Saturday, August 22, 2009

1, 2, 21, 22

Yesterday, I wrote about reading the "whole gospel". In other words, reading the Bible from Genesis 1 rather than Genesis 3 and reading through Revelation 22, rather than Revelation 20.

Let me give an example.

A popular evangelism technique is called the "Romans Road". In the past, I've been trained in using the "Romans Road" but have always felt a little strange using it.

In the "Romans Road", you are to first turn to Romans 3:23.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Where does this start the discussion? Genesis 3...
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (Genesis 3:21-22)
What would change if the "whole gospel" were used? Although there are lots of places to start, lets try Genesis 1:27.

So God created human beings in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

This can then be followed up by verses like Romans 3:23 and so on.

What about the other end of the story. If we do not read to Revelation 21-22, you get this (again from the Romans Road).
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
While this is true, it speaks nothing of the return to paradise described in Revelation 21-22. If we wanted to stay with the Romans theme, look at Romans 8:20-22.

20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?
What does it come down to?

If we read from Genesis 3 to Revelation 20, we see a creation that is, as the Calvinist would say, Totally Depraved, ending the story with God's judgement of the world.

In reading from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, we see a creation that was made in the image of God and declared good. While that creation did sin, there is hope through Christ and, in the end, those adopted into God's family get to live in the redeemed world with God.

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