We believe that God created the world as a good place, and that people – created in his very image – are intrinsically good, beautiful and valuable.
But according to some unfathomable mystery, God created us in such a way that we can choose to rebel against him. In the Fall – humanity’s fundamental rebellion against God – things have become tainted. Humanity, and even creation itself, has invited and inherited a kind of ugly second nature through a dark and unavoidable legacy. We now live under – and are ourselves contributors to – the dominion of sin and death. We have become estranged from God, from other people, and even from ourselves.
God, in his incomprehensible mercy, has relentlessly pursued the redemption of the world and the creatures he loves. He has been at work throughout history recalling his children and preparing the way for them to return to him. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – God’s own son – God has busted wide open the path to reconciliation. He offers the complete forgiveness of sins, as well a homecoming to a proper relation with him as loving father, righteous king, and one true God.
This way back home is exhilarating and freeing, as well as terrifying. It requires that we come in humility and repentance, demanding even our very death as we are buried with Christ in baptism and united with him in his resurrection, raised to walk in newness of life.
Despite the reality and intensity of the actual change effected in us by God, we still live in an only begun-to-be-restored world and personal state; for now we see through a glass, darkly, and know only in part. Our hope, however, is that the restoration which has been inaugurated by God through Christ will one day (soon) be brought to full completion.
In that day, God will judge once and for all – exposing what is now hidden, bringing to light that which is now covered in darkness. In that day, Christ will reign forever in the New Jerusalem, where there will be no more pain or death or tears, and where we will finally see face to face, knowing fully, even as we are fully known.
We now live in the meantime – confident in the redemption that’s been begun while eagerly awaiting the final restoration. Here our task is to be sanctified – continually changed more and more into the likeness of Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit as we trust and follow him in discipleship. We also have the task of proclaiming the gospel – the forgiveness of sins and new life that has come through Jesus as the free gift of God – to a broken and dying world.
We are to faithfully live out this mission in and with the community of other believers (the Church) as we pray for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven. We are to be people who individually as well as corporately live under the authority of God’s Word spoken in the scriptures, being continually judged, encouraged and transformed by it.
We are to live in accordance with the fruit of God’s Spirit that is in us, considering others’ needs above our own and mutually submitting to one another out of love for Christ. Remembering that God loved us first, we are called to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
Come, Lord Jesus.