What We Teach

Concerning Salvation

Freedom from the penalty and power of sin is available to mankind only through the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. This salvation is the free gift of God’s grace, based entirely upon the merit of Christ’s perfect sacrifice, and not on the basis of human merit or works. Faith alone in Christ alone is the only condition for salvation. Saving faith is a personal response, apart from our works, whereby we are persuaded that the finished work of Jesus Christ (His death and resurrection) is sufficient to deliver us from condemnation and guarantee our eternal life, and we place our trust for forgiveness and salvation in the merit and promise of Christ’s work alone. Those who do not believe in Christ are subject to everlasting conscious punishment, but believers enjoy eternal life with God.

(John 1:12; 3:16–18, 36; 5:24; 6:35–40; 14:6; 20:31; Acts 16:30–33; Romans 3:23–24; 4:4–5; 6:23; 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 1:7; 2:1–10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4; 1 Peter 1:18–19; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 5:1)

Forgiveness, Repentance, and Reconciliation
Forgiveness for sins (past, present, and future) is graciously extended and offered to all, through Christ’s work on the cross, conditioned upon one’s trust in Christ alone. Forgiveness is a lifting of the charge of guilt from another, a formal declaration of that fact, and a promise (made and kept) to never remember the wrong against him in the future. Repentance is a change of mind about something (such as God and sin), leading to a change in disposition toward that thing. As an inner change, repentance is in no way a work that merits salvation. Inner repentance can be distinguished from its outward acts, though one is the cause of the other (the change of heart leads to, but is not identical to or inseparable from, a change in direction). Reconciliation occurs when the sinner repents, and the one sinned against forgives. Where there is faith (a persuasion that something is true), there is a change of mind/heart.

When the unbeliever repents and trusts in Christ alone for salvation (faith), his heart is regenerated and God’s forgiveness offered through Christ is applied to him (he experiences the benefits of the redemption accomplished through Christ’s work on the cross), removing the person’s guilt (justification), making his eternal destiny secure, and legally reconciling that person to God. The moment our sins were forgiven, we were adopted into the family of God.

As a member of God’s family, judicial (or legal) forgiveness and reconciliation are no longer needed in the life of the believer, since that was received at the moment of salvation, pardoning us from the penalty for sin. Sin no longer, in any way, endangers our eternal destiny. However, sin still has temporal and relational consequences. As children of God, we still disobey our Father, thus breaking fellowship and damaging our relationship with Him. Therefore, confession of sins is still needed, thus seeking the temporal (not salvific) forgiveness of, and relational reconciliation with, our Father. This is not a mechanical, legal transaction, but a dynamic of having a real, personal relationship with God as our Father.

(Psalm 32:1–5; 51; Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 3:8; 6:12–15; Mark 1:15; 11:25; Luke 3:8; 5:32; 17:3–4; 24:47; John 5:24; 13:6–10; Acts 8:22; 10:43; 11:18; 17:30-34; 20:21; 26:20; Romans 4:7–8; 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:18–20; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 2:13; Hebrews 10:17–18; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 1:9)

While Christians are made holy (sanctified, set apart) in a definitive and positional sense at conversion, it still remains for them to grow in holiness (often called progressive sanctification). This spiritual growth is a joint work between God and man whereby believers become more conformed to the image of Christ. This takes place as the Holy Spirit uses His Word and His church to enable Christians to grow in knowing Christ, in loving God and loving others, and in obeying His Word, putting off sinful ways and replacing them with biblical ones. This work of grace is not a passive work of contemplation, but requires believers to utilize, by faith, the ordinary means of grace such as Bible study, prayer, and fellowship and discipleship in the context of the local church. This process of spiritual growth, which is distinct from justification, is God’s expectation for every believer. This growth, however, is not necessarily manifested uniformly in every believer; and, while Christians will experience real progress in growing more like Christ, this work will never be perfected in this life.

(Psalm 34:14; Acts 26:17–18; Romans 6:1–14; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:17–5:2; Philippians 2:12–13; Colossians 1:13; 3:1–17; 2 Peter 3:18)

Eternal Security
All who are saved are kept secure by God. Because of God’s great love and grace, because of the very nature of the gift of eternal life, because of the immutability of the gospel promise, and because of the regenerating, abiding, and sealing presence of the Holy Spirit within all who are saved, all true believers, once saved by grace, shall be forever kept saved by grace.

(1 Samuel 28:19; John 5:24; 6:39–40, 47; 10:28–29; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13–14; 2:8–9; 4:30; Philippians 1:6; Titus 3:5–6; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24)

It is the privilege of all who are saved through faith in Christ to have assurance of their salvation. This assurance is not founded upon any fancied discovery of their own worthiness or fitness, or an examination of external evidence in their own life, but wholly upon the finished work of Christ on the cross, and a confidence in the promise and testimony of God in His written Word (which at the same time clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh), exciting within His children filial love, gratitude, and obedience.

(Luke 10:20; John 5:24; 6:37–40; Romans 4:4–5; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6–8; Galatians 5:13; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 10:22; 1 John 5:12–13; Jude 4)

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