GRACE BIBLE CONFESSION OF FAITH
The Scriptural doctrines to which we ask the assent of all applicants for membership are contained in the following articles.
ARTICLE I: THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
We believe that the entire Bible is truly the very Word of God. Though God used chosen men to write it, He by His Spirit so guided them that this perfect and infallible Book was produced. It stands complete and final, so that no further additions will ever be made to it. It is the final authority for all that men must believe and the only rule by which they are to govern their lives (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
ARTICLE II: THE TRINITY
We believe in only one true god who in a unique but real way eternally exists as three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4, Matt. 28:19).
God the Father
He initiates the plans of the blessed Trinity. He sent His Son to be our Savior. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our Helper (Eph. 1:3, Jn. 3:16, Jn. 14:26).
God the Son
He makes possible the plans of the blessed Trinity. Jesus Christ truly is God. Though he became a true man, to save us from our sins, He continued to remain absolutely and fully God. He was born of the virgin Mary, was free from all sin, lived a perfect life, willingly went to the Cross to die as a substitute for the sins of all mankind, was physically raised from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and one day will return to earth in power and glory (Jn 1:1, 14, 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 Jn. 2:2, Titus 2:13-14).
God the Holy Spirit
He brings into reality the plans of the blessed Trinity. He is truly God. He has come to convince the lost of their sinful condition. He lives within every believer to give understanding of the Word, guidance through life, and power for Christian service and living (Mt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; Jn. 16:8; 1 Cor. 6:19; Gal. 5:16, 22-25).
ARTICLE III: MANKIND
Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Through the rebellion of our first parents all mankind fell into the state of sin. As a result, every human being is born with an overpowering nature bent on sinning. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that all human beings do sin. There is absolutely nothing that man can do to change his condition. Even the best deeds that man can do are totally unacceptable to God (Rom. 5:12; Ps. 51:5; Rom. 3:10-18,23; Isa. 64:6).
ARTICLE IV: SALVATION
Totally by Grace
Since man is helplessly bound by the chains of sin, his only hope is that God will rescue him from his impossible condition. The good news is that God has done so! Grace is the display of God’s love to those who do not in any way deserve it. God sent His son to die on the cross for every one of us. On the Cross He took our place, bore our condemnation, and forever took away our sins. What He did is received just like a gift. It is given to all who receive it by faith (Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Pet. 2:24; Jn. 1:12).
Results of Salvation
The one who trusts Jesus Christ receives a new life and this is termed the new birth. He is pronounced to have been justified. This means that his sins have been totally forgiven and forgotten through the blood of Christ, and that he now stands righteous and pure in the eyes of God (1 Pet. 1:23; Rom. 5:1; 8:1; 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 1:22).
Permanence of Salvation
Those who are truly believers are saved with an eternal salvation and therefore can never be lost. One of the marks of a true believer is his hunger for holiness of life. Those who live in a continual lifestyle characterized by wanton sin obviously are not true believers and have never really received the grace of God (Jn. 3:16, 10:28-29; 1 Jn. 3:8-10; Rom 8:38-39).
Assurance of Salvation
All believers can have that joyous knowledge that they are God’s children here and now. This is not an arrogant presumption but rather it is simply knowing and believing what God declares in His Word. Assurance comes by claiming god’s promises of salvation from the Bible. Those who do so soon note that an inner conviction that this is true comes from the Spirit of God who lives within them (1 Jn. 5:12-13; Rom. 8:16)
ARTICLE V: CHRISTIAN LIVING
The Divine Standard
The kind of life that God demands from His children is one of being like His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the goal that He has for all of His own, and He desires that we be constantly moving in that direction in this present life. He will settle for nothing less (Rom. 8:29; 1 Jn. 3:2-3; 1 Jn. 2:6; Eph. 5:1-2).
The Divine Method
A true believer discovers that, though he has a new life within him desiring holy and pure living, there still is within him the remnants of the old, sinful life craving selfishness and sin. Victory over sin is available through the power of the Word of God, and through a moment by moment dependence upon the Spirit who lives within (Rom. 7:15-21; Gal. 5:16-23).
