Our Common Faith

 

In one sense, it’s easy to write down everything we believe in: it’s called the Bible. But if we had to summarize the crucial elements of the common Christian faith, here’s our best shot:

 

The Bible

It’s the book of our faith, the “Constitution” of the church. It was written by men inspired of God (2 Pet. 1:21).

Sure, we have other books on our shelf, but they’re all trying to help us understand and live out this one.

 

The Triune God

We don’t get it, but the Bible says it; so we believe it. Namely, that the one God is somehow three: the Father, the Son

and the Holy Spirit (1 Tim. 3:5, Matt. 28:19). He’s both—He’s “three-one.” And because He is this way, God can be

experienced by us (2 Cor. 13:14). It’s kinda like a smart-phone. Do we understand all the ins and outs of how it works? No.

But do we enjoy its application in our daily life? Absolutely.

 

The Person and Work of Christ

So, there was this man who lived 2,000 years ago. His name was Jesus. The thing is, He wasn’t merely a man. He was God

too (John 1:1, 14; 20:28). He just didn’t look like what people were expecting. Instead of being powerful, rich, and noble, He

was exactly the opposite. So, a lot of people missed Him. Even worse, He was betrayed and murdered by those closest to Him.

 

So then, what was the point of His coming? Well, we had a lot of problems that separated us from God, mainly in the spiritual

realm. So, Christ’s death on the cross took care of all that bad stuff in the universe (John 1:29, Rom. 6:6, Heb. 2:14, Eph. 2:16).

But because He was also 100% God, His death wasn’t permanent. In resurrection, He took on a new form as Spirit so that He

could reside within humanity (John 14:17, 20; John 20:22; Phil. 1:19). Eventually, He went back to heaven and told His best

friends before He left that He would physically return (Acts 1:11, Matt. 24:30). Only this time, it was going to be obvious when

He showed up. And He would be sticking around. Permanently.

 

Salvation by Faith

Nobody is perfect, except God. How could the two parties ever meet eye to eye? We’re not even qualified to pay the death-

sentence that the holy God requires for the forgiveness of all our mistakes (Heb. 9:22, Rom. 3:10, Deut. 17:1). For this reason,

God’s Son came to the earth and lived a perfect human life. After Jesus died, He had no problems with God; so, His death

could be in the place of someone else’s, anyone who would receive it (2 Cor. 5:21). This is the only way God will forgive a

person of their sins and be right with them (John 14:6). And that’s not all! After a person receives this fact, they also get a

two-for-one-deal: the seed of God’s life is planted within them (1 Pet. 1:23). Eventually this life will grow and cause this

newborn child of God to evolve into a mature and virtuous son (Rom. 8:29).

 

The Church

If being a Christian makes you one of God’s kids, then the church would be His ginormous family (John 1:12, Eph. 2:19).

And just like every dad loves it when His children come together for the holidays, God loves it whenever we are knit with

those Christians in our closest vicinity—regardless of race, age, sex, or class (Eph. 1:5, Acts 11:23, Psalm 133:1, Gal. 3:28).

He wants His church to become our life and not just a place where we punch-in and punch-out every Sunday (Eph. 2:22).

Eventually, the impact of our living in oneness will not go unnoticed. Those around us will inevitably feel the impact of our

love and recognize its divine source (John 13:35, Matt. 5:16). Even the God of the heavens won’t be able to stay away

from it—it’s that beautiful (Rev. 19:7).

© 2019 by Church in Ann Arbor