(2) REPENTANCE AND FAITH:
Man’s response to the Gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for His own pleasure and glory. It is also true that the message of the Gospel is only effectual to those who genuinely repent of their sins and, by God’s grace, put saving faith in Christ. Biblical repentance is characterized by a changed life, and saving faith is evidenced by kingdom service or works. While neither repentance nor works save, unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Christ, he cannot become Christ’s disciple. It must also be recognized that since fallen man is incapable of repenting and expressing trusting faith in his own strength, repentance and faith are gifts from God.
Luke 13:3-5; 1 Thess. 1:9; Eph. 2:8-10; Is. 55:6-7; 2Cor. 7:9-10; Matt. 11:28-30; John 3:16; Acts 20:21; Heb. 6:1; 2Pet. 3:9; Eph. 5
e) THE SALVATION OF MAN:
Since man is totally depraved, incapable, and not desiring to be saved, man’s salvation is completely dependent on the Mercy and Grace of God through Faith and Trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift from God so no man can merit or earn his salvation through heritage, religious affiliation, or good works. This salvation is divinely imputed by the Holy Spirit, who brings spiritual life to man’s dead spirit by the usual means of the preaching of the Word of God and most importantly, by God’s Eternal Election and Decrees. Since this salvation is all a work of Grace, a true believer can be secure that the Lord will keep them in the faith. As a Just and Holy God, the Father has the divine right to dispense His Justice and Mercy on whomever He chooses according to His good and sovereign purposes. Salvation is by Grace alone – through faith alone – in Christ alone.
Rom. 3:10-18; Rom 8:29-30; Rom. 9:15-33; Rom. 10:10-15;
Rom. 12:3; Eph.2:4-10; John 10:28; Phil.1:6
The Scriptures teach that a life of holiness is necessary and a sign of one’s salvation. The Holy Spirit is the active agent in this sanctification and seeks to produce his fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality within man’s unredeemed flesh, as we are led by the Spirit we are to “crucify the misdeeds of the flesh.” We do so as we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping His commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith, knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word, and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship, and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve his people until the end, which is most certain.
Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 1 John 2:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 6:6; 6:11-13; 8:13; Gal. 2:20
g) EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT:
In addition to effecting regeneration and sanctification, the Holy Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service. While all genuine believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. Being indwelt by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are theologically distinct experiences. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life and witness, and imparts his spiritual gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry in the world. These fillings can begin at the point of regeneration but are often experienced as one grows in their walk with the Lord and are ultimately contingent on God’s sovereign grace.
Luke 24: 49; Acts 1: 4-8; 2:1-21; 10:44-48; 1 Cor. 12 – 14
h) THE HARMONY OF LAW AND GOSPEL:
The Law of God is nothing less than an expression of God’s holy and moral character. In this sense the Law of God is eternal, just as He is eternal. Thus God’s eternal law has normally been referred to as His Moral Law. Though God has given His Law in various forms throughout the stages of redemptive history, it is the Moral Law that has always been the foundation and basis of God’s Law. Christ lived a perfect law-abiding life and fulfilled the requirements of God’s law that we in our sinfulness and rebellion could not. It is this very law-abiding righteous that is imputed
to those who trust in the redemptive work of Christ.
(1) Though Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law on behalf of the elect, the Christian
life is not without external laws. Jesus taught many moral principles and explained how his teachings were the true application of the Law (specifically the Mosaic Law). Following the example and teachings of Christ and also that of the Apostles, we too must discern the moral principles taught throughout the Scriptures and apply them carefully to the church and world of our day.
Ex. 20:1-17; Ps. 115:3; Matt. 5:17-20; Rom. 7:7-25; Gal. 3:23-29
i) THE CHURCH:
The Church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of the great commission. Each believer is an integral part of the Church and should be encouraged and trained to flow in their giftings so that the Church will function in a healthy and fruitful manner. The Lord has divinely called and scripturally ordained leadership to teach, guide, correct, train, and prepare the Church for works of service.
(1) God by his Word and Spirit creates the Church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s Body. By the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination; rather, the Church Universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the Gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve Him by faithfully doing His will in the earth. This involves a commitment to see the gospel preached and churches planted throughout the entire world for a testimony. The ultimate mission of the Church is the making of disciples through the preaching of the gospel. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church in which they devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer.
(2) All Covenant Community Members of the Church Universal are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context they are called to walk out the New Covenant as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of God. The ascended Christ has called and gifted men as pastors/teachers for the equipping of Christ’s body that it might mature and grow. Women play a vital role in the life of the church, but in keeping with God’s created design they are not permitted “to have authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12). Therefore, eldership within the church is male. In the context of the local church, God’s people receive pastoral care and leadership and the opportunity to employ their God-given gifts in His service in relation to one another and to the world.
Eph.1:22-23; Eph. 2:22; Heb. 12:23; Eph. 4:11-13; Heb. 10:25
j) THE SACRAMENTS:
A sacrament is a visible sign of God’s promise of grace to believers. We believe that the Lord has left us with two such sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are not to be empty rituals and they do not automatically convey the things that they signify, but they have been ordained by Christ and designed to signify, instruct, and seal the believers who receive them in faith. They are a vital part of the worship of God and the nurturing of the Christian life.
Water baptism is only intended for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s redemptive work. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself, and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of his death and resurrection. It signifies that his former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts a person’s release from the mastery of sin. For Grace Christian Fellowship’s position on infant baptism, please refer to the Positional Paper on Covenant Placement found elsewhere in this document.
Col 2:11-15; Acts 2:38-39; 16:31-34; Matt. 28:19
(2) THE LORD’S SUPPER:
As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper (or Communion) is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements of bread and the fruit of the vine, is the sacrament expressing our covenant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as we remember His suffering and death and enjoy a special presence of Christ and His Grace. It also serves the church as a reminder of His second coming. The elements are to be received with an attitude of faith and self examination. It is to be celebrated by believers as often as possible until the day when the Lord Jesus finally celebrates His Supper with us at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
Matt. 26:17-30; Cor. 11:23-32
We believe that God has given the church a great commission to make disciples of all nations – internationally, domestically, and locally – so that there might be a great and faithful multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20
l) HEAVEN AND HELL:
The Scriptures plainly teach that those who are redeemed and of the Elect will one day, either by physical death or by spiritual translation, be changed and resurrected to a completely new dimension of life and will spend eternity in the glorious presence of the Lord. This is all the result of God’s Gracious Mercy towards His children through Christ. The devil, his angels, and anyone else not redeemed or whose name is not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, shall be consigned to everlasting punishment in the Lake of Fire (Hell, Gehenna, Second Death). This is all the result of God’s Holy and Perfect Justice.
1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:2-58; Rom. 8:23; John 3:16
m) THE CONSUMMATION:
The Consummation of all things includes the visible, personal, and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the Consummation, Satan with his hosts and all those outside Christ are finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with him forever. Married to Christ as his Bride, the Church will be in the presence of God forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.
Matt. 16:27; Mark 14:62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Phil. 3:20; I Thess. 4:15;
II Tim. 4:1; Tit. 2:13; I Cor. 4:5; I Cor. 15; II Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 20:4-6,11-15