What we believe about God and our relationship with Him
Who God is
We believe that there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 44:6) who has always existed as three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
We believe that God has revealed himself in nature and the human conscience (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20, Romans 2:15). However, these revelations fail to show the most important information every human needs to know—who the true God is and how he has provided a way for us to live forever with him. We believe that every person needs the full revelation of God which he provided in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:18). In Jesus, God has revealed himself as the Savior-God, who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16).
We believe that God has given the fullest revelation of himself for all people in the words he caused to be recorded in the Holy Bible. His revelation in the Bible has two main messages, the law and the gospel. The law shows what is right and wrong and God’s punishment for disobeying it. The gospel proclaims the love of God for law breakers (sinners) which he has shown especially by providing salvation from sin through Jesus Christ.
What the Bible is
We believe that the entire Bible is about salvation in Jesus (John 5:39) and that every word of the Bible was given by God (inspiration).
We believe that the Bible is true and without error in everything it says (John 10:35). So we believe the Bible is the only authority and guide we need for everything we believe and do.
We believe that the Bible is fully sufficient, clearly teaching people all they need to know to get to heaven. It makes them “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15), and it equips them for “every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
How we got where we are (Creation, Man and Sin)
We believe that everything in heaven and on earth, including the human race, came into existence in the beginning when God created heaven and earth and all creatures (Genesis 1, 2). We believe that every human being is God created as a soul that is precious to him. God’s desire is that every human being would love and serve him in response to his love and forgiveness to them.
We believe that the first humans, Adam and Eve, were created perfect by God, but lost that perfection when they yielded to the temptation of Satan and disobeyed God’s command (Genesis 3). As a result of their sin, God’s judgment came upon all people (Romans 5:12-19). That sinful condition has been passed on from parents to children ever since (Psalm 51:5) making us all inclined only to evil (Genesis 8:21). All people are by nature dead in sin and separated from God (Ephesians 2:1); as such they are unable to reconcile themselves to God by their own efforts and deeds.
Who Jesus is
We believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, one with the Father from all eternity (John 1:1, 2). Jesus is unique in that in him God’s true nature and a true human nature are inseparably united in one person.
We believe that God the Father sent Jesus to perfectly obey God’s law as a substitute for all humans (Matthew 5:17), so that on the basis of his perfect obedience all people would be declared holy (Romans 5:18, 19). We believe that his perfect obedience is accepted by the Father as our righteousness, his death for sin as our death for sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). We believe that his resurrection gives full assurance that God has accepted the payment he made for all (Romans 4:25).
How we are saved
We believe that sinners are saved from their sins only by God’s grace—his undeserved love for sinners. This love of God moved him to provide sinners with everything they need for their salvation as a free, unearned gift (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
We believe that as a result of Jesus’ perfect life of obedience and innocent death for sin God has declared all sinners perfect (Romans 5:18, 19). We believe that individuals receive the free gift of salvation only through faith and not on the basis of their own works (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Unbelief refuses the free gift of forgiveness won by Christ and offered by God to all (John 8:24).
We believe that people cannot create this saving faith in their own hearts (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Holy Spirit alone works faith in people’s hearts to recognize that “Jesus is Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:3). The Holy Spirit works this faith by means of the gospel (see How God works in us). Therefore we believe that a person’s conversion is entirely the work of God.
How God works in us
We believe that God has established special means by which he imparts all spiritual blessings to sinners. We call these the means of grace—the gospel in Word and sacraments. We believe that through the gospel—the good news of Christ’s sacrifice that reconciled sinners to God—the Holy Spirit works faith in people whose hearts are by nature hostile to God (Romans 8:7, 10:17).
We believe that God also established two sacraments through which he creates and sustains faith, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. A sacrament is a sacred act established by Christ in which the Word of God is connected with an earthly element to impart the forgiveness of sins.
We believe that through the Sacrament of Baptism the Holy Spirit applies the gospel to sinners thus washing them clean from all sin (Acts 2:38) and giving them a new life (Titus 3:5). In his word God says that ALL people, from their very conception (Psalm 51:5), are born sinful and therefore need the forgiveness of sins and faith which the Holy Spirit creates through Baptism. We believe that God wants the blessings of Baptism imparted to all people regardless of age (Matthew 28:19).
We believe that all who partake of the bread and wine in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper also receive the true body and blood of Christ to assure them of the forgiveness of their sins (1 Corinthians 10:16). This is true because, when the Lord established this sacrament, he said, “This is my body…This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”(Matthew 26:26, 28).
How Christians respond to God’s love and forgiveness
We believe that when the Holy Spirit brings a person to faith he gives them a new nature that wants to do what God wants. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel (see How God works in us) to enable and motivate believers to produce fruits of faith—holy living (Galatians 5:22-25). A believer’s faith in Jesus Christ leads them to live and act in ways that are pleasing to God. “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). Believers are branches connected to Christ the vine, so their faith which is an outgrowth of their connection to Christ will naturally produce good things (fruit) in their lives (John 15:5).
We believe that conduct that pleases God flows from love, for “love is the fulfillment of the law”(Romans 13:10). Faith, however, does not set up its own standards to determine what is loving (Matthew 15:9). True faith delights to do only what agrees with God’s holy will. God’s will is revealed in the Bible, outlined in the Ten Commandments whose content is repeated in the New Testament. Christians will always seek answers from God’s Word when wrestling with moral problems.
We believe that with the Sixth Commandment God seeks to safeguard marriage and the family. Marriage was established by God to be a lifelong union of one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). Sexual intimacy is only to be enjoyed by a man and women who are married to each other (Hebrews 13:4). God condemns sexual intimacy outside of marriage as adultery. Jesus says that adultery is not just a physical sexual act but actually begins with thoughts of illicit sex in the heart (lust) (Matthew 5:28). The Sixth Commandment also forbids homosexual acts—same sex attractions—men engaging in sexual activity with other men and women with other women (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10).