Last updated on November 3, 2023
“Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”
What would it have been like to live in the Garden of Eden? I used to think it was gone forever because I didn’t clearly understand what God had planned for us in the future. I didn’t know His-Story.
All is not lost. A thread of love (perhaps it’s hidden in our DNA) links the perfect world that was (the Garden of Eden), the tainted world that is (the Kingdom of Darkness), and the redeemed world of the future (the Kingdom of Heaven). The Bible has a three-act structure, just like all good books.
All good books also have a theme woven throughout the pages. The author will deliver the “goods” in the final chapter if the book is good. In the same way, God has woven His-Story from creation to fall to redemption to restoration,
No good author would pen a book without knowing how the story ends. God’s book of sixty-six chapters was written by prophets and scribes who painstakingly penned the words thousands of years ago. The Bible has the most remarkable ending of any book ever written. And, in case you didn’t know, God is also a best-selling author. The Bible has sold more books than any other book in the history of humankind.
“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of
the throne of God.”
God used many writing tools to create His-Story. Some chapters He wrote as poetry.
“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;
And the fish of the sea will explain to you;
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breadth of all mankind?”
As a Christian author, when I look for Goodness, I feel His-Story in verse:
in the Garden of Eden,
I imagine sunsets dancing to colors our eyes cannot see
and waterfalls trumpeting God’s ownership
over the Earth.
Rocks proclaiming His glory
and flowers singing His praises.
The earth’s crust beneath our feet
hints at His creations from ages past.
The stars that shine as angels in the night sky
proclaim His lordship over every living creature.
The winds that mount on eagles’ wings
fill the earth with
His Spirit of redemption.
Poetry seeps into our souls and speaks to our hearts where the Holy Spirit dwells.
Good books also have a page-turning event at about the midway point. Everything has been building to that “scene,” and after that event takes place, the pieces begin to fall into place. However, the ending is not yet sure. Will it turn out the way the protagonist wants?
In God’s book, Jesus’ death and resurrection is His-Story’s turning point. And when He sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, His-Story set up the final act.
For authors, at this point, the protagonist’s transformation will give him the tools or the ability to reach the book’s stated end goal—if he perseveres.
The Bible follows the three-act paradigm just like any good book should. In the New Testament, Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection set the stage for act three (Tribulation). The pieces fall into place: More prophetic signs are uncovered and fulfilled as we reach the end.
Authors refer to these as clues, hints, and techniques to keep the reader engaged and reading until the very last page.
After we’re born again, like a small child, we must grow in the Lord. That process is called sanctification. For the church, the world is the mission field. Christians call it The Great Commission—to go out and make disciples.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
It would be a boring book if nothing happened in act three, what authors call the Denouement.
I am comforted that in act two of my life, God hasn’t wasted anything. The little subplots, twists, and turns come together into a glorious ending. I’ve made it my life’s goal to find redemption in all the valleys. Otherwise, I may not reach the next mountaintop. We must walk through the valley before we can climb the next mountain. If I can do that (including forgiving others, a part of sanctification), then God can use my redemptive failures.
As Jesus said, we will see the Kingdom of God when we are born again. If you want the best seat in the house, in the theater, or wherever you are reading, watching, praying, and communing, punch your ticket now. Be born again by giving your life to Jesus.
Clean up your life and begin the first day of the rest of your life. And when the final chapter unfolds, you will see the face of God. Be with Him to celebrate, and your name will be in the credits at the very end when God unseals the scroll.
PRAYER: Please help me, Jesus, to take every thought captive and help me to use every opportunity You give me for Your glory. As a born-again newbie, please help me to be Your ambassador for Good in this fallen world.