We have provided a brief explanation below to help us better understand the teaching of the gospel in our church.
Jesus’ own words
In ZSCH we teach that the love of God is revealed through the commandments Jesus gave us in the Sermon on the Mount. These are laws of life that are given for the benefit of both individuals and society.
Jesus’ grace to those who believe in Him also contains the power to keep His commandments, and these in turn contain promises that make people happy, without exception.
This has a positive effect on our relationships at home, in the church and in working life.
And the starting point is the same for all people.
Our starting point: we were lost
We teach that because of the Fall, every human being is born with a selfish being who is corrupted by sin.
This selfish being has a negative effect on both our relationships with other people and on our own happiness. Because every human being has come under God’s judgment over sin, everyone needs to be reconciled to God.
“As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one …’” Romans 3:10.
Forgiveness and reconciliation
Jesus made reconciliation possible by suffering death on the cross for the sake of all people, even though He was innocent and had never sinned. Because of this sacrifice, anyone who wants to believe in Jesus can have their sins forgiven and be reconciled to God.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
A personal invitation
We proclaim that Jesus’ salvation is not only for the forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God, but also to lead us into a lifelong process of salvation. We believe that after being reconciled by Jesus’ death, we will then be saved by His life.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus Himself explains what it means to be saved by His life: “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’”
This is a personal invitation.
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10.
But each person must choose for themselves if they want to follow Jesus.
Jesus spoke of the cross before He was crucified on Calvary. Taking up the cross is something that must be done every day and is a part of everyday life for those who follow Jesus.
Paul testified that he was crucified with Christ.
In this way, those who follow Jesus’ call will experience the cross as a force that, little by little, abolishes thoughts and actions that have a negative impact on both interpersonal relationships and our relationship with God.
This development takes the whole of our life.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
Our understanding of Jesus’ and Paul’s words is that our selfish, sinful being should, to the extent that we are aware of it, be denied control over our thoughts and actions. Sooner or later, the being that is crucified will die – it disappears from our person.
A lifelong process
We teach that, parallel to the gradual removal of the selfish, sinful being, a person should develop in good thoughts and deeds, and thus gradually absorb the being that Jesus Himself had.
Our teaching emphasizes what we personally experience through obedience to Jesus’ commandments, and the promises that come with this obedience.
This also leads us to rest from worry, for all things work together for good to those who love God.
All those who follow Jesus and take up their cross daily will personally experience God’s love and care, as well as His discipline and guidance.
This makes us strong in faith and provides certainty in the hope that God’s promises will be fulfilled.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
We proclaim that God’s plan of salvation will be fulfilled when Jesus returns to earth one day and judges the living and the dead according to their deeds.
On that day, every human being will acknowledge that the judgment is true and just.
An eternal kingdom
God will establish an eternal kingdom where sin no longer exists, and thus nothing will destroy human happiness.
The invitation to salvation is therefore an invitation to be freed from the power of sin, which brings sorrow and misfortune.
This kingdom has already begun to take shape within those who follow Jesus. In an eternal perspective, therefore, human difficulties and trials are both short-lived and light.
We are invited to enter into a true and happy rest in the kingdom that will last forever.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.