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The Revelation of God’s
Triune Gospel Part 2: The Fall

The Fall of Humanity: The Way God’s Kingdom is Not Supposed to Be

In the beginning, God created a paradise with a creative order for how things are supposed to be. However, this paradise didn’t last. In Genesis 3 we learn that sin entered the world through Satan, who enticed Adam and Eve to sin.

As a result, humanity became alienated from God and under his just curse. This alienation and curse then flowed, like a polluted river, into all human relationships, including our relationships with God, ourselves, others, and creation.

Because of sin, our original righteous standing before God, which allowed us the blessing of access into God’s holy presence to be loved and cherished by him, is now lost. In its place, we stand condemned, guilty, and forsaken by God.

But sin changes more than our status with God. It also changes our heart, our human nature. We’re not only under sin’s condemning penalty, but also under its domineering power and the control of Satan. Sin causes our hearts to be captured by idols that steal our affections away from God.

Our affections and desires are still good, but because of sin we now set our God-given desires on idols that cannot fully satisfy us. Heart idolatry is looking for our true source of greatest happiness in something or someone other than God. It’s trying to make good things and people ultimate, when only God is ultimate. For some it is approval, reputation, or success. For others it includes things like comfort, control, pleasure, power, or possessions.

Sin’s corruption also spread both in individual hearts and in systemic ways throughout society, corrupting institutions God’s ordained such as the family, church, government, business, education, recreation, and the arts. The curse of sin even spread to our physical bodies, resulting in disease, sickness, and death. (Gen. 3:16-19) All creation and nature itself is now subject to decay. (Rom. 8:18-25)

This is why there is so much brokenness in the world, not just spiritually, but socially, culturally, economically, and politically. And this is why there is so much suffering, violence, poverty, disease, and injustice.

This is not the way God’s kingdom on earth is supposed to be. As a result of the Fall, Satan is now ruling over the earth. Jesus calls him “the ruler of the world” (John 14:30), and the Apostle John writes that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)

This does not mean that Satan is the supreme ruler over the earth. There’s only one supreme Lord over all things, and that’s God who has given Jesus “all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matt 28:18b) Through Jesus, God will eventually defeat Satan and remove all the effects of his rule on fallen humanity and the world.

But since the Fall, there has been a struggle in history and within every person between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. This struggle will continue until Jesus returns as King to bring all things into complete submission to his rule and reign on earth.

The good news of the gospel is that, by his grace, God’s good creation of the world and humanity did not lose its original God-ordained order, structure, and laws. The bad news is that sin has deeply corrupted and distorted all of God’s good creation with evil. Sin and evil have radically twisted every part of our individual and communal lives.

All things God created are still good, but since the Fall they can now be used to serve and honor false gods, instead of the true God. For example, God created sexual union to be good and pleasurable, but only within God’s ordained creation structure of marriage between a man and a woman. But after the Fall, sexual union is often used illegitimately, resulting in fornication and adultery.

Similarly, government, industry, education, recreation, and the arts are all inherently good gifts from God, but after the Fall they’re often used in corrupt and idolatrous ways that God never intended.

Our fallen culture and society is not inherently sinful and evil. It’s the distortion and twisting of our culture away from God’s original design that is wrong. So we’re not to separate ourselves from fallen culture, but instead learn how to engage and redirect it according to God’s original design for ultimate flourishing.


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The Revelation of God’s
Triune Gospel Part 1: Creation

Gospel means “good news,” and the Bible reveals to us the good news that the Father’s creation, ruined by the Fall, is being redeemed by Christ and restored by the Holy Spirit into the Kingdom of God. In the gospel we see the nature and work of the Triune God reestablishing his kingdom on the earth after the Fall.

To help us better understand this, let’s look first at how God’s original mission for humanity and the world was inaugurated by him at creation – which is the way God’s kingdom is supposed to be. Then we’ll examine how God’s kingdom was overthrown by Satan and sin at the Fall – which is not the way God’s kingdom is supposed to be.

The Father’s Creation: The Way God’s Kingdom Is Supposed to Be

The Scriptures teach that God created the world out of nothing, and then he rested. But God’s work in creation did not stop at the beginning, like the deists’ imagined clockmaker who creates a clock, winds it up, and then steps back to allow the clock to work completely on its own.

Instead, as soon as God rested from his original work of creation, he immediately continued his creative work by sustaining and ruling over everything he had created. This is called God’s providence (Prov 15:3, Ps 104:24). God sustains and rules over all creation not only directly as Sovereign King, but also indirectly through his image bearers, as they cultivate and develop his creation on the earth.

