Statement of Faith
By Pastor Dan Vraa
Statement of Faith, Rev. Daniel V. Vraa
I believe in the One, True, and Living God; Who reveals Himself in the Bible as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is eternal, and Creator of all that exists, seen and unseen. God is holy and faithful, loving and sovereign, all-wise and all-powerful, transcendent yet immanent. I am repeatedly surprised by God Who is more wonderful, worthy, loving and good than I had previously believed or imagined.
I believe God created the human race in His own image, for the purpose of enjoying perfect fellowship between Creator and creature, Lover and beloved, Lord and servant. But out of our pride and selfishness, we betrayed God and rebelled against His authority. Thus we are in a fallen state, separated and alienated from God. Our sinful state gives rise to all kinds of wickedness: contempt for God’s authority; brokenness and idolatry of self; tyranny and disregard for others; abuse of God’s creation. Death and eternal separation from God are two terrible consequences of our sin. We are powerless over our sinful state, and in need of a Savior to forgive, liberate and transform us. God, Who is rich in grace and mercy, seeks to reconcile lost humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ.
I love and trust Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. He is the only Son of the Living God, the son of Mary, the Lord of all and the Savior of the world. He is God’s unique provision for the salvation of the human race. Being the perfect, sinless sacrifice, Christ’s crucifixion and shed blood atoned for the sins of the world, saving us from the due judgment of God’s Law. By his resurrection, Jesus proved he defeated the powers of sin, death and the evil one. All who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ shall enjoy eternal life in loving fellowship with God in this life and at our resurrection. He continually intercedes for us in heaven, shall return in glory to judge the world in righteousness, and take home his own.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, Who indwells me, as He indwells all Christians. The Holy Spirit regenerates us by quickening our faith, and sanctifies us by transforming us into the image of Christ. The Spirit produces within us the character of God (“fruits of the Spirit”), and equips us with ministry tools (“gifts of the Spirit”) for building up the faithfulness and fruitfulness of the Church. The Holy Spirit draws us to worship and adore God, instructs us by reminding us of the Word of Christ, empowers us in ministry, convicts us of sin, and comforts us in suffering. I must continually surrender my will to the will of the Spirit, so that I may follow where and when He leads.
I believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God in the words of humans. I am convinced the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of the Bible. The Bible is God’s infallible Word, and it will never fail those who believe its promises and obey its commands. These Scriptures are the unique revelation of Jesus Christ and God’s will for humankind, providing us with more than sufficient knowledge for our salvation and a lifestyle pleasing to God. I affirm the Bible is the sole authority for the Church’s Faith (what we believe) and the Church’s Life (how we live). As we receive and respond to the Word of God in faith, we are enlightened, called, motivated, instructed, chastened, assured, corrected, equipped and nourished, and come to know and experience the heart, mind and will of God.
I belong to and believe in the Church, the Body of Christ, which consists of all who believe in Christ in every generation. Through his Spirit and Word, Jesus is present with his disciples, commanding, instructing, encouraging, defining and correcting his Church. The Church’s primary task is to be the disciple-making witness of Jesus Christ. The Church is called to forsake everything else and everyone else in order to follow Christ. We are called to lead holy lives and become love-doers, not law-keepers: loving Christ by self-denial and obedience; loving one another as Christ loves us, through mutual submission and service; loving neighbor as self, through compassion and proclamation.
I believe in and eagerly await the second coming of Jesus Christ to earth. His return will be sudden, visible to all, and at a time known only to the Father. Those who put their faith and trust in Him will live with Him with “joy unspeakable” for all eternity; and those who reject Him will be judged and spend eternity in “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”