While it may be a familiar story, how well do we know it? Many people believe this story is the most important story in the world. The characters and main events of the narrative are commonly known, but how well do we really understand it?
This is the story about God. This is the story about humanity. This is the story about everything that exists. It is this grand narrative that I want to tell you about, even if you have heard it a thousand times. For what we discover in this story inevitably surprises, baffles, and sometimes even offends both those who are near and those who are far away.
But I believe that if this story is understood, and if we have the courage to believe it, everything looks different. God looks different. You and I look different. Everything about this world looks different. And yet, the point of the story is not merely to change our thinking but to liberate our lives.
Here is how it starts:
From all eternity God not only has existed, but he has lived in perfect fullness, joy, and delight. At some point the eternal God then did the unfathomable: he created everything out of nothing—as a gift. For he alone existed until he spoke with creative force and brought that which was not into being. Whether one thinks of sand or stars, trees or people, God created all that is not God. All that has come into existence owes its ultimate reality to him.
As Creator, God is the King and owner of all things. God himself is the artist of this diverse, beautiful, and dynamic world, so this world should reflect the brilliance and contentment of its Creator.
However, unlike the lifeless statues made by a sculptor, living and free people were created by God. Out of God’s freedom he made creatures in his image to reflect his reign as king; he created us to walk with him, to commune with him as we enjoy his presence and blessing. But we have rejected his love and his lordship, which has resulted in death and disaster. We have turned from the One to whom we belong. As a result of our sin and rebellion, the great song of creation turned into a deafening moan. This rejection of God’s kingship caused a rupture in the entire cosmos, for, if you could hear it, even the rocks and the trees began to cry out against this fissure between the Creator and the crown of his creation.
What could be done? God could have decided simply to crush his creation as a frustrated potter crushes a disappointing new jar, choosing to start over from scratch. But God took another way.
In the pages of The God Who Gives you will read the story of divine generosity. When captured by the depth of God’s gifts in the gospel, we discover that he frees us to participate in his work of grace, hope, righteousness, and love. This is the generous life; this is what belonging to God is all about.
We have written The God Who Gives in the hope that as we learn to dwell in the good news of belonging to God, we will grow in the freedom to give ourselves to God and others in ways that are impossible for those who treasure their lives as their own. We hope people will discover in this book how, in God’s strange economy, to live with God as the Master is not suffocating but is the very thing that will finally allow us to breathe deeply and live courageously. We invite you to “take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Tim. 6:19 NIV).
— Kelly M. Kapic with Justin Borger, The God Who Gives: How the Trinity Shapes the Christian Story (a new revised edition of God So Loved, He Gave).
How to Use This Book
The God Who Gives will help everyone in your church (even those without any biblical or theological training) think through key, pivotal ideas of the Christian faith, in an accessible way that can immediately impact:
- their lives at their jobs and in their homes
- how they think and how they pray
- how they respond to forgiveness and extend forgiveness
- how they wrestle with important issues such as poverty and justice
As Kapic explains in this video, this book offers your church a chance to work through these and other important issues, as a body, with an approach that’s theologically deep but accessible to all—an approach that Dallas Willard called “vividly inspiring.”
The God Who Gives: How the Trinity Shapes the Christian Story