This Sunday, we wrap up our series on the grace of God. Outside the Bible, I believe the best book on grace I’ve ever read was What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey. I recommend that book unreservedly. Yancey has just come out with another book on grace, called Vanishing Grace. Near the beginning, he writes, “In my lifelong study of the Bible I have looked for an overarching theme, a summary statement of what the whole sprawling book is about. I have settled on this: “God gets his family back.” Think about that for a moment. The Bible begins with the story of God giving us life, placing us in a perfect world to thrive and enjoy His presence. Then we rejected it all, chose to see what sort of world we could make apart from God, His love, and His will for our lives. What we ended up with was a warped and broken world, along with estrangement from God. The rest of the Bible is about God’s attempts to bring us back into His family, to redeem the world we ruined. What would He be willing to do? Would He send His best followers to plead with us, even though we would reject them all, killing some? Would He work amazing miracles? Would He inspire the writing of a book that tells of His love and plan for us? Yes, He would. But none of it was enough. So He went even further, becoming a man so that He could destroy our sin by drinking the cup of His own wrath. Would God send Himself to Hell so that we would not miss out on Heaven? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. Would He then pursue us through His Holy Spirit, His Gospel message, and His army on earth, the church, until we turned back to Him? Absolutely. That’s the story of Scripture. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, ends with God’s family reunited on a redeemed, perfect Earth.
It’s amazing to realize that you and I fit somehow into the story of the universe. Either you are a part of God’s family, waiting hopefully for the great family reunion yet to come, or you’re one of His lost children, still wandering in the darkness. If you’re one of those lost children, God is hoping you’ll come home today. But this Sunday, I will spend most of my time talking to people who are already home. How are we supposed to live in the in-between time? How should this knowledge of our future change the way we live in the present? We'll be looking at 1 John 3:1-3.