The Source of Our Faith
The Word of God
Everything that we believe and teach at Heritage Presbyterian Church comes from one source, the book called the Bible. The Bible is actually a collection of 66 books spanning thousands of years, multiple authors, and a variety of genres. The majority of the Bible is historical narrative, recording God’s grand plan of creation and redemption from the far distant origins of all things (see Genesis 1 & 2) to the yet to be unfolded restoration in what’s called the new heavens and the new earth (see Revelation 21 & 22).
Though the Bible had many human authors, and though the writings’ dates have a wide range, there is a perfect consistency between each piece that holds the whole collection together as one story, the story of us all. This internal consistency speaks to one important teaching that the Bible affirms about itself, that “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” (1 Timothy 3:16) and that none of these writings were “…ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21)
That is to say, we believe that writings of both the Old and New Testaments are the infallible Word of God, inspired by His Holy Spirit. In them we learn all that we need concerning who God is and what He expects from us, His creation.
The Heart of Our Faith
At the heart of our faith is Jesus Christ. Many today believe that Jesus was merely a good role-model, a good teacher, or a sort of concept to inspire us and how we treat others. But Jesus was infinitely more. He was indeed a real man who walked on this earth like you and me. He also was and is God, the one who created everything.
When God created all things, it was good. It was very good, actually (see Genesis 1 & 2). We humans were God’s final touch, created with a special purpose to represent God in the world and steward His good creation. But our first parents, Adam and Eve, were deceived by the devil into thinking that they didn’t need God and that they could instead become God’s rivals by disobeying Him. From the very beginning and even to this day we’ve been falling for that same lie. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God (See Genesis 3) and ate from the tree that God forbid them to eat from, the world broke under the weight of that sin. Suffering, pain, even death all became a reality in God’s very good creation, marring every corner and infecting every molecule.
But from the very start of this broken existence, God sought to reverse the effects of this “Fall” by making a promise that a descendent of Adam and Eve would one day destroy the devil. This seed of a promise developed over time as God continued to call out to the people He made; calling them to turn from their rebellion to Him to be forgiven and restored. When Adam and Eve rebelled against their creator, they and all their ancestors came under the threat of God’s just punishment. There is not one of us human beings that hasn’t rejected God in some way or another. And so there is not one of us that does not rightly deserve His judgment. But, God “…gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) That is, God offers forgiveness and a new life for those who turn to Him with remorse for their rebellion, recognition of their need of forgiveness, and desire to live for Him.
But how can that be? How can a perfect and good God forgive and forget the atrocities of humanities rebellion? If God is just (and He is), then a punishment must be made for our sin, a punishment that fits the crime and makes things right again. Yet God loved His creation, especially rebellious humanity. How would God’s infinite love and perfect justice be reconciled? God’s solution to this problem is both glorious and baffling. God became one of us. Born like one of us, grew up as one of us, hungered and thirsted as one of us, even tempted as one of us to break His own law. Yet Jesus, the God-Man, never wavered from doing what was right. His entire human life on earth was morally flawless. So that when He was unjustly convicted by human courts and sentenced to torture and death by crucifixion, He could be the perfect payment for all that we have ever done wrong. When Jesus died on the cross, He bore the weight of the punishment that we all deserved for our sin. That way, everyone who believes in Him and confesses Him as Lord will receive Him as Lord and Savior. And if Jesus is your Lord and Savior through faith, you have no need to fear the judgment of God because Jesus paid it all for you.
More than that, Jesus did not stay dead and buried in the ground. During His ministry on earth He promised that He would rise again from the dead after three days. This He did in front of over five hundred witnesses. After raising from the dead, He ascended back to His heavenly throne as King of heaven and earth. And though the promises are not all completely fulfilled yet-the world is still a broken place of suffering and death-we know that He will come again some day to make all things new. On that day, He will bring judgment against those who continued to reject Him in disbelief and He will give eternal life to those dead and alive who turned to Him in faith. Even now, He has sent His Holy Spirit into the world to open the hearts and minds of rebels like you and me, empowering us to believe in Him and give our lives over to Him little by little as we die to our old life as rebels and become alive to our new lives as His children.
If God is speaking to your heart now and compelling you to turn to Him, do not shut Him out. Surrender to Him and allow Him to take you back as His own. The life He gives is not a guarantee of perpetual happiness in this life. But it is a guarantee of eternal joy and happiness in the next life and the removal of fear of His judgment here and now. It is a guarantee of purpose since He intends to restore your dignity and role in creation as His representative and steward. It is a guarantee of His never-ending, unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance; a restored relationship with your Creator that cannot ever be broken again.
Jesus Christ is the heart of our faith. May He be the heart of yours as well.Speak with our pastor about the Christian Faith