Across the world, Christians believe that God created the universe, the earth and all that lives on it. This could not have been created by an impersonal force. Human beings – and all creation – are evidence of God’s glory. The Church is a community that offers praise and thanksgiving to God on behalf of all of creation. God created human beings in order for them to share in His own existence and the worship of God is at the heart of all Christian life.
The Bible focuses supremely on how God touched our world two thousand years ago in Jesus Christ. It might surprise you to know that Jesus didn’t come to the world to set up a religion but rather to show – as vividly as He did – that we can have a relationship with God and follow His teachings.
The essence of that relationship is knowing that we can trust God. Saint Paul said (Romans 8 v31), “if God is for us, who can be against us?”
But how do we know that “God is for us”? It is quite simply because God did not spare His Son but gave Him up for our sins. Jesus Christ was betrayed and crucified on the Cross and yet, through His miraculous resurrection, He has not turned His back on us. We therefore need never be separated from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ. His love is alive, having survived the worst we can do.
But this isn’t an excuse for doing what we want, thinking that we can get away with it. Once we believe that God is ‘for us’, we are open through repentance and faith to receive the gift that God wants to give us. If Christ is in us, we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us also and we share in His own love and freedom and mercy.
If we really take the message in, we shall enjoy lives of selfless generosity, using the gifts that have been bestowed upon us – material, imaginative, spiritual or whatever – in a way that helps other people become more fully alive. And we shall be able to trust the generosity of others and be able to receive with gratitude what they are able give to us.
Love, hope, humility, generosity, gratitude and confidence are all focused on Jesus’ life and on His death and resurrection. This is the heart of faith and that’s where we embark on being a Christian.
People come to faith at all stages of life whether it be from childhood or old age; it maybe through a life-changing experience or a just gradual realisation of a personal Christian faith.
“Nothing” – said St Paul in the same chapter – “can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord”. And Jesus will one day return to this world to establish the Kingdom of God and will reign forever.
Jesus spoke of the overwhelming significance of love when He was asked to say which was the most important of God’s commandments. He selected two – to love God and to love other people.
Everything that gives life meaning follows from those two commandments. So life is not meaningless – God loves us all and wants the best for our lives, not just now, but for ever. He loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to die on the Cross.
Sadly, some people seem ready either to deny this or think it illusory, but we firmly believe it is true. The Cross and Resurrection of Christ call for our response.