Throughout the ages, the people of God have affirmed scriptural truth through creeds. We have an example of credal writing in the marvelous opening lines of John's Gospel:
"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God..."
Below, are the twelve key doctrinal points which make up our statement of faith. Grace Bible Church, as one, affirms these truths, acknowledging their origin being not of man, but of God.
I. Of Scripture
We believe in the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture. It is the Word of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. We believe that God has preserved this Scripture down through the ages.
II. Of God
We believe there is but one living and true God, and in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The second person in the Trinity, in the fullness of time through the virgin birth, did take upon Himself man’s nature, and that this person, Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, without sin.
There is but one only (Deut 6:4; 1 Cor 8:4, 6) living, and true God (Jer 10:10; 1 Thes 1:9): who is infinite in being and perfection (Job 11:7-9, 26:14), a most pure spirit (John 4:24), invisible (1 Tim 1:17), without body, parts (Deut 4:15, 16; Luke 24:39; John 4:24), immutable (Mal 3:6; James 1:17), immense (1 Kings 8:27; Jer 23:23, 24), eternal (Psa 90:2; 1 Tim 1:17), incomprehensible (Psa 145:3), almighty (Gen 17:1; Rev 4:8), most wise (Rom 16:27), most holy (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8), most free (Psa 115:3), most absolute (Ex 3:14), working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will (Eph 1:11), for His own glory (Prov 16:4; Rom 11:36); most loving (1 John 4:8, 16), gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin (Ex 34:6, 7); the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6); and with all most just and terrible in His judgments (Neh 9:32, 33), hating all sin (Psa 5:5, 6), and who will by no means clear the guilty (Ex 34:7; Nah 1:2, 3).
In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (Matt 3:16, 17; 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 John 5:7). The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding: the Son is eternally begotten of the Father: the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 1:14, 18).
The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature (John 1:1, 14; Gal 4:4; Phil 2:6; 1 John 5:20), with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin (Heb 2:14, 16, 17; 4:15): being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance (Luke 1:27, 31, 35; Gal 4:4). So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion (Luke 1:35; Rom 9:5; Col 2:9; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 3:18). Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man (Rom 1:3, 4; 1 Tim 2:5).
III. Of Creation
III. God created all things and for His pleasure they were created. We believe in a young earth and a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2.
It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; John 1:2, 3; Heb 1:2), for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness (Psa 33:5, 6; 104:24; Jer 10:12; Rom 1:20), in the beginning, to create, or make out of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good (Gen 1:1-50:26; Acts 17:24; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3) Isaiah 40:21-26.
IV. Of the Fall of Man
We believe that sin caused our first parents, Adam and Eve, to fall from their original righteousness and communion with God and thereby we all have a sin nature and the consequences thereof.
Our first parents, being seduced by the subtilty and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:13; 2 Cor 11:3). This their sin, God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory (Rom 11:32).
By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God (Gen 3:6-8; Eccl 7:29; Rom 3:23), and so became dead in sin (Gen 2:17; Eph 2:1), and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body (Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:10-19; Titus 1:15).
They being the root of all mankind (Gen 1:27, 28; 2:16, 17; Acts 17:26; Rom 5:12, 15-19; 1 Cor 15:21, 22, 45, 49), the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation (Gen 5:3; Job 14:4; 15:14; Psa 51:5).
From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good (Rom 5:6; 7:18; 8:7; Col 1:21), and wholly inclined to all evil (Gen 6:5; 8:21; Rom 3:10-12), do proceed all actual transgressions (Matt 15:19; Eph 2:2, 3; James 1:14, 15).
This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated (Prov 20:9; Eccl 7:20; Rom 7:14, 17, 18, 23; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8, 10); and although it be, through Christ, pardoned and mortified, yet both itself and all the motions thereof are truly and properly sin (Rom 7:5, 7, 8, 25; Gal 5:17).
Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto (1 John 3:4), doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner (Rom 2:15; 3:9, 19); whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God (Eph 2:3), and curse of the law (Gal 3:10), and so made subject to death (Rom 6:23), with all miseries spiritual (Eph 4:18), temporal (Lam 3:39; Rom 8:20), and eternal (Matt 25:41; 2 Thes 1:9).
V. Of Justification
We believe that God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us hath made us alive in Christ. This salvation is totally of grace and grace alone. At the moment of salvation all of our sin is laid upon Him and His righteousness is imputed, or put on our account, by Him. This is all of grace and to His honor and glory.
Those whom God effectually calleth, He also freely justifieth(Rom 3:24; 8:30): not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them (Jer 23:6; Rom 3:22, 24, 25, 27, 28; 4:5-8; 5:17-19; 1 Cor 1:30, 31; 2 Cor 5:19, 21; Eph 1:7; Titus 3:5, 7), they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God (Acts 10:44; 13:38, 39; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:7, 8; Phil 3:9).
Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification (John 1:12; Rom 3:28; 5:1); yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love (Gal 5:6; James 2:17, 22, 26).
Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to His Father’s justice in their behalf (Isa 53:4-6, 10-12; Dan 9:24, 26; Rom 5:8-10; 1 Tim 2:5, 6; Heb 10:10, 14). Yet, inasmuch as He was given by the Father for them (Rom 8:32); and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead (Matt 3:17; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 5:2); and both freely, not for anything in them; their justification is only of free grace (Rom 3:24; Eph 1:7); that both the exact justice and rich grace of God, might be glorified in the justification of sinners (Rom 3:26; Eph 2:7).
God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect (Rom 8:30; Gal 3:8; 1 Pet 1:2, 19, 20), and Christ did, in the fulness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification (Rom 4:25; Gal 4:4; 1 Tim 2:6): nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them (Gal 2:16; Col 1:21, 22; Titus 3:4-7).
God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified (Matt 6:12; 1 John 1:7, 9; 2:1, 2): and, although they can never fall from the state of justification (Luke 22:32; John 10:28; Heb 10:14); yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance(Psa 51:7-12; 32:5; 89:31-33; Matt 26:75; Luke 1:20; 1 Cor 11:30, 32).
The justification of believers under the old testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the new testament (Rom 4:22-24; Gal 3:9, 13, 14; Heb 13:8).
VI. Of Redemption
Redemption is fully accomplished by the triune God as described in Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 3:10-28; 5:6-11; 6:23; John 3:3. We cannot add anything to the work of redemption, nor do we dare subtract anything from it. Hebrews 10:1-14; Romans 8:28-39;Jude 1:24-25; Revelation 20:11-15.
VII. Of Perseverance of the Saints
VII. We believe that those who have experienced this redemption have been “born again” and their salvation is secure because, He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally, nor finally, fall away from the state of grace: but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved (John 10:28, 29; Phil 1:6; 1 Pet 1:5, 9; 2 Pet 1:10; 1 John 3:9).
This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father (Jer 31:3; 2 Tim 2:18, 19); upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ (Luke 22:32; John 17:11, 24; Rom 8:33-39; Heb 7:25; 9:12-15; 10:10, 14; 13:20, 21); the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them (John 14:16, 17; 1 John 2:27; 3:9); and the nature of the covenant of grace (Jer 32:40): from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof (John 10:28; 2 Thes 3:3; 1 John 2:19).
Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins (Matt 26:70, 72, 74); and, for a time, continue therein (Psa 51:14): whereby they incur God’s displeasure (2 Sam 11:27; Isa 64:5, 7, 9), and grieve His Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30), come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts (Psa 51:8, 10, 12; Song 5:2-4, 6; Rev 2:4), have their hearts hardened (Isa 36:17; Mark 6:52; 16:14), and their consciences wounded (Psa 32:3, 4; 51:8), hurt and scandalize others (2 Sam 12:14), and bring temporal judgments upon themselves (Psa 89:31, 32; 1 Cor 11:32).
