Salvation

Basic Christian Affirmations

With Christians of other communions we confess belief in the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This confession embraces the biblical witness to God's activity in creation, encompasses God's gracious self-involvement in the dramas of history, and anticipates the consummation of God's reign.

The created order is designed for the well-being of all creatures and as the place of human dwelling in covenant with God. As sinful creatures, however, we have broken that covenant, become estranged from God, wounded ourselves and one another, and wreaked havoc throughout the natural order. We stand in need of redemption.

We hold in common with all Christians a faith in the mystery of salvation in and through Jesus Christ. At the heart of the gospel of salvation is God's incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth. Scripture witnesses to the redeeming love of God in Jesus' life and teachings, his atoning death, his resurrection, his sovereign presence in history, his triumph over the powers of evil and death, and his promised return. Because God truly loves us in spite of our willful sin, God judges us, summons us to repentance, pardons us, receives us by that grace given to us in Jesus Christ, and gives us hope of life eternal.

We share the Christian belief that God's redemptive love is realized in human life by the activity of the Holy Spirit, both in personal experience and in the community of believers. This community is the church, which the Spirit has brought into existence for the healing of the nations.

Through faith in Jesus Christ we are forgiven, reconciled to God, and transformed as people of the new covenant.

"Life in the Spirit" involves diligent use of the means of grace such as praying, fasting, attending upon the sacraments, and inward searching in solitude. It also encompasses the communal life of the church in worship, mission, evangelism, service, and social witness.

We understand ourselves to be part of Christ's universal church when by adoration, proclamation, and service we become conformed to Christ. We are initiated and incorporated into this community of faith by Baptism, receiving the promise of the Spirit that re-creates and transforms us. Through the regular celebration of Holy Communion, we participate in the risen presence of Jesus Christ and are thereby nourished for faithful discipleship.

We pray and work for the coming of God's realm and reign to the world and rejoice in the promise of everlasting life that overcomes death and the forces of evil.

With other Christians we recognize that the reign of God is both a present and future reality. The church is called to be that place where the first signs of the reign of God are identified and acknowledged in the world. Wherever persons are being made new creatures in Christ, wherever the insights and resources of the gospel are brought to bear on the life of the world, God's reign is already effective in its healing and renewing power.

We also look to the end time in which God's work will be fulfilled. This prospect gives us hope in our present actions as individuals and as the Church. This expectation saves us from resignation and motivates our continuing witness and service.

We share with many Christian communions a recognition of the authority of Scripture in matters of faith, the confession that our justification as sinners is by grace through faith, and the sober realization that the church is in need of continual reformation and renewal.

We affirm the general ministry of all baptized Christians who share responsibility for building up the church and reaching out in mission and service to the world.

With other Christians, we declare the essential oneness of the church in Christ Jesus. This rich heritage of shared Christian belief finds expression in our hymnody and liturgies. Our unity is affirmed in the historic creeds as we confess one holy, catholic, and apostolic church. It is also experienced in joint ventures of ministry and in various forms of ecumenical cooperation.

Nourished by common roots of this shared Christian heritage, the branches of Christ's church have developed diverse traditions that enlarge our store of shared understandings. Our avowed ecumenical commitment as United Methodists is to gather our own doctrinal emphases into the larger Christian unity, there to be made more meaningful in a richer whole.

If we are to offer our best gifts to the common Christian treasury, we must make a deliberate effort as a church to strive for critical self-understanding. It is as Christians involved in ecumenical partnership that we embrace and examine our distinctive heritage.

The living God comes in Jesus Christ to save. By God's Holy Spirit, through our faith, this salvation becomes a reality in our lives.

The Bible is the story of God's relationship with humanity, and especially his relationship with his chosen people. But, in telling that story, it is also a story of good news, bad news, and good news.

The first good news is that God created all things and called them good. God created humans in God's image to be in relationship with God and represent God. 

God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them. ...God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good. (Genesis 1:27, 31)

The bad news is that we rebel against God, turn away from God and fail to fulfill God's purpose for us. This is sin and it separates us from God, from each other and from ourselves.

All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) and the wages that sin pays are death (Romans 6:23a).

The second good news is that God does not leave us alone in sin. but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23b). God comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ to forgive us, set us free, and give us new life.

God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

We invite you to believe the good news, turn to God and receive the gift of salvation God offers. There's no specific "sinner's prayer" -- in Acts 16:31 we hear Paul say these words to the Phillipian jailer "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your entire household." It's just that simple! If you don't know what to say, you might pray something like this: "God, I need you help. Please forgive me. Thank you that Jesus lived and died and rose again to give me new life. I receive the gift of salvation from you. Come and live in me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Thank you. Amen." 

That's it. We told you it was simple. We can talk about and deal with baptism, church membership, Bible study, and mission outreach later because even that step is just the beginning. We encourage you to keep exploring your new life with God. Look around on the rest of this website to learn more about life in Christ and to see opportunities to join with others who follow Jesus. Join us for worship, study and service that can help you grow as a Christian.

So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. (Colossians 2:6-7)

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