We believe people should strive to be fully human and that human beings are inherently relational. We are who we are, in part, because of a complex of relationships including our relationship with ourselves, one another, and the world. But the defining relationship we have is our relationship to God.
God is the loving ruler of the world. He made us to find joy in relating to Him as His children who obey and imitate their Father. This is what it means to be fully human, to love and be loved, to know and be known in our relationship to the Father.

Another way of putting this: God created us to know and enjoy His glory or His greatness. Like enjoying a great work of art or being overwhelmed with one of the great wonders of nature, we were made to be affected by the greatness of God. We were made to see it, enjoy it, and tell others about it, so that they too might be affected by the greatness of God.

That relationship was broken by our rebellion and continued self-assertion. Rather than being overawed with the greatness of God, we seek to establish our own greatness apart from Him. We seek to establish our own glory and to be satisfied with the glories of this world. In doing this we reject God and belittle His glory. We treat God as if He is not enough, not sufficient, not all- satisfying, not the king. Essentially, we are treating God as if He is not God, and we are.

This kind of rebellion leaves us empty of the glory for which we hunger. We strive for satisfaction with the world’s glories, but they consistently fall short. We keep trying to establish our own glory, but no matter how hard we try, our name, our reputation, our greatness are constantly challenged and continually fading.

Rebelling against the creator and ruler of the world in this way has consequences. The world is a mess (just take a look at the news). If we had lived God’s way the world would be a place of blessing and joy. Instead it is a place of joy mixed with pain and blessing tainted by frustration. For our own part, our rebelliousness means that rather than receiving God’s love and smile, we face His anger and punishment. God takes seriously the trashing of His world and the defamation of His name. And He will move to put things right. Righting the wrongs of the world involves both punishing those who have rebelled and made a ruin of the world, and restoring it to its former glory.

God delights supremely in that which is supremely delightful—His own glory. He wants us to delight in this as well because He knows nothing will give us more joy. And so He has moved to restore His glory to its proper place in the world.

Jesus came, as one who is both human and God. He came to put that broken relationship back together. He came to obey God perfectly where we rebelled. He came to restore the Father’s smile by facing the Father’s wrath Himself. At the cross Jesus suffered the punishment for our rebellion so that we might receive the reward for His obedience. He consistently lived for the Father’s glory, but died an inglorious death on the cross, naked and shamed.

While Jesus died on the cross, He didn’t stay dead. Jesus physically rose from the dead (what the Bible calls, resurrection), showing that God accepted His self-sacrifice in our place and rewarded Jesus with the glory of new life. This new life Jesus now offers to us.

When we look to Jesus and trust in His life, death, and resurrection we receive God’s smile, His blessing, including the forgiveness of sins, the gift of God’s Spirit, and the sure hope of one day rising from the grave just like Jesus did. The forgiveness of sins means we no longer face God’s anger. We no longer need to fear judgment. We are forgiven. God’s Spirit working inside of us means we can be renewed in our humanity that we might find more and more joy in God. The sure hope of one day rising from the dead means we need no longer fear death. Death does not have the final word, but is temporary, and will be done away with at Jesus’ return.

To be truly human is to be fully alive, finding joy in the one who made us and loves us. This true humanity and fullness of joy is found in Jesus.

What this means practically is that we can now live very different lives. Instead of living for created things and our own glory, we can live for God and His glory. Living for God’s glory means we seek to do everything in a way that shows how great God is.

Living for God’s glory does not necessarily mean doing different things, but it means doing what we do differently. It means,

  • We do what we do for Him in light of His grace, as the king who deserves our obedience and the lover who deserves our devotion.
  • We do what we do like Him in His grace, as children who imitate their Father.
  • We do what we do in dependence upon Him and His grace, as we prayerfully rely on His power, strength, and wisdom and not our own, knowing daily that our Father forgives us and is patient with us as we grow.
  • We do what we do marveling at Him and His grace as greater than any single thing in this life.
  • Finally, we do all that we do acknowledging Him and His grace in all things, by speaking of God, His greatness, and His grace at every opportunity.

  • In this way our lives show that God and His grace have the place of supreme worth in our hearts and minds and so God is glorified through us above all things and we find our greatest joy in Him.

    This new pursuit is not only personal, but vocational. It affects not just what we do in our private lives, but how we live out our callings every day, as we seek to serve God in and through the various callings He has placed on each one of our lives.

    This new pursuit is not only individual but communal. When we turn to Jesus we are both reconciled to fellowship with God and restored to one another. This brings about a new community, called the church. It is in this new community, this family of God, that we as children of the Father grow up to maturity together in imitation of our elder brother Jesus. We grow as we hear from our Father through the Bible and receive the signs of His love in the sacraments, and gather together before Him in community prayer.

    This new pursuit is not merely human, but Spirit-empowered. These things all happen in the power of the Spirit who is at work in the world to draw us closer to our Father and conform us to the image of His Son.

    This leaves us with a choice. Will we acknowledge what Jesus has done and begin to live life enjoying the glory of God? Or, will we continue to pursue the world? If we pursue the world and continue to reject God, we face eternal judgment for our rebellion. But if we turn away from our rebellion and trust in Jesus, in His life, death, and resurrection, we are restored to our Father and have the hope of the resurrection to come.

    See the Westminster Confession of Faith for a more in-depth explanation of what we believe.