Chapter One – God
1.1 There is one true God whom to know is life eternal, whom to serve is joy and peace. God has created all that is. The whole universe testifies to the majesty and power of its Maker.
1.2 God has come to us. The Lord spoke to the people of Israel and entered into covenant with them. From Israel came Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bringing salvation through a new covenant entered by faith. The Lord continues to come to us by the Holy Spirit, God present in the world, and Guide to the church, the new Israel.
1.3 The church upholds and defends the truth given to the apostles and recorded in the Scriptures. The Old and New Testaments witness to God’s mighty acts. They reveal the Creator’s holy love, and lead us to Jesus Christ. 1.4 The creeds of the early church preserve the faith of the apostles who first preached the Gospel of Christ. We receive them as a legacy in which the true interpretation of the Scriptures is protected.
1.5 Therefore, with the one church universal we believe in one God, eternal Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three in one, one in three, equal in power and glory. God is the Father to whom we come, the Son through whom we come, the Spirit by whom we come.
1.6 We worship almighty God, the source of all life. With thanks we acknowledge God’s wisdom, power, faithfulness, and love. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be!
Chapter Two – God, Creator and Ruler
2.1 God Creates and Rules
2.1.1 The living God is Lord, Creator of all, Sustainer and Ruler of the universe. In the seasons and the harvests, in the rise and fall of nations, God’s goodness and judgment are present. All events in this world are under the sovereign care of the eternal God.
2.1.2 We hold in reverence the whole creation as the theatre of God’s glory and action. God rules the lives of individuals and nations yet does not negate our freedom and responsibility. Ever at work in the world and in our lives God directs all things towards fulfillment in Christ.
2.1.3 We affirm God’s righteous and loving purpose even in a world where evil abounds. This purpose is uniquely disclosed in Jesus Christ. In him we see the greatest paradox of life: the mighty God chose to come into this world in weakness. In Christ, God entered most deeply into our suffering. 2.1.4 We cannot fully comprehend nor is it our task to justify God’s rule of the world. We experience evil in the midst of life. Yet evil cannot ultimately prevail, for it is against God’s will. The resurrection of Christ and the new life he gives us are assurance of his ultimate triumph.
2.2 Our Creation
2.2.1 The mystery of human existence is that we belong to God and have been made in the divine image. In God we live and move and have our being. Therefore, we know ourselves only when we know God. Our lives must reflect the Creator’s love and purpose for all creation. We acknowledge God as Creator and Lord.
2.2.2 We have been made male and female for our mutual help, comfort and joy. Our creation as sexual beings is God’s loving purpose for us. We are dependent on each other and as men and women, need one another in all of life.
2.3 Our Calling
2.3.1 We are called to work out the meaning of our own lives and to find our true vocation in the love and service of God.
2.3.2 We serve and love God by the service and love of creation especially the care of the needy. Every kind of work that is honest and serves others is a vocation from the Lord.
2.3.3 Calling means the necessity to deny selfish ambition and desire in order to minister to others. In God’s service true freedom is to be found.
2.4 Our Care for the World
2.4.1 Though life is a gift from God, human life depends upon the created world. Our care for the world must reflect God’s care. We are not owners, but stewards of God’s good earth. Concerned with the well-being of all of life we welcome the truths and insights of all human skill and science about the world and the universe.
2.4.2 Our stewardship calls us to explore ways of love and justice in respecting God’s creation and in seeking its responsible use for the common good.
2.5 Sin Separates Us from God
2.5.1 We confess that we are sinners. We do not care for the world as we should. We do not fulfill our calling to serve God. Our lives do not reflect the Creator’s love. Our failure is sin, a rebellion against God, an insistence that we be god in our own lives.
2.5.2 God has given us the law to show us how to live. Yet we are unable to keep the Ten Commandments, and we do not love God without reserve nor our neighbour as ourselves. Above all, our sin is exposed by the perfect life of Christ.
2.5.3 Sin alienates us from God. It offends the holiness of God, separates us from our Lord, and leads to spiritual death. It mars the divine image in us and infects our relationship with others and with ourselves.
2.5.4 Sin is a power present in every human life, even at birth. It issues in such sins as pride asserting itself against God, indifference towards God and neighbour, untruthfulness, greed, lust, laziness, gluttony, envy, and selfish anger.
