Monday, December 28, 2009

Proposed Statement of Faith: Articles 6-11

See also:
Preamble
Articles 1-5

6. The Person and Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. Moved by love for and in obedience to God the Father, Jesus became man without ceasing to be God that He might reveal God and redeem mankind. Jesus was the promised Messiah (Christ) of Israel, who was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven.

We believe He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty, and is our High Priest and righteous Advocate. By His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross He canceled sin, propitiated God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe. By His resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all His people; by His ascension He has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with Him. We believe that salvation is found in Christ alone (solus Christus), for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.


7. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and with 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 until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts the world of sin and righteousness; and that He seals, guides, teaches, sanctifies and equips the believer. We believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at conversion and is that sovereign act by which the individual is organically and vitally joined into Christ and His body. We believe the filling of the Holy Spirit may occur many times and is essentially a matter of faith and obedience, the fruit of which is listed in Galatians 5:22-23.


8. The Justifying Work of God
We believe that justification is the judicial act of God whereby He declares us to be righteous through faith in Christ Jesus. By His sacrifice on the cross, Christ bore in our stead the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. His perfect obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, and therefore this justification includes the pardon of sin and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to all who trust in Christ alone for their acceptance with God. This justification is given solely of God’s free grace (sola gratia) and not in consideration of any thing we have done, and is accessed solely through faith (sola fide) in our Redeemer Jesus Christ, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. We believe that a zeal for personal and public obedience flows from this free justification.


9. The Sanctifying Work of God
We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God accomplished in the threefold manner: first, an eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts Christ as Savior: second, a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life; third the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord’s return.


10. The Perseverance of the Saints
We believe the same God whose power justified the believer is also at work in the continued sanctification of that believer. As Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and work for His good pleasure.” Thus, all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ, and can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but will persevere in their faith to the end, and be eternally saved. While it is true that at times believers will fall into sin, it is also true that a real believer in Jesus Christ cannot abandon himself to the dominion of sin. Christ tells us that “by their fruit you will know them” (Matt 7:16, 20) and “he that endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 24:13). Likewise, 1 John 3:7-9 says “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” The person who has truly been made righteous in Jesus Christ will live by faith (Romans 1:17). Consequently, the security of believers is inseparable from their perseverance in the faith (Corinthians 15:2; Hebrews 3:14; James 2:14; 21-22, 26; Rom 1:17).


11. Separation from unrighteousness
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked. Those who have, through faith, been truly justified and sanctified, are righteous in the eyes of God. Conversely, those who continue in sin and unbelief are wicked in His eyes. Therefore, as children of God whose citizenship is in heaven, we should walk in separation from this present world, abstaining from all worldliness which defiles the mind and body and which brings reproach to the name of Christ.


3 comments:

  1. RE: #7. Nothing about the Spirit's work in regeneration?

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  2. hahaha I was being silent in my appreciation of that

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  3. Perhaps some fleshing out on #11. Separation/avoiding worldinness is a pretty vague term in evangelical circles.

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