A Journey of Evangelism in Scripture: The Fall

by Paco Amador

(Editor’s note: This is the 2nd post in a series called “A Journey of Evangelism in Scripture,” where we travel from Genesis through Revelation to look into the intersection of evangelism at various points of time.)

Evangelism and the fall, evangelism in scripture, Paco AmadorA few weeks ago a friend was helping me hone my personal presentation of the gospel. She asked me to read and re-read through Romans 3:23 with fresh eyes.

“Now,” she continued, “imagine a neighbor of yours who has never heard nor understood this truth, and see how you would explain the content of this verse to him in your own words.”

I came up with something like this: “We are all broken and unable to enjoy God’s good plan for our world.”

As I chewed over these words, I was not ready for the sadness that was unleashed upon my heart.

  • All are broken?
  • Unable to enjoy God’s good plan for us and our world?

If that is true, then without God’s intervention we are so doomed!

Our common beginning leads us back to a garden and a family, gloriously described in the words of Genesis 2. There in beautiful fellowship and God was among his people.  In the following chapter we find the retelling of how our willful decision broke God’s heart for the very first time and left us hopelessly broken. Yes, “The fall.”

There are moments of sadness. We have all experienced them. And then there are moments of gasping-in-pain-with-excruciating-aching that no amount of medicine or soothing words can dispel.  Such was the moment when Adam and Eve hid in shame. Distrusting God’s good plan, they pushed God’s reliable words away and made a path of their own… away from Him.

As sin flooded into our bloodstream, we, as a human family, inherited the skill of ruining, running, blaming, and hiding. We are hopelessly broken.

People in my Mexican community in Chicago tend to worry about being cursed by sworn enemies, ex-lovers, or competitors. Our main street is lined with storefront businesses providing all manner of conjurings and curses to put on others.

While I would never want to make light of the effects of those evil schemes, we have bigger problems. There is a greater curse upon every one of us. This curse has been with us from the very beginning. This curse is the effect of our fall.

We, the human family, are rotten at the core.

Our sin has given way to a curse that covers all of the cosmos.

We have ruined it all.

And we are in no position to fix any of it.

The Bible seems to hammer the truth of our desperate state over and over. “What a wretched man I am!” cried Saint Paul. “Who will rescue me…?”

Peter nails it even further.  “You have killed the author of life!” he said to the crowds. The vibrant image that those words evoke in me is that of someone piercing a heart with a knife and then slowly twisting it.

The only proper response to our condition seems to be desperation.

“The fall,” our human fall, is the great equalizer. The rich as well as the poor, the beautiful and the ugly, the strong and the weak—we are all shot through with the ill effects of sin.

“It is not the healthy,” Jesus said, “who need the doctor, but the sick.” In a very real way, none of us can fully appreciate the goodness of a medicine unless we are thoroughly aware of our illness.

A drink of water means nothing to those who live in the midst of abundance. But it is life to those in a parched land.

And those who find themselves hopelessly lost, by the miracle of God’s goodness are found.  Those who find themselves desperately broken, by the miracle of God’s beauty are made new.  “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” Jesus said.

Only in God’s restoration plan is every broken, desperate, fallen sinner invited to join God’s overhaul work. Those who have ears to hear are invited to join.

In Jesus the recognition of our despair becomes the door to our healing.

Lost, no longer,
Broken no more.
Welcome home.

 

Paco-Amador-2Paco Amador (@PacoChi7) pastors the New Life congregation in a Mexican immigrant neighborhood in Chicago. He enjoys running, dancing with his four daughters, wrestling with his three boys, and bike riding through the city. Pastor P and his wife, Sylvia, have been married for 20 years.