Creation in its original state was good, but it was far from complete. So God made humans through whom he would continue to develop his creation and establish his kingdom on the earth.

When God created the world, he designed the way it’s supposed to operate. So God’s creation includes not only the laws which govern the physical and biological world but also a creative order of laws and norms for the way things are supposed to be.

For example, this creation order includes things like the sanctity of life, the Sabbath rhythm, the institution of marriage, the sanctity of work, and even political order as examples of his creative order (Rom 13:1, 1 Tim 4:3-4, 1 Pet 2:13) for the ultimate flourishing of humanity on earth. God’s plan was for Adam and Eve to develop his creation by multiplying and subduing it according to this creative order.

As Adam and Eve learned how to apply these laws and norms in all their spheres of life, God’s plan was to establish his kingdom on earth through their application of them, developing the whole domain of human relationships and societal organizations for his glory. The result of Adam and Eve developing God’s creative order under their influence is called culture.


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The Revelation of God’s Triune Nature and Work

God’s Triune Nature: Who God Is

The attributes of God’s simplicity and complexity in Scripture reveal his mysterious, triune nature–what is traditionally called the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Bible teaches that God is one God (Deut 6:4, 1 Cor 8:4). But, in many places, the Scriptures also ascribe divine attributes and actions to three divine entities which the church has historically called “persons”, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christian orthodoxy affirms throughout the ages that each of these three is the one true God.

Although the Scriptures teach that God’s being is one, this does not mean that God is only one person who can be described in three ways or forms. The ancient heresy of Modalism (sometimes called Sabellianism) teaches that God is one person who reveals himself in three ways (modes, forms, or manifestations), e.g. the belief that sometimes God reveals himself as Father, at other times the same person reveals himself as Son, and at other times he reveals himself as Holy Spirit.

In the Bible, the three “persons” are always distinct from one another and not interchangeable. The Father sends the Son (John 3:16); the Son prays to the Father (John 17); the Son obeys the Father (John 5:19); the Father and the Son send the Spirit into the world (John 14:26, 15:26); the Spirit speaks on the authority of the Father and Son, not on his own authority (John 16:13).

God’s Triune Work: What God Does

In Scripture, each member of the Trinity reveals unique aspects of his person and work in the history of God’s unfolding plan for the world. For example, in Ephesians 1, the Apostle Paul refers to the Father’s will before creation (1-5), the Son’s accomplishment of God’s will in redemption (6-10), and the Spirit’s application of God’s will in sealing believers (11-14).

In this series, we’ll explore what the Bible reveals to us about who God is as Triune Lord (his attributes) and what God does as Triune Lord (his work, his plan) in creation, redemption, and the restoration of all things. Here’s a brief survey:

The Father Establishes God’s Plan for Creation

It is the Father, not the Son or Spirit, whose knowledge establishes God’s plan for the world and authorizes the tasks that the Son and the Spirit will carry out in his plan. In creation, God the Father reveals his supreme authority as Lord over all things, by wisely establishing his eternal plan to rule over all humanity and the world he creates for his glory.

Humanity Rejects God’s Plan in the Fall

But humanity rebels against God’s rule, sinning against him. As a result of the Fall, all humanity and creation come under God’s just curse. Although the Fall resulted in humanity’s condemnation and the corruption and distortion of God’s good creation, it did not destroy it. And by his grace, God determined to redeem and restore all things lost in the Fall.

The Son Accomplishes God’s Plan in Redemption

It is the Son, not the Father or Spirit, whose power accomplishes God’s plan for the world by executing it through his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return. In redemption, God the Son reveals his sovereign control as Lord of all things, by mightily accomplishing God’s eternal plan to redeem all of fallen humanity and creation.

The Spirit Applies God’s Plan in Restoration

It is the Spirit, not the Father or the Son, whose presence fulfills God’s plan for the world by applying Christ’s redemptive work to all things lost in the Fall. In restoration, God the Spirit reveals his transforming presence as Lord in all things, by graciously applying God’s eternal plan to restore all of fallen humanity and creation for his glory.

God’s Triune Gospel: Who God Is and What God Does

The gospel is the revelation of who God is and what God does in creation and redemption. The gospel story begins with the person and work of God the Father in creation. After the fall of humanity into sin, it’s the story of the person and work of God the Son in redemption. And it reaches its climax in the person and work of God the Holy Spirit restoring the fullness of God’s kingdom on earth.

While no single definition of the gospel can do it justice, the gospel can be summed up as the good news that the Father’s creation, ruined by the Fall, is being redeemed by Christ and restored by the Holy Spirit into the Kingdom of God. In the gospel we see the nature and work of the Triune God reestablishing his kingdom on the earth after the Fall.


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