We believe in God. We believe Him to be loving and love itself. We believe He created, and sustains our universe. Everything is under His power, and everything submits to His authority. We believe Him to be Holy and absolute Holiness. We believe Him to be Judge of humanity because of His Holiness. We believe Him to be full of mercy and grace. We believe He is slow to anger and abounding in love. We believe He is jealous for our worship. Because of these beliefs, we believe that the word of God, the bible, is true and is inspired by Him. The bible teaches us that God created human beings to be in relationship with Him. He desires our worship, and desires us to be with Him. (Gen 1:1, Ex 20:1-3, Lev 19:2, Ps 103:8, Lk 18:9, Jn 3:16, Rm 2:6, Rm 5:5, Heb 6:10, 1 Jn 4:7)
The bible also teaches that our relationship with God was broken with sin. Sin is everything that takes us away from the will of God, thus making a gap between us and Him. Sin literally means “missing the mark.” If God is Holy, people that have missed the mark cannot be near Him, because His holiness is too much for our systems. The bible teaches that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It also teaches that the price of sin is death. (Gen 3:14-19, Rom 3:23, 6:23)
In order to be restored into a worshipful and right relationship with God, we need to be made Holy once again. Because we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and our entire world is stained with this falling, we have no means to fix the problem. There is nothing we can do, no magic formula, no special words, no actions or motions that we can perform that can fix the problem. It is all stained with sin. So God, out of his love for us, came to earth in human form. He took the initiative to come and to rescue us from this terrible fate. This human form was Jesus. He was simultaneously God and human. He came and understood from our perspective the human condition. As a human he participated in the functioning of this world, yet He remained sinless. He was sacrificed on our behalf; remember, the price of sin is death. Yet Jesus being God has power over death; remember, all things in existence submit to Him. And so he rose from the dead and announced to the world that He indeed was the solution to the problem of sin. He alone is the path back to the restored relationship with God. Since Jesus has all power over the universe, He did not die again. He rose into heaven in full view of many people.
Before leaving He made this promise to His followers: “I will not leave you as orphans.” He then promised to send us someone to comfort and teach us called the Holy Spirit. (Isa 9:6,7, Lk 22-24, Jn 3:16, Col 1:15-20)
The Spirit’s role is to encourage believers, bring them understanding from God, help them to see and understand his/her own sin, and to move the believer closer to being like Jesus.
The Spirit is God, who literally dwells inside of us. Remember: we can live with God inside us because Jesus has forgiven our sin and made us brand new in relationship with God. The Spirit is like a trailer for a movie, guaranteeing what is to come yet allowing us to know what Life with God will be like.
Jesus makes great demands on our lives, that we are to do work that He prepared for us to do, to live lives of obedience to God, to live lives of victory over sin. But like Jesus said He did not leave us as orphans, the Spirit empowers us to do things that He has asked of us!
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit comprise what is called the trinity. Each are simultaneously one, and separate. They are not three gods, they are unique in how they function and are expressions of the same God, equal in power and authority, yet ONE in that there is no separation between them. They exist as perfect community. This community is why we humans were created for relationship with God. (Nu 11:25, Isa 11:2, Jn 14:15-27, Ac 1:5, Ac 2:4, Ro 8:26)
Jesus also said that He would be returning. However when He returns God will create a new heaven and a new earth, because sin and everything tainted by it will be destroyed. This new existence will be the real deal that we have waited patiently for. We will get to be with God, and God with His people as He originally intended.
We have no idea when that day is coming, so what do we do in the mean time?
God gave us freedom from sin through Jesus entirely because of His grace. It is now our duty to live our lives in obedience to His will out of gratitude for His actions. (Matt 24, 1 Th 5:2, Rev 16:16, Rev 22:7)
This is a critical component of being freed from sin. Once an individual has made the choice to become a follower of Jesus, they participate in the actions of Jesus by being baptized. The word literally means to be immersed, so we baptize people fully under water. We see baptism taught in scripture and modeled by Jesus.
We do baptisms publicly to announce to the world that we have become followers of Christ. (Matt 3:13, Ac 2:38, 8:12, Ro 6:3,4, 1 Cor 12:13, 1 Pe 3:21-22)
Jesus gathered His followers and asked them to remember His actions every time they met through a simple meal: a loaf of bread and a cup of wine. These symbols represent the body and blood of Jesus that was broken and poured out for us. We participate in this celebration every week, using bread and some grape juice, to celebrate the sacrifice and resurrection and to anticipate Christ’s return. (Matt 26:21-24, Lk 22:19-22, 1 Co 11:23-26)
The bible teaches that all things in the universe are God’s. This means we can have nothing without Him. So He has asked His followers to give to Him. Not because He could use a loan, but help our own faith in showing that our trust is in Him. He asks for the first ten percent, and we see that as an amazing act of faith. (Mal 3:6-12, Lk 11:42, 2 Cor 9:7)
God prepared work for us to do in this world. All of it is meant to bring Him glory, and get people into relationship with Him. It is important to understand that we do not follow what is in the bible, or do work for God, in order to gain favour, or in any way to earn His love, or to pay for previous or future sin. Serving is our duty in gratitude for what Jesus has done for us. It is also the responsibility of ever believer to serve. (Matt 28:18-20, Jn 12:26, Ro 12:11, Eph 2:10, Gal 5:13, 1 Pe 4:10)
The bible teaches us that we must support, forgive, encourage, instruct, rebuke, teach, love, and enjoy one another. This means that we actively pursue community with each other and allow each other to speak into our lives.
Globally this means that we do not reject other community’s faith in Christ because we disagree on a few details of scripture. Not everyone agrees on everything. But in our eyes that is ok. We exist to see God’s cause be furthered, and we join in the global community of believers who put their hope and their faith in Jesus. (Ps 133:1, Matt 18:15-16, 1 Co 1:10, 1 Jn 4:11, Heb 10:25, 12:14-16)