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What I believe

About the Bible. The Bible, consisting of 66 books that were recognized by the early church fathers as having been inspired of God (God-breathed), is God’s Word. Holy men of God were moved by the Spirit of God to speak and later to write just what God intended for them to write (2 Peter 1:21). That means that the Bible is infallible, inerrant, and all the words of God in the original writings were equally inspired. The Bible does not just contain the Word of God; it is the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 says, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” (NIV). The Bible is our only authoritative source for faith and practice.

About the True God. 1Corinthians 8:5-6 says, “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live,” (NIV). As the Apostle Paul said, there are many who claim to be god, but there is only one God (Isaiah 45:5). God is perfect in holiness, righteousness, justice and mercy, and is all sufficient in him. God is one, and yet the Scriptures teach He exists in three eternal persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - all who work in perfect and glorious concert with one another to accomplish the Father’s will. God is magnificent and transcendent above all his creation, and yet God is sovereignly and personally involved in our lives and that of the whole universe. God the Father planned for the creation of mankind, the Son formed all creatures by the power of just his words, and the Spirit infused creation with the breath of life ( Genesis 1:1-2:7; John 1:1-18). Because of our wrongdoings (sin), Ephesians 1:3-15 and Colossians 1:13-20 teach us that the Father planned for our redemption (salvation and forgiveness of sin), the Son provided our redemption (He purchased it through the sinless sacrifice of himself), and the Holy Spirit gives us new life and seals our salvation until the day we realize our ultimate redemption in heaven. God is worthy of all praise and glory, and is eternally the same in character and nature. God described himself to Moses in this way: "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation," (Exodus 34:6-7, NIV).

About Jesus Christ: Jesus is equal to God the Father and God the Spirit but is willingly submissive to the Father’s will. Jesus Christ existed eternally with God as part of the triune God-head in glory. By the grace and mercy of God, the Father sent his Son into the world to redeem us from our sins and provide us an opportunity for salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life. Jesus Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous way and took human form; He was God in the flesh. He was born of a young virgin woman named Mary, and therefore did not inherit Adam’s sin nature passed on through normal procreation ( Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14). Jesus led a perfect life of character and service, did many miracles as a prophet and teacher, and ultimately died as a perfect sacrifice for all sinners in a death by crucifixion on a rough- hewn Roman cross ( Philippians 2:6-8; John 1:14). Three days later, Jesus physically arose from the dead and appeared to his disciples and others over a period of 40 days ( Acts 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8). He then ascended back to his Father’s presence in heaven to prepare places for all believers ( John 14:1-3). Someday soon believers expect him to return for them and to rule and reign on the earth as king ( Revelation 5:9-10). Until that day, Jesus Christ is once again in the presence of his Father, interceding for all believers ( Hebrews 7:25) as our high priest.

About the Holy Spirit (adopted from the Articles of Faith of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches at www. GARBC.org).

We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature, that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one [meaning the devil or Satan] until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; that he bears witness to the truth of the gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the Agent in the new birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer. We believe that the sign/revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit have fulfilled their purpose [of authenticating the gospel message] and are not applicable to the work of the Holy Spirit today [because the Bible is now complete]. John 14:16, 17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; John 14:26; Luke 1:35; Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:30-32; John 3:5,6; Ephesians 1:13,14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Luke 24:49; Romans 8:14, 15, 26, 27; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; 13:8-10; 14:1-40; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:2-4

About the Devil, or Satan (adopted from the Articles of Faith of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches at www. GARBC.org).

We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, the Devil; and that he was created by God as an angel but through pride and rebellion became the enemy of his Creator; that he became the unholy god of this age and the ruler of all the powers of darkness and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice [punishment] in the lake of fire. Mathew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10

About Creation (adopted from the Articles of Faith of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches at www. GARBC.org).

We believe the Biblical account of the creation of the physical universe, angels, and man; that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race.

Genesis 1:2; Colossians 1:16, 17; John 1:3

About the Fall of Man: Man was created in a state of complete innocence, without any acquaintance with evil or sin ( Genesis 1:31; 2:25). In the Garden of Eden man fell from this happy state of existence and fellowship with his holy creator; by disobedience he made a wrong choice and became a sinner. As a devastating consequence man broke his fellowship with God and was destined to die, both physically and spiritually ( Genesis 3). Spiritual death, however, is not the same thing as physical death, i.e., souls do not cease to exist. The Bible teaches that in the end of time “… the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death," (Revelation 21:8, NIV). All generations after Adam and Eve inherit their sin natures and are destined for the same demise. They are totally depraved, have no intrinsic goodness, and can do nothing to redeem themselves or have any merit before God ( Romans 3:10-18, 23). That is the bad news. The good news is that Jesus died, paying our sin debt in our place, to give us the opportunity for new spiritual life ( Romans 5:8; 6:23; 3:24).