True biblical separation begins by being totally separated to Jesus Christ. It involves a commitment to live a life that is honoring to Him in all ways. Such a commitment will show itself by a withdrawal from those practices, influences, and things that would be displeasing to Him. Whatever would steal our hearts and time from Him must be forsaken. Such things are summed in the words of 1 Jn. 2:15-16 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” This withdrawal also includes any religious groups or agencies that deny the true essentials of our Christian faith or practice (Rom. 12:1-2; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 12:1-2; Titus 2:13-14; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 2 Jn. 10-11).
ARTICLE VI: THE CHURCH
The Local Church
The Lord has seen fit to have His saints meet together in local assemblies. The purpose is that they might worship Him, study His Word, sharpen and exercise their spiritual gifts, express love and care for each other, encourage and help each other, and give material gifts for the furtherance of His mission. This mission includes the sending out of missionaries at home and abroad to the far reaches of the world. It also includes the discipleship of those that believe (Rev. 1:4; Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor 16:2; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
The Spiritual Church
This church is a spiritual one composed of all who have been united to Jesus Christ by faith. The Spirit of God has placed us in this unique body. This church has no denominational labels. It is to be characterized by love, unity, and peace, for all that are in it are members of the family of God. (Mt. 16:16-18; Jn. 17:20-24; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Gal. 3:26-28.)
In obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, we practice two ordinances. Water baptism for those who can give testimony to their faith in Christ, and desire to show that their old lifestyle is over and that they wish to live a new lifestyle for their Lord. The Lord’s Supper is in remembrance of our Lord’s sacrifice of himself for our sins (Mt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
The risen Christ has given spiritual gifts to His Church that it might be spiritually strong and healthy in its ministry and service here on earth. Some of those gifts were specially gifted men (Eph. 4:11-12). Those that were foundational (apostles and prophets) are no longer given since their work is over (Eph. 2:20). Those that continue are the evangelists and pastor-teacher. The other gifts given were for the purpose of performing certain functions or tasks in the body of Christ. Those that were foundational, such as the sign gifts (miraculous gifts) which were given to prove that Christ and His Apostles were of God (Acts 2:22; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4), are no longer given. The resurrection of Jesus Christ forever validated His Person and work (Rom 1:4). The ministry of the Apostles is over and their witness to the Person of Christ has been forever inscribed in the New Testament (Jn. 17:14, 20; 1 Cor. 14:37). Sign gifts then began to pass away (1 Cor. 13:8-10; 1 Tim. 5:21, 2 Tim 4:20) and ceased with the passing of the Apostolic Age. Ministry gifts do and will continue until the Church is in Heaven. (Rom. 12:3-8, Eph. 4:12-13). Every Believer is given such a gift (or gifts) by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 12:11).
ARTICLE VII: PERSON OF SATAN
Satan, otherwise known as the Devil, is a very real angelic person. Though he was created holy, he rebelled against God and sin came into God’s universe. Satan tempted man to follow in his rebellion and man fell into sin. Satan is the enemy of God, of all men, and of the church. Much of the evil programs that we see about us are energized by this being. The real battle being fought in the universe is a spiritual one. Satan and his workings will one day be brought to an end when God judges him and cast him into the Lake of Fire forever (Job 1:6-7; Eph. 2:2, 6:11-13; 1 Pet. 5:8, Rev. 20:10).
ARTICLE VIII: THE ETERNAL STATE
At the moment of death the souls or personalities of those who have trusted Christ go immediately into His presence. Their bodies will be raised after the pattern of Christ’s resurrection body, and their personalities will forever be joined to them. They shall live forever in the glories of Heaven – the greatest glory being to enjoy the presence of Christ forever (Lk. 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 1 Jn. 3:2; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; Jn. 14:1-3, 17:24).
At the moment of death their bodies go into the grave and their personalities go into a place of conscious torment. At the resurrection of the wicked, their bodies and souls shall be reunited to stand before God in judgment. Though they will be judged for their sins, the real issue is what they did with God’s Son. Those who did not trust Him as their Savior will forever be separated from God under His wrath in the Lake of Fire (Jn. 3:16-18, 36, 15:6; Rev. 20:10-15).
The Return of Christ
This will take place in two phases. First, He will come for his own (1 Thess. 4:16-17). This will then be followed by a period of anguish on the earth called the Tribulation period (Mt. 24:21). Then Christ will come in power and glory to set up His visible kingdom on earth for one thousand years (Mt. 24:29,31; Rev. 19:11-20:6). After this He will put away all evil beings forever (Rev. 20:7-15) and present to His Father a perfect and holy universe forever (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 21:1-22:5).