Water fall at sunset with open field background
Key Beliefs

It is not just what we believe, but who we believe and why that is important.

Almost every religious group in the world uses parts of the Bible to support some of their teachings; so how does one know what is true, what is worth believing?

The key is Jesus…

…Not just things He taught or said, but the very essence of who He is and what He did.

Jesus doesn’t just tell us what to do or believe. He lives it out Himself – He alone could do it perfectly – and He gives us His perfect, saving life as a gift.

He does this because He loves us so deeply, and He knows very well our weakness and fickleness. And this is why His death sacrificed for each of us is so important. Unique to all other religions, the death of Jesus is the preeminent part of His story. Why? Because it is our only salvation.

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is who He claimed to be – the Son of God. His origin is from eternity. Through Him everything that exists was created and is sustained. From the beginning of the world, He has at times appeared to people in angelic-form to unfold His plan to save sin-infected people. At His chosen time in history, He took on our humanity, becoming true God and true Man in one person, that He might live a perfect life in our place and then sacrifice His life to pay for our sin. Though crucified, dead and buried, He rose from the dead, confirming His Lordship and conquering sin and death. All who trust in Him are given His eternal life and salvation.

Who are we?

We human beings are the crown of God’s creation.  God made mankind in His image with the unique ability to think spiritually and morally and to judge motives, thoughts and actions accordingly.  We were endowed with God-like creativity and logic, so that we, as His special representatives, could exercise dominion over the earth and all other creatures.   At the same time, we were to always joyfully acknowledge our complete dependence on God and His loving dominion over us.  And that’s where things went wrong.

The world’s first man and woman fell to the temptation of questioning God’s love and wanting ultimate dominion over themselves.  As God had warned, it marred His image in them and plunged them and the world into a death spiral.  Ever since, every person is born without a true understanding of God, and without a desire to treasure Him as God over their own life.  This is what the Bible calls sin.  Because God is just, He must punish it.  And yet, because He is gracious and merciful, God punished Himself in the person of Jesus, so that all people might be set free from death and be reunited with Him as their loving Lord.

As much as we humans enjoy thinking and living as though reality revolves around us, it does not.  It revolves around Jesus.  And He is not someone that any of us can take for granted; nor should we want to.

And there’s a difference between focusing on teachings of the Bible and focusing on the person of Jesus.  Listen to what Jesus said to some very religious people:

“You study the Scriptures [the Bible] diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)

Life is in Jesus Himself.
Hiking trail in the woods
Jesus made amazing promises for you. Trusting in Him you…
  • …will not perish and not be condemned. (John 3:16-18)
  • …will be set free by His truth.  (John 8:32)

  • …will have a heart flowing with “living waters.”  (John 7:38)

  • …have already crossed over from death to life.  (John 5:24)

  • …will never again hunger or thirst spiritually.  (John 6:35)

  • …will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.  (John 8:12)

  • …will live, even though you die.  (John 11:25)

  • …will be raised to life on the last day.  (John 6:40)

Jesus said amazing things about His eternal existence and authority:
  • “Very truly I tell you: before Abraham was born [2000 years earlier], I am!”  (John 8: 58)

  • “I, as the good shepherd, lay down My life for the sheep…No one takes My life from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”  (John 10:11 & 18)

  • “My kingdom is not of this world… In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”  (John 18:36-37)

  • “Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.”  (John 17:5)

  • “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
HIking at sunset

As the way, only Jesus’ perfect sacrificed-life BRINGS sinners into the holy presence of God, and He saves us from the pride and deception of self-righteousness.

As the truth, only Jesus’ knowledge and understanding HARMONIZES with the reality God has established, and He saves us from the pride and deception of spiritual half-truths.

As the life, only Jesus is the very source of all things, who totally CONQUERS death, and provides PERFECT WHOLENESS to us frail beings.

We have none of these in and of ourselves, but Jesus gifts them to us:

  • His perfect way to God,
  • Knowledge of what is true, and
  • Eternal life in all its fullness.

Before returning to heaven, Jesus gave wonderful instructions to His Disciples for continuing His saving mission:

  • “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”  (John 20:21-23)
  • “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.”  (Matthew 28:18-19)

  • “Take, eat; this is My body. . . Drink of this, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  (Matthew 26:26-28)

  • Jesus alone has authority to speak about God and spiritual realities.

    “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.” (John 1:18)

This eternal Being sent from God, the person of Jesus, is our sure salvation.

Our Beliefs in Summary

Our beliefs flow from who Jesus is, what He said, and how His life showed such beautiful love to us very needy people.

The one true God is three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Still, He is beyond our full comprehension.)

God loves every person and has secured their salvation through Jesus’ perfect life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection.

God’s spoken promises create and strengthen faith. Jesus continues to bring people of each generation to trust in Him, through His faithful servants who proclaim the forgiveness of sins and life He won.

God’s visible promises also create and strengthen faith. God loves the physical world He created. He even entered it and took on physical flesh. God also comes to us in visible, physical promises: life-giving water applied to us in Baptism, and Jesus’ life-saving body and blood given to us with bread and wine in The Lord’s Supper. He connects these elements to Jesus’ saving death and resurrection, and so He gives and strengthens faith through them. These are God’s way of ensuring that we lean completely on Jesus for our comfort and assurance rather than on ourselves.

The Bible is God’s Word. God loves us and wants us to know Him. Through His Holy Spirit, God moved certain of His chosen servants to record what He wanted to reveal to us. The Bible doesn’t answer every question we have, but it tells us what we need to know about Jesus, about ourselves, and about His plan to save us. The Christian faith is grounded in history that is affirmed by secular historians, archaeology and geography.

We can be certain that we are God’s children and will spend eternity with Him. But we do not find this peace, comfort, and assurance in anything we do – not in our decision, our commitment, our good intentions, or our ongoing dedication. Our faith is not in our faith. We rest completely in what Jesus did and continues to do for us.

Jesus will return as judge of all people at the end of time, and all people of all time will be raised from the dead. Those who trusted in Jesus will be raised to everlasting life; those who did not trust in Jesus will be raised to everlasting separation from God.

God renews us through worship. We come to worship, not with a subtle self-focused sense of needing to muster-up faith or prove its genuineness to God. Rather, we come to worship to receive again from Jesus the good news of all that He did for us and His great forgiving love for us – and these gifts from Him renew and strengthen faith once again. And they give true rest to our souls and assurance and comfort for whatever life brings.

God delights in His children. God calls on His children to love and trust in Him above all things, and to love and serve all people everywhere. Resting in the saving works of Jesus and as His children pointing others to Him, God actually delights and rejoices in us.  He is our joy, and we also become His.