VIII. Of the Cataclysmic Flood
We believe the world was destroyed by a world wide cataclysmic flood, and is now reserved by God for a final day of judgment of destruction by fire.
The world as created by God was destroyed by a world wide cataclysmic flood which caused drastic changes in the heavens and the earth. The heavens and the earth are now kept in store awaiting another day of judgment of destruction by fire.
2 Peter 3:1-16; Genesis 6-8; Jude 1:14-15.
IX. Of End Times
We believe that God is not through with Israel, but a remnant will recognize their Messiah during the great tribulation. This will usher in everlasting righteousness and the anointing of the most Holy.
We believe the Church will be raptured before the tribulation period.
We believe there is a coming great White Throne judgment in which all those whose name is not written in the “Book of Life” will be cast into the lake of fire, being judged by their works.
Concerning Israel: Israel has not been forever set aside and replaced by the Church.
Romans 9-11; Isaiah 27:1-6; 44:24-27; 54:1-17; Jeremiah 31:35-37; 33:19-26; Ezekiel 11:13-21; 36 and 37; Amos 9:8-15; Matthew 23:37-39
There is a coming time of trouble for Israel and Jerusalem such as never has been, that Israel will be delivered out of.
Daniel 12:1; 9:20-27, which will bring in everlasting righteousness and to anoint the most Holy.
Concerning the Church; The true Church will be raptured before the tribulation period.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 4:13-18; 5:1-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
The great White Throne judgment; There is a coming judgment upon all those whose name is not written in the “book of life.” Those whose names are not written will be cast into the lake of fire. They will be judged by their works.
There is a time coming of a thousand years where Satan will be cast bound into the bottomless pit. At the end of that time he will be released and shall go out to deceive the nations in one last battle against God. Fire will come down from God, out of heaven and devour them. The devil will then be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.
X. Of Daily Living and Worship
We believe that man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. This is accomplished by the application of the Word of God to our life. We believe that worship is God centered and not man centered. We worship Him in the beauty of holiness.
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. This is accomplished by applying the Word of God to our life. The Word of God is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
2 Peter 1:2-9; Hebrews 5:11-14; Matthew 22:34-39.
Worship is God centered and not man centered. We worship him in the beauty of holiness.
Leviticus 10:3; Numbers 20:12; 1 Chronicles 16:29; 2 Chronicles 20:21-25; Psalms 29:1-2; 96:1-9; 1 Corinthians 10:31..
XI. Of the Church
We believe the “church” began at Pentecost and will continue as such until the rapture. The Greek word ekklesia which is translated church in the New Testament, has a meaning of “called out ones” which describes those who are members of the church. However being a member of the church does not save one as there are many members of the local churches who have not been born again.
The English word church is related to the Scottish word kirk and the German designation kirche, and all of these terms are derived from the Greek word kuriakon, the neuter adjective of kurios (“Lord”), meaning “belonging to the Lord.” The English word church also translates the Greek word ekklesia, which is derived from ek, meaning “out of,” and kaleo, which means “to call,” hence, the church is “a called out group.”
Aspects of the Church
The local church. The most common use of the word church in the New Testament is to designate a group of believers that is identified as a local assembly or congregation. Thus there was a church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1; 11:22), in Asia Minor (Acts 16:5), in Rome (Rom. 16:5), in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1), in Galatia (Gal. 1:2), in Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:1), and in the home of Philemon (Philem. 2).
These early believers did not have special buildings in which to meet; instead, they met in homes (Rom. 16:5; Philem. 2). The early believers came together for worship (1 Cor. 11:18), fellowship (Acts 2:45-46; 4:31), instruction (Acts 2:42; 11:26; 1 Cor. 4:17), and for ministry such as sending out missionaries (Acts 13:2; 15:3). The result was that people were continually being saved (Acts 2:47).
