There is only one true, living, and holy God. God, although one, is revealed in three persons, as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each is eternal, possesses all the characteristics, attributes, and authority of God, and each displays distinct characteristics of personhood; and yet, God is one, and only one.
In a display of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, God created the universe, the world, and everything in them. Everything was made from nothing. Life and breath came solely from the Mind, the Word, and the Breath of God; and all things are sustained by God, and for God’s glory. It is for God’s glory alone that we, and this universe, exist.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Before His miraculous birth, in which He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, He was with God, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. He was with them and shared in the glory of God even before the Creation of the universe; and He is with them today, because He is eternal. Just as the Father and the Spirit are eternal, Jesus Christ is eternal. He is with God, and in God. He is God, the Son.
His birth into humanity was part of God’s redemptive plan to save mankind from their sins. God, the Son, would come to live in human flesh; He would reveal God’s love for mankind; and would give His life as a sacrifice to pay the debt for all the sins of the world. While He lived in human flesh, just as we do, He overcame its desires and temptations, and lived a perfect and holy life. This was necessary because an imperfect sacrifice could never justifiably pay for the sins of all humanity. Jesus died on a cross, as that sacrifice; and three days later, He rose from His death, demonstrating that the power of eternal life is in Him. He then ascended into heaven to once again take His seat in glory at the throne of God.
Those who turn away from their sins, who embrace and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, and follow Him in obedience, as He did for His Father in heaven, have had their sins paid for by Him, and have entered into eternal life with Him. Jesus Christ is the giver of life, and He gives freely to all who truly receive Him.
Jesus, being alive forever, is accessible to help those who live in Him, and intercedes for them from His throne in heaven. And one day He will return in the clouds in the same way that He left to bring an end to this world, to judge both the righteous and the unrighteous, and to bring His beloved church into the new heavens and the new earth that He said He is preparing.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has been operating in the world from its creation, and was sent into the world, to reveal, admonish, and enlighten mankind about God and the plan to save the world through Christ. He motivates and empowers those who trust in God to say and do what God desires of them. He convicts the hearts of sinners to acknowledge and confess their sins, and to turn to Jesus Christ for redemption and remission of sins. And if they do, He regenerates their spirits, restoring them to the life, relationship, and communion with God that was severed because of their sins.
The Spirit of God never contradicts the Father or the Son, and because He is the one who guided the prophets and apostles in writing the Scriptures, the Bible never contradicts the Father, Son, or Spirit, either. And since the Holy Spirit works through the hearts and souls of true believers, He also guides their understanding of the Scriptures and the will of God.
Since Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the Holy Spirit has been sent by God as a gift to the church. He dwells within those who have received Jesus Christ, and asked the Father for His gift and the infilling of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit within the heart of believers enables them to overcome the desires and temptation of the flesh, and to live holy and godly lives that glorify God. Those who are led and empowered by the Holy Spirit are also spiritually gifted in unique ways that help and build up the church.
The Bible is composed of words that God impressed His prophets and apostles to write. The men who recorded these words were chosen and led by the Holy Spirit to do this; so although men were involved in the writings, the origin and content rest solely with God. As such, we call these words the Holy Scriptures, and the Living Word of God, because they are God-breathed. God reveals Himself in His Word, He creates in His Word, and He imparts life in His Word. God’s words are perfect and infallible, as God spoke them, and as the original autographs were first recorded. The Bible, then, is the complete and authoritative Word of God. It is the inspired Word of God; it instructs us in the ways of God; and there is no other collection of writings like it, nor will there ever be.
Mankind was created in the image of God – innocent, perfect, and pure. God’s intent was for men and women to walk with God, and remain in fellowship and harmony with God forever. But men and women lost their innocence, perfection, and purity, with a willful choice to disobey the clear voice and will of God. They broke the command of God that would have allowed them to remain in fellowship with Him; but becoming sinners, they were separated from God, and they brought sin and corruption into their lives, and into the world. This has been the pattern of humanity ever since, and the consequences have also continued, bringing suffering, pain, and death to everyone.
But the love of God caused God to provide a remedy. God was not satisfied with the separation and suffering of His most beloved creation; so God made a way to restore fellowship and harmony with us by sending Christ, the Son, to remove our sins, and cleanse our hearts, through His death on our behalf. His death was the payment for our sins, and it was only valid because He lived a perfect and sinless life. No other sacrifice could do that. But God sent His perfect Son, Jesus; and Jesus willingly gave Himself for us. It is by that loving and gracious act that God takes our sins away, and restores purity, holiness, and godliness so that we can, once again, walk with God. This is the gift of salvation, and has been made available to all who turn from their sins and receive, by faith, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in their lives. None of this is earned in any way. It is God’s free gift to all who truly believe and turn their lives to Him.
God reveals all of this in the Scriptures, and He confirms it in the hearts of those who believe and receive Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. It is also confirmed in new and changed lives that persevere in this faith and continue to demonstrate the love of God at work within them.
Beyond This Life
Our place in eternity is determined by what we decide and do in this life. If we die apart from God, our eternity will be apart from God; and if we die in and with God, our eternity will also be in and with God. There will also be a resurrection at the time Jesus Christ returns to bring judgment to this world. It will include all mankind: the righteous and the unrighteous, the living and the dead. The righteous, who walked with God in Jesus Christ, will be led into the eternal inheritance God has prepared and promised to them. They will receive rewards according to what they did in this life, and live in the presence of God forever. The unrighteous, who lived apart from Christ, will be sent away to eternal condemnation because they did not accept the gift of life and salvation that Jesus offered and would have restored them to fellowship with God.
The Church, as revealed in the Scriptures, is made up of all those throughout the world who have received Jesus Christ and genuinely acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord, are participants in His life and communion, and walk with God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Since these believers are all participants together in the holy life of Christ, the Church is the Body of Jesus Christ. The Church is also described in the Scriptures as the spotless Bride of Christ.
When these believers gather together in the Name of Jesus Christ, He is there with them. They come together, devoting themselves to worship, prayer, the teaching of the Word, fellowship, and communion. Each of the members of Christ’s Body serves others by the talents and gifts given by the Holy Spirit; and they serve also to reach the world with the good news of Christ, making new disciples who will also walk with God in the way of Jesus Christ.
God raises up leaders in the local churches to oversee the work and ministry there. They, along with the leading of the Holy Spirit, guide and encourage those who gather in Christ’s Name to worship and work together in love and unity; to deepen their walk in faith and holiness; to reach out to the needy and the lost with sensitivity and compassion; and in all things, to bring glory to God.
(This is the Statement of Faith from Sunny Place Church of God in Addison, IL)