There is one true eternally triune God, consisting of Father, Son and Spirit, who is the infinitely perfect creator of all things. The three Persons of the trinity are co-equal in majesty, glory, divinity and eternality, dwelling in a state of eternal love and service with each other.
The Father is the source of life and giver of identity to all things animate and inanimate, spiritual and physical, seen and unseen. The divine love for creation spoken of in the scriptures is that of the Father’s. His desire is to be known as Love and for people to find eternal life in knowing Him as Love. This desire is communicated by the Son and Spirit.
The Son is the divine revelation of the nature of the Father. His relationship to the Father and the Spirit is one of perfect faith, hope and love, and it is from the Father that He has been eternally receiving His identity, making Him the begotten Son of God. The Son’s primary role in His earthly ministry and now in His heavenly ministry is to make the Father known. He did everything by faith and obedience, motivated primarily by love for the Father. He was virgin born. He lived a sinless life. He died a sacrificial, intercessory and victorious death. He bodily rose from the dead on the third day. He literally and physically ascended into heaven. He continues to intercede for the church.
The Spirit is the divine instructor of the heart and mind into the true understanding of the nature and purpose of the Son as the divine revelation of the Father. The Spirit reveals the Son, so that the Son can reveal the Father. The Spirit’s relationship with the Father and the Son is one of perfect faith, hope, and love. The Spirit’s primary role in the world is to reveal the work and character of the Son. His purpose is to continue and to bring to completion the work began by the Son in redeeming into salvation a new humanity, known as the Church. He does this through the creation and illumination of the scriptures as the revelation of Jesus. He sustains and guarantees the success of the Church in trial and temptation through protection, conviction and intercession.
God created people for the purposes of displaying His likeness and sharing in His love for the flourishing of all life. The original intent was for people to function as vice-regents and priests on the earth, which He created to be a temple to His glory. Humans were created in the complementary roles of male and female, living as husband and wife, so that they could effectively and successfully carry out their responsibilities of creation care, procreation, and loving one another. This was all to be done by grace through faith in God. Adam and Eve, the original humans, turned their hearts from faith to self-reliance. This rebellion condemned all humans to be conceived into a condition of eternal sin and death.
The Bible is the Spirit-inspired, authoritative revelation of the message of Jesus Christ, and as such is the only guidebook for understanding the character of God, as it is revealed in Jesus. Its primary purpose is to reveal how people can find eternal life in God. The Bible presents the entire scope of the Divine/human interaction in story form, as it starts with the original intent and concludes with the ultimate fulfillment. The Bible is full of humanity’s attempts at failed solutions to dealing with sin and death. The story reaches its apex with God’s ultimate victory in Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life for dealing with sin and death.
Humanity has two primary problems: sin and death. Sin exists on two levels. First, sin is a human activity. Sin can be either doing bad things or failing to do good things by faith. Anything not done in faith is sin. Second, sin is an enslaving, overpowering reality into which every person is born. These two manifestations make every person a victim, perpetrator, and a promulgator of sin. The main objective of sin is to hurt God and what He loves. The entire condition of the world is one of sin, which means nothing functions according to God’s original intent. Sin, in any form, has only one outcome: death. Sin leads to death and death leads to sin. People are born into slavery to both sin and death. Satan was the original sinner, who became the master of all in sin and death. Our first father, Adam, condemned all humans to this fate by rejecting faith in God’s grace when he choose to live by sight in the Garden of Eden, thereby putting all people in need of salvation.
Salvation is what God places people into as they respond in faith to the grace of Jesus bringing about the New Creation through His death, burial and resurrection. Salvation on earth looks like the ever increasing physical embodiment of the New Creation realities (i.e. Fruit of the Spirit). And salvation in eternity looks like the absolute and sinless physical embodiment of the New Creation realities. The verbal telling of this story is called the Gospel.
The gospel is the transformative, power-releasing story of Jesus’ life, death for sins, resurrection and enthronement as King. The Gospel is the good news that people’s sins were forgiven through Jesus’ victorious and intercessory sacrifice on the cross and that, starting now, people can be eternally free from enslavement to sin and death. This saving victory of Christ changes everything from the cosmic down to the most intimate corner of the human heart. The gospel is the good news that because of God’s grace, people can enter into this saving reality through repentance of sins leading to faith. It is the message of Jesus Christ as the ultimate, eternal solution to the horrible problem of sin and death. The gospel is the good news that this life is not the end of the story. It is the good news that everyone can live by the faith, hope and love originally intended. The gospel is the good news of the creation of the New Creation in Jesus. The gospel is the good news that everyone can be delivered by grace through faith from the coming eternal judgment and live in the joy and peace of the New Creation with God and others forever.
The Church exists to be a unique and sacrificially loving family, chosen from every tribe, tongue and nation by the Grace of God. She is supposed to live in close relationship with Jesus Christ as her Founder and Head so that she can fulfill her purpose of knowing Him and making Him known, to herself and the world, through the faith, hope, and love (i.e. fruits of the Spirit) that come from living in submission to the Spirit. The church exists in two ways. The first existence is the universal church, which is composed of everyone, everywhere, at all times that have lived by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The second way the Spirit manifests the church’s existence is by causing little groups of believers, within the universal church, to grow up in neighborhoods, towns, and villages around the world. These smaller groups are known as local churches. The church will go through many trials and tribulations until Christ returns to live with her forever in the New Creation, but she has the promise that Her husband, Christ, will never leave her nor forsake her.
Christ instituted two rituals to function as pictures and proclamations of His grace. Baptism by immersion is a one-time event in which an individual declares to God, the church and the world the desire to devote allegiance and trust to Jesus Christ. Communion, known also as the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist, is a recurring communal ritual, which is done for the purpose of remembering and proclaiming the gospel. Baptism is a sober practice that causes the mind to reflect on the great commitment and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as well as the great commitment of discipleship. In contrast, Communion is celebratory and uses the bread and the cup to remind the Church of the eternal and triumphant nature of her salvation in the New Covenant of Christ.
Christ promised that He would come back in a literal, physical, glorious, and victorious way. At His return, both the living and the dead, saved and unsaved, will be raised to face the judgment of either eternal life or eternal death. Those inheriting eternal death will be forever separated from the infinitely joyous love of God, in a place originally designed as punishment for the devil and his angels. Those inheriting eternal life will be ushered into the Father’s presence, so that they can live in the unity of the Trinity forever. This new life is the New Creation. The New Creation will be an eternal, physical existence without a hint or shadow of anything associated with sin and death. The End is what we live and long for now.