In the beginning God...
Before all things began, there was God, the one living and true God from whom all things have come to be. This God exists as a perfect, harmonious, unity of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that God is most holy, most wise, and most loving, in perfect fellowship with Himself. Out of His abundant holiness, wisdom, and love He created all things. The climax of His creation was the creation of mankind, made in His image in order to reflect his holiness, wisdom, and love. God looked at all of his creation and called it very good. Because God alone is creator of all things, He alone is worthy of our worship.
Because we have been made in the image of God, each human being is created with tremendous dignity and value. It does not matter one's age, ethnicity, occupation, or social status. Every person possesses the image of God within them and is therefore worthy of respect. When God created mankind in His image, He gave us the commission to fill the whole world with His image. We do this through living lives of worship of our creator God and of love toward one another.
But the image of God within us, which ought to reflect God in all that we do, has been marred because of sin. Instead of worshiping God with our whole being, we have replaced God with lesser things on the throne of our hearts.
But the image of God within us, which ought to reflect God in all that we do, has been marred because of sin. Instead of worshiping God with our whole being, we have replaced God with lesser things on the throne of our hearts. Instead of loving our neighbor as ourselves, we put our own interest and desires ahead of others.
Sin is an act of outright rebellion against our creator God. He warned our first parents, Adam and Eve, that the consequence of sin would be death - a separation between God and humanity. Because of Adam's sin, the entire created order has fallen into brokenness and decay, and humanity experiences a fractured relationship with God.
Our loving God did not leave us in our condition of separation from Him, but undertook a plan to bring about the restoration of our relationship with Him. God promised to our first parents that one day He would provide a solution to the problem of sin through a son born to Eve. Through many other promises throughout the Old Testament, God remained faithful to His commitment to bring restoration to humanity and the whole creation.
In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, who was the fulfillment of all of His promises. Jesus, who is the Christ - the King of the Kingdom - is our solution to the problem of sin. Jesus, the God-Man, was born of the virgin Mary, lived a perfect and sinless life, the only human ever to do so, and thus lived in perfect relationship with God the Father. And yet, we believe that Jesus chose instead to take on Himself the punishment of all of our sin - separation from God. This took place when Jesus died on the cross - the death that we deserved.
But death could not hold the Son of God, and on the third day Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus is the first fruits of God's restoration of humanity and all of creation. It is the beginning of the reversal of the effects of sin.
Soon after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to the right hand of God, where He sits having been given all authority over heaven and earth. He continues to be the King, dispensing His Spirit on His people, and ministers to His church until all the enemies of God are defeated.
We enjoy the benefits of Christ's work of restoration by placing our faith in Jesus alone as God and Savior. When we place our faith in Jesus, or trust in Him, an amazing thing happens! The sinful life that we have lived is completely forgiven us, and the perfect and holy life that Jesus lived becomes our own, so that we can experienced a restored relationship with God!
The bible teaches that not only did Jesus die as a substitution for us, He lived as a substitution for us as well. We were supposed to live a life reflecting God's image in all that we do. Jesus lived a life perfectly reflecting God's image because He is God.
When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are also filled with the Holy Spirit, God Himself. The Spirit works within us to bring about restoration of our whole being, a restoration of the image of God within.
We believe that God will one day make everything right. His purpose in the work accomplished by His Son, Jesus, was that all things would be united in Him, thus bringing restoration to all of creation. This is promised in the last book of the Bible which tells us that at the end of the age, God will bring final restoration, described as a new heaven and a new earth. We do not have faith in Jesus in order to escape this world. We have faith in Jesus in order to be restored in this world. Because of the hope we have for God's final restoration, we believe God's people ought to work toward that restoration, empowered by the Spirit, knowing that final restoration will not be accomplished until the end of the age.