L.I.F.E. Fellowship of Frederick holds many Biblically-supported positions on a wide array of theological and social issues. No one statement can ever possibly summarize everything we believe as a church. Listed below are a few of the most essential convictions of our church in plain language - the definition of genuine Christian faith and the basis for genuine Christian fellowship. For a full doctrinal statement click here.
Everything we know about God is revealed in two specific ways. The first is what mankind can generally observe of God's character in the form of nature and science. The intricate design of all of creation combined with the universal laws of science point to a common Author. The second way is the Bible, God's specific revelation of Himself in the form of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that every detail of this book is Divinely inspired, providing mankind every instruction we need to live a life that honors God. Over the centuries every possible effort has been made to disprove the contents of the Bible, and every time those efforts have failed.
Our general observation of the universe in which we live and the specific revelation of the Bible tells us that God is infinite, eternal, and all-powerful. This means that God transcends our human understanding of both time and dimension. It is hard for our finite minds to comprehend these concepts, but in a way that is comforting. Do you want to believe in a God that has limitations and a definition that your simple mind can comprehend?
God is also perfect, holy, righteous, and true. As the Creator and Sustainer of all things, He gets to make the rules. We do not always understand why God allows things to happen the way they do. We do understand that the existence of evil and its consequences in this world are not the result of God's initiation but of mankind's perpetual rejection of God. God's character means that He cannot tolerate anything short of perfection: perfect holiness, perfect righteousness, and perfect truth. There is not a person reading this now that can say that he or she is perfect in anything. This being the case, we are in a lot of trouble! How could God ever accept US? This conundrum forms the stage for the greatest truth of all time!
God is also love. Not just loving, but the very definition of love itself in its purest form. It is possible for mankind to show genuine sacrificial love on occasion, but in most cases we give love to get love in return. God's very definition is love itself. That means that every thought toward you, every motive, every action taken by God is rooted in genuine sacrificial love. Because God is perfect, holy, righteous, and true, God has the right at any moment to send upon us the full measure of the consequences of our sin. But He doesn't. Why?
Many times the question is asked: "If there is a God, why do bad things happen to good people?" This demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the nature and character of both God and man. Instead, one who is pursuing a genuine knowledge of God would ask the question "If there is a God, why does anything good happen to us bad people?"
God's Loving Remedy
God created mankind unique from everything else in all of creation: He gave us free-will. Not just an animalistic response for self-preservation, but the opportunity to learn and discern. Not just to determine between good and bad, but between right and wrong. Big difference.
God created mankind to be the objects of His affection and gave mankind the opportunity to communicate love back to Him as an expression of their will. The Bible tells us the first man was given a choice to love God or pursue his own interests. Sadly, he chose to pursue his own interests. This single decision demonstrates that even under the best of conditions - in a perfect world - we still cannot meet God's standards of perfection. Anything less than God's perfection is sin.
This decision also resulted in consequences for the entire world: separation, disease, plague, racism, war, pestilence. Sin permeated everything. Man has attempted all kinds of ways to be reconciled to God. Most religions try to create methodology and ritual that is supposed to appease God. The problem is that we don't get to make the rules, God does. He does not require appeasement, He requires perfection. How could mankind ever hope to attain perfection?
It is into this quagmire that God the Father interjected the perfect solution for all mankind: A Substitute in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. The event we all celebrate at Christmas is the arrival of God in human flesh. God displayed His great love for mankind by sending One into the world who was not tainted by the sins of the first man. Jesus, whose name means "God Saves", was born sinless. The Bible tells us that He was tempted in every imaginable way. In contrast to the first man, however, Jesus displayed His love for His Father by using His free will to perpetually forsake sin and please God.
Jesus lived a life of perfection. He alone completely overcame the power of sin. And He chose to offer Himself as the satisfaction of God's holy demand of perfection. Although He had done nothing to deserve punishment or death, Jesus chose to bear the consequence of sin in His body so that mankind could once again be restored to a right relationship with their God. This type of self-sacrificing love is virtually unfathomable for the common individual. Yet this act of selfless love stands in the focal point of all history as the greatest gift ever given.
