Salvation

SALVATION

We teach that salvation is completely the sovereign work of God (Jn 1:13; Tit 3:5,6). A single divine method of salvation by grace through faith has been in effect since the fall of man (Ro 4:1-9; 9:16; Eph 2:8,9; Heb 11:1-39). This great truth, however, never nullifies or diminishes either the sinner’s responsibility of appropriation or the servant’s responsibility of communication (Ro 10:8-15).

God’s sovereign plan of salvation was divinely drafted in eternity past (Eph 1:4; 2 Ti 1:9; Tit 1:2; Rev 13:8), including all of its provisions (The work of Christ and the Spirit) and processes (Tit 3:3-7). Furthermore, on an individual, historical basis, His grace stands behind all the stages of salvation, i.e. past – justification; present – sanctification; and future – glorification (Ro 8:29-30). Thus, our salvation is entirely accomplished by the almighty power of the sovereign and gracious triune God. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy …” (Tit 3:5). Some vital constituents of His salvation plan include:

ELECTION

We believe and teach that election is the gracious act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously calls, regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies (Matt. 11:27; Ro 8:28-30; 9:6-18; 11:7; Eph 1:4-11; 1 Thess. 1:4-5; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Ti 2:10; Tit 1:1; 1 Pe 1:1-2; 2:9; Rev 13:7-8).

We believe and teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord, nor the genuineness of God’s open offer of salvation through Christ (Is 55:1-3, Eze 18:23,32; 33:11; Matt. 11:28-30; 23:37; Jn 3:16; 7:37; Jn 3:18-19,36; 5:40; 2 Th 2:10-12; Rev 2:17; 22:17). Nor does the doctrine of election negate the responsibility of believers to proclaim the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Ro 10:14-17; 1 Co 9:16-17;19-23; 2 Ti 2:10). All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith, the Father will receive (Jn 3:16; 6:37-40,44-45,65; Acts 13:48; Jas 4:8).

We believe and teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is unconditional, i.e. not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Eph 1:4-7; 2:1-8; 2 Ti 1:9; Tit 3:4-7; 1 Pe 1:1-2).

REGENERATION

We believe and teach that regeneration (i.e. the new birth) is a gracious supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (Jn 1:13; 3:3-7; 2 Co 5:17-18; Eph 2:4-5; Col 2:13; Tit 3:5; Jas 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Pe 1:3-4). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (Jn 3:6; 5:24; Jas 1:18; 1 Pe 1:23). The new birth results in the believer’s union with Christ (2 Co1:20-21; Eph 1:3-4, 6-7, 9-11,13; Col 2:13) in His death, burial, and resurrection (Ro 6:1-11; Col 2:12), thus receiving the spiritual graces of the New Covenant (i.e. peace with God, a new heart, new affections, deliverance from the dominating power of sin, etc.) (Dt. 30:6; Jer 31:33; Eze 11:19-20; 36:25-27; 2 Co 5:17; Ro 5:1; 6:5-7,11,14,17-18; Col 2:11-13; He 8:6-12; 10:14-17).

Because genuine regeneration involves the imparting of a new life, a new heart, and saving faith, it will be manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. “Faith working through love” will be in proper evidence and fruit (Jn 8:31; 14:15,21,23; Rom 6:4-6,17-22; 8:10-13; Gal 5:6,22-23; Eph 2:10; Tit 2:14; Heb 11:1-40; Jas 2:14-26; 2 Pe 1:4-11; 1 Jn 2:3-5; 3:3,6-10; 2 Jn 9). This grace-empowered obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18). Such conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Ro 8:19; 1 Co 15:42-44,49,51-53; 2 Pe 1:4; 1 Jn 3:2).

SANCTIFICATION

We believe and teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional, permanent, and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or experiential condition or his final future state (Acts 20:32; 1 Co 1:2,30; 6:11; 2 Th 2:13; Heb 2:11; 3:1; 10:10,14; 13:12; 1 Pe 1:2).

In addition, we believe and teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state (i.e. practice) of the believer is brought closer to the standing he positionally enjoys through justification. This sanctification is an effect of the love of God manifested in the soul, whereby through the gracious empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is enabled to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 17:17,19; Ro 6:1-22; 2 Co 3:18; Eph 4:13-15; Col 3:10; 1 Th 4:3-4; 5:23; Heb 12:14).

In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict. He is a new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh (2 Co 5:17; Ro 7:15-25; 8:12-13), but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. Although eradication of sin is not possible the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Rom. 6:14,17-18; Gal 5:16-25; Eph 4:22-24; Php 3:12; Col 3:9-10; 1 Pe 1:14-16; 1 Jn 3:5-9).

GLORIFICATION

We believe and teach that every believer will receive a glorified physical body at the resurrection (Job 19:25-27; Is 26:19; Eze 37:1-14; Dan 12:1-2,9,13; Hos 13:14; Mt 22:23-32; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-38; Jn 5:25-29; 6:39,40,44; 11:24-25; Acts 4:1-2; 17:18,32; 23:6; 24:14-15; 26:6-8; Ro 6:5; 8:29-30; 1 Co 15:12-57; 2 Co 5:1-5; Php 3:7-11; 20-21; 1 Th 5:23; He 5:12-6:2; 11:35; Rev 20:4-6).  Our future glorified bodies will be like our Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrected physical body (Lk 24:36-43; 1 Jn 3:2), and are described in Scripture as heavenly, imperishable, honorable and spiritual, in contrast to our present bodies described as earthly, perishable, dishonorable and natural (1 Co 15:38-44).

PERSEVERENCE

We believe and teach the biblical doctrine of the “Perseverance of the Saints.” This doctrine has two parts: (1) God will so work with His people in His grace that they will inevitably be preserved to the end and be saved (1 Pe 1:5; Jude 1,24; Jn 6:38-40; 10:28-30; Eph 1:4-5,13-14; Php 1:6). Thus no true child of God, born of the Holy Spirit, will ever be lost (Ro 8:29-30). (2) It is equally true, however, that no person will be saved without persevering to the end. In order to be saved, believers must persevere to the end in faith and obedience (Mk 13:13; Col 1:22-23; Heb 3:14; 10:11-12; 12:14). The means God uses to bring about our perseverance are His magnificent promises (2 Pe 1:3-4) and His terrifying warnings (Heb 6:4-8; 10:26-29; 12:28-29).

SEPARATION

We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Cor 6:14-7:1;1 Ti 4:1-2; 2 Ti 3:1-5; 2 Pe 2:1-2).

We teach that, out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior (Rom 12:1; 14:7-8; 2 Co 5:14-15; Eph 4:1-3, 21-24; 5:1-8). We also teach that separation from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Matt 10:34-39; Lk 12:51-53; 14:25-27; Ro 12:1-2; 1 Co 5:9-13; 2 Co 6:14-7:1; Jas 4:4; 1 Jn 2:15-17; 2 Jn 9-11).

We teach and affirm that the Christian life is a life of loving, obedient righteousness (Jn 14:15,21; Ro 6:17-18,22) that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Mt 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Ro 12:1-2; 2 Co 7:1; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 12:14; 1 Pe 1:14-16; 1 Jn 3:1-10).