2.5.5 We cannot escape our sin, nor the sin of the world.
2.5.6 Because we are sinful the societies we live in are sinful. There are no exceptions: every system is flawed. We are part of the evil of the world, of its violence, neglect, injustice.
2.5.7 All people fall short of God’s standards and need salvation. God’s way to salvation has been revealed in Jesus Christ. Through the death and resurrection of Christ our sins are forgiven. Salvation means life, forgiveness, healing, wholeness. It comes from God’s grace received through faith in Christ alone.
2.5.8 Thanks be to God!
Chapter Three – God in Christ
3.1 Jesus Christ and Israel
3.1.1 To the world in its rebellion and alienation God promised blessing and restoration. The Lord chose Abraham and his descendants and through a covenant with them destined them to be bearers of that promise to all people.
3.1.2 The Old Testament records God’s message and mighty acts. It speaks of God’s grace and judgment. It declares God’s promise and points to the One to come.
3.1.3 From Israel came the Messiah; in Jesus of Nazareth God kept the promise of salvation. We understand his coming in the light of the Old Testament. Born of the seed of David, he lived a Jew among Jews. Child of an Israelite woman, he fulfilled God’s promise that Israel would be a light to the nations. In Christ God came to dispel the world’s darkness.
3.2 Jesus Christ: Truly God
3.2.1 God became man and dwelt among us. In silence we ponder, in awe we confess this amazing truth. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, the eternal Son of God humbled himself to be one with us. To Israel and to the world came God in Christ.
3.2.2 To call Jesus Christ the Son of God is to say that he is God of God, Light of Light begotten, not made. To see Jesus is to see God incarnate. To know the Son is to know the Father.
3.2.3 God’s nature is expressed in Jesus, the very Word of God. Through him were all things made. His life is the light of the world.
3.2.4 Jesus Christ is Lord. He is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
3.3 Jesus Christ: Truly Human
3.3.1 Jesus was truly human. Tried and tested as we are, yet without sin, he experienced the depths of life. Jesus understands us. He felt the joy of friendship, the pain of rejection, and died a human death. He trusted the Father completely and lived in the Holy Spirit. Neither temptation nor threat prevented him from loving God and his neighbour as himself. He showed us what it means to be a child of God.
3.4 Jesus is Saviour
3.4.1 Jesus is the Mediator through whom God has come to us and through whom we come to God.
3.4.2 Christ died for our sins. The innocent one bore our condemnation on the cross. He suffered and was put to death for the sin of the world.
3.4.3 God’s reconciling act in Jesus Christ is a mystery which the Scriptures describe as the sacrifice of a lamb, a shepherd’s life given for his sheep, atonement by a priest. It is also the innocent dying for the guilty, the ransom of a slave, payment of a debt, and victory over the powers of evil. Such expressions interpret the love of God revealing the gravity, cost, and sure achievement of our Lord’s work. Yet that love we cannot fully explain. God’s grace, received by faith alone, pardons and justifies, redeems and reconciles us.
3.5 Jesus is Lord
3.5.1 Jesus suffered, died, and was buried, but God raised him from the dead. Risen and ascended, he is alive now, the living Lord.
3.5.2 His resurrection means that our faith is not empty, that final victory is assured over all evil powers which destroy and deform life, and that death, the last enemy, is conquered.
3.5.3 The forces of the evil one still wage war against us. The destructive powers are still present. But their end is not in doubt. We await the full revelation of our Lord’s triumph.
3.5.4 We worship our ascended Lord. Reigning in glory and power he is our High Priest and Advocate interceding before the Father on our behalf. Through him we offer our sacrifice of praise, with prayer for all to the Father.
3.5.5 Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord!
3.6 Salvation in Christ
3.6.1 Salvation comes from God’s grace alone received through faith in Christ. From all eternity, and through no merit on our part, God calls us to life in Christ. Here is the good news of the Gospel ! Jesus Christ is the elect one, chosen for our salvation. In him we are made acceptable to God. Before the world was made we were chosen in Christ to be part of the family of God.
3.6.2 We are called for a purpose: we have been predestined to be like Christ and to serve God. As with Israel in the Old Testament, so with the new humanity in the New Testament, God chooses us. There is assurance in knowing that the living God has eternal purposes to achieve through us. God will bring to completion the work of grace begun in us.
Chapter Four – God the Holy Spirit
4.1 The Holy Spirit is God with Us
4.1.1 The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the triune God and is One with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of Life, the Renewer and Helper of God’s people. By the Spirit, God is present in the world, the source of all goodness and justice. By the Spirit, God convinces the world of sin and testifies to the truth of Christ. By the Spirit, Christ is with his church.
