The Story of What We Believe

The short version…

The story of our faith in God is a story of God’s faithfulness to us. It is a story told by God himself in the Bible.

In the beginning, God spoke our world into being and created humanity to live
both with him and for him, according to his Word. But rather than live for God under his loving reign, we rebelled and decided to live only for ourselves. And not living for him, we lost our ability to live with him. Yet despite our rebellion, and because of his great love, God had a plan to bring us back to himself.

Having spoken our world into being, God spoke again in the sending of his Son. Jesus lived for God like we never do, then died the death we all deserve, and triumphed over death as the Savior of the world. And because of Jesus, we are able once again to live with God through the gift of God’s Spirit who empowers us to live for God as we never otherwise could.

Now God continues to speak through those like us who put their faith in God’s faithful Son and live out their faith in faith- fulness to him. Together, we are inviting this world back to the one who made it by telling and retelling his story again. And the story is both for today and for forever as we look forward to the day Jesus will return and bring it to completion.

Through Jesus, this story of God’s faith- fulness has become the story of our faith, both as individuals and as a community of believers. In it we have found our identity; through it we understand our world; and by it we seek to live.

The long version…

God. Forever and always, the one true God has existed in the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since before the world began, this God has known exhaustively the end from the beginning, has ruled over all things in absolute sovereignty, and has perfectly been bringing about his good will in our world.

Together, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the world, sustain it by their power, and redeem it for their glory. These three, being equally divine – perfect in holiness and unified in purpose – are therefore equally deserving of our love and devotion.

The Bible. While written by many different hands, in many different places, and at many different times, the Bible is nonetheless the Word of God, inspired in its entirety and at every point by the Spirit of God, and is therefore without error.

Through the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, the Bible tells the one true story of God saving God’s people, ultimately through the work of God’s Son. Our hope of knowing God is to therefore know him through the person and work of his Son, through the written words of the Bible.

As the final authority in all matters of life and faith, we trust all that it says to us and strive to fulfill all that it asks of us.

Creation. In the beginning, God brought all things, both visible and invisible, into existence. He did so of his own free will and for the display of his character, creating everything out of nothing and ordering our world according to his good purposes, perfect and without corruption.

As the climax of creation, God made humanity in his image, both male and female, and appointed them to care for creation and govern it according to his Word. Together, men and women were made to complement one another in this endeavor according to their distinct roles, whether within the created order, within the community of believers, or within the covenantal relationship of marriage. In this, we reflect the fullness of God’s image, known most particularly in God’s relationship with his people, displayed most fully in Christ’s relation- ship to his church.

In everything, we submit ourselves to God as the one who created this world, who is presently re-creating it through the work of his Son and by the power of his Spirit, and as the one who will one day finally re-create it in perfection anew.

The Fall. Though made without fault or flaw, the world in which we live was corrupted and the image in which we were made was distorted when our foreparents, Adam and Eve, willfully disobeyed God.

Tempted by Satan, they fell into sin and thus earned for themselves and for all their offspring after them the punishment of physical, spiritual, and eternal death. All humanity since has been born corrupt in nature and likewise continues to live both in dis- obedience to and in conflict with their Creator.

We are therefore all rightly condemned to the punishment of sin apart from the gracious intervention of the one we have sinned against. So we look to God as our only hope of being rescued from death, reconciled to him, and renewed in his image.

Jesus. For his glory and because of his great love, God the Father sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Lord and Savior of our world.

Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, Jesus was both fully God and fully man, one person with two distinct natures. He lived a perfect life, without sin and in complete submission to the Father. He then suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified by the hands of sinful men, died, and was buried. But the death Jesus died was the death we deserved, as he bore on the cross the punishment of sin on our behalf.

The Father then raised him up from death to life, thereby defeating death and overthrowing our enemy, and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, thus giving to Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth.

By grace, Jesus died in our place. Through faith, Jesus’ perfect obedience is credited to us as we trust in him alone as our Savior and Lord.

Salvation. Having secured a way back to himself through the work of his Son, God grants life to his own through the work of his Spirit.

In the gospel of Jesus Christ, God declares his love for the world and offers the means by which humanity might be saved. By the Spirit, the proclamation of this good news is accompanied with power as God calls his people from death to life.

By grace, we turn back to him, place our trust in the work of the cross, are made alive together with Christ, and are empowered to live as followers of Jesus. Through faith, we are united with Jesus, joined as members of his body, and sealed as heirs and children in the family of God.

God’s People. Since God first set about to save the world, his people have been those called out of darkness to live by faith, in faithfulness to God. On account of Jesus’ work on the cross, God’s people are rescued from death by grace, reconciled to God through faith, and renewed into the image of Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Together, we live out God’s love for us in our love for Jesus, our love for Jesus’ followers, and our love for this world that Jesus loved so much. Our faith in God’s faithful Son finds expression in our commitment to and partnership in local communities of believers, celebrating in the baptism of believers God’s work of bringing individuals from death to life, remembering in the Lord’s Supper Jesus’ body broken and blood poured out on our behalf, and together submitting ourselves to and proclaiming to others the truths of the Bible.

Through these demonstrations of our devotion to Jesus, we tell and retell the story of his faithfulness to us as we look forward to his return.

Future Hope. Jesus has promised that he will someday return to earth to put all wrongs right again. On that day, the dead will be raised and all humanity judged. Those who put their faith in Jesus will be welcomed into everlasting life in his heavenly Kingdom; those who did not, condemned to everlasting punishment in the judgment of hell.

Jesus’ followers will then finally experience the full restoration of their relationship with God. Forever we will dwell with him under the loving reign of his Son, in the glory, splendor, and joy of his eternal Kingdom, when God’s will is at last done on earth as it is in heaven.

For now, we live as citizens of that Kingdom, following Jesus and growing Jesus-followers… and proclaiming this story until he returns.

Download: The Story of What We Believe