me. The Gospel, the good news of the Kingdom, is the truth by which we are saved. The Apostle Paul said the gospel is made up of 4 objective facts: Jesus died for our sins, according to the scriptures; he was buried; he rose again on the third day according to the scriptures; and he appeared to various eyewitnesses. That is the gospel by which, if we believe, we are rescued. But the story has some other chapters that today's culture needs to understand. This story is what Timothy Keller calls the "grand narrative of cosmic redemption." The narrative tells of where we began, how this world ended up so messed up, what will put it right, and how each person can be put right. The story begins with God who is love and wants to share love outside of his completely whole and self-sufficient triune nature. He created man and his whole world for the sake of man so that man might live the life God intended, full of love, friendship and community. Living for others, and worshipping, serving, and loving God. But because man rebelled against the perfection that God desired and rejected God himself, sin entered into our world. We left God's way and pursued our own selfish way, breaking our relationship with a loving God and rupturing every relationship of man, both to each other and this earth. But God looked into this world and had compassion on us because we were so lost, so Jesus came into our world to reveal to us God and his love for us. He took our place on the cross, taking on all the punishment, rejection and condemnation that we deserved so that we would receive all the acceptance and blessing that he deserved. Only Jesus could put things right, restoring to us the life that God wanted for us from the beginning. The only way to access that life is not through doing right, but through faith, that is believing that salvation is totally dependent on God's grace as seen in Jesus' perfect life, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection. We must trust in his work, not our own, not in our faith, but in what he has already accomplished for us. The gospel and the whole story are quite simple, but never simplistic. We often overcomplicate it, but believing this simple story is all we that
is required to be rescued.