The universal church. While the local church views the church as a group of believers gathered together in a particular locality, the universal church views “all those who, in this age, have been born of the Spirit of God and have by that same Spirit been baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 1:3, 22-25).” It was this corporate group of believers that Christ promised to build (Matt. 16:18); it was this Body for whom Christ died (Eph. 5:25), and He is the head over it, giving it direction (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). In Ephesians 1:23 the church is referred to as “His body.” This cannot refer to a local assembly but must depict instead the universal body of believers (cf. Col. 1:18). A particular emphasis of the universal church is its unity, whether Jews or Gentiles, all together compose one body, in a unity produced by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4:4).
The universal church is sometimes referred to as the invisible church and the local church as the visible church (although some deny this equation). Men like Augustine, Luther, and Calvin all taught this distinction, which upheld the invisible church as emphasizing the perfect, true, spiritual nature of the church, whereas the visible church recognized the local assembly of believers with its imperfections and even unbelievers having membership in a local church. The term invisible is also used to indicate that its exact membership cannot be known. In reality, the members are entirely visible!
Formation of the Church
When did the church begin? Although some would suggest the church existed in the Old Testament, an examination of the New Testament indicates the church is a peculiar New Testament entity that had not previously existed. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus declared, “I will build my church,” indicating the building of the church was future. This point is important. It emphasizes that the church was not yet in existence when Jesus spoke these words. He was making a prediction concerning His future building of the church.
First Corinthians 12:13 identifies the manner in which the church is being built—it is the work of the Holy Spirit in baptizing believers into the one Body of Christ. At the moment of regeneration, the Holy Spirit places believers into union with Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23 identifies the church as the Body of Christ, stressing this union with Christ that all believers are brought into at the moment of conversion.
In Acts 1:5 Jesus stated, “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” This indicates the work of the Holy Spirit in placing believers into union with Christ had not yet begun—but it was anticipated imminently. The context clarifies the event and indicates it began at Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). When Peter reported what had happened in Cornelius’s house in Caesarea he indicated to the Jews in Jerusalem that the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just as He had on the Jews “at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). This latter phrase identifies the beginning point of the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit and thus identifies the beginning of the formation of the New Testament church. The church began at Pentecost (Acts 2).
The books of Ephesians and Colossians describe two basic thoughts in regards to the Church: 1) The Church is his body; and 2) The preeminence of Christ. As to the definition, purpose, worship, and focus. Ephesians 1:17-23; 2:14-23; 3:1-12, 21; 4:1-16; 5:22-32; Colossians 1:15-23; 2:15-23; 3:15; 4:16. Certain basic principles can be seen in these passages: That Christ is the head of the church, and all things must be done to the glory and preeminence of Him, which excludes “will-worship”, Colossians 3:16-17; Ephesians 5:18-21. The authority of the scriptures which includes the reading and study of the scriptures for guidance, that the body might be stable and not tossed about by every wind of doctrine that comes along, and that proper fellowship, which glorifies Christ in all things, is maintained. Although all believers make up a priesthood, we have one high priest, Jesus Christ himself. Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:10-14; 1 Peter 2:5-9.
XII. Of Marriage
Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband; at the same time.
Gen 2:24; Prov 2:17; Matt 19:5, 6
Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife (Gen 2:18), for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and the bringing forth of a godly seed (Mal 2:15); and for preventing of uncleanness (1 Cor 7:2, 9).
It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent (Gen 24:57, 58; 1 Cor 7:36-38; 1 Tim 4:3; Heb 13:4). Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord (1 Cor 7:39): and therefore such as profess Christianity should not marry with infidels, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies (Gen 34:14; Ex 34:16; Deut 7:3, 4; 1 Kin 11:4; Neh 13:25-27; Mal 2:11, 12; Rom 1:21-32; 2 Cor 6:14).
Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word (Lev 18:1-30; Amos 2:7; 1 Cor 5:1); nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife (Lev 18:24-28; Mark 6:18).
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