4.2 The Holy Spirit Enables People to Believe
4.2.1 The Spirit enables people to receive the good news of Christ, to repent of their sins, and to be adopted as children of God. As we hear and respond to the Gospel we freely turn to Christ. When we have turned and repented, we recognize that the Spirit enabled us to believe.
4.2.2 The Holy Spirit accompanies us on our journey of faith. We may not always be sure of this presence. Yet God’s Spirit is with us, sometimes gently, sometimes powerfully, guiding us in the midst of life, our comfort and our help. Christian life is a pilgrimage: it begins. continues, and ends in God.
4.3 The Holy Spirit Forms and Equips the Church
4.3.1 By the Spirit, Christ calls the church into being and unites us to himself and to each other. The Holy Spirit is in all who know Christ.
4.3.2 The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. We pray as a church to be guided into truth knowing that such truth may disturb and judge us.
4.3.3 The presence of the Holy Spirit is seen in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, loyalty, gentleness, and self-control.
4.3.4 The Spirit blesses us with various gifts. We seek to discover those gifts and to use them for our Lord. Faithful loving service is a sign that the Spirit is present. The presence of the Spirit is evident where people are made whole, encouraged, and enabled to grow in Christ.
4.3.5 Come, Holy Spirit!
Chapter Five – The Bible
5.1 The Bible
5.1 The Bible has been given to us by the inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life. It is the standard of all doctrine by which we must test any word that comes to us from church, world, or inner experience. We subject to its judgment all we believe and do. Through the Scriptures the church is bound only to Jesus Christ its King and Head. He is the living Word of God to whom the written word bears witness.
5.2 The Holy Spirit gives us inner testimony to the unique authority of the Bible and is the source of its power. The Bible, written by human hands, is nonetheless the word of God as no other word ever written. To it no other writings are to be added. The Scriptures are necessary, sufficient, and reliable, revealing Jesus Christ, the living Word.
5.3 Both Old and New Testaments were written within communities of faith and accepted as Scripture by them. Those who seek to understand the Bible need to stand within the church and listen to its teaching.
5.4 The Bible is to be understood in the light of the revelation of God’s work in Christ. The writing of the Bible was conditioned by the language, thought, and setting of its time. The Bible must be read in its historical context. We interpret Scripture as we compare passages, seeing the two Testaments in light of each other, and listening to commentators past and present. Relying on the Holy Spirit, we seek the application of God’s word for our time.
Chapter Six – Faith
6.1.1 Faith is a gift of God constantly renewed in Word and Sacrament and in the shared life of God’s people. It is trust in God, involves personal repentance of sin, acceptance of Jesus Christ as Saviour, and commitment to him as Lord. It includes assent to the truth of the Gospel. By faith we receive the very life of God into our lives and joyfully discover that God knows, loves, and pardons us.
6.1.2 God brings us to faith in many ways. We may have trusted in God from childhood; or our faith may have come later in life. Faith may come suddenly or only after a struggle to believe. Whatever the spiritual journey we have traveled, God honours our faith, great or small.
6.1.3 Faith is a response to God’s presence in the midst of life. It says “yes” to the God who is here.
6.2.1 We are not always certain that God is with us. At times God calls us to live in this world without experiencing the divine presence, often discerning God’s nearness only as we look back. At other times God seems absent in order that our faith may be tested. Through such struggle we mature in faith. God may also chasten and strengthen us through the hard circumstances of life.
6.2.2 Questioning may be a sign of growth. It may also be disobedience: we must be honest with ourselves. Since we are to love God with our minds, as well as our hearts, the working through of doubt is part of our growth in faith. The church includes many who struggle with doubt. Jesus accepted the man who prayed: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”
6.2.3 Though the strength of our faith may vary and in many ways be assailed and weakened, yet we may find assurance in Christ through confidence in his word, the sacraments of his church, and the work of his Spirit.
Chapter Seven – God’s Church
7.1 The Church
7.1.1 The church is Christ together with his people called both to worship and to serve him in all of life.
7.1.2 The church is one. It is one family under God whose purpose it is to unite all people in Jesus Christ.
7.1.3 The church is holy. It is set apart by God through the Holy Spirit to be a chosen people in the world.
7.1.4 The church is catholic. It is universal, including all people of all time who affirm the Christian Faith.
7.1.5 The church is apostolic. It is founded on Christ and the apostles and is in continuity with their teachings.
7.1.6 The church is in constant need of reform because of the failure and sin which mark its life in every age. The church is present when the Word is truly preached, the sacraments rightly administered, and as it orders its life according to the word of God.