What makes this story even better is the promise that is attached to it. Not only did Jesus overcome sin, He also defeated the consequences of sin - death. Jesus rose from the dead, displaying His power over life and death. His resurrection provides for us a guarantee that He is able to do everything He has promised in His Word, the Bible. One of the greatest promises that Jesus gave to those who would accept Him as their Savior is that, while our physical bodies may suffer and perish in this lifetime, our soul will continue in eternity with Him in Heaven.
What does it take to be restored to a right relationship with God - to be saved from the consequences of our sin? The answer is very simple: accept the sacrifice of Jesus for yourself. As was mentioned before, mankind has attempted so many different ways to try to appease God in the form of "religion", and in all our efforts we fall short. Works, rituals, rights, prayers, incantations, candles, incense - all of it is a mockery of the perfect plan that God put in place. As though we could add something to Jesus' sacrifice to make it better.
How do we accept the sacrifice of Jesus and have it applied to our lives? You need to acknowledge that you are indeed a sinner separated from God by your sinful actions. You need to acknowledge that no amount of effort or "good works" can earn your way into a right relationship with God.
You need to believe that Jesus is indeed God, and that His sacrifice alone is the substitute for your sins.
You need to believe that Jesus rose from the grave and is the guarantee of eternal life for those who would believe in Him. You need to desire to walk in a right relationship with God.
You need to make a free will decision that you will begin the process of
choosing to honor God with your life instead of pursuing the sinful desires of your heart.
There doesn't seem to be much sense in being reconciled with God and yet still pursue a lifestyle that grieves His heart. In the Bible God gives us instructions on how to live our lives in a manner that pleases and honors Him.
If you are prepared to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sins, then take the time to tell Him - right now if you are ready. Simply read this out loud or in the privacy of your heart. (God is big enough to even know what you are thinking!) "God, thank You for living a sinless life and dying a sinless death. Thank You for making a way to be reconciled to You. I confess that I am a sinner, and that I can do nothing to earn salvation on my own. Please forgive me for my sins and change my life. I offer everything I am and own to You for Your glory and honor. Help me to please you more and more each day that I serve You. I ask this in Jesus' name, amen."
If you prayed that prayer with a sincere heart, then the Bible says that the angels in heaven are currently rejoicing. Why? Because the plan of God that was lovingly set in motion thousands of years ago has been realized in the life of YOU, the object of His affection. You have now joined the millions of individuals from nearly every nation throughout time that have been saved from their sins by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Christians are not perfect, not by any means. Their sins have been forgiven and the ultimate penalty of sin has been paid by Jesus Christ. By accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior you have just made a radical decision to change the direction of your life from pursuing sin to pursuing God. God provides you with His Holy Spirit to challenge, encourage, and convict you when necessary to help you be the person God intends for you to be.
Imagine for a moment your life as a cargo ship. Your life, your talents, your gifts, and your experiences are all valuable cargo to God. Have you ever seen a cargo ship try to change directions in the middle of the ocean? It takes a long time, and it might be awkward, but each moment is a gradual change toward the intended direction. You are still going to commit sins. You are still going to grieve the heart of God until the day you die. The intention is that as you grow in your knowledge of God and His will for your life, those grievances become less as your love for God continues to increase.
You will find that there are times when you are navigating a narrow channel and don't know which way to turn. Find yourself a solid Bible-teaching church that will open the Bible to you as it contains God's instructions for your life. Find mature and wise Christians who have navigated these same trials before and consider them to be your tugboats leading you to the safety of the harbor.
Ultimately, God has promised to never leave you and never forsake you. Seek to honor Him with your life on a daily basis. Find fellowship with other Christians who are pursuing God with a sincere devotion. If there is anything we can do to help you in your walk with the God, or if you have some questions that remain unanswered after reading this narrative, please do not hesitate to contact us through any of the channels listed on this website. We look forward to the opportunity to worship God with you someday at LIFE Fellowship of Frederick or together with all the saints in eternity!