There’s a God. Only one God, in fact, and he is the Creator of everything. We’re made in His image, which means we’re like him in many ways, except that he’s God and we’re not. He’s loving and just and desires a relationship with us. As individuals with free will, we have the freedom to respond to the relationship God’s initiated with us, or not.
We’re free to choose to live outside the realm of the life God has for us as it’s explained in the Bible. Put another way, many choices we make either move us closer to God or further away from him. Making even seemingly small decisions that separate us from God is called sin. We all do it, and we’ll continue to do so. And, even then, God will love us and passionately pursue us.
God loves us so much, in fact, that he sent his only son, Jesus, to die so the rest of us could live. The cost of sin was separation from God—spiritual death—until Jesus came and his death paid everyone’s debt. That’s serious love. Because of that serious, perfect love, this gift from God is waiting for anyone who wants to receive it. This is called Grace. God gives grace freely and abundantly.
As for us, we need only to decide whether or not to believe and receive this stuff. If we decide to believe it, we have available to us a new, full life that can start now and never stop. And it’s OK to have a lot of questions along the way. Although God reveals things to us (including what he’s revealed about himself in the Bible), he remains mysterious and wonderful.
Belle Glade’s First Baptist Church’s beliefs are the same as those contained in the Baptist Faith and Message, the confession of faith of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). On June 14th, 2000, the SBC adopted a revised summary of our faith. The committee’s report says in part:
“Baptists cherish and defend religious liberty, and deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches. We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers, affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other under the Word of God.
“Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability. We are not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.
“As a committee, we have been charged to address the ‘certain needs’ of our own generation. In an age increasingly hostile to Christian truth, our challenge is to express the truth as revealed in Scripture, and to bear witness to Jesus Christ, who is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’
“The 1963 committee rightly sought to identify and affirm ‘certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified.’ Our living faith is established upon eternal truths. ‘Thus this generation of Southern Baptists is in historic succession of intent and purpose as it endeavors to state for its time and theological climate those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us.’
“It is the purpose of this statement of faith and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe.”