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Here are some of our thoughts on the essentials of the faith. We'd love to have a conversation with you about it rather than just reading text on a webpage. Let us know if you'd like to talk.
As the foundation for our faith, we trust in the power and authority of God and His word. Through history, God has revealed himself through prophets, judges, His Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible. We look to the scriptures to help us understand who God is. The following belief statements guide our understanding of who God is and who we are as His creation.
God wants to be known and worshiped by his creation because he is loving and created us for relationship with him. The question that haunts a great many people is, “How can I really know God?” That’s why the Bible, or Scripture, is so important to us and to our church.
God has revealed himself—who he is and what he is like—within the pages of the Bible. It is broken down into sixty-six books within the Old and New Testament. From start to finish the Bible tells the story of God’s glory and faithfulness. We believe that although God used human agents to write the Bible, they wrote exactly what he wanted so that we can rightly say that the Bible is God’s Word. It is God’s word in such a way, that to disbelieve or disobey anything we find in Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God. That is why it is so important to read and understand the Bible. It is the authority by which all other books, teachings, and patterns of life are judged. It’s the standard of God’s truth given to us, that helps us distinguish between what is true and false.
Within the pages of the Bible he has told us that we were created for his glory, how our sin and rebellion broke the world by belittling his glory, and how he sent Jesus to vindicate his glory and mend our brokenness, restoring us to right relationship with him. He tells us how to live in ways that honor him and bring about our greatest joy. Apart from God revealing himself we’d be left to our own subjective experiences and ideas to try and find out who God is and what he is like (and there are plenty of ideas out there). But God did more for us than leave us to guess about how to find him in the middle of our brokenness, he revealed himself through the person of Jesus and the writing of the Bible.
If you want to know God, read his book!
-What comes to mind when you think of the Bible?
-How is your view of scripture influenced by knowing it is God’s message for us today?
-How has reading the Bible impacted your understanding and faith in God?
Doctrine of Scripture
When we speak of the Doctrine of Scripture, we are referring to the authoritative sixty-six books of the Bible that make up the Old and New Testament and serve as the Christians guide to belief about God and life with God.
Key Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Psalm 19:7-11
The Bible teaches several key truths about God. First, there is only one true, unchanging God. In Deuteronomy, God reveals himself and says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Isaiah 45:5 says, “I am the Lord. There is no other. Besides me there is no God.” Therefore, Christians do not believe that hundreds of gods exist who are equally worthy of worship and able to save. Rather, there is only one, true God worthy of our worship and devotion and who is able to save us from sin, the God of the Bible. He is all-powerful, all knowing, and rules and reigns over all things.
Secondly, although there is one God, he eternally exists as three distinct persons—The Father, Son, and Spirit. Christians refer to this as the Doctrine of the Trinity. Each member of the Trinity is fully and equally God, but distinct from one another. The Father directs all things and plans man’s redemption, sending the Son. The Son (Jesus) accomplishes man’s redemption and forgiveness through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. The Spirit draws us to Jesus and applies that redemption by changing our hearts and empowering Christians to live like Jesus.
This is probably one of the most difficult doctrines of the Christian faith. Many people struggle to explain the Doctrine of the Trinity, trying to fit God into a box. This leads people to say several wrong things about God. Many religions want to claim that Jesus was just a good prophet or teacher, while Christianity affirms that Jesus was much more than that, he is God in the flesh. These truths distinguish Christianity faith from all other religions. Despite what many want to claim, all religions are not claiming the same thing about God or paths to the same God.
Furthermore, these truths reveal aspects of who God is that give us hope. For example, because God has always lived in perfect relationship with himself, we know that he is relational. He wants to know us and to be known by us. He is not a distant dictator that simply screams out commands to us and threatens to smite us with lighting bolts if we don’t do what he says. He isn’t simply some cosmic counselor in the sky we can only run to when we have problems, but are ignored by the rest of our lives. He values relationship, so much so that the Father actually sends the Son to restore relationship with us. The real question that everyone has to ask is, “Do I have a real, personal relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ?” This is the most important question anyone ever answers!
-When you think of God, what comes to mind?
-How do the three persons of the trinity impact your relationship with God?
-What does it mean to you that the all-powerful, all-knowing God desires to be in relationship with you?
Doctrine of God
There is only one true God, who eternally exists as three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Spirit – who are each fully and equally God in eternal relationship with one another.
