Let’s not overcomplicate the Gospel. Sin was the problem. Grace was the solution. Intimacy has always been the Father's goal. Jesus restored the original reality of the Garden by reinstating direct and eternal connection between Creator and creation.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure” Ephesians 1:4-9
Founder of the Heaven Made Marriage ministry, Scott Means, describes the Gospel in just 6 words. Sin was the problem, grace was the solution, and intimacy was the goal. Religion tends to over-complicate this simple yet profound message. In the Garden, man fellowshipped with God. He created man to live freely, reign over the Earth and communion intimately with Him. Once sin broke in and with it shame, fear and division, God put in motion a plan to restore His relationship with man. Compelled by incomparable love, Father God sent His son Jesus to overcome the death our sin merits and restore the intimate fellowship between God and man.
Sin was the problem. Jesus died to be “the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Sin wounds and creates a break in relationship, just a lie breaks trust. Division has been a descriptor of man’s relationship with God since it entered. Justice demands a penalty for sin, thus sacrifices have been made throughout time to remedy each instance of sin. Jesus’s death paid our debt of sin and exchanged it with eternal life for all who believe in Him (John 3:16). But why give us eternal life? Because, He wants to be with us. It all comes down to a basic objective - intimacy through grace.
Grace was the solution. Romans 5:21 tells us, “just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus” (NLT). Grace is receiving something you don’t deserve. When Jesus died three hours after being hung on the cross, He did more than just pay the penalty due our sin. He gifted us immediate, unhindered access to the Father, friendship with Himself, along with the wise and power counsel of Holy Spirit. Jesus, the only possible solution to our problem, laid down His life and then powerfully raised Himself up for the purpose of eternal connection with His beloved. What a gracious gift that He wants to be with us, now and always!
Intimacy was the goal. Jesus didn’t die for us to avoid hell, but if He did it would just be for a Heaven-someday connection with Him. But He died “that [we] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). What is fullness without the sound of His voice, the constant direction of His hand, the tender expression of His heart? Intimacy is defined as “a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.” We were destined to participate in a close and loving personal relationship with God. Ephesians 1 says, “He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure.” His will has always been to be with us. Jesus’s resurrection and ascension into Heaven left us with Holy Spirit, our constant companion providing an uninterrupted connection and encounter with the Father every day of our life on this earth.
In John 17, Jesus prays to the Father, “the glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” His story is a love story expressing a Father’s heart for His children. Jesus restored the original reality of the Garden by reinstating direct connection between Creator and creation.
Thank you, God, for loving me. You loved me when I didn’t know how to love you. Thank you, Father, for choosing me. Thank you for choosing me when I didn’t know how to choose you. I see how your solution of grace was the only answer to my problem of sin. Today, I receive your love with a heart of gratitude. I eagerly accept the start of an intimate, everyday relationship with you.