About Salvation: The Holy Scriptures teach that the salvation of souls from sin and the second death to eternal life is not something that is inherited or earned but is totally by the grace of God through faith. In Old Testament times faith was shown by willing obedience to all of God’s directives. In the church age and thereafter faith is belief in Christ’s perfect (blameless and sinless) death , burial and resurrection as payment for our sins. Though Christ’s death is sufficient for all, the Bible teaches that in God’s incomprehensible mercy and grace He chooses some sinners to believe and receive eternal life. It is imperative, therefore, that we be grateful and seize the opportunity when God draws us toward a relationship with Him. Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10; Hebrews 11; 2 Corinthians 6:2; 15:2-4; John 6:44

About Eternal Security: All believers are eternally secure in their relationship to God upon their salvation. They are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of their redemption in heaven (John 5:24; John 10:28-29; Ephesians 1:13-14). We at times may be unfaithful (1 John 1: 6-10), but God is always faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9).

About Justification, Sanctification and Glorification: All believers are positionally justified (declared righteous), sanctified (set apart as holy unto God), and glorified upon their salvation ( Romans 5:1; 8:30; and 1 Corinthians 6:11). From that moment on the Holy Spirit indwells the believer seeking to make him more and more like Christ. The proof of the believer’s justification, sanctification, and glorification is shown as the believer sets himself apart from sin and devotes himself to give more and more glory to God through his righteous works ( 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; Colossian 3:1-24; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; James 2:24). Someday, when Christ comes back the bodies of believers will be changed into glorious bodies and they will be able to live in the presence of God in glory ( 1 Corinthians 15:35-53; Colossians 3:4).

About the Church: The church is comprised of all true-believers from the time of Pentecost ( Acts 2; fifty days after the Firstfruits of the Jewish harvest celebration, the day when Jesus arose from the dead) to the taking up (rapture) of the church into heaven ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). All believers should be baptized to show their identification with Christ, and to give a beautiful picture and witness of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. All believers should also associate themselves with Bible believing churches for service and mutual edification ( Romans 12:5-16; 1 Corinthians 12-13; Ephesians 4:8-32). All believers should also separate themselves unto God, apart from all ungodly practices ( 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18), and observe communion as instructed by our Lord ( Luke 22:13-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).The mission of the church is the evangelization of the world, and the building up and the equipping of the believers for the work of ministry ( Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 4:12). In the holy Scriptures the identified officers of the church are pastors (elders, bishops or overseers) and deacons, and due respect should be accorded to their leadership ( Acts 14:23; 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Corinthians 9:14; Hebrews 13:7). The church is not New Testament Israel. God will fulfill all the promises to Israel at the completion of the church age ( Romans 9-11).

About Civil Government: (adopted from the Articles of Faith of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches at www. GARBC.org.).

We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates [government leaders] are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except in those things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming King of kings. Romans 13:1-7; Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19, 20.

About Future Events: While there are some questions by different Christian groups regarding the exact timing of future events described in the Bible, it is generally believed by most evangelicals (myself included) that the Bible teaches the church age believers will be taken up (raptured) to Christ before the time of the seven year Tribulation Period described in Joel 2:29-3:21; Zephaniah; Daniel 12 and Revelation 6-19. That will be a time of plagues, wars, and great calamities of nature upon the earth and its people. Meanwhile in heaven there will be the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, with his bride the church ( Revelation 19:7-9). After the great time of grief and hardship and death upon the earth is concluded, Jesus Christ will come back to the earth, wage war on Satan and his armies, and then bind him with chains and throw him in an abyss for a thousand years. Then Christ will rule and reign in His kingdom to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies written about Him. At the end of the thousand years Satan will be loosed from his prison, (apparently to give him one last chance). Instead of repenting Satan will gather an army from unbelievers on the earth, and they will attack Jerusalem, the throne of Jesus, and be destroyed by a fire from heaven ( Revelation 19:11-20:1-9). All unbelievers will then be judged at the Great White Throne judgment somewhere in outer space, and then be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternal judgment ( Revelation 20:11-15). The righteous will then receive their eternal glorious inheritance ( Revelation 21:1-4; 22:1-5).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 

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