Key Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-2,14; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21
We believe that God is the creator of everything that exists. In its original state, creation was a perfect place full of good things and the splendor of God. Inside of creation God placed human-kind, the pinnacle of his creation. God made the first man and woman, named Adam and Eve and gave them physical life and spiritual life. God created them to live together in relationship with him for all eternity—without shame, brokenness, guilt, or sin.
However, Adam and Eve rebelled against God. Instead of trusting and believing God, they chose to believe the lies of Satan and disobeyed God. They chose to value (worship) creation over their creator. Knowing that they had sinned, they then tried to hide from God. The result of their sin would be physical death—their bodies would return to the dust, and spiritual death—perfect relationship with God was broken. Due to their actions all people are now born as broken, rebellious sinners against a holy God. We have a sinful nature that resists God in word, action, and thoughts.
This means that everyone stands before God guilty of sin, just like Adam and Eve. And just like Adam and Eve, people now try to hide from God. We turn to all kinds of destructive sins to try and find purpose, meaning, and joy that never fades. Each time we’re let down, never realizing that our deepest longings aren’t found in this broken creation, but can only be satisfied by the Creator of all things.
-What does it mean to you that God created all things and intended for his creation to be in perfect relationship with him?
-How has your brokenness and the sinfulness of the world impacted your life?
-What have you tried to do in life to give yourself purpose apart of God?
Doctrine of Creation & Sin
God originally created everything that exists. He poured into creation his perfection, beauty, and splendor in order that everything made might reflect his glory. The pinnacle of God’s creation was mankind whom he made in his very image. Mankind, however, instead of reflecting God’s glory rebelled against God, worshipping creation instead of the creator and robbing God of the glory he alone deserves.
Key Scripture: Genesis 1-3; Romans 1:18-32; 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-4
Since God is completely just, he must judge our sin. He cannot simply sweep it under the carpet. Since we have all sinned, everyone has incurred a debt with God and faces judgment. Even if you think that you’re a pretty good person, your good deeds would never be enough to pay off your bad deeds. When a thief goes to court, he doesn’t get to talk about all the good stuff he’s done in his life in hopes the judge will take that into account. The fact is that he’s guilty. God doesn’t have a scale of good and bad that he weighs people on to decide if they deserve salvation or not. He looks at our actions and attitudes and rules on whether or not we have been perfect.
Because no one is perfect and everyone has sinned, everyone stands guilty before him as sinners. The penalty for that sin is eternal separation from God in hell.
However, God, in his infinite mercy, made a way for sinful people to have their sins forgiven and right relationship with him restored. God sends his only son, Jesus Christ, to the earth. He lives the perfect life that we could never live and then freely offers himself on the cross as a substitute for sinful people. It was at the cross that God paid for mankind’s debt at great cost to himself. Jesus rose from the grave three days later proving that he had authority over sin and death and showing God’s approval of his sacrifice. For all those who confess that they have sinned against God, believe that Jesus is the Son of God who takes away their sin, and put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior the Bible declares that they are saved.
This is one of the most beautiful truths about the God we worship. He did not owe us anything but judgment. Yet he loved us enough to send his Son to die for us. This is also a truth that separates Christianity from all other faiths. We believe, as Scripture says we should, that salvation and right relationship with God are only found in the finished work of Jesus through the cross and resurrection. You can never be good enough to earn salvation. It is a free gift, given to those who humbly come to Jesus. Salvation is not given to those who look to their own strength and boast in their own ability, but for those who look away from themselves and their own strength and to person of Jesus.
This kind of love and grace changes someone. When you come to faith in Jesus, you don’t live in sin like you did before. You’ve entered into a relationship that changes the way you relate to God and others You begin to want to live like Jesus commands you to—to fight sin and injustice more and to love God’s family, the church. The love of God, displayed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, changes everything!
-How has the brokenness in your life impacted your relationships with God and others?
-What does it mean to you that a perfect God would accept your punishment of death?
-How would experiencing God’s love and restoration in your life impact those around you—your friendships, family, work, school, etc?
Doctrine of Atonement
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was sent to earth by the Father to offer himself as a sacrificial substitute for man. Through his death on the cross he satisfied God’s wrath, atoned for man’s sin, and opened the door for salvation. Through his resurrection he secured eternal life for all who come to him in faith.
Key Scripture: John 1:12; 3:16, 36; Romans 3:21-26, Colossians 2:14; 1 John 5:11-13
The Church of God is not a building. The church meets in a building, but it’s much more than that. Unfortunately, the image most often in people’s minds when they think of the church is a building made out of bricks, with stained glass windows, and a steeple. The Church, however, is made up of all those who trust in and follow the life and teachings of Jesus.
