What does it mean for us as a believing-community to be biblically-grounded? I think a good way to think about this idea is to discuss what Scripture is, even what the gospel is. As Tim Keller remarks “It’s important to remember the Gospel is a story; not a set of bullet points.” Scripture is not a grocery list of timeless truths but a revelation and record of a mighty God working in his created world. The gospel is not only a story, but the Bible is a story, a five act play if you will. It is a revelation of a transcendent, sovereign and majestic king who speaks things into existence and also a revelation of a God willing to get in the dust and meticulously form and mold his precious people, his vice regents who will rule and reign upon his good earth. Act one is about a God who creates for his glory and shares his excellent reputation and plans with his people.
It is a revelation of a good world gone bad. The stage turns dark as our first parents make decisions that affect all their heirs. They have blessings and opportunities no others could imagine and they go their own way, the way of folly and self-reliance. God’s good world is threatened now with brokenness: Adam and Eve are not at peace within their own skins, they are not at peace with each other, they are not at peace with their creation, and they are not at peace with their covenant God. God however doesn’t come down swinging but lovingly provides for them while justly doling out punishment. Act two is about a humanity who says “not your will but my own” to a loving God who remains faithful.
It is a revelation of God working through his people Abraham, Moses, and ultimately Israel to repair and redeem a world clouded with darkness and pain. God calls a man to leave his home and become the father of a people who would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. God remains faithful to his promises and creates, with the help of Moses, a nation for himself. The goal of Israel was to reflect the kingly goodness of their sovereign God until “… the earth [was] filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Yet, the tragedy continues- blessings and opportunities are lost when a people decide to go their own way. Act three is about a rag-tag group of priests and kings who fail at their appointed task of bringing humanity back to the garden, and a God who painstakingly forgives, reproves, and works within his valued world.
It is a revelation of a good God doing all he could to bring his world back to task and its appointed goal. In important matters of love, it is crucial that one goes himself and not send another of his behalf. This is the climax. In the fullness of time, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. God came himself in the face of Jesus Christ to do what we could not do, to keep a law we could not keep, to die a death we deserved to die, to be raised to life for justification and world in dire need of help, and much more. The climax of the story is the director walking upon stage and entering his beloved play with a plan of redemption, recreation, and glory. Act four is about a God whose humble, servant-like nature leads him to his world to do something that becomes the focal point of all of history and the cosmos itself-die on a dirty, Roman cross outside of Jerusalem for sinners.
Finally, it is a revelation of mission. We find ourselves between the ages implementing and spreading the message of God’s triumph, the victory of God over the forces of sin, death, and evil. God’s new creation is launched upon a surprised world, pointing ahead to the renewal, the redemption, and the rebirth of the entire creation. We go as a community of redeemed people with the gospel message that God has won a decisive battle, has inaugurated a new time and has created a new humanity. Act five is the resolution where, after his agents reach every nation with the gospel, God and man exist in peace for eternity in his renewed world full of wonder, worship, and worthy actions of love and mutual benevolence.
Whatever it means to be biblically-grounded, it certainly means we are committed to the acts of God’s loving-kindness as revealed within his revelation, a written word. Being biblically-grounded means we are committed to creating a worldview where Christ reigns supreme and affects every part of our lives. Being biblically-grounded means we see ourselves within the story as people who have a responsibility to continue God’s new creation work by bringing the nations to worship. Being biblically-grounded means we trust the God of Scripture when tough things happen to his priests like the death of friends and professors, like a mile-wide tornado hitting our Tuscaloosa, or like a constant battle within ourselves to do and be good within God’s new world. Being biblically-grounded means we accept his authority he bestows upon Scripture and yield our desires, thoughts, and actions to the God who is there. We let it challenge our most cherished ideas and opinions and speak into our lives. Being biblically-grounded means we love the God of Scripture and recognize our own finitude and limitations when approaching him. With humility we recognize that we will never fully master this Bible but with joy we seek after the God who is found upon each page. God is pleased with us being biblically-grounded. He says in Isaiah 66:2 that “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Grant us grace to tremble before your Word Lord and to build our life upon this unshakable foundation.