We're a group of Christians in Las Cruces, New Mexico with a God-given passion to know, treasure, and proclaim the excellencies and unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, the One through whom the God of all grace loved us and called us out of the darkness of our sin into His marvelous light.
WHO WE WERE
This passion didn't come out of nowhere, or because we decided it was time to settle down and become religious, moral, churchgoing people. Like every son and daughter of Adam, we were born in sin. Prior to being pursued and rescued by the sovereign grace of God, we loved the darkness of our sin and wanted to continue wallowing in it. To put it plainly, we hated the one true and living God.
Although this hatred wasn't expressed in verbal utterances such as, "I hate God," it was expressed by the way we lived our lives. Even though, with the rest of mankind, we had a real and inescapable sense of His existence, we refused to honor Him as God and give thanks to Him as the gracious Giver of life and breath and everything. The glory of this immortal God, which was meant to be our joy and treasure, we sinfully exchanged for lesser, trivial, worthless things. Instead of drinking from Him as the fountain of living waters, we drank down sin like water. Instead of seeking the living God from whom every blessing flows, we sought to satisfy ourselves with everything but God, and proved that what He had long before spoken concerning the human race was true:
None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside;
together they have become worthless;
No one does good, not even one.
Our attitude towards our Creator was identical to the attitude that the citizens in Christ's parable had towards their nobleman, an attitude expressed in the words, "We do not want this man to reign over us!" (Luke 19:14). Seeking to be our own gods, we despised His sovereignty, defied His reign, refused His rule, ignored His laws, and had no regard for His word. Though some of us were faithful, religious, churchgoing people, we were like those of whom God spoke when He said, "This people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me" (Isaiah 29:13). We were like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appeared beautiful and clean, but inwardly were fully hypocrisy, dead people's bones, and all uncleanness. On the other hand, some of us could say with one modern artist,
There used to be a time when we were fine living life with no particular religious bend, pretending to be our own gods [and] inventing our own systems of belief so as to not depend on anything other than our own self-governing consent. (Thomas Terry)
Regardless of how different our pasts were, we all had one thing in common: we were dead in the trespasses and sins in which we once walked. We followed the course of this world as blind captives of the devil. We all once lived in the passions of our fallen nature, carrying out the sinful desires of the body and the mind, and like the rest of mankind, we deserved to be eternally punished for sinning against the God of all glory. It’s no exaggeration to confess that our iniquities had risen higher than our heads and our guilt had mounted up to the heavens.
Blinded by sin (1 John 2:11),
polluted with sin (Job 14:4),
enslaved to sin (Romans 6:17),
ruined in sin (Isaiah 6:5),
dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1),
and in love with sin (John 3:19),
we were separated from Christ, hopeless,
and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12).
It's only by the sheer kindness and mercy of God that our story didn't end here, even though it would've been perfectly just for God to pass us by and leave us in such a miserable and wretched state, to die in our sin and enter into a hopeless eternity.
WE RECEIVED MERCY
All praise be to God that in our helpless, hopeless, hostile state, He pitied us! Moved by a passion for His glory and a love for our helpless souls, He opened our eyes to see the enormity of our sin and the reality of our guilt as those who had only ever sinned against His goodness. He caused us to see that we were undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving rebels who selfishly squandered His gifts while spitting in His face. The goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared and came to us powerfully through the message of the gospel. The message that many of us had long ignored and considered to be foolish and irrelevant was suddenly the greatest news and the most important message we had ever heard.
Our blind eyes were opened to see the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ as the compassionate and all-sufficient Savior, able and willing to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him. Our deaf ears were unstopped and we heard the voice of the Good Shepherd calling us out of the sheepfold of sin and into His green pastures. By the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ became sweet and sin became bitter. He enabled us to see Jesus as the pearl of greatest price, the One worth losing everything for.
Our calloused and stony hearts were melted by the reality of His dying love. Our pride and arrogance were shattered when the Holy Spirit caused us to realize that it was our sin that caused Jesus' agony in Gethsemane and His abandonment upon Calvary. We were, and are still gripped by the realization that this Sinless One was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. We were, and are still filled with wonder at the thought of God the Father laying our iniquities upon His precious Son and crushing Him in our place as our Substitute. The eternally blessed Son became a curse for us so that we who were cursed might be eternally blessed.
The punishment and vengeance that we deserved from God was inflicted and unleashed in full force upon the Lamb of God as He hung condemned on the cross, damned in our place. The Holy Spirit opened our minds to understand that, on the Cross, God made the Righteous One to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Our hearts were even more ecstatic when we heard that Jesus not only died in our place and for our sin, but that He was raised from the grave three days later for our justification. The resurrection of Jesus gives us the greatest assurance possible that the sins of all of God's people have been forgiven, atoned for, and put away once and for all.
Some of us had heard the gospel several times, but when it pleased God to bring it to us in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction, He caused us to be born again. We gladly and boldly confess with the apostle Peter that it was God who caused us to be born again according to His abundant mercy (1 Peter 1:3). We who once loved our sin found ourselves repenting and turning from our idols, and we who once wanted nothing to do with Christ found ourselves placing all of our hope, trust, and confidence in Him, believing that He alone was able to save us, forgive us, propitiate God's wrath, satisfy His justice, and present us as blameless and perfect before the throne of God.
When we believed in Him, God not only forgave our sins and purified our souls, He declared us righteous, clothing us with the very righteousness of His Son. Now adopted into His family and destined for glory, we rejoice and find eternal comfort in the fact that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion. Our risen Savior has given us eternal life and because He died in our place, we will never perish, and no one will snatch us out of His hand. We press on, knowing that His almighty power will sustain and preserve us to the end. By no means have we obtained perfection, but we press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Though we're not what we ought to be, not what we want to be, and not what we hope to be in another world, we know this: we are not what we used to be, all because of the tender mercy of God our Savior.
WHY WE EXIST
Having been chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and resurrected by the Spirit, we exist as a local church to joyfully exalt and magnify the Triune God. Our desire and prayer is that we’d be a church characterized by a love and passion for the glory of God, a church centered around, immersed in, and governed by the Word of God, a church that prayerfully rests upon the power of the Spirit of God for the advancement of the gospel of God, a church that labors to see sinners saved and ushered into the kingdom of God, and a church moved, motivated, controlled, and constrained by the dying love of the Son of God.
Because God has sovereignly appointed other local churches in our community for the hallowing of His Name in this world, we believe it's imperative for us to establish meaningful relationships with Christians from other gospel-centered congregations while we pray consistently for their health and fruitfulness in the Great Commission.