The heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ does not involve living good or disciplined lives in order to gain something from God - quite the contrary. The Gospel understands that in and of ourselves we cannot offer anything that is powerful enough to alter the consequences of being broken, flawed people living in a broken, flawed world. Neither can we prevent our inevitable deaths, and the resulting separation from all we know and love.
It is God alone who possesses this power, and in His love, He has taken the initiative to set us free from the alienation and anxiety, the bondage that characterizes our lives. The long story that began at creation and continued in the story of ancient Israel, reaches its decisive, history-changing and life changing climax in Jesus.
The goal of history is that God’s purposes for all creation will finally be brought to fulfillment. God has accomplished this in Christ, and the invitation to share in God’s life, and His ongoing redemptive mission in the world, is offered to all as a gift of grace; a gift of inestimable and eternal value.
Following Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, in an intentional life of emulating His example as disciples through Christian practices, is the response of gratitude that the Christian offers.
God the Father
From the revelation to Israel, we learn that there is one God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. This means the universe is good, and it is the work of a single loving God who creates, sustains, and directs it. The world belongs to its creator; and we are called to enjoy it and to care for it in accordance with God’s purposes.
Also known as the Holy Scriptures, these are the books of the Old and New Testaments. Other books, called the Apocrypha, are often included in the Bible.
The Old Testament consists of books written by the people of the Old Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to show God at work in nature and history.
The New Testament consists of books written by the people of the New Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to set forth the life and teachings of Jesus and to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom for all people.
The Apocrypha is a collection of additional books written by people of the Old Covenant, and used in the Christian Church.
We collectively call them the Word of God, because God inspired their human authors and because God still speaks to us through the Bible. We understand the meaning of the Bible by the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Old Covenant
A relationship offered by God to the Hebrew people, in which He promised they would be His people, to bring all the nations of the world to Him. This covenant with the Hebrews is found in the books we call the Old Testament.
God required His people to be faithful; to love justice, to do mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.
By heaven, we mean eternal life in our enjoyment of God. By hell, we mean eternal death in our rejection of God.
By everlasting life, we mean a new existence, in which we are united with all the people of God, in the joy of fully knowing and loving God and each other.
We believe that God will raise us from death in the fullness of our being, that we may live with Christ and the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise.
This is to live with confidence in newness and fullness of life, and to await the coming of Christ in glory, and the completion of God’s purpose for the world. We believe that Christ will return in glory and power to judge the living and the dead, and will make all things new.
Our assurance as Christians is that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God the Son (Jesus)
Jesus is the only perfect image of the Father, and shows us the nature of God – which is love. By God’s own act, His divine Son received our human nature from the Virgin Mary, His mother. Jesus became human, so that in Him we might be adopted as children of God, and be made heirs of God’s kingdom.
By His obedience, even to suffering and death, Jesus made the offering which we could not make; in Him we are freed from the power of sin and reconciled to God. By His resurrection, Jesus overcame death and opened for us the way of eternal life.
Jesus took our human nature into heaven where he now reigns with the Father and intercedes for us. We share in His victory when we are baptized into the New Covenant and become living members of Christ.
We are part of God’s creation, made in the image of God, which means that we are free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation and with God. It means that all people are worthy of respect and honor, because all are created in the image of God, and all can respond to the love of God.
However, human beings have misused their freedom and made wrong choices from the very beginning. We rebel against God, and we put ourselves in the place of God.
The good news is, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, as an offering for sin, that we might be made right with Him.
The New Covenant
The new relationship with God given by Jesus Christ to all who believe in Him.
Christ promised to bring us into the kingdom of God and give us abundant life. The response He requires is to believe in Him and to keep His commandments – that we shall love God with all our heart, soul, and mind; and we shall love our neighbors as ourselves.
Christ also taught us the New Commandment, that we love one another as Christ loved us.
Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as His children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of His Kingdom.
The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in which the person is baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is union with Christ in His death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit. At baptism, it is required that we renounce Satan, repent of our sins, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Infants are baptized so that they can share citizenship in the Covenant, membership in Christ, and redemption by God. Promises are made for them by their parents and sponsors, who guarantee that the infants will be brought up within the Church, to know Christ and be able to follow Him.
1 Peter 3:21
God The Holy Spirit
The Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is God at work in the world and in the Church, even now.
The Holy Spirit is revealed in the Old Covenant as the giver of life, the One who spoke through the prophets. In the New Covenant, The Holy Spirit is revealed as the Lord who leads us into all truth and enables us to grow in the likeness of Christ.
We experience the Holy Spirit’s presence when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord, and are brought into love and harmony with God, ourselves, our neighbors, and all creation. We recognize truths to be taught by the Holy Spirit when they are in accord with the Scriptures.
Sin and Redemption
Sin is seeking our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, other people, and all creation. Sin has power over us because we lose our liberty when our relationship with God is distorted.
Redemption is the act of God which sets us free from the power of evil, sin, and death. The Messiah is the one sent by God to free us from the power of sin, so that with the help of God we may live in harmony with God, ourselves, our neighbors, and all creation.
The Messiah, or Christ, is Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son of God.
The Church is the community of the New Covenant. It is described as the Body, of which Jesus Christ is the Head, and of which all baptized persons are members.
The Church is one, because it is one Body, under one Head, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church is holy, because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, consecrates its members, and guides them to do God’s work.
The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time.
The Church is apostolic, because it continues in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and is sent to carry out Christ’s mission to all people.
The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love.
The Eucharist, also known as Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, is the sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of His life, death, and resurrection, until His coming again. The Eucharist is how the sacrifice of Christ is made present and how He unites us to His one offering of Himself.
The outward and visible sign is bread and wine, given and received according to Christ’s command. The inward and spiritual grace is the Body and Blood of Christ given to His people, and received by faith.
The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet in eternity.
It is required that we should examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.
1 Corinthians 11:23-32