Now, considering that I am a Christian, at first glance this post might seem completely cliché and pointless, but seeing that it has been quite the epiphany for me, I hope you will give this a chance and read it.
I have an experience to tell you guys about. It is very recent. In fact, it happened today, literally ten or so minutes ago. What could have happened that would drive me to do something like this? Well, I discovered what the most beautiful story is. Now, of course, as a Christian, I am expected to say the most beautiful story is the Gospel found in the Bible, but I am sure that many who are not blinded by stigma, dogma, and any other “ma”s out there will agree with me when I say that the Bible can get very dry, kind of boring, and pretty dull in terms of story content.
Before all the condemnations of sacrilege come in, I would like to say that yes, the most beautiful story in the world and of all time is, was, and always be the story of salvation, i.e. the Gospel. But I have a reason for saying this, and in fact, even a non-Christian will be able to appreciate this. To illustrate my point, I would like to tell all of you a little story, and then I would like to encourage all of you to pick up your Bibles (or someone else’s if you don’t have one, just don’t steal it) and read them. There is a lot more than what I will cover, but for me, it was enough to cause the epiphany I referred to in my introductory blurb.
A long, long time ago, not so long that the number of years goes beyond five digits, but long enough that we have very little record of it, there was man. He was quite an ordinary man, but he was a good man, and he believed in God. One day, his Lord (God) commanded him to leave his country and his family to a place which God would show him. This man obeyed God and left his homeland, relying solely on faith and his Heavenly Father’s promise. God blessed this man, and made him very wealthy, but there was one problem: this man had no child.
But God made this man a promise. One night when he was despairing and crying out to the Lord in Heaven, he was led outside his tent and told to look at the sky. God said to him, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them…So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5 ESV). Not only this, but the Lord promised this man that his wife would become nations, and that kings of peoples would come from her. God did indeed give this man the son he had promised, but the story does not end there.
Years later there was another man, a descendant of this first man whom God had made so many promises to. He was engaged to be married to a woman, but there was one problem. The woman became pregnant before they had had a chance to marry, let alone have sex. There was only one option for the man, who would have separated himself from this woman by divorce, but God interceded and told him to marry the woman anyway. Thus this man united the line of his ancestors with this new child who was born soon after.
The child that came of this union did not live long. In his lifetime though, he held a great ministry in which he told many people about God and caused many to believe. But in this process he made enemies, and it was not long after that they killed him by crucifying him to a cross. He died there, and was sent to the tomb. But then, a miracle happened, and he resurrected from the dead, coming back to life before ascending into heaven where he would be with his heavenly father, God.
The three men I speak of in this story are Abraham, Joseph, and Jesus. Now is this not an epic story? But wait, there is so much more. Not only did this story go in one full circle, from God leading Abraham along a path of righteousness which then went along a path which resulted in Jesus, son of God, uniting the chain between God and man, but this story is one of love and redemption. Man had sinned, and it was through this beautiful plan and God’s love that he sent his only son to die. In fact, Jesus loved us so much, and he loved his Father so much, that he was willing to sacrifice himself, freeing us from our sins. But once again it does not end there. To demonstrate my point I would like to close with five verses.
For one who has died has been set free from sin.
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
The reason Paul (the writer of Romans) can say what he does in Romans 6:7 is because death is sin’s final punishment. Sin can do no more to a person once he/she is dead. Hell or Heaven, whatever comes beyond death, is up to God’s judgement. Thus it is so liberating to have died in Christ and then been born again, because now as people, we no longer are under sin’s dominion. Continuing the point in verse seven, verse ten talks further about the subject. After having died to sin, thus breaking sin’s dominion over one, we are then born again living under God. We are no longer in sin’s dominion but within God’s regime. Jesus came to earth to allow us to leave sin’s claws and run to God’s embrace.
It does not end there. In verse fourteen, we have this beautiful verse that sums seven and ten up. We are no longer under the law because it was made to deal with sin, and we are free from sin. Instead we now live under grace, God’s grace, grace that has freed us from our old ways and forgiven us of our sins. This is grace and love that has not only forgiven us but will continue to forgive us. That could be it there, but I promised five verses.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Baptism into Christ in Christ’s name is a declaration that the person receiving the baptism is part of Christ’s body now, and thus a descendent of Abraham. It is fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would number like the stars in heaven. God was not talking about the nation Abraham fathered. Sure, there were a lot of people in that nation, but not like the stars, no. However, those who have united themselves under Christ, those who have proclaimed it through baptism, they are a part of that family. We as Christians are all descendants of Abraham because we were baptized into Christ. You know that story I told you? It was just a very short version of the epic story of the Bible which has come in one full circle, starting with Abraham, father of many, and Sarah, his wife, mother of nations. No, not in the sense you may think. Abraham is the father of people from a multitude of nations. And just as God promised to Abraham, so he has promised to Abraham’s descendants. It is the most beautiful story in the world.