God. Man. Christ. Response.
These four words can be helpful in understanding the good news of Jesus or what Christians call the gospel.
It begins with God. The eternal, invisible, glorious God who has no beginning and no end, who was not made, but always was and is and will be, who has no equal or rival, existed before there was anything else. Before time, before space, before anything and before everything. Yet He was not lonely, for God is Triune. He is One God eternally existent in Three Persons. The Father and the Son and the Spirit, perfect community, Three in One and One in Three. He was and is fully sufficient, completely happy in Himself and lacking nothing. For the sake of displaying His glory and in love, God created the heavens and the earth and made all that has been made. Everything that was made was made by Him and for Him. It all exists for the display of His glory and greatness. The seas and the stars, the mountains and the hills, the light and the darkness, the amoeba and the whale, it all exists to show forth the splendor of God. The pinnacle of God’s creation and the chief expression of His glory was man.
God made man, human beings, in His own image and likeness. Like a child bears the image of his father, we were created in the image of God. Like mirrors, we were made to reflect who God was throughout the world. God commanded the first man Adam and the first woman Eve to fill the earth with children so that essentially the world would be filled with many mirrors and the glory of God would be reflected over all the earth. And the plan was that there would be everlasting joy and harmony between us and God, us and each other, and us and our world. It was perfect.
Now one look around and it becomes quickly apparent that something went wrong with the plan. The Bible calls what went wrong sin and tells the story of how the first couple rebelled or sinned against God and in their disobedience plunged themselves and their offspring into enmity with God. Now the God that we were created to glorify, we abhorred or ignored. Sin was like a giant hammer that smashed the mirror and now the world would be filled with broken mirrors that did not and could not reflect the glory of God.
Now what do you do with a broken mirror? You sweep it up and throw it away. That’s exactly what God could have done with sinful, broken human beings. He could have cast them away. But He doesn’t.
Instead, He sent Christ. God the Father, sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to redeem, repair, and restore the broken mirrors. Jesus, fully God, became fully man and dwelt among us. He was born in flesh and blood to live as man was originally created to live. Jesus lived on the earth for 33 years and in that time, He was perfect. He never sinned. He perfectly reflected the glory of God. In a world of broken mirrors, Jesus stood as the only spotless, perfect, reflection of the image of God.
And yet in love for us, Jesus became our substitute and took our place. Jesus was crucified and in that moment, the guilt and shame of the sins of the world were transferred to Him. He had done nothing wrong, and yet He was counted the worst sinner of all. He who knew no sin became sin for us. The hammer of sin fell down on righteous Jesus and He was shattered for us. And what do you do with a shattered mirror? The Father did to Jesus, what He should have done to us. He took the broken Jesus and threw Him out.
But the story does not end there for God is greater than our sin!
Having finished the mission that the Father had given Him to pay for our sins, God raised the Son from the dead. Jesus resurrected from the grave. And all that God requires from man to receive the sin-atoning, soul-saving, life-giving benefits of His death and resurrection is the right response.
What is that response? Repentance and faith.
Repentance is acknowledging that you are a broken mirror. That you have not lived for the glory of God or rightly reflected Him in your life. That like the first man and woman, and all their offspring since, you too have sinned and lived in rebellion against God. And God would have been justified to cast you away and throw you out.
But now you believe. You have faith. Faith that Jesus came, in love for you, and lived the life you were supposed to live and died the death you were supposed to die. And through faith all that you deserved (eternal death, separation from God, judgment, etc) Jesus received. And all that Jesus deserved (eternal life, connection with God, blessing, etc) you received.
In response to this free and undeserved gift, you will now seek, by the help of God the Holy Spirit who lives inside all who believe, to live as God requires. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has repaired, restored, and redeemed your brokenness that you might now rightly reflect the glory of God in your life. Whenever you fail to do so, you will return to the required response, and freshly repent and believe this gospel.
Soon, Jesus will return again. When He does, God will be glorified in the earth as He intended from the beginning. We will live in harmony with God and with one another. It will be perfect. And on that day, we will finally be perfect mirrors like Jesus.