We believe

In the Authority and Power of the Bible

What We Believe

The Purpose of God

As followers of Jesus Christ,
living in this world—
which some seek to control,
and others view with despair—
we declare with joy and trust:
Our world belongs to God!

For God’s ownership of all things, see Psalm 24:1 (quoted in 1 Cor. 10:26), Job 41:11, and Deuteronomy 10:14. That this is also “our world”—given to the human race to keep and care for—is one of the themes of the creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2.

From the beginning,
through all the crises of our times,
until the kingdom fully comes,
God keeps covenant forever:
Our world belongs to God!
God is King: Let the earth be glad!
Christ is victor: his rule has begun!
The Spirit is at work: creation is renewed!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

For God’s faithfulness, see, among many passages, Psalm 89, 117, 145; Romans 8:31-39; and Hebrews 10:23. For the victory of God in Christ and the rule of Christ, see 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Philippians 2:9-11, and Revelation 1:13-18. For the Spirit’s work renewing creation, see Genesis 1 and Romans 8.

Still, despair and rebellious pride fill the earth:
some, crushed by failure
or broken by pain,
give up on life and hope and God;
others, shaken,
but still hoping for human triumph,
work feverishly to realize their dreams.
As believers in God,
we also struggle with the spirits of this age,
resisting them in the power of the Spirit,
testing them by God’s sure Word.

Psalm 2 expresses the rebellious spirit of the human race. See also Romans 1-3. Ephesians 6:10-17 describes the struggle of believers with the spirits of the age. On testing the spirits, see 1 John 4.

Our world, fallen into sin,
has lost its first goodness,
but God has not abandoned the work of his hands:
our Maker preserves this world,
sending seasons, sun, and rain,
upholding all creatures,
renewing the earth,
promising a Savior,
guiding all things to their purpose.

See Genesis 3; 9:8-16; Psalm 104, especially verse 30; Matthew 5:45; and Acts 14:17. For the promises of a Savior, see Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; 11:1-5; 42:1-7, 53; and Micah 5:2.

God holds this world
with fierce love.
Keeping his promise,
he sends Jesus into the world,
pours out the Holy Spirit,
and announces the good news:
sinners who repent and believe in Jesus
live anew as members of the family of God—
the firstfruits of a new creation.

For God’s fierce love, see Hosea 11, especially verses 10-11. For statements of the gospel message, see John 3:1-21, Acts 2:36-39, Romans 10:7-11, and Ephesians 2:1-10. For “firstfruits,” see Leviticus 23:9-14 and James 1:18.

We rejoice in the goodness of God,
renounce the works of darkness,
and dedicate ourselves to holy living.
As covenant partners,
set free for joyful obedience,
we offer our hearts and lives
to do God’s work in the world.
With tempered impatience,
eager to see injustice ended,
we expect the Day of the Lord.
We are confident
that the light
which shines in the present darkness
will fill the earth
when Christ appears.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Our world belongs to you.

The Authority and Power of the Bible

God gives this world
many ways to know him.
The creation shows his power and majesty.
He speaks through prophets, poets, and apostles,
and, most eloquently, through the Son.
The Spirit, active from the beginning,
moved human beings to write the Word of God
and opens our hearts to God’s voice.

For general revelation, see Romans 1 and Acts 14; for the inspiration of the Bible, see 1 Timothy 3:14-17 and 2 Peter 1:16-21; and for the full revelation in Christ, see Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1.

The Bible is the Word of God,
the record and tool of his redeeming work.
It is the Word of truth,
breath of God,
fully reliable in leading us
to know God
and to walk with Jesus Christ
in new life.

For the nature of Scripture, see Luke 1:1-4, John 20:30-31, Acts 8:26-39, James 1:18, and references in paragraph 31.

The Bible tells the story
of God's mighty acts
in the unfolding
of covenant history.
As one revelation in two testaments
the Bible reveals God’s will
and the sweep of God’s redeeming work.
Illumined and equipped by the Spirit,
disciples of Jesus hear and do the Word,
witnessing to the good news
that our world belongs to God,
who loves it deeply.

For God’s mighty acts, see Acts 2 and 7; for our instruction, see Matthew 16:13-19, 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, and James 1:19-27.

The Uniqueness and Universality of Christ

Remembering the promise
to reconcile the world to himself,
God joined our humanity in Jesus Christ—
the eternal Word made flesh.
He is the long-awaited Messiah,
one with us
and one with God,
fully human and fully divine,
conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.

For Jesus as the incarnate Son of God, see Luke 1:31-35, John 1:1-14, and Hebrews 1:2-3.

As the second Adam,
Jesus chose the path we had rejected.
In his baptism and temptations,
teaching and miracles,
battles with demons
and friendships with sinners,
Jesus lived a full and righteous human life before us.
As God’s true Son,
he lovingly obeyed the Father
and made present in deed and word
the coming rule of God.

In Romans 5:12-21, Christ is designated the second Adam. Hebrews 2:10-18 and 4:14-5:2 teach about his life of righteous humanity; the announcement of the kingdom is found, among other places, in Mark 1:1, 14, 15.

Standing in our place,
Jesus suffered during his years on earth,
especially in the tortures of the cross.
He carried God's judgment on our sin—
his sacrifice removed our guilt.
God raised him from the dead:
he walked out of the grave,
conqueror of sin and death—
Lord of Life!
We are set right with God,
given new life,
and called to walk with him
in freedom from sin's dominion.

For Jesus’ lifelong suffering, see Hebrews 5:7-10. All four of the gospel passion accounts portray the depths of his suffering on the cross. Jesus’ resurrection victory is proclaimed often, especially in Matthew 28:1-10 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.

Being both divine and human,
Jesus is the only mediator.
He alone paid the debt of our sin;
there is no other Savior.
We are chosen in Christ
to become like him in every way.
God’s electing love sustains our hope:
God’s grace is free
to save sinners who offer nothing
but their need for mercy.

Christ is shown to be our mediator in 1 Timothy 2:5 and Hebrews 9:11-15, and our only Savior in John 14:6 and Acts 4:12. For our election in Christ to be like Christ, see Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and Ephesians 1:3-4.

Jesus ascended in triumph,
raising our humanity to the heavenly throne.
All authority, glory, and sovereign power
are given to him.
There he hears our prayers
and pleads our cause before the Father.
Blessed are all
who take refuge in him.

For Christ’s universal authority and intercession as ascended Lord, see Matthew 28:18, Psalm 2:12, 1 John 2:1-2, and Hebrews 7:25. For the ascension of our humanity with him, see Hebrews 4:14-16; Ephesians 1:20-22; 2:6; and Colossians 3:1-4.

Faith & Hope

Kris Vos | March 31, 2019

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