Some of my best memories from when my kids were young are of the many hours we spent reading good books together as a family. As they grew and we moved from picture books to longer and more complicated stories, they would often plead, “Oh, mom! Read one more chapter, please!” Good stories are like that, drawing us in, making us wish we were a part of them; and often hinting at the greatest story, the story of God and his great love.

In the beginning, God spoke the world into existence. It was beautiful and perfect in every way. Then he created Adam and Eve, his “image bearers” (Genesis 1:27) to reflect his likeness and to rule over the world he had made. In the garden Adam and Eve had all that they needed, God’s perfect love and provision. They were forbidden only from eating the fruit of one tree. God warned that if they ate it, they would die.

Tragically, instead of believing the one who gave them life, they believed the devil, the one who comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) and death entered the world. And with that death, came slavery to sin. All who followed Adam and Eve were like their parents. Instead of trusting God’s goodness and his love for them, they believed that there was something more, something better than God himself.

But our rebellion was not the end of the story. God promised that he would send a redeemer, one who would restore us to life and set us free to live for him and with him.

Through the lives and stories of the generations that followed, we see the thread of God’s relentless pursuit of a people who continually failed to trust him and to walk in obedience to him. But even in their failure, God was working out his plan.

Then, in the fullness of time, God sent our rescuer, the only one who could redeem us and set us free. Jesus, God’s own son, came and lived the perfect life we could never live, and then gave his life to purchase our freedom. He died and rose again, demonstrating his power over death.

In Ephesians 2:1-11, Paul points to the reality of our deadness without Christ. He reminds us of our inability to do anything to write a better story over our own lives. But God loved us so much, Paul says, that even though we were dead because of our sin, gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (vs. 4). Of all the stories ever told, there can never be another truer or better one than the one where God, by his grace rescues, redeems, restores and sets free all who will believe in him and trust in him.

Nicole Jiles
Director of Children’s Ministries

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