God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable; all-powerful, holy, wise, good, true, and just hating all sin. He is merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This truth is summed up in the Bible statement; “God is love.” He exists in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – who are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, are the word of God. They are the revelation of God’s will for humankind and humanity’s duty to God and are the only infallible and authoritative rule of faith and life.
III. God’s Purpose
The eternal purpose of God includes all events; it is holy and wise and does not deprive people of freedom nor make God the author of sin.
For the manifestation of His own glory, God created the world and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, and all very good. He made man after His own image; male and female created He them, with immortal souls, endowed with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, having the law of God in their hearts and power to fulfill it, and yet under a possibility of transgression, being left to the freedom of their own will.
· Sin and the Fall
Sin is the violation of God’s law, either by omission or commission. Our first parents, being tempted by Satan, disobeyed God’s command, and so by their own choice fell from their original state of innocence and communion with
God, and came under the power of sin, the penalty of which is eternal death. All men, by reason of their relationship to Adam as their representative head and common ancestor, are born with a sinful nature; from which all actual transgressions proceed, and out of this condition no one is able to deliver
God, who is rich in mercy, so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to be the Savior of sinners. The salvation provided is freely offered to all people, and is sufficient for all, but becomes efficacious only in those who believe in Jesus Christ which leads to the gift of eternal life.
Before the foundation of the world, God the Father chose for Himself in Christ a people whom He gave to His Son, that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Those who come to years of discretion receive this salvation only through faith in the work of Christ, being regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Those who die in infancy, and others who are incapable of exercising choice, are regenerated and saved by Christ’s redeeming work on the cross, through the Spirit, who works when and where and how He pleases. We declare that God’s electing grace has populated heaven with a multitude that no one can number and has never sent one soul to hell.
VIII. Christ the Redeemer
The Lord Jesus Christ, being the eternal Son of God, became truly man, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary, yet without sin; so that he is both God and man, and the only perfect mediator between God and man, by whom alone we can come unto the Father. By a life of perfect obedience and by His sacrificial death, he satisfied divine justice, made a perfect atonement for sin, and reconciles us to God. He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, where He makes continual intercession for us; and he sits at the right hand of God, clothed in honor and power, subduing His people to Himself, ruling and defending them, and restraining and conquering all his and their enemies.
He will come again to receive and reward His people and to judge the world.
· The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, applies the redemption purchased by Christ. He persuades and enables people to obey the call of the gospel, and dwells continually in every believer as the spirit of truth, of holiness, of power, and of comfort, and is thereby the author of all Christian experience.
· Justification by Faith
Everyone who humbly relies upon Christ alone for salvation and in repentance confesses and forsakes his sins, is pardoned, and accepted as righteous in God’s sight, solely on the ground of the perfect obedience and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Everyone who is pardoned and accepted is adopted into God’s family and becomes an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.
· The Christian Life
The Holy Spirit impacts spiritual life by the direct operation of His power, so that, being born from above, we are the children of God, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which are not the ground, but the fruits of salvation. Dwelling in Christ’s people, He purified them more and more from sin, enables them to live in cheerful and loving obedience to God’s commandments, and preserves in His sanctifying work in their hearts, until at last they stand perfect in the presence of Christ in glory. Believers may at times backslide, growing indifferent and cold, and even falling into grievous sins; yet God does not cast them off, but chastens them and restores them through repentance to fellowship
XII. The Church
We acknowledge one universal church, the same in all ages, of which Christ is the head. The church invisible consists of all the redeemed. The church visible is composed of all those throughout the world who profess faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, together with children, and it is the duty of all believers openly to profess their faith by uniting with the church. The church exists to bring to
Christ those whom the Father has given Him and to establish the Redeemer’s kingdom. The mission of the church is spiritual, and its work is to witness to the truth of God to the ends of the earth and to preach the gospel to all people in every generation. We believe in the separation of church and state. The Scriptural form of church government is by elders or presbyters, chosen by the members of the church; but we do not regard the form of government of a church as essential to its existence. We recognize the validity of the ministry and sacraments of all evangelical churches, and seek the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. Ministers, elders, and deacons, at their ordination, are required to subscribe to the system of doctrine contained in our standards, but the sole condition for membership in the church is a credible confession of Christ as
XIII. The Sacraments
There are two sacraments – baptism, which symbolizes the work of the Holy Spirit, and the Lord’s Supper, which symbolizes the sacrificial death of Christ. Sprinkling, pouring and immersion are all acceptable modes of baptism, but the mode is not essential to the validity of the sacrament, it is the promise and action of God in the midst of the sacrament that is important, and not the amount of water that is used. Children of believers, before reaching the age of personal accountability, are to be baptized on the faith of their parents, who in the sacramental act enter into formal covenant relations with God. At Confirmation these baptized children take on the faith into which they were baptized. Adult believers should be baptized as a profession of their own faith in Jesus Christ. We invite to the Lord’s table all who love Him in sincerity and truth and who are in good and regular standing in Bible-believing churches.
XVI. Death and Resurrection
The souls of believers are at the death made perfect in holiness, and immediately pass into glory, and their bodies, being still united to Christ, rest in the grave till the resurrection. At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity; but the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment.
· The Final State
There are but two states of future existence – heaven, the home of the redeemed, and hell, the abode of the finally impenitent. There is no purgatory, nor is there any probation after death. Individuals retain their identity after death and there will be recognition in the future life. We believe in the ultimate and complete triumph of the Savior’s kingdom, and with all His followers in all ages we toil and pray for the speedy coming of the day when our glorious Lord shall triumphantly return in judgment and to establish His Kingdom with everyone who has believed in Him.