We believe that God, who is one and yet three distinct persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—created all things that exist. He created human beings as the pinnacle of His creation to bear His image perfectly and live in perfect relationship with God and with each other. By tempting Eve, Satan in the form of a serpent led Adam and Eve into sin. Through Adam’s rebellion against God, death, sin, and brokenness entered into human history and is a defining mark of our existence.
Through the history of God’s covenant of law with Israel, God showed that people are unable to reform, perfect, or otherwise fix their sinful brokenness and rebellion against God. Rather, God’s people need a rescuer, someone who would not only take God’s wrath against their sin, but also heal their brokenness and give them life. God’s rescue plan is Jesus, God the Son. He was conceived and born to his virgin mother, Mary. He lived a sinless life, worked innumerable miracles, and died on the cross for our sins. He died as our substitute, not only taking our sins and the wrath of God against our sins, but also giving us his righteousness, so that God now considers those who believe in Jesus both forgiven of all their sins and righteous. After Jesus died, he was buried in a tomb, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was raised to life on the third day. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the Father’s right hand, giving the believer life and interceding on the believer’s behalf with the Father. One day, Jesus will return in power and glory.
This message of hope and salvation is for all who believe by grace alone through faith alone. God declares righteous all who put their trust in Jesus alone.
Believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who enables them for and grows them in godliness. The Spirit also enlightens and empowers believers and the church in worship, evangelism, and service. The Holy Spirit is always at work in the world, revealing Jesus to people and convicting people of their sins.
While on earth, those who have believed are called to spiritual unity in the power of the Spirit. This unity is portrayed in the community of the local church.
After physical death, God will resurrect both those who have believed and those who have not believed. When a believer dies, he or she goes immediately to the presence of God, awaiting bodily resurrection, eternal blessing, and glory with God. Those who did not believe in this life await the resurrection of their body to eternal, judgment, condemnation, and suffering.
This message of hope, warning, and the revealing of God’s rescue plan is found in the Bible alone. We believe the Bible is inspired by God and is the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. It is composed of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament, and was written without error in the original manuscripts. It is the highest authority over all other forms of revelation, spiritual teaching, or instruction about life.
Written by Joseph Swords, pastor of The Exchange Church in Cilo, Mi