the story of God’s grace
This story can be summarized in seven Scriptures
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
The universe is not random and meaningless. It was created by God. You were created by God. He created us, giving us the gift of life, amazing bodies and abilities, and placed us on a beautiful planet. But why? Why are we here?
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
God created us so that we could have the joy of knowing him, trusting him, worshiping him. We all long for joy. And the joy that we seek is found in knowing God.
“Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:12-13)
We are thirsty for joy, and God is a fountain of living water. But we have all sinned by turning our backs on him and trying to create our own sources of joy – which has left us empty and thirsty.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 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. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:18-23)
God is full of grace and mercy. But he is also righteous and just. And so, because we have sinned so wickedly, we all face his wrath and judgment forever.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)
But in astonishing grace God made a way for us to be forgiven for our sins. He sent his own son, Jesus, to be punished on the cross in our place. And as a result, we can be forgiven and restored into the joy of knowing God.
“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19)
To be forgiven and restored to God we must repent. We must turn from whatever else we have trusted to satisfy us, and turn to Jesus, trusting him to forgive our sins, satisfy us in himself, and change our lives. And when we do, he will.
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38)
When we believe in Jesus, he will satisfy our heart-thirsts with living water — the all-satisfying and eternal joy of knowing God. We will be restored to the joy God created us for – the joy of knowing him.