We believe that Jesus Christ provided salvation through his sacrificial death on the cross and by his resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24-26). The scripture says that no one can earn salvation (Titus 3:5; Romans 4:5; 6:23; Galatians 2:16; Phil 3:9), but it is given to us grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is deliverance from sin and its penalty (Matthew 13:50; Mark 9:43-44; Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8). God saves people by his grace and for his glory (Ephesians 2:8-9; Revelation 4:11). God does show common grace to all men. Some examples of God’s favor toward all can be seen in His delaying of judgment and giving people time to repent (2 Peter 3:9), His sustaining of His creation (Hebrews 1:3), His giving life and breath to everyone (Acts 17:25), and His sending rain and sunlight on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). However, God’s saving grace is not appropriated until one believes in Christ (John 1:12; 3:3, 16; Acts 16:31).
We believe that God is sovereignly involved in the salvation of mankind. No system of theology should claim to have all the answers in regard to the sovereignty of God and the free will of man (Deuteronomy 29:29). Both doctrines are in the Bible, and neither should be ignored. We believe that God desires all mankind to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; John 3:16; Hebrews 2:9). We also believe that God’s predestined believers to salvation which would include justification, sanctification, and glorification (Romans 8:29, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:10). Predestination also deals with the fact that, before the foundation of the world, God predetermined that Jesus would purchase our redemption by His death on the cross (1 Peter 1:18-20; Revelation 13:8). This election involve all the privileges and prerogatives that the believer has in Christ (Ephesians 1-3). The doctrine divine election was not given to cause believers to doubt their salvation, but to assure them that they are completely and utterly secure in Christ (Romans 8:28-39).
We believe that justification is the legal act of God by which He forgives the believing sinner of all his debt and declares him to be righteous in His sight based on the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26; 4:5; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 2:16). We are not just declared right in Christ, but we are made righteous in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). The result of this justification is peace with God (Romans 5:1).
We believe that redemption is the saving work of Christ, whereby he purchases believers’ freedom from the slave market of sin (Romans 3:23-24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:12, 15). Because of the redemption believers have in Christ, their sins are forgiven (Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7), they are free from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), they are sealed with the Spirit of God (Ephesians 1:13-14), and they are God’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Jesus Christ was the only one qualified to be the redeemer because he was the sinless Son of God (Isaiah 53:9; Hebrews 1:3; 4:15; 7:26-27; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:19). The believer’s redemption was not purchased with gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22; Revelation 5:9).
We believe that regeneration is the act of the Holy Spirit by which He grants spiritual life to a spiritually dead person (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13). It is also referred to as being born again (John 3:3, 7; 1 Peter 1:23), being born of the Spirit (John 3:5-8), and becoming a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). No one will go to heaven without experiencing this spiritual regeneration (John 3:3-5). It takes place through hearing the truth of scripture (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23), and through the transforming power of the Spirit (Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17). It depends on the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3; Romans 6:3-4).
Union with Christ
We believe that the believer’s union with Jesus Christ took place immediately at salvation (Romans 6:3-4). This union refers to the believer’s vital connection with Him. It is expressed with the words, “in Christ” (Romans 8:1-2; 12:5; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30) or “in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21; 13:4; Philippians 3:9). There are other references of Christ being “in us” (Romans 8:4; Ephesians 3:20). It is through this union with Christ that believers receive every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 1:30), including election (Ephesians 1:4), regeneration (2 Corinthians 5:17), deliverance from condemnation (Romans 8:1), death to sin (Romans 6:1-11), righteousness (Philippians 3:9), resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:22), rapture (1Thessalonians 4:13-18), and glorification (Colossians 1:27; 3:4).
We believe that reconciliation is the work of Christ whereby believers are restored to favor with God (Romans 5:11). Before one places his faith in the gospel, he is an enemy of God (Romans 5:10) and the wrath of God abides on him (Romans 5:9; John 3:36). When one places his faith in Christ, he escapes the wrath of God and gains peace with God (Romans 5:1). This reconciliation was made possible because of an exchange found in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Christ became sin for us and we became righteous through Him. Christ satisfied (or propitiated) the righteous demands of a holy God, therefore we are forever reconciled to God (Romans 5:9-10).
We believe that adoption refers to receiving sonship and its privileges (Ephesians 1-3). God predetermined that all who receive Christ would immediately receive full privileges of an adult child in the family of God (Ephesians 1:3). Though all believers experience some of the privileges now (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:4-7), the complete fulfillment of the adoption takes place at glorification (Romans 8:23).
I believe that sanctification is the setting apart of the believer as God’s special possession (Leviticus 20:26; Deuteronomy 7:6; I Peter 2:9). This sanctification has three distinct phases. The first phase is called Positional Sanctification. This took place at the moment of conversion (1Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11). At this point, the power of sin was broken (Romans 6:6), therefore one is free to live a holy life (Romans 6:11-14). The second phase is Progressive Sanctification which involves the believer growing into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such growth is the purpose and promise of God (Romans 8:28-29, Philippians 1:6) and is a cooperative work between God and man (Galatians 5:16, 22-23; Philippians 2:12-14; 2 Peter 1:1-7). Because of our sinful flesh (Romans 7:18-25) the battle for holiness will never be complete in this life (Galatians 5:16-17; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Philippians 3:12-14; 1 Peter 5:8-10). This sanctification takes place by the power of the Spirit as believers spend time with God in the scriptures (2 Corinthians 3:18), and in prayer (Ephesians 6:11). Sanctification can and should also take place when believers worship and fellowship together (Hebrews 10:24-25; Ephesians 4:15-16). The third phase is Complete (perfected) Sanctification which takes places at glorification (I Thessalonians 5:23; I John 3:2).
We believe that glorification is the work of God whereby he changes the believer’s corrupt body into a body like Christ’s resurrected body (Philippians 3:20-21). This body will be immortal, glorious, powerful, and spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54).