7.2.1 The Lord continues his ministry in and through the church. All Christians are called to participate in the ministry of Christ. As his body on earth we all have gifts to use in the church and in the world to the glory of Christ, our King and Head.
7.2.2 Through the church God orders this ministry by calling some to special tasks in the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
7.2.3 Ministers of Word and Sacrament are set apart to preach the Gospel, celebrate Baptism and Holy Communion and exercise pastoral care in Christ’s name. Their ministry is an order which continues the work of the apostles. Christ preserves this order today by calling to it both men and women. The church recognizes this calling in the act of ordination.
7.2.4 Through the office of ruling elder men and women are ordained to share with the minister in the leadership, pastoral care, and oversight of the congregation.
7.2.5 Specialized ministries are recognized through the designation of deaconesses and church educators, professors and administrators, missionaries and catechists, chaplains and counselors.
7.2.6 Through such ministries the Word is proclaimed, God’s people are nourished and nurtured, supported and guided. In the oneness of Christ we seek to serve God.
7.3.1 The church lives to praise God. We have no higher calling than to offer the worship that belongs to God day by day, Sunday by Sunday.
7.3.2 Through the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments, in praise, prayer, teaching and fellowship, God sustains the life of the church. We worship God as Lord offering ourselves in the service of Christ, rejoicing that we have been brought from darkness to light.
7.3.3 Worship draws us into the work of Christ. Even now he intercedes for the world to which he came and for which he died. In union with him, the church prays for the healing and the salvation of the world.
7.3.4 Blessing and honour and glory and power be to our God for ever and ever!
7.4.1 To the church and to the world Christ sends ambassadors to preach the good news. The reconciling work of Jesus was the supreme turning point in the life of the world. The proclamation of his cross and resurrection calls for personal response and offers present hope. The Holy Spirit enables God’s word to be heard in the word of preaching. Faith comes by hearing, and by preaching it is continually renewed.
7.4.2 Preachers must be servants of the Word; those who listen should pray for those who speak. They must be hungry to hear what the Lord has to say. The spoken word is food for all believers.
7.5.1 In obedience to our Lord’s command and example we observe two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion. These are visible expressions of the Gospel given as means of entering and sustaining the Christian Life
7.5.2 In Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, there is a sacramental union between the sign and the thing signified. Water signifies forgiveness and new life in Christ; bread and wine, the body and blood of our Lord.
7.5.3 The grace effective in the sacraments comes not from any power in them but from the work of the Holy Spirit. Rightly received, in faith and repentance, the sacraments convey that which they symbolize.
7.6.1 Baptism is a sign and seal of our union with Christ and with his church. Through it we share in the death and resurrection of Christ and are commissioned to his service.
7.6.2 In Baptism, water is administered in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The water signifies the washing away of sin, the start of new life in Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
7.6.3 By the power of the Holy Spirit God acts through Baptism. It is the sacrament not of what we do but of what God has done for us in Christ. God’s grace and our response to it are not tied to the moment of Baptism, but continue and deepen throughout life. It is a sacrament meant for those who profess their faith and for their children. Together we are the family of God. 7.6.4 Baptism is also an act of discipleship that requires commitment and looks towards growth in Christ. Those baptized in infancy are called in later years to make personal profession of Christ. What is born may die. What is grafted may wither. Congregations and those baptized must strive to nurture life in Christ.
7.6.5 Baptism assures us that we belong to God. In life and in death our greatest comfort is that we belong to our faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
7.7 Holy Communion
7.7.1 In breaking bread and drinking wine Jesus told us to remember him. In this action called Holy Communion, Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, Christ offers himself to us and we present ourselves to him in worship and adoration.
7.7.2 In Holy Communion Christ places his table in this world to feed and bless his people. The Holy Spirit so unites us in Christ that in receiving the bread and wine in faith we share in his body and blood.
7.7.3 The Lord’s Supper is a joyful mystery whereby Jesus takes the bread and wine to represent his atoning sacrifice, deepening our union with himself and with each other, giving us of his life and strength. Here Christ is present in his world proclaiming salvation until he comes– a symbol of hope for a troubled age.
