God created human beings and determined how we should live and be. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).
God is Triune, three persons but one God, a fact which transcends all human understanding. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
We have utterly failed to be what God wants and requires of us, and therefore he has every right to punish us for our sin and rebellion against him. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23a). All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Although many people try to gain favor with God by their "good" lives and "good" works, God has made it clear that no one will get to heaven by his own accomplishments. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law (Romans 3:20). All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." (Galatians 3:10)
God is loving and merciful, and he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to save us -- not by telling us what to do, but by actually doing it for us as our perfect Substitute and Savior. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus Christ is both true God and true man in one person, equal to God the Father in his divinity, less than the Father in his humanity. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1,14).
When Jesus died on the cross he paid the price for the sins of the whole world. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, a fact that assures us of his divinity and of our completed salvation. Who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:4). He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25).
God gives us the salvation won through Jesus' death when he gives us the gift of faith to trust Christ as our Savior. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Saving faith or trust in Christ is not something we can create or choose for ourselves. God the Holy Spirit works miraculously in our hearts to bring us to Jesus. No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).
The Holy Spirit uses the good news of Jesus (the gospel) to bring us to believe in him. The gospel comes to us in verbal form (the Bible) and in tangible form (the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion) to create and strengthen saving trust in Jesus.
(Note: The sacraments are not rituals by which we earn forgiveness. Rather they are means through which God in mercy and power gives us faith and forgiveness.) Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Take eat; this is my body . . . Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:26,28).
Out of love and gratitude to God for his salvation, and to give him honor and praise, we want to gather for worship and lead God-pleasing lives. Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1).