What We Believe

 
 

“Better to be divided by truth than to be united by error.”

                                          - Martin Luther

ABOUT THE BIBLE


We believe the Bible to be inspired of God, the infallible Word of God


“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (II Timothy 3:16)


The Bible is the only God-given authority which man possesses; therefore, all doctrine, faith, hope,and all instruction for the church must be based upon, and harmonize with, the Bible.  It is given to e read and studied, and can only be clearly understood by those who are anointed by the Holy Spirit.


“No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (II Peter 1:20-21)



ABOUT THE ONE TRUE GOD


We believe in the one ever-living, eternal God; infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity.  This one true God has revealed Himself as the Father, in creation; through his Son, in redemption; and as the Holy Spirit, by emanation.


“...yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

(I Corinthians 8:6)


“For God was in CHrist, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s ins against them.” (II Corinthians 5:19)


“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people...” (Joel 2:28)


“The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Mark 12:29)


“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:6)


Before the incarnation, this one true God manifested Himself in various ways (burning bush, pillar of cloud/fire).  In the incarnation, He manifested Himself in the Son, who walked among men.  As He works in the lives of believers, He manifests Himself as the Holy Spirit.



ABOUT THE SON OF GOD


We believe the one true God, Jehovah of the Old Testament, took upon Himself the form of man, and as the Son of man was born of the virgin Mary.


“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (II Timothy 3:16)


“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11)


This one true God was manifest in the flesh, that is, in His Son Jesus Christ.


“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.”

(II Corinthians 5:19)


We believe that “in [Jesus] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)


“For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” (Colossians 1:19)


Therefore, Jesus, in His humanity was man; in His deity He was and is God.  His flesh was the lamb, or the sacrifice of God for our sins.  He is the only mediator between God and man.


“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5)


Jesus on His Father’s side was divine, and on His mother’s side was human.  Thus, he was known as the Son of God and also the Son of man, or the God-man.


“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ... and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)



ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS


In the beginning God created man innocent, pure and holy; but through the sin of disobedience Adam and Eve, the first of the human race, fell from their holy state, and God was forced to banish them from their paradise in the Garden of Eden.  Thus, by mankind’s disobedience, sin entered into the world and the human family.


“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27)


“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)


“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world.  Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” (Romans 5:12)


Although every human being has tremendous potential for good, each of us is marred by our inborn sinful nature and its actions, separating us from God and causing many problems in our lives.  All men are eternally lost outside the redemptive work of Christ.


“In those days you were living apart from Christ.  You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them.  You lived in this world without God and without hope.” (Ephesians 2:12)


“We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.  So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified... For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.  THe only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 2:15-16; 5:6)


“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous.  He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.  For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin.  People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.  THis sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time.  God di this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-26)


“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)


“Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refused to believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)



ABOUT SALVATION


We receive salvation not by our own merit, but by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are made partakers of this salvation through obeying the gospel in repentance from sins, baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and by receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.  We are baptized by this one Spirit into the Body of Christ.


“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” (Romans 5:1)


“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?  Of course not!  Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism.  And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.  Since w have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.  We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.  We are no longer slaves to sin.” (Romans 6:1-6)


“Thank God!  Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey his teaching we have given you.” (Romans 6:17)


“God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” (Ephesians 2:8)


“Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)


“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (I Corinthians 12:13)


There is no salvation outside of obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.


“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)



ABOUT HOLINESS


Godly living must characterize the life of every child of the Lord, and we must live according to the pattern and example given in the Word of God.


“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” (Titus 2:11-12)


Issues of holiness are not salvation issues in and of themselves; rather, they are Christian maturity (“sanctification”) issues.


“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:4)


However, if we choose not to obey God in these areas, our willful disobedience will eventually become a salvation issue.


“Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?  God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple.  For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (I Corinthians 3:16-17)


“Therefore come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.  Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.  And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.  Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves form everything that can defile our body or spirit.  And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.” (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1)



ABOUT ETERNITY


We believe in the personal and imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ to “catch away” his church (the Rapture), and in a subsequent period of intense distress for those who remain on the earth (the Tribulation), which will be followed by the Lord’s personal return to earth with His saints to rule for 1,000 years (the Millennial Reign).  Thus the people of God should earnestly and hopefully look forward to the Second Coming of Christ.


“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.  We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise form their graves.  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  Then we will be with the Lord forever.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-17)


“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:11)


“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.  Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.  For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:19-21)


“Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him.” (II Thessalonians 2:1)


“For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” (I Corinthians 11:26)


“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret.  We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!  It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown.  FOr when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever.  And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” (I Corinthians 15:51-54)


“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.  and we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.  He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” (Philippians 3:20-21)


“He who is the faithful witness to all these things say, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)


“...while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own,e ager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:13-14)


“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31)


In the end, all the dead will be summoned before the Great White Throne for their final judgment, and all whose names are not found written in the Book of LIfe will be cast into the Lake of Fire.


“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.’” (Matthew 25:41)


“If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)


“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars--their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)


The redeemed will live for all eternity in the presence of God.


“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people.  God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever.’ ...And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.  The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory.  Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there.  And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city.  Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty--but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life ... No longer will there be a curse upon anything.  For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.  And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.  And there will be no night there--no need for lamps or sun--for the Lord God will shine on them.  And they will reign forever and ever...Blessed are those who wash their robes.  They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.” (Revelation 21:2-4, 23-27; 22:3-5, 14)


Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.