The Christian faith is first and foremost a story—a true story unfolded for us in the Bible. While there are laws and commandments in the Bible, these laws and commandments serve to tell us more about the main character and author of the story: God himself. The story is all about God: who he is, what he has done, and why this matters for you and me.
Not only is the story all about God, the story begins with God. Before there were oceans, animals, cities and people, there was the one true and living God—not an abstract and impersonal force, not a collection of many gods, but one God who always existed as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Theologians throughout the history of the church have described this unity and diversity of God as the Trinity (three-in-one and one-in-three).
God is utterly unique and unchanging in his glory, beauty, power, justice, wisdom and love—there is nobody like him. He is distinct from everything else we know and, in every way, he is infinitely greater than we could ever imagine!
We know It can be difficult to wrap your mind around these ways of describing God. It’s like trying to fit all of the water on the earth into a coffee cup. But even though we cannot know God exhaustively, we can know him truly through his story.
There are four major chapters to the story of God. This is the plot of the storyline…
Like a skilled artist, God created everything that exists and he gave everything a purpose. But his masterpiece, his most prized creation was humanity, who he made in his very own image. Mankind was created to worship and enjoy God, have an intimate relationship with him, and reflect his moral beauty as a governor over his creation. Everything was in perfect harmony by God’s design. There was no evil, no suffering, no sickness, no crime, no jails, no racism or division. There was no need for commercials featuring starving children, no news stories of child abuse, sex-trafficking, terrorism or natural disasters. There were no funerals because there was no death. Though it’s hard to imagine, there was only beauty, love, and acceptance. God looked at all he had made and said, “This is very good.”
But something tragic took place. The people whom God had created in love, were tempted to believe the lie that life would be better if they walked away from God, made their own decisions, and became their own authorities. They were deceived and tragically made the decision to try and take God’s place—and the results were absolutely devastating. The rest of creation was brought into ruin, misery, and brokenness. This is what the Bible calls “sin”—and everybody is affected in every aspect of their lives by it. Our minds, our desires, our emotions, and our bodies don't function as they should. Our societies are distorted by poverty, disease, greed, crime, racism, pride, divisions and death. Sin is the source of governmental scandals, educational failures, and our culture of selfishness. Things are not the way that they were meant to be.
“The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God. But the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” ~ John Stott
The story could have ended in misery and ruin—God had every right to abandon his broken and rebellious creation or to “throw the book” at humanity. But instead, God reveals himself as a redeemer: He constantly intervenes in the struggles and suffering of humanity in order to bring healing and hope. He sets his love on a seemingly insignificant people and he makes a promise: “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” He commits to them in love and he shows them that absolutely nothing will cause him to break his promise. And the greatest expression of his commitment comes in his gracious decision to enter into his broken creation in order to heal it. God sends his Son on a rescue mission, and the tragic story completely reverses! The entire creation was ruined by the sin of one man, but in his great love, God would bring rescue to the entire creation by the righteousness of one man, Jesus Christ. He came and he lived the kind of life that every human being was meant to live. He lived in faithfulness to God—like we were always meant to live. He worked like we were always meant to work. He loved like we were always meant to love. But he also came to die the death that we all deserved to die—as our substitute. He took our place in judgment, so that we could take his place in glory. And in the most climactic moment of the story, Jesus rises from the dead.
In the final chapter of the story, the same Jesus who defeated death itself declares, “I am making all things new!” The entire creation will be made new. This is a sweeping statement that covers the entire creation, including every person who trusts in his finished work for their rescue and security. In the final chapter of the story, the sin, misery and ruin that affected the entire created world will be no more. Relationships will be restored between people groups and our relationship with God will be restored—and it all happens by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. There will be no more pain, suffering, or disaster. There will be no more death. Everything in creation will be made right. Jesus Christ doesn’t just take us back to where we started in creation, he takes us beyond what creation was into what creation was meant to be. He makes all things new, not all new things. He doesn’t scrap the broken things, he restores them. This is the hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is God’s story.
We believe that the story of God makes sense of the world in which we live. We come to understand why things are like they are, but we also have the hope of restoration for our neighborhoods, the institutions of our city, our work, our culture and the lives of the people we meet. We believe that the story of God reshapes our stories and makes sense of our lives.
If you're interested in learning more about the story that shapes our faith, there are a few resources we recommend:
The New City Catechism summarizes the main points of this story and their implications in 52 very short question-and-answer articles.
The Grace DC Network is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), a group of churches whose theological beliefs are summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms.
Please feel free to contact one of our pastors or elders if you have any questions about what we believe the Bible teaches.