7.7.4 The Eucharist is thanksgiving to God. We pray for the world and with gratitude offer our lives to God. We celebrate his victory over death and anticipate the joyous feast we shall have in his coming kingdom. We pledge allegiance to Christ as Lord, are fed as one church, receive these signs of his love, and are marked as his.
7.7.5 Those who belong to Christ come gladly to his table to make a memorial of his life and death, to celebrate his presence, and together as his church offer him thanks.
Chapter Eight – Our Life in Christ
8.1.1 Disciples of Christ are called to obedience. Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Obedience involves us totally. Yet as we give ourselves to him we discover that his service alone brings true freedom. 8.1.2 Life in Christ is formed in a believing community, and expressed in daily living. We are to bring Christ’s healing presence to the world for which he died, his peace to its pain and anguish.
8.1.3 Life in Christ brings joy, liberty, glory. But it also brings conflict with unbelief, fear, and temptation. Throughout our lives we struggle with disheartening difficulties. Yet the Holy Spirit helps us and gives us power to grow in Christ. While we are far from perfect yet our lives can be pleasing to God and helpful to others.
8.1.4 Life in Christ involves prayer, the seeking of God’s will and blessing on all of life. Prayer is openness to the presence of God. In words, or the absence of words, prayer is the focusing of our lives towards God. As we commune with God through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit enables us to express our deepest longings, and we experience the sustaining power of God’s presence.
8.1.5 We live in Christ as we study the Scriptures learning to think and act in a Christian way. The Scriptures are given that Christians may be complete, equipped for every good work.
8.1.6 We live in Christ as in freedom we observe Sunday as the weekly festival of the resurrection, for the worship of our Lord, rest from our work, and the enjoyment of God’s world.
8.2 The Christian Family
8.2.1 All Christians are members both of a human family and of the church, the household of God. We honour our parents who gave us life, and also the church which has nurtured us in the faith.
8.2.2 God’s purpose for us can be realized in both single and married life. Marriage is not God’s will for everyone. Fullness of life is offered to all, both single and married.
8.2.3 Christian marriage is a union in Christ whereby a man and a woman become one in the sight of God. It is the commitment of two people to love and to support one another faithfully for life. God’s law forbids adultery. Loyalty is necessary for the growth of love. Disloyalty destroys the union of marriage. Sexual union in marriage is intended to provide mutual joy and comfort as well as the means of creating new life.
8.2.4 Parents in caring for their children are mediators of God’s love and discipline. They are called to raise their children within the covenant community, to be faithful to vows taken at Baptism to nurture them in the Faith by teaching and example.
8.2.5 When we fail each other as parents or partners, we are called to forgive each other as God forgives us, and to accept the possibilities for renewal that God offers us in grace. When a marriage is shattered beyond repair, it is sometimes better that it be dissolved than that the family continue to live in bitterness.
8.2.6 The church is the family of God. Here all should be valued for themselves. We are one body in Christ: together rejoicing when things go well, supporting one another in sorrow, celebrating the goodness of God and the wonder of our redemption.
8.3.1 We bow before the mystery of God’s love. From it came our creation. By it we are daily nurtured. Through it we find salvation. A consuming fire of purity, God’s love is yet warm and gentle compassion. We respond to the God who is love by loving in return.
8.3.2 Love means seeking the best for others and is the mark of a Christian. Love for God leads to love for others. We cannot claim to love God, whom we do not see, if we hate those about us, whom we do see. Love of God and of neighbour fulfills the law of God.
8.3.3 Love is compassion for creation. Love is the service of others and is not self-centred. Love speaks the truth tempered with kindness. Love grows in knowledge and discernment. It is the road to Christian maturity, and is the way of seeing others as God sees them. Love follows the example of Jesus Christ.
8.3.4 We should also love ourselves. Self-love is not selfishness. We love and accept ourselves because God has already loved and accepted us in Christ, providing the foundation of our sense of worth.
8.3.5 Love is the greatest gift in the world because it will last beyond this world and is supremely pleasing to our Lord. Love foreshadows life in heaven.
8.4.1 God is always calling the church to seek that justice in the world which reflects the divine righteousness revealed in the Bible.
8.4.2 God’s justice is seen when we deal fairly with each other and strive to change customs and practices that oppress and enslave others.
