Many believers have been taught the story of the fall in the Garden (Genesis 3). Many have centered their presentation of the Gospel with this as the backdrop. The concept being that since mankind messed up we needed Jesus to right our wrong. All of humanity was impacted by the fall and in need of rescue. This is true, humanity was impacted and surely needed rescue. In steps Jesus and that rescue takes places. I’d like to focus more on the original backdrop and how it connects to the way we see the Gospel and present it to others.

Humanity’s story begins before the fall and even before the Garden. Our story begins in the heart and mind of God. Before humanity was created God already had servants (angels) so the mentality that we are just meant to serve God is slightly skewed. Yes, we do serve but that was not the purpose for our existence. We were created for family. God created humanity for a family of loving relationship. We were not created to be playthings that are divinely controlled for His amusement. We were not created to bring glory through our destruction and demise. We were created solely for the heart of relationship.

When we go back before the fall, where the stigma of sin and its consequences were attached to humanity, we are able to see our purpose and value. Mankind is not worthless or a chore to God. We are highly valued and adored by our Father! Jesus’s main objective was to redeem humanity back to the Father’s original intent. What is that? Genesis 1:26 states that we were created in His image and likeness. What does that mean? God made us like Him or in the pattern of Himself. In the Hebrew, the words for “image” and “likeness” both give a word picture of humanity being like a model of God. We are not Him, we are similar in nature to Him by design. This is important to understand.

The fall wrecked havoc on humanity, but Jesus made right what the fall had impacted. Through the birth of the Spirit, humanity is brought back to being the expression of God on earth. Our mission to rule over the earth is restored in the Kingdom as it was originally instructed in the garden. This pairs with the language of Jesus in the Lord’s prayer of “on earth as it is in heaven.” Believers are to express the heart of the Father to the world around us, impacting it with the culture of the Kingdom or God’s family. God gave man the instruction to rule the earth through His authority and dominion. In the new covenant we co-labor with God via the Spirit. The concept is consistent. In the garden, Adam and Eve ruled the earth in relationship with God. In the new covenant we do likewise in relationship with God.

So what does this have to do with a Gospel presentation? The Gospel is far more than a discussion of heaven and hell or sin. The Gospel is the story of How God, through Jesus, brought humanity back on course for His plan all along that started in the garden. His value and purpose for humanity was not lost at the fall. The Gospel is not just how to avoid hell. It is about a Father getting His children back. It’s about a family being restored.

I believe there is a transition taking place in the Church today where the old presentation of the Gospel is being shifted to one that more clearly expresses the heart of Father God. Rather than portraying Him as a judge obsessed with sin, we are more accurately portraying Him as a Father who has spared no expense in bringing the solution to the problem of sin. Now, with the solution taken care of (the new covenant of forgiveness through the Cross), the aim is to spread the news so His kids come home. We are to let people know that their sins have been forgiven and their Father longs to embrace them in relationship. How we present His heart to them matters.
 A presentation focused on the problem of sin and the consequences is an inaccurate expression of the Good News. I’m not saying ignore it. I’m saying let the presentation clearly emphasis the actual good news which is that sin has been forgiven and relationship is waiting for them. The emphasis should be the solution of the new covenant and the beauty of the Kingdom. Jesus preached the good news of the Kingdom. He demonstrated what His Kingdom was like and people responded. Let’s follow His example and express to the world just how much their Father loves them and cares for them with demonstrations of His goodness.
Written by: Josh Cosker