My thoughts are a jumble these days. I have one quarter left before I graduate. I have no idea where I will be working and praying that God bring me to a good place. I’m moving tomorrow and frantically packing up my house. I’m preaching tonight at youth group about Jesus feeding the 5000. I still need to proofread an issue of a certain magazine by Sunday. The boys downstairs playing ball yell anyounghaseyo and anyoungee kehseyo every time I walk downstairs with another box and laugh when I answer back.
My mind returns to a conversation I had last night about how we can know which interpretation of Scripture is correct…or if we can know… And a week prior, I was asked how I would explain the gospel in 30 seconds or less and I gave an equivalent to the Sunday School answers I grew up with, answers I no longer believe connect with the people I talk to about Jesus.
So I was talking with God about it, and I realized why the Sunday School answers don’t really work for me anymore. Those answers start with our sin as a foundation for needing a Savior. But that requires so much explanation and apology and convincing at times, to a world that has trouble defining sin. And so I think gospel must start with our desperate desire for unconditional relationship and God’s crazy dream of a relationship with his creation. And so, God has been pursuing us relentlessly for millennia. How can we not respond when the Creator of the universe loved us enough to send His own son to walk among us and remind us that we are loved? How can we not follow the One who has always been faithful to never abandon or give up on us?
But then I wondered what to do with sin, since it is very real and we do need a Savior to bring us back to God. And I was reminded of Genesis 3, the first mention of sin. We all know the story. Adam and Eve were told they could eat any food in the entire garden except the fruit from one tree. Yet they ate it anyway, and ashamed of themselves, tried to cover it up. God still came to walk among them, calling to them where they were hiding in the garden. Adam’s response? “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Their sin separated them from God, which is what our Sunday School lessons have taught us. But something else caught my attention. It is the fact that God walked among them, even knowing that they had sinned. And it made me wonder, is it possible that our sin separates us from God because it causes us to be afraid to come into God’s presence, and not because God has shunned us for our sin? Throughout the entire Bible, God talks with sinners, blesses fallen people, commissions cowards and liars, and comes to us in spite of our imperfection.
Perhaps this doesn’t change the message of the gospel, but for me, this changed the meaning of the gospel. Yes, we have all fallen short of God’s glory. Yes, the result of sin is death and a curse. And yes, Christ came to break the curse, so that we would not die but have eternal life. But all of this goes back not to our sin as the starting point, but to the love of a God who desires a relationship with His people and is willing to do whatever it takes to bring us back into relationship with Him, even giving up His only Son to die on our behalf.
My thoughts are still running all over the place, but they settle at this one thought, which is simply that “God so loves the world.”
 Genesis 3:10 NIV
 Romans 3:23
 Genesis 3:19; Romans 6:23
 John 3:16; Galatians 3:13
 John 3:16