We believe that God inspired the Bible’s authors to write so that he could accomplish his purpose. That purpose is “that (we) may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing (we) may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The Bible is authoritative because it’s God’s Word. It’s necessary because without it we would not know Jesus. It’s clear because through it the Holy Spirit shows us the way of life in Christ. The Bible is central in our worship, from the opening greeting, to a prominent sermon, to songs from the Psalms, to the parting blessing. God’s Word is the matter from which we shape our worship. Take away the Word of God, and there is little left of most Christian Reformed worship services.
What Do We Believe About God, the Father?
We believe that God is eternal. Before time began, God already was. Somewhere in his eternal existence. God planned his universe. This is called predestination. He created this vast and beautiful universe by his word, out of nothing. And now God rules over it all, shaping us and our world to his purpose. By emphasizing God’s eternal plan and loving providence, we don’t deny our own responsibility to believe and obey. We simply recognize that behind and around and beneath our human efforts is God’s controlling and unfolding purpose. God could have dealt with the world’s people in a variety of ways. He chose to do it as a Father. He made people his partners by calling them into covenant with himself. Covenant is an important idea in Christian Reformed thinking. It means an agreement by which God binds both himself and us to certain terms. God first made such an agreement with Adam and Eve in Paradise. He promised to be their daily companion; they promised to obey him. But Adam and Eve disobeyed and broke the covenant. The generations born from those first parents were all born sinners in a sinful world. But that didn’t change God’s decision to be a covenant God. He chose Abraham to father a new community of people. With Abraham and his children God made a covenant of grace unto everlasting salvation.
What Do We Believe About God, the Son?
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, our Savior and our Lord. He came to be with us though a miracle. The virgin Mary was made pregnant by a supernatural act of God through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). In this way the Lord of heaven and earth came into human flesh and nature. He, who was from eternity true God, now was also sinless man. This one person stood as both God and man between God and humanity. He, represented sinful humanity before God. He represented the just and loving God before humanity. He was born to die. He came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). His sufferings, his painful loneliness, his tragic crucifixion were all part of his deliberate act of eternal love. He did it so that we, who deserve what he endured, might be saved through believing that he suffered as our substitute. He rose from the dead and lives today to apply to every believeing heart the benefits of forgiveness and salvation.
What Do We Believe About God, the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is necessary for our salvation, for the life of the church, and for the work of God in the world, But who is he? Scripture answers that the Holy Spirit is God and that the Holy Spirit is personal. We should think of the Holy Spirit not as an impersonal power, but as a powerful person who, “as well as the Father and the Son, is eternal God.” The Holy Spirit is the person of the divine Trinity who puts God’s plan into operation. One of the Holy Spirit’s concerns is bringing people to salvation in Jesus Christ. As the internal persuader, he awakens unbelieving hearts to their desperate, sinful condition and to their need of the gospel. To do that the Holy Spirit uses specific means: the Scripture he inspired, the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, and the sacraments. We pray for the Holy Spirit. We believe in Jesus Christ. We do the will of our heavenly Father. And in the process we discover that we’re not alone. Someone else is guiding, directing, moving us ever deeper into the Christian faith. It is the Holy Spirit. He is God, personally at work in our lives.