Knowing the story we are a part of has implications for all of life.
Indeed it determines how we act, what we believe, and ultimately, our purpose.
The statements below summarize the River of Life belief story, or the overarching narrative, that gives meaning to all of life for all people throughout all of time.
Does Truth Exist?
We believe it does. Namely, the Bible is the one true story of God, the world He made and the human beings that inhabit it. In the Bible God reveals who He is, His good purposes for His creation, what went wrong, and His plans to restore all things. But, the story reaches its climax in the life and death of Jesus Christ. In Jesus God has offered the world eternal life instead of death. The Bible calls this "good news” or the gospel of Jesus.
Does God Exist?
The Bible reveals a living God – the author of all life, the creator and sustainer of all things – who is infinitely good. Therefore His creation reveals His power, wisdom, beauty, creativity and love. He has eternally existed as a Tri-unity, meaning God is one in essence existing as three separate persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). In addition, He is absolutely perfect in all of his attributes and He shows perfect love in all that He does; this means that God is without sin. Finally, the word the Bible uses to express the sum of God’s perfections is that he is HOLY.
Does My Life Have a Purpose?
The pinnacle of God’s creation was humans—male and female—created in His image. In fact, God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, with the unique ability to know Him and that set them apart from all other creatures. God’s purpose was that this couple would flourish in the world He created, living in close relationship with Him.
And He still wants this today for all of us which is why He sent Jesus (more on Him in the last section). To sum it up, we were not only designed and created by God, but we were also created for Him. Therefore we can enjoy truly knowing and being known by a living God, understanding the purpose behind why He created us and flourishing in every area of our lives.
Why is There So Much Pain & Suffering?
Going back to Adam and Eve, God gave them the ability to choose Him, walk in His good ways, and trust Him. Unfortunately for them and for us, they chose to define good and evil for themselves—apart from God—and in that moment they experienced guilt, shame, sadness, and separation from the source of life itself.
God called Adam and Eve’s actions as "sin". Each time we choose what God has said is not good (sin) not only do we suffer the consequences of our choices, but so do others, as well as the world around us. Consequently the choice to sin has brought suffering, hate, hurt, war, racism, murder, rape, abuse and evil into God’s good world. Even today the default setting of every single human heart is to define “what is good for me” and the result is that each of us has taken a path that seems right in our own eyes. The Bible tells us there is a way that seems right to humankind, but in the end it leads to death. And God is clear that the penalty for sin is death; sin always brings death.
What Happens When I Die?
For most people, when we think of what happens after we die we think of God weighing our life in terms of good and bad deeds. Those who are generally good will be with God in heaven, and those who are generally bad or outright evil should be punished in hell. It seems to make sense; in the end we all get what we deserve, right?
The Bible says our sins deserve death, and we’ve all rejected God and His ways at one point or another in life, so what then?
Is there any hope apart from death for anybody? Yes! Jesus has done for us what we could not do for ourselves, and that is receiving God’s just punishment for our sins. One helpful metaphor the Bible uses is this idea of a ransom. Jesus willingly died in our place, paying the penalty of sin (which is death) so that we can have new life in restored relationship with God here and now.
Life Instead of Death
You see Jesus was not just a man, He was also fully God. God Himself willingly chose to take on human flesh to take our punishment for our sin. Instead of death, God can now offer us true and eternal life and still be just. God has righteously judged sin and also shown Himself to be loving and merciful toward us.
He offers this new life to everyone. Therefore all who acknowledge Christ's sacrifice and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness for their sins will be given new life cooperating with God instead of against him. This new life is the result of the gift of God’s Spirit. Through his very own Spirit God begins to work in the heart of the believer, helping them to walk in his ways. They are given a completely new identity, a new family, and a new future as well.
In conclusion, this is God's perfect plan for restoring creation and humanity exhibiting his mercy, grace, justice and great love for each and every one of us.