The Bible is not a moral code that says “Behave like this.” It’s not a system of doctrines that says, “Think like this.” The Bible tells a story and invites us in: “Live into this.” This is what it looks like to be a human being in a righteous relationship with God and others. This is who God is. This is what God is doing. Jump into this. Live it.

“Come and see,” the Bible says. “Come and eat.” This is how Jesus talks. This is how he shapes us, how he invites us to participate in the grand story. “Suppose one of you has a sheep,” he says. “Suppose one of you has a friend at midnight.” Jesus talks in stories and wants to know how you would live into it. “Which of these three was a neighbor? Now, go and do likewise.” Live into this.

The Bible gives us the words and the attitude and the perspective to help us engage our experiences and make sense of our lives. The story helps put our circumstances into the context of “God and Us.” So we read the Bible and interpret it and apply it like a story, not like a rule book or a science text or an instruction manual. Like a story. Because we’re living it.

Here’s the story.

God lovingly created men and women and placed them in a world to be in perfect harmony and righteous relationship with him, with themselves, with others, and with all of creation. That’s what God wants. That’s what he did.

But then we tried to go our own way. We believed we knew better than God how to enjoy his lavish gifts and we blew it. We became slaves to sin and trapped by our own rebellion. But our God stepped in to save us. He made promises to his people that he would send a Savior to rescue us from the bondage of sin and death and bring all of creation and all men and women back together with him.

Then God used a covenant community, a people he chose, and the Messiah came through that community to bless the whole world. Jesus the Christ willingly gave up his very life, he submitted to the very worst we could throw at him, and he died for us. He loves us that much. He loves you that much.

And on the third day, God’s Holy Spirit brought Jesus back to life from the grave to defeat once and for all the forces of sin and death and Satan and anything else that might separate you from God and from one another.

And now, today, we are that covenant community. The Church – that’s us. And our God is working in us and through us to share his grace and love and salvation with every corner of his creation. And someday soon, very soon, he’s coming back. And we are all going to live in his face-to-face presence forever. No barriers. No walls. No sin. Perfect righteous relationship with our God, with ourselves, with others, and with all of creation forever.

Isn’t that a beautiful story? That’s the Bible. That’s our story.

So many people today are crushed. And scared. They’re tied up in knots and hopeless because they’ve lost their vision. They’ve lost their imagination for what is and what is going to be. They don’t have the story to help them make sense of their lives and the world we live in.

The Bible is our story. It’s got our God on every page. It shows us our God who loves us intensely and saves us completely and will not be stopped or slowed down in his faithful determination to live with us forever. The Bible’s got all that. And you’re in there, too. It’s got you, too. Now live into it!