The Decision to Believe & Begin
To begin our look at the Church of God, what it is and what it teaches, it is appropriate to ask you to meet us at the cross; for we believe that the cross is the starting point for each Christian. It is there that we come face-to-face with the overwhelming love of God that prompted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. As Paul put it, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NIV).
The path of every believer meets and proceeds from the cross. There the price for our sins was completely, wonderfully paid. For each of us, faith's journey begins at the foot of that rugged, ancient symbol of redemption.
The content and guidelines of that faith are given in the Bible; what God has done and will do is sufficiently stated. The faith, however, is more than knowing what the Bible says and systematically living out its dictums. The faith is also experience. A Christian not only knows Jesus' teachings, for instance, but has by a decision of the will permitted the risen Christ to live in his or her life.
In a miraculous way, that commitment to Christ is rewarded in the believer with a deep feeling of peace that C. S. Lewis has described as "surprised by joy!" The joy of the Lord is not one of temporary hilarity; rather it is the peaceful inner assurance that God is with me and I am with God—because of Christ. The experience of God working in our lives to forgive and redeem us begins as you and I confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The experience is described well by Bill and Gloria Gaither:
He touched me, O He touched me,
And O the joy that floods my soul;
Something happened, and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.