One can grow up attending church and hearing sermons for years on end without ever understanding the true meaning of it all. I did that for about sixteen years of my life. I was raised in the church; heard and believed stories of the Bible, and called myself a Christian from a young age. I could tell you about the teachings and the miracles of Christ, recite passages of Scripture, and recount what I had learned about how to be a “good” Christian. Yet, all this was merely going through the motions with minimal understanding of the reasoning behind it.
What I have begun to understand in recent years is what compels me to continue calling myself a Christian. The most significant statement that comes from the Bible is this: though man is broken and sinful, God gave His Son to die a criminal’s death to redeem us, and receive the full wrath of God in our place. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection is the defeat of sin and death; the entirety of Scripture points towards this event.
Race and ethnicity are no longer part of the equation of who is accepted by God, neither are good works and outward appearances, gender and sexuality, societal class and worldly ranking; all are accepted when Christ is received. It is the compelling nature of what this Gospel, or “good news,” means that drives me to illustrate it: creation of all things, fall of mankind, redemption through Christ, and restoration of man to God.