8.4.3 Justice involves protecting the rights of others. It protests against everything that destroys human dignity.
8.4.4 Justice requires concern for the poor of the world. It seeks the best way to create well-being in every society. It is concerned about employment, education, and health, as well as rights and responsibilities.
8.4.5 Justice seeks fairness in society. It involves the protection of human beings, concern for the victims of crime, as well as offenders. It requires fair laws justly administered, courts and penal institutions that are just and humane.
8.4.6 Justice opposes prejudice in every form. It rejects discrimination on such grounds as race, sex, age, status, or handicap. Justice stands with our neighbours in their struggle for dignity and respect and demands the exercise of power for the common good.
8.5 World Peace
8.5.1 Christ, the Prince of Peace, calls his followers to seek peace in the world.
8.5.2 We know that nations have fought in self-defense and that war, at times, may be unavoidable. But the tragic evil that comes with war, the slaughter of men, women, and children must rouse us to work for peace.
8.5.3 We protest against the world arms race that diminishes our ability to fight hunger, ignorance, poverty and disease. We fear nuclear war and the devastation it would bring. We affirm that God is at work when people are ashamed of the inhumanity of war and work for peace with justice. We pray for peace to him who is the Prince of Peace.
Chapter Nine – The Church Reaches Out
9.1 Our Mission
9.1.1 As God sent Christ to us, so Christ sends us into the world. We are here to proclaim Christ in word and deed.
9.1.2 Mission is evangelism, the offer of salvation to all people in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be received through faith in Christ. It asks people to repent of their sins, to trust Christ, to be baptized, and to enter a life honouring Jesus as Lord. 9.1.3 Mission is service, a call to help people in need and to permeate all of life with the compassion of God.
9.2 Our Mission and Other Faiths
9.2.1 Some whom we encounter belong to other religions and already have a faith. Their lives often give evidence of devotion and reverence for life. We recognize that truth and goodness in them are the work of God’s Spirit, the author of all truth. We should not address others in a spirit of arrogance implying that we are better than they. But rather, in the spirit of humility, as beggars telling others where food is to be found, we point to life in Christ.
9.2.2 We witness to God in Christ as the Way, the Truth, the Life, and invite others to accept from him the forgiveness of God. We are compelled to share this good news.
9.3 Our Mission and Unbelief
9.3.1 For some today “God” is an empty word indicating no reality they have ever consciously known. They do not believe there is a God.
9.3.2 Many find it hard to believe in a loving God in a world where so many suffer. Unbelief threatens many with despair, the feeling that nothing really matters and that beyond this world is emptiness.
9.3.3 The Bible witnesses to God in Christ entering deeply into human suffering. As we behold our Saviour on the cross, we are convinced of God’s love for us. Faced with the pain and agony of the world, only a suffering God can help. God is with us in our anguish.
9.3.4 Faithful men and women of the Bible also knew pain and uncertainty. Yet they experienced God and felt compelled to speak of God moving powerfully in life. Christian faith is a response to the searching presence of God. Christian belief brings new meaning into one’s life, for life’s true purpose is to glorify and to enjoy God.
Chapter Ten – Our Hope in God
10.1 God has prepared for us things beyond our imagining. Our hope is for a renewed world and for fullness of life in the age to come. As Jesus taught us, we pray: “Thy kingdom come.”
10.2 Life in the age to come is pictured in the Bible in different ways: an eternal kingdom, a new heaven and earth, a marriage feast, an unending day, the father’s house, and the joy of God’s presence. God will triumph over all opposition and everything that disrupts creation.
10.3 We shall all stand under the final judgment of God, as we receive the divine verdict on our lives. Worthy of hell, eternal separation from God, our hope is for heaven, eternal life with God through the grace bestowed on us in Christ. To say “no” to Christ is to refuse life and to embrace death. The destiny of all people is in the hands of God whose mercy and justice we trust.
10.4 Eternal life is resurrection life. As God raised Christ, so shall we be raised into a condition fit for life with God. Eternal life begins in this life: whoever believes in the Son of God already has eternal life. In Baptism by faith we die and rise with Christ and so are one with the risen Lord. In death we commit our future confidently to God.
10.5 Life had its beginning in God. In God it will come to completion and its meaning be fully revealed. All creation will find fulfillment in God. Christ will come again. Only God knows when and how our Lord will return. Now we see in part. Then we shall see face to face.
10.6 Come, Lord Jesus!
10.7 May the God of hope fill us with joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we abound in hope!