What We Believe: References
All the quotations on this page are from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. Below each quotation is a reference in italics that shows where that passage can be found in any translation of the Bible. If you are interested in learning more about Christian beliefs, a useful place to start is with these passages. Look them up in your own copy of the Bible, and read the whole section in which they are located so that you can understand the context.
Although God created us and loves us, we are separated from him because each of us has deliberately done things that we know are wrong. We know we are doing wrong, so we push God away because we know he disapproves.
Paul describes our struggle against God:
"Our desires fight against God, because they do not and cannot obey God's laws. If we follow our desires, we cannot please God."
Jesus explains this by using an analogy, comparing himself, the embodiment of God's goodness, to light:
"The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done."
God wants to eliminate that separation, but we have to make the conscious decision to do so. God provided a way for us to overcome the sin that keeps us away from him.
God's plan is simple. He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to become a human being, to live a perfect life and to die as a sacrifice.
"God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die."
We must accept Jesus' death as the payment for our sins. Once we do that, we are able to accept the love of God and begin living the kind of life that is truly fulfilling.
"All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life's blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God."
"So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others."
God wants us to continue progressing so that we can become the perfect creations he planned for us to be.
We can't become these perfect creations on our own:
"You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God's gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn't something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That's why he sent Christ to make us what we are."
God sends the Holy Spirit to help us progress by encouraging us or reprimanding us as needed.
"You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy."
In order to understand better what God wants for us, we study the Bible, which is full of his written instructions for us, and we meet together at church so that we can encourage each other and help each other to learn.
"Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. The Scriptures train God's servants to do all kinds of good deeds."
2 Timothy 3:16-17
"We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer."
After we die, each of us will be judged by God.
- If we have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then God will accept us as his children and we will spend eternity with God, in Heaven. If we have not accepted Jesus' sacrifice, no matter how virtuous we have been, we will not be accepted as God's children and we will spend eternity away from God, in Hell.
"The Father loves the Son and has given him everything. Everyone who has faith in the Son has eternal life. But no one who rejects him will ever share in that life, and God will be angry with them forever."
- If we claim to have accepted Jesus but we don't try to live according to his teachings, then when we are judged he will reject us as liars.
"Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, "We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and worked many miracles." But I will tell them, "I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people!"
- If we do accept the sacrifice of Jesus, he will come back for us and take us to be with God.
"There are many rooms in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together."
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