There is only one God, and He has chosen to reveal Himself through the Bible. Here we find that God is perfect in His holiness and is the very essence of truth. He reigns over the entire creation, which He brought into existence and loves very much. God exists in three persons, co-eternal and co-equal with each other and dwelling forever in a state of perfect love, harmony, and contentment. God does not change.
God the Father
God the Father is the creator and sustainer of the created order, which he created out of nothing. In his sovereign purpose he has given His son a people for his own possession, i.e. the church. Although of no greater power or importance than the other two persons of the Trinity, God the Father does occupy a position of greater authority within the godhead.
God the Son
God the Son is the second person within the Trinity. God the Son came to earth as a human being in the person of Jesus Christ, living a perfect life in every way and providing an appropriate sacrifice in order to redeem those whom the Father has given to the Son. Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man during his life on this earth and continues to be fully God and fully man to this very day and will continue forever this way. Because he is both God and man, he is the perfect mediator to provide for our salvation.
God the Holy Spirit
God the Holy Spirit is the third person within the Trinity. He has come to glorify the Son, just as the son came in order to glorify the Father. He convicts the world of sin and brings people to repentance through the work of regeneration, whereby he replaces the heart held captive to sin with a heart held captive to God. He leads us as a church, providing unity and direction in all that we do. He lives and dwells in those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
Because God desires that all men would know Him and honor Him, He has given mankind the Bible. Some things can be known about God from observing His creation, but the Bible provides us with a much more comprehensive and clearer explanation of who God is and what he demands from humans. The Bible was written by a number of men over a period of about 1,500 years who were moved upon by the Holy Spirit in what they wrote. Because the Bible is a product of both men and God, it retains the distinctive literary flair of each individual author but is perfectly true in its entirety. It is literally “God-breathed” and therefore is our final authority in every subject it addresses, as though God were speaking directly to us. All of Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is Himself the focus of God’s revelation to man.
Human beings are the climax of God’s creative genius and are His most beloved creation. He created humanity to exist in a perfect relationship with Him, marked by mutual satisfaction and enjoyment. This relationship grew until man, prompted by the temptation of Satan, rebelled against God’s authority and sought to establish himself as sovereign. This act of rebellion has forever disrupted not only man’s relationship with God, but also the relationships between men and even man’s relationship to God’s creation. The effects of this disruption are widespread and cannot be overcome by human effort alone. When the original humans fell they plunged all of humanity into a state of rebellion as its representatives. This predisposition to rebellion has been passed down throughout all the generations of mankind as an inherited condition of the heart. All men are born without a desire to enter into a relationship with God on His own terms.
Were it not for God’s graciousness, humanity would have no desire or ability to escape from the clutches of an inherited sin nature. Not willing that any should remain in their sin and ultimately perish, God provided a means of salvation through His son, the second person within the Trinity, who came to earth as a man. When we are united with Christ through genuine belief in Him, we receive His righteousness, just as he took on our sin when he died on the cross. When an individual is genuinely transformed by the Holy Spirit and places his or her faith in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection as the only means to eternal life, there is a radical change that touches every aspect of life. This is the good news, or gospel, of Jesus Christ. Although every Christian struggles with sin as long as he or she lives, the true test of God’s work is a sustained progression of affection for Christ, as seen in obedience that persists throughout a person’s life.
The church consists of those individuals whom God has given to Jesus Christ for his possession, having given them a new heart and called them to repentance and faith. Sinful men and women from every corner of the globe have been radically transformed and accepted into this fellowship with Christ, all of whom he purchased with his own precious blood and loves very much. There is both a universal aspect of the church, by which all believers at all times are united, and also a local aspect, where a group of believers come together and establish themselves as one part in this universal church. The church is not a denomination and was not devised by men, but instead was instituted by Jesus Christ himself and he has promised that he will preserve it until the very end of the world. The church exists in order to provide God with the honor and glory he deserves, as well as to spread the good news about Jesus Christ to the entire earth. God has ordained that the church would help to transform people into the image of Jesus Christ through disciple-making. The church is also responsible for being a force for reformation in culture, providing a tangible representation of what it means to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ and making valuable contributions to culture. During Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, He gave to His church two ordinances to be exercised within the local body of believers. The first is water baptism, a symbolic representation of the union that a believer has with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism is to be performed only upon a person’s profession of faith in Christ and should be done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The second is the Lord’s Supper, where the local church together partakes of a meal symbolizing Christ’s broken body and shed blood on our behalf. Like baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be taken only by those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ.
When man sinned and fell, this not only affected his own relationship with God but the entire created order. God’s ultimate plan is the full restoration of His creation. Through His life, death, and resurrection Jesus has reversed the effects of man’s sin throughout the universe. The full effects of Christ’s redemption have yet to be realized, however, and thus we now live in what many have termed the “already-but-not-yet.” The lingering influences of man’s sin and Satan’s reign over the world continue to be felt, despite Christ having conquered these. The church waits in eager anticipation for the day when Christ will return to earth, establish His kingdom, and bring all of creation into perfect submission to His authority.