Everyone believes in something. For the atheist or agnostic it may not be God, but they believe in something. For us, faith begins and ends with God.
We believe in God.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Even if this statement hadn’t come from the Bible, it would still make two obviously true points. One cannot come to God if he doesn’t believe that God exists, and one would not seek God if he didn’t believe that the search would be rewarded.
We seek God because we believe He wants to be known. We see evidence of God in nature. Every demonstration of order, design, and purpose confirms God’s handiwork. We believe that God is manifest in certain human traits like the universal desire to worship a supreme being and the moral compass called a conscience that is part of the human psyche.
We believe in the Bible as God’s Word.
We get to know God through the Bible. We believe that God inspired normal human beings to record His message and will. And we believe that Jesus Christ was “God in the flesh” and therefore when we learn of Jesus we are getting closer to God.
Faith powers our quest. We seek to know God by initially taking small steps of trust that grow larger and more confident. Each positive experience is evidence that we are on the right track. As we take this journey we find our trust being rewarded.
We believe that sin is real.
At Eastside Christian church we believe that sin is real and powerful. Mankind was created with the God-given right to choose. We choose to follow and obey Him, or we choose to pursue our own course. Sin is the rebellion that chooses self over God. If God is real, then there are serious consequences in that rebellion. “Your iniquities (sins) have separated you from your God.” (Isaiah 59:2) In Christian vocabulary this separation is called “death.” Isolated from the God who gave us life and asked us to live according to His will, we are spiritually dead and have nothing to look forward to but the grave and eternal death.
We believe in Jesus Christ.
Still, God wants relationship with us and offers to undo sin’s consequences and reconcile us to Himself. He does this through His “only begotten son”, Jesus Christ. A part of the eternal God became human in the person of Jesus, and because it happened through a human birth he became known to us as both the “Son of God” and the “Son of Man” – the bridge between the human and the divine. The whole purpose of Christ’s life was to bring us back to intimacy with God. He did this through his life and teaching, and through his death and resurrection. The death of Jesus was God’s way of justly paying the penalty for our sin while offering us forgiveness and new life. A Christian accepts this gracious gift through repentance and faith, and demonstrates the new life through submission and obedience. The potential for sin never leaves us, so we lean on God’s promise to forgive and rely on Him to strengthen us morally and spiritually.
We Believe in the Holy Spirit.
Having completed his mission, Jesus promised his followers that a “presence” of God would always be with them. He called this presence “The Spirit of Truth” and also referred to Him as a “comforter” and “counselor”. (John 14:16-17) Ultimately this presence would be called the Holy Spirit. We believe that this Spirit indwells individual Christians for the purposes of guiding, strengthening, and comforting us in our Christian walk.
We believe in the Church.
From the beginning God knew that being alone was not good for us (Genesis 2:18), so he created community. Animals have herds, birds have flocks, fish have schools, and humans have family and community. The values of this designer obvious. Jesus understood and so he commanded his followers to join together in community. That community is called “church” (Matthew 16:18). Church is God’s plan to provide spiritual defense, fellowship, instruction toward spiritual maturity, encouragement, and the enjoyment of communal worship. While it may be possible to be a Christian outside of church, it is dangerous to face the world alone.
We believe in eternal life.
So our search for God leads us through our sin and its consequences to the grace of God found in Jesus Christ, and into fellowship with the community of believers. But faith in God goes far beyond this to give us hope for each turn a life with him. The Bible says, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19). We believe that in his death on the cross Jesus dealt with our sin and its consequences (spiritual death), and through his resurrection from the grave he gave us the hope to believe that we were meant to spend eternity in relationship with God (heaven). Eternal life is the ultimate reward of our faith quest.