At SBC we believe that our meaning and our purpose is found in relationship with Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us of him,
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
We are made by Christ and for Christ; he is our beginning and end.
We know Jesus through scripture, which introduces him in the context of a wider story.
God is a being in relationship with himself- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He created in the beginning all things in order to embrace them within his life and celebrate together. He created human beings in his image- male and female- with the express missional purpose to represent him on earth and to cultivate and care for his creation. This harmonious relationship was broken we are told in the story of Adam and Eve, when people chose to distrust God and to seize for themselves that which was designed to be a gift from God.
The consequences of this continue to affect our lives. We continue to see the world as ours and ourselves at the centre of the world and as a result we see broken relationships undermining the goodness of the creation that still persists.
God did not abandon his creation; even in the story of Adam and Eve, God acts to provide for those who have rejected his word in clothing and a land to work. In time God began a journey of redemption through Abraham and the creation of a people who would represent him in the world. He would bless them in order that they might be a blessing.
God continued to provide for and bless this people. But they, through many incidents of unfaithfulness, seeking time and again to form a world for themselves which pushed God to the margins continued to reject his overtures of love. Finally, the people were sent into exile. Even here hope did not vanish; instead the final stage of Godӳ plan was begun; a climactic instalment in the story whereby God himself would come and fulfil the promise of his people in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ.
It is in Jesus then, that God is proven completely faithful to his promise. It is in him that a people who are his are formed. He is our righteousness.
Jesus came as the living breathing expression of Godӳ Word. He is God appearing in flesh to restore relationship. He announces the good news that the Kingdom is at hand; that God is breaking into the life of human beings, restoring the possibility of relationship and announcing hope for the world. He did this in his life through the teaching he offered and the signs of love that he enacted. He did this in his death by bearing the consequences of sinful living in his person on the cross. He did this through the resurrection, defeating the power of death and heralding a new world, beckoning us in to life in all its fullness lived in relationship with him. We do not earn his acceptance; we do not achieve this life but we receive it as we confess our own rebellion, as we acknowledge we have gone our own way and not followed his, and as we resolve to live otherwise following Christ.
He did this by pouring out the life of his Spirit into those who form his body, the church. In this way the church exists as a living sign of the power of the gospel- a society of transformed people living in celebration and with the purpose of establishing justice and peace, announcing in word and deed the news that life is found in Jesus Christ. The church not only prays but enacts the words that it was taught to pray, Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.
This process will be completed when Jesus returns as Lord, this time not to announce but to establish his kingdom. This will be a day of salvation and judgement, in which evil will be finally defeated, suffering will be a memory and the earth will be renewed. People will live in relationship with God, with each other and with creation as was intended.
This is what we long for. This is what we hope for. And we are giving our lives to living out that future reality now.