Love. Harmony. Perfection. Once, all creation sang the same glorious song.
Disharmony erupted when a once-perfect being abused his God-given freedom. Satan “the accuser” chose self-centeredness and slander over truth and love. Satan claimed that God is not fair, that He’s harsh and controlling, depriving others of what they deserve.
Satan’s deception convinced a third of heaven’s angels, whom God expelled from heaven. Satan claimed rulership of our planet when he swindled its first couple, Adam and Eve, making them doubt God’s trustworthiness and love. That first sin distorted God’s image in us, twisting the world in on itself and threatening its self-destruction. The universe watched to see God’s response to Satan’s accusations.
The “great controversy” between good and evil over God’s character continues to rage, but Jesus, God’s own Son, settled its central question two thousand years ago when He died for humanity.
How strong is God’s love? Jesus’ self-sacrificing death showed that God is willing to pay the incalculable cost of our sins. His sacrifice unmasked the true horror of sin and made clear that God can be trusted. Why did Jesus’ death make such a difference? Because Jesus lived the perfect life that we’ve each failed to achieve and he died the death we each deserve.
The result: We can live for Him, now and forever. Jesus’ sacrifice reconciles us to a perfect God while transforming our hearts. The Holy Spirit shows us our need for God and assures us that we are saved and forgiven. The Spirit writes a new script in our hearts, empowering us to live in freedom, service and joy. God treats us as if we had never sinned, never doubted, never gone our own way.
The same Jesus who subdued demons during His life declared victory over all evil powers at His death. Jesus’ resurrection guarantees that death itself will die. Our new life in Jesus frees us from the fear of death and the shame of our past.
As we connect with Jesus, the Holy Spirit calms our hearts and transforms our outlook. Our spiritual life grows as we talk with God, ponder His Word, share our faith and worship through music and fellowship.
THE GREAT CONTROVERSY
Satan accused God of being untrustworthy and unfair. God gave us freedom to choose, and human history shows the result of rebellion—and the incredible power of God’s love to save us.
All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God’s adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the global flood, as presented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the universal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation. (Gen. 3; 6-8; Job 1:6-12; Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:12-18; Rom. 1:19-32; 3:4; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; 1 Cor. 4:9; Heb. 1:14; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 3:6; Rev. 12:4-9.)
THE LIFE, DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
God sent Jesus, His Son, to live the perfect life we could not and die the death our sins deserve. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice, we claim eternal life.
In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The bodily resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow. (Gen. 3:15; Ps. 22:1; Isa. 53; John 3:16; 14:30; Rom. 1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3, 4; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, 20-22; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15, 19-21; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 2:15; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.)
THE EXPERIENCE OF SALVATION
When we accept God’s grace and salvation, the Holy Spirit reveals our need for Jesus and recreates us. The Spirit builds our faith and helps us leave our broken lives behind.
In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, Substitute and Example. This saving faith comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 45:22; 53; Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 33:11; 36:25-27; Hab. 2:4; Mark 9:23, 24; John 3:3-8, 16; 16:8; Rom. 3:21-26; 8:1-4, 14-17; 5:6-10; 10:17; 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Gal. 1:4; 3:13, 14, 26; 4:4-7; Eph. 2:4-10; Col. 1:13, 14; Titus 3:3-7; Heb. 8:7-12; 1 Peter 1:23; 2:21, 22; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rev. 13:8.)
GROWING IN CHRIST
Salvation transforms how we see our world. We no longer fear our pasts or future, but embrace a present full of hope, love, passion and praise as the Spirit lives in us.
By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus’ victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. We are also called to follow Christ’s example by compassionately ministering to the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of humanity. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience. (1 Chron. 29:11; Ps. 1:1, 2; 23:4; 77:11, 12; Matt. 20:25-28; 25:31-46; Luke 10:17-20; John 20:21; Rom. 8:38, 39; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18; Gal. 5:22-25; Eph. 5:19, 20; 6:12-18; Phil. 3:7-14; Col. 1:13, 14; 2:6, 14, 15; 1 Thess. 5:16-18, 23; Heb. 10:25; James 1:27; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:18; 1 John 4:4.)