The Universal Church is made up of all believers in every age who have been incorporated into the body of Jesus by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus. The Church is called the Body of Christ because it physically represents Jesus here and now. This means that the Church takes their marching orders from Jesus and strives to look like Jesus. Jesus fed the hungry, helped the poor, and pointed people to himself for salvation. The Church today is to do the same thing by helping those in need, working for justice, defending the helpless, and pointing sinners to the person and work of Jesus for salvation. It’s a community set apart for the purpose of declaring the freedom found in Jesus with the singular goal of glorifying God.
The Church is made up of men and women from every nation, race, color, and language. It isn’t for perfect people who think they have it all together, but instead a community for those who are hurting, fighting sin, and desiring to truly know the God of the Bible. If you feel like you don’t have it all together, like you’re too messed up to be loved and helped, then please hear and believe us when we say this, YOU ARE INVITED AND WELCOME HERE!
The local church is a visible manifestation of the universal church in a particular geographical location—it is a group of Jesus followers that are called to represent God in their city and neighborhood. As an extension of the universal Church, the local church exists to glorify God through corporate worship, the preaching of the Word, and acts of service. All Christians are commanded to connect with a local body of believers for encouragement and accountability, and only those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior are eligible for membership. We take membership in the church seriously because of scripture does.
All throughout the New Testament we see churches being established and called to live out the mission of Jesus. The reality is that the church is an important part for someone growing in their faith in Jesus. The Christian life was never meant to be lived in seclusion. The church is a place to connect with other believers and have the help we need to live out our faith in Jesus.
-What comes to mind when you think of “church”?
-How does your community impact your decisions and how would a church community encourage your faith?
-What would it look like for you to be a part of a church that shares the love of Jesus in their city and neighborhood?
Doctrine of the Church
The Church is called the Body of Christ because we represent Jesus to all people, in all places, and at all times. Everyone who has come to faith in Christ is filled with God’s Spirit and considered a member of God’s Church. Christians are to be baptized, actively involved in a local church, and using their gifts to build up the church.
Key Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 2:19-22; Colossians 1:15-23
Judgment is a scary thing, especially when you know that you’re guilty. That is what makes the final judgment spoken of in the Bible such a sobering event.
The Bible is clear that one day your life on this earth will end, but you will not. It says that there is a day coming in which Jesus will return and every man and woman will stand before him to give an account of how they lived their lives and how they responded to Jesus. Because God is holy and just, he must punish sin and those who have chosen to reject Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. On the day of Judgment, only those who have placed their trust and faith in Jesus, who have loved him, and treasured him in this life will be given the joy of spending eternity with him. Those who rejected, ignored, and refused to repent and come to Jesus to have their sins forgiven will get what they want—an eternity separated from Christ.
There are many today who try and soften this truth in the Bible. They try and make it sound like hell is not real or that it is only for a short period of time. The Bible, however, says that hell and heaven are both eternal places where real people will live. There is no second chance after death or crossing over from one place to the other. Your choice about following Jesus today has eternal consequences.
The reason hell is so bad is because the God who we sin against is so great. For hell to be an appropriate response to our sin, it must be equal in severity to the infinite dishonor we show God when we reject His authority and providence in our lives. The reason heaven is so amazing is because the God we worship is greater and sweeter than we could ever fathom—and we will spend eternity with Him!
There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who love and treasure Jesus and those who don’t. John puts it this way in John 3:36 when he writes, “Whoever believes in the Son (Jesus) has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” So the reality of a final judgment should cause us to ask, “Am I ready to stand before God and give an account for my life?”
-If you were to die today, what would you say to God about how you lived your life?
-How does the existence of heaven and hell impact how you see your life today?
-What would it look like if God was greater and sweeter than anything else in your life? Are you training your heart for eternity?
Doctrine of the Final Judgment
Everyone will one day have to stand before Jesus and face judgment. At this judgment all of mankind will be separated into two groups, those that Jesus knows and has a relationship with, and those he does not. True believers will be ushered into eternity with Christ, forever to enjoy fellowship with God. Those who reject Jesus will be cast into hell, forever separated from the God they rejected.
Key Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-46; John 3:16-21; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15
(The majority of this doctrinal writing was taken from the writings of "Grace Community Church" in Gresham Oregon. (https://www.gracecc.net/beliefs))
Just email us and we'd love to sit down with you and discuss the intricacies and simplicity of what we believe and why we believe it.
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