“But that is not the way you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former way of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Our statement of faith was created by the leadership of Grace Fellowship. It relies heavily on historic statements of faith, particularly the New Hampshire Confession, the Second London Confession (1689), and the Baptist Faith and Message.
I. OF THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is himself the focus of divine revelation. (2 Tim. 3:15-17; Prov. 30:5-6; Rom. 2:12; Phil. 3:16; 1 John 4:1)
II. OF THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent spirit, the maker and supreme ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love. He is uniquely and entirely sovereign over his creation, perfectly knowing all things past, present, and future. According to his own counsel, he is providentially working his will through the history of creation. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
GOD THE FATHER is the first person of the Godhead. The Father is due all glory, thanksgiving, and praise from all his creation. He has, in his providence, divinely ordained all things and he rules everything in total sovereignty. The Father has freely chosen, based only on the counsel of his own holy will, all those whom he will save. The Father gives the elect to Christ as a gift and Christ offers them back to the Father to glorify him. The Father sends the Holy Spirit to his children.
GOD THE SON is the second person of the Trinity and is coequal with the Father and the Spirit. He was not created by the Father but has eternally existed as the Son with the Father, and shares the Father’s divine essence. Jesus was distinguished and conclusively demonstrated to be the Son by his resurrection from the dead.
When the fullness of time was complete, the Son took upon himself man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities of it, yet without sin; being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary; and so was made of a woman of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David according to the Scriptures; so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures—human and divine—were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is both God and man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT is a distinct person of the Godhead yet one with the Father and the Son. He was active with the Father and the Son in the creation of the world. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination he enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. At the moment of regeneration he baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, bears fruit through their lives, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through his church. He seals the believer for the day of final redemption. He does not provide new revelation that adds to the Bible or contradicts the Bible in any way, nor does he lead the believer to use methods or act in any way that does not edify the Body of Christ, or glorifies man instead of God.
(Ex.15:11; Ps. 83:18, 147:5; Isa.6:3; Jer.2:12-13, 10:10; Matt. 10:37, 28:19; Mk. 12:30; Jn. 4:24, 5:17, 10:30, 14:23, 15:26, 17:5, 10; I Cor. 2:10-11, 12:4-6, 14:1-40; Phil. 2:5-6; Eph. 2:18; 1 Pet.1:15-16; 1 John 5:7; Rev. 1:4-5, 4:6-8)
III. OF THE FALL OF MAN
We believe mankind was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
(Gen.1:27, 31, 2:16-17, 3:6-24, 6:12; Ecc.7:29; Ps.51:5; Isa.53:6; Ez. 18:19-20;
Acts 17:26-29; Rom. 1:18-20, 32, 2:1-16, 3:9-18, 5:12-19, 8:7; ; Eph.2:1-3; Gal.3:10)
IV. OF THE WAY OF SALVATION
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, through the mediating work of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his person the most tender sympathies with divine perfections, he is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.
(Gen. 3:15; Ps. 89:19; Isa. 42:21, 53:4-5; Matt. 18:11, 20:28; Jn. 1:1-14, 3:16; Rom. 3:21-26; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 2:8-9; Gal. 4:4-5; Col. 2:18; Heb. 1:3, 8, 4:14, 7:25-26)
V. OF JUSTIFICATION
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
(Isa. 53:11-12; Zech. 13;1; Matt. 6:33, 9:6; Jn 1:16; Acts 10:43; Rom. 3:21-26, 4:23-25, 5:1-2, 9-11, 21, 6:23; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Phil. 3:7-9; 1 Tim. 4:8; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Pet. 3:7)
VI. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a joyful, repentant, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
(Pro. 1:24; Isa. 55:1; Matt. 11:20, 23:37; Mark 1:15; Lk 10:27; Jn 3:19, 5:40; Acts 13:46; Rom. 1:15-17, 9:32, 16:25-26; 2 Thess. 1:8; Rev. 22:17)
VII. OF GRACE IN REGENERATION
We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.
(Ps. 110:3; Jn. 3:3,5-6, 6:63; Phil. 2:13; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; 1 Jn. 2:29; 3:9-10;4:7; 5:1; 2 Pet. 1:4-10)
VIII. OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, worked in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; through which being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
(Acts 4:12, 16:31; 17:30; 1 Jn. 5:1; Titus 3:5; Jn. 3:36, 14:6; 2 Cor. 7:10; Rom. 10:9-10,13)
IX. OF GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE
We believe election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
(Rom. 8:28-37, 9:11-23, 11:5-6; Eph. 1:4; Acts 13:48; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; 2 Pet. 1:10)
X. OF SANCTIFICATION
We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means—especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, obedience, and prayer.
(1 Thes. 4:1-7, 5:23; Philip. 1:6; Jn. 17:17; Eph. 5:26-27; Heb. 2:11, 10:22-25)
XI. OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
(1 Jn.2:19; Jn. 5:24; 6:29; Phil. 1:6; Rom. 8:28-37; 1 Pet. 1:5)
XII. OF THE HARMONY OF THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL
We believe that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to a righteous standing in relation to the holy law, is one great end of the gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.
(Rom. 3:31; 5:20-21, 6:1-2, 7:12, 23; 8:3-4,7; 2 Cor. 3:3)
XIII. OF A GOSPEL CHURCH
We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws, and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word; that its only scriptural officers are elders/ pastors, and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the letters to Timothy and Titus. Preaching and teaching the word of God is one of the primary tasks of the elders, the others being prayer and shepherding. The content of preaching should be exposition of the Scripture, in order to understand each text and apply the whole counsel of God to our lives.
(Matt. 16:18; 18:15-20, 28:19-20; Acts 2:40-41, 20:17-34; 1 Tim. 3 & 5; 2Tim. 4:1-8; Titus 1:5-16; Jude 3; Eph. 3:15-18; 4:4- 6, 13-14; Jn. 17:17)
XIV. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit; to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership; and to the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; proceeded always by solemn self-examination.
(Rom. 6:4-5; 1 Pet. 3:21; Matt. 26:17-30, 28:19-20; Acts 2:41; 1 Cor. 11:17-34; 5:5- 13; 10:20-22)
XV. OF THE LORD’S DAY
We believe the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, and is the day on which the local church meets corporately for worship, prayer, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the reading and preaching of Scripture. It is a day for publicly and privately resting in God, and worshiping him above all. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
(Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Jn. 20:1,19-20; Heb. 10:25)
XVI. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
(Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-3; Acts 4:19-20; Ps. 2; 1 Pet. 2:13-17)
XVII. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all who continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in life and after death.
(1 Jn. 3:10; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10-15; 2 Thes. 1:7-10; Rom. 8:7-8; Heb. 9:27)
XVIII. OF THE WORLD TO COME
God, in his own time and in his own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to his promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge the world, including all men on principles of righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever with the Lord
(Mt. 24:29-30, 25:46; Rev. 1:7; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:4-15; 1 Cor. 15:52-57; 1 Thes. 4:13-17)
XIX. ON MARRIAGE, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, transgenderism, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God.
We believe that every person should be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. We believe that every sinner can be forgiven and redeemed by repentance and faith through God’s grace, and so a call to repentance is right, but it should be done with love and not in arrogance.(Gen 1:26-27; 2:18-25;1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4;Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31;Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11)
XX. ON HUMAN LIFE
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in his image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or intellectually disabled, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life.