What do Christians Believe?
Christians believe that the world and everything in it is created by a loving God who gives meaning and purpose to each person and thing. No person has ever seen God, and no one is able to understand God fully. But we believe we know what God is like through the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed he had seen and did understand God in a way never experienced before.
Jesus was born in about 4BC in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, both places are in present day Israel. Jesus learned a trade as a carpenter-builder. At the age of 30 he began a three year work of telling people about God and demonstrating God’s love through his teachings, healings and miracles. He was then executed by crucifixion as a common criminal, probably in 30AD in Jerusalem. Against all the expectations of his friends he rose from death, and this one thing compelled his followers to tell people far and wide about him.
His followers, who were all Jews at the time, but later included non-Jews, formed a community known as the Church. Its task was to continue the work he had begun. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the Jewish scriptures and therefore we believe that the church has a vital role in the unfolding purpose of God. We become members of this community through faith in Christ and the ceremony of baptism whereby we come into a new relationship with God through Jesus.
God as Father
Jesus taught people to think of God as a loving Father – he creates us, loves us, protects us, provides for our needs and guides us through life. He is love. Jesus taught us to speak to Him in prayer as ‘Our Father’. The word he uses for father is ‘abba’ which means ‘daddy’.
Jesus wants his followers to know that God is with them always. He does this by giving them his Holy Spirit. God inspires us through his Spirit and gives us gifts to use for the good of others.
More than Human
Jesus called himself Son of Man, whilst he did in fact claim to be divine. He said that whoever had seen him had seen the Father. He was the human expression of God, showing God’s will for forgiveness, peace, healing and goodness by his actions, and supremely showing God’s love for the world by his death on the cross. After his resurrection one of his followers could say of him ‘My Lord and my God’.
As Christians we use the Jewish scriptures believing that they reached fulfilment in the coming of Jesus into the world. We accept the accounts by his friends of his teaching, death and resurrection, and letters written by the Apostles to the first Churches. We believe that the writers of scripture were inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. We believe that by dying on the cross Jesus won for us forgiveness from the effects of sinfulness.
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