Who is Jesus Christ?
This short video provides an overview of the Bible's answer.
The Whole Story
Many of us here at Christ Community Church have been part of churches that emphasize some parts of the Bible and ignore others. When this happens, the good news of Jesus Christ can be truncated. And we limit the way God relates to us in the realities of life.
That is partly why it is a core conviction of Christ Community Church to teach the whole of the Bible, even parts that raise hard questions. Some of the harder passages of Scripture are best understood in light of the whole story the Bible is telling. Below is one way to summarize the Bible's narrative in four parts.
PART 1: Creation
The story of the Bible begins in Genesis when we see God's delight in all His creation. God repeatedly calls what He makes "good." Humans bear God's image in a unique way among all His creation and are to promote and extend the life-giving flourishing that God has made.
The prominent bright red apple in the upper right corner of the above painting by David Arms represents both God’s gracious provision of fruit and the loving prohibition he placed on Adam and Eve not to eat one type of fruit from the Garden.
PART 2: Rebellion
Listening to the enticing lies of the serpent, Eve and Adam chose to disregard God’s will, and the loss was catastrophic. Sin and death entered their hearts and every sphere of God’s creation. There was a breakdown in their relationships to one another (Adam blamed Eve), their relationship with God (they hid from Him), their sense of themselves (they were ashamed of their nakedness for the first time), and their relationship with their work (they would now have to toil to reap and childbearing would be painful). God mercifully clothes Adam and Eve even as their sin separates them from Him (they must leave the garden, which was made lush and bountiful by God's life-giving presence). Genesis 3 includes what is considered an early promise of rescue from this state of separation from God.
The Bible recounts how humans continue to populate the earth and rebel against God's loving designs for His creation. God's patient and faithful love is demonstrated in His choosing an unremarkable, nomadic people eventually known as Israel. He seeks to bless them and make them a blessing to all creation as Adam and Eve were meant to be. We learn a lot about our own hearts and communities today through the longings and mistakes of Israel.
PART 3: Redemption
The cross on which God's Son Jesus was crucified stands as a compelling declaration of God’s irreversible commitment to make all things new through the work of the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled the role that Adam and Eve and Israel (and you and me) failed to fulfill. God will not leave His beloved creation and creatures enslaved to sin and death. He will not abandon us to the comprehensive damage of humanity's rebellion against Him. He took upon Himself the hard and heart work of Redemption. When we accept Jesus as our substitute, we receive His perfect acceptance before God — what Christians call unmerited grace (Jesus merited it and gives it to us).
Our obedience to God then comes from a place of acceptance with God, not as a way to earn acceptance. The Bible's portrayal of Christian living is difficult but also joyful and liberating.
Part 4: restoration
The song "Joy to the World" expresses the biblical belief about our future: "No more let sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found." God will bring an end to all evil. And, by God's grace in Christ, He will not bring us to an end along with it!
God is reconciling to Himself, and to one another, a family from every single race, tribe, tongue, and people group… from every period of history. War, tribalism, racism, and pettiness will be gone forever, along with death, mourning, crying, and pain. This is something that will surely happen, Christ's resurection is the proof, and in this sense it is already true. But it is also "not yet" true and we look forward to Christ's second coming to make it so.
How Do I Become a Christian?
If you’d like someone to help you understand what it means to become a Christian, we encourage you to meet with one of our pastors, and the following may also be helpful to you:
When Jesus first started to preach, he said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). The good news he announced was the arrival of God’s promised kingdom – the rule and reign of grace. “Repent and believe” are the response called for by those who hear the message of Jesus.
But what does it mean to repent and believe? To repent means to turn around or to change direction. The new direction in repentance is tied to the second word, “believe.” To repent and believe is to turn from what you have been trusting and to put your hope and trust in something new.
One of the best word pictures of this is the word picture God gave: “…for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). He’s describing a heart attitude: I don’t want what God offers. I will find satisfaction for my deepest longings and desires in something other than what God offers. You may not have consciously said that, but that’s the essence of human sin. All outward behavior that the Bible calls sin stems from this heart attitude of misplaced trust and hope. If you are reading this, it may be that you’ve discovered God is right – the wells you’ve dug for yourself don’t hold water and have left you thirsty.
The amazing offer of the gospel is forgiveness and restoration. God offers you grace and mercy. Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, `out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38). There is satisfaction for the deepest longings of your soul in Jesus.
The gospel calls for repentance and faith. Turn from your way to God’s way. Turn from relying and trusting in your efforts and put your hope and trust in God’s provision for you in Jesus. There is a lot to understand about what it means to call Jesus your Savior. The New Testament explains how God has dealt with your guilt and shame. God also invites those who trust in Jesus to be members of His household. But becoming a Christian starts with acknowledging your way isn’t working, with turning from self-reliance and self-effort to earn God’s approval or to find satisfaction for the desires of your soul.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15). Adults are self-reliant and independent. A young child must rely on his or her parents for almost everything. To receive the kingdom of God as a child is to put all your hope and trust and dependence on God and to abandon all reliance on your own efforts or goodness. Trust what God says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
You might offer this prayer to God: “God, I am like those people you described who dug their own wells. I have relied on my own goodness and depended on myself for a sense of being acceptable and right. I have chosen my way, not your way. And it isn’t working. I want to give up all self-reliance and to take hold of your offer of living water in Jesus. I want to trust you and believe you and follow you. Would you have mercy on me and give me the kind of life Jesus talks about?”