For all those visual learners who need to see it to understand it. This is the “Other Bridge Illustration.” And yes, I drew these while at Starbucks.
(David Fitch and I did an entire podcast on this topic if you are interested.)
The Original Bridge Illustration
But first we must talk about the Original Bridge Illustration, that staple of evangelism in my corner of evangelicalism.
This is how I was taught to explain it.
But on God’s side, God chooses to forgive our sin, which is a gift of grace—not earned like wages. And this gift leads to life (Rom. 6:23). So “forgiveness”, “gift”, and “life” are on God’s side.
The death of Jesus—his cross—becomes the bridge by which we cross over from sin and death and receive forgiveness and life.
We cross over to God through the cross of Jesus.
Problems with this Bridge Illustration
Often—but not always—this presentation of salvation emphasizes individual sin and individual responsibility and individual salvation (notice a theme?). It also assumes a movement from the side of humanity (on “earth”) to God’s side (in “heaven”).
Also, this view, when unpacked, usually holds to certain understandings of God’s wrath against humanity and how Jesus’s death satisfies God’s wrath so that we can avoid hell fire (drawn at the bottom of the chasm—too bad I didn’t have a red sharpie).
And lastly, this view can lead to truncated understanding that “Jesus came to die” or “Jesus was born to die“—which I regularly hear on Facebook or Twitter when I emphasize the significance of Jesus’s ministry or the kingdom of God.
The Other Bridge Illustration
But humanity IS separated from God.
Something needs to be done.
We need salvation.
So here is the Other Bridge Illustration.
But on God’s side is the kingdom of life, the redemption from sin, and liberation from the powers.
The bridge is made of three stones—the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (I don’t know why stones. It’s just what came to me).
God coming to us.
But here is the main twist.
Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God is coming to us.
God comes from heaven to earth. God comes to the damned and the sinners. God comes to the enslaved and captives. God comes to seek and save the lost.
The totality of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection witnesses to this.
Salvation comes to where we are. And this has always been the case. From Genesis to Revelation, God seeks to dwell with humanity. And God is pursuing humanity, bridging every divide, overcoming every obstacle.
This is the victory of God—not that we leave the place of sin and death, but that God overcomes by coming to our place of need, of desperation, of death.
To be fair, parts of the Original Bridge Illustration are true and we shouldn’t ignore them. But we must place them in the larger context of the Other Bridge Illustration—The Christus Victor Illustration.
What needs to be added?
What would you add to make this better?
(I want to figure out the best was to add the Holy Spirit to this illustration.)
(This post it is part of my “20 for 20” post where I write for twenty minutes a day for twenty days [BUT I WENT WAY OVER TODAY]. So these are quick thoughts as I push out my ideas and practice writing. See my explanation here.)