These words begin the most basic statement of the Christian faith, the Apostles’ Creed. These words also describe that most basic of human needs: The need to believe in something greater than ourselves.
At New Hope Baptist Church, we believe in something infinitely greater than humanity. We believe in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has revealed Himself as one God in 3 Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe, as Scripture teaches, that Adam sinned against God and that we inherited both Adam’s sin (pride being the worst) and death, the penalty for all sin. (If you say this isn’t fair, we would say you’re dying for your own sin, not for that of Adam.) Without help, the Scriptures teach, none of us can avoid the penalty for sin. As C.S. Lewis so pointedly said in Mere Christianity, “fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.”
Fortunately, we read about grace in the Scriptures, beginning with Genesis and going through the Revelation. God showed grace to Noah in sparing him and his family. God showed grace to Abraham, choosing him from Ur and blessing the world through his descendants. God showed grace to Isaac by choosing him from Abraham’s sons to inherit the blessing. God showed grace to Jacob, Isaac’s youngest son, and used his descendants — the people we know as the Jews — to show us His nature, tell us His ways, and record the history of His work on earth.
Ultimately, God showed grace to us all by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth; “conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary.” Jesus lived a perfect life, showing us anew how God expected us to treat each other and how to worship Him. However, Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross under Pontius Pilate and buried in a borrowed tomb.
This isn’t the end of the story! Jesus rose again from the dead 3 days later, an event Christians gather each Sunday to celebrate. Even better, Jesus’ death means something to us today, because Jesus paid the penalty for Adam’s sin and for our own. We no longer have to fear death, because as St. Paul the Apostle wrote, ” if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Everyone who believes in Jesus’ sacrifice for us is “saved” from sin. The Scriptures tell us our bodies will die one day, but we will all experience a physical resurrection and live forever in a new heaven and a new earth.
It gets even better. After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, He sent the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to live in our hearts and guide us through our lives. The Holy Spirit’s guidance draws believers together into a community of faith, the Church, that meets regularly for worship. The Church encompasses more than our local congregation. Through the Holy Spirit, every believer, of every time, is joined into the family of God.
Those are our beliefs “in brief.” You can find more about what we believe at New Hope by attending our worship services or our Sunday night Bible study.