The Father, Son, and Spirit (who God is)
There is one God, the holy God of the Bible who is the Creator of mankind, the heavens and the earth and all of their inhabitants. He eternally exists as three persons- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We have come to term this relationship as the “Trinity.” God the Father, Son, and Spirit have been experiencing perfect love, acceptance, community, and harmony forever. God is in no personal need of love, joy, acceptance, praise, or harmony from man or any creation, for he is already completely fulfilled in and of himself. Since God is in no need of anything, we must conclude that he has created all things to give as well as receive. God is personal with himself and all of his creation. He is the sovereign Creator, Designer, Ruler, Governor, Savior, and King of mankind, the heavens and earth and all of their inhabitants.
Creation and Humanity (how God created things)
God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments.
The Bible (what God says)
The Bible, the 66 books starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation (excluding the apocrypha), is the inspired word of God. The Bible is without error in it’s original manuscripts and the truth has been preserved by the power and grace of God over years of translation. The Bible is God’s personal revelation to mankind namely concerning who God is, what God requires, what God provides, how God saves, and most importantly, how God is glorified. All of the truth found in the Bible is authoritative, timeless, living and active, God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. The whole Old Testament reveals God’s Law and points to the coming Savior of the world, the God-Man, Jesus. The four gospels are eyewitness accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The rest of the New Testament consists of the inspired writings of the Apostles that Jesus called and sent, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the gospel that he came and purchased. The whole Bible is about Jesus. The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.
Mankind and Sin (the problem)
Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and all his descendants—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death and hell—apart from God’s own gracious intervention. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.
Jesus (the God-man)
Jesus, the second member of the Trinity, having eternally existed, put on flesh and became a man just over 2,000 years ago. Jesus, being fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life without sin, died a substitutionary death for sin, and arose bodily from the grave three days later, conquering satan, sin and death. He is the biblical fulfillment of Prophet, Priest, and King. He is alive today, ruling and reigning at the right hand of God the Father.
The Law (what God requires)
The Law of God was delivered through the prophet Moses to the people of Israel. The Law shows what God requires man to do to be righteous and blameless before him. God’s Law is good and perfect, but it does not bring about salvation, for while it shows man what is required of him, it does not give him the power to perfectly uphold it.
The Gospel (what God provides)
Gospel means “good news that brings joy.” When an ancient king would conquer an enemy, he would send evangelists to all of the cities and have them proclaim a gospel. They would say “your king has fought for you and won the victory.” “It is finished!” “You are free!” Jesus came to the earth ultimately to purchase the gospel of God. The gospel is not advice, it is the good news that Jesus has fought and won, securing eternal joy for all who would come to him through faith.
Man stands in absolute need of salvation from sin and death. To be reconciled to God and to have a redeemed relationship with him we need to be perfectly righteous (which we could never be) and we need to pay for our sin (which we could never do). The gospel is the good news that Jesus became a man and 1) lived a righteous life, so that we may be counted righteous, 2) died a horrific death in our place on the cross, paying for our sin, and 3) arose victoriously from death to life, conquering satan, sin and death and securing eternal joy for all whom God would save. This is good news about what Jesus has already done to save sinners. Man’s salvation is only made possible by what Jesus has done on behalf of sinners. The gospel is assurance of eternal joy for all who would come to Jesus by trusting in his performance in their place to reconcile them to Himself. The gospel is first and foremost about the glory of God, who would reconcile lost and dead sinners to himself. He alone is glorified. The gospel is about far more than mankind. It is the good news that Jesus is reconciling people, and this broken world and will one day “make all things new.” The gospel is all about Jesus, and all about the glory of God. We just so happen to get to be a part of the beautiful redemptive plan of God. All of those that Jesus saves will get to enjoy him forever, in his presence, in a new and redeemed earth, free from sin, free from death, beholding the glory of Jesus forever. All because of what he has already done in his life