I was asked by my friend, Sean McDonald, to write a gospel tract consisting of 1,000 words or less and without quotations apart from Scripture. This is my best effort. It is exactly 1,000 words. One thing I learned from this experience: it is a hard thing to do.
One thing we know about our world is that we, as humans, want to glorify things. By glorify, I mean we want to set apart as special, give honor, and give thanks for something. Some people want to glorify themselves. Other want to glorify celebrities or public figures, or a political platform, or a set of values. Some seek glory in things that we all know will destroy them: drugs, money, fame, pleasure, and so on. We do this because God made us that way.
But wait a minute, I haven’t told you what God is. I believe God is our Father. There’s more to it than that, though. Why do I call him Father? Well, because the Father, who has a substance, shares a substance with the Son and The Holy Spirit. If you’ve ever heard of “The Trinity”, that is what Christians are describing. Three persons (Father, Son, and Spirit) in one substance.
Everything that is made glorifies God. The Psalms, a book of songs made for the worship of God, tell us that the stars and the planets we see in the sky declare the glory of God. After making the cosmos, He made us out of the dirt and breathed life into our lungs. He made us in His image – in holiness, righteousness, and with knowledge. He gave us a home in a fertile garden. At that time, the animals were in harmony, the Earth was well cared for and abundant with life, and Adam and his wife, Eve, lived happily in that garden.
So do we glorify God? Unfortunately, no. Why not? Well, when God made man, he didn’t just leave him to his own devices in the garden. He put Him in the garden and made a covenant – an agreement – with Him. He told man he could eat of everything in the garden except for one tree. Adam was told if he ate the fruit of that tree, he would die. Guess what He did? He ate from that tree. His wife Eve was tempted by Satan – a fallen angel who used to serve God – to eat from the tree and gave the fruit to her husband.
Did they die? No. Instead, they became corrupted in their souls and bodies. They could no longer know things rightly, they sought after created things rather than God, and desired that which God didn’t want to desire. And corruption came to them so that they eventually died. We call this change in our natures that make us desire things contrary to God, sin. Yet God, being gracious, but without violating His justice, made another covenant with Adam. He said that He would save those who – by faith – believed in another who would come to crush Satan under his foot.
Who was this other one to come? The Jews, who God later set apart as His own, called him the Messiah, the Christ. They looked forward to him as a King who would establish a Kingdom that would never end. Eventually, that King came. Out of His love for us, while we still sinners, God the Son, that second person of the Trinity, came down to earth and took on a human body. He was born miraculously of a virgin woman from a no-name town, in a poor family, under the rule of a foreign and oppressive empire. He lived a perfect, sinless life in the power of that third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. He spoke to the world about what is righteous, what is just, what was to come, and he comforted those who were oppressed, hated, grieving, and abandoned. He healed people. And he called people to follow him. And they did, all the way to a cross.
We call that King…Jesus Christ.
On that cross, he bore the penalty that you and I should have received because of the sins we commit, the sin we have on us because we are like Adam. He was put to death by that oppressive empire – Rome – and his own people, the Jews, who had rejected him. Many thought that this was the end of him. Instead, he rose from the grave three days later in a resurrected body, and he ascended to Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father, where he rules and reigns over all things in the world.
God the Father promises that those whom He determined to be His will come to Him. That when they hear the gospel preached the Holy Spirit will call them to Himself. If we believe, by faith, that Jesus is Lord and God and that He died for our sins, we become united to Him by the Holy Spirit and are adopted back into the family of God the Father.
Once called and saved from our sins, and united to Jesus Christ, we participate in a community of people who are washed in a fountain of water from our sins (we call this baptism), who break bread and drink wine and in so doing are fed by the body and blood of Christ (communion), and are heard by God in prayer and uplifted by the preaching and teaching of the Bible, the Word of God. Those who participate in this community go out and bring more people to the community because they seek those whom God loves just like Jesus Christ did. We call this “The Church”. Is it perfect? Not a chance. Is it what God uses to bring people back to Him? Yes, most definitely.
And it is by union with the Son that we once again fulfill the reason we were made, and can find rest from the anxiety we feel. We can once again glorify God.
Apart from faith in this Christ, we will continue to restlessly serve ourselves without satisfaction. Joy will elude us. And we will one day die and later come to judgement for the things we have done.
Question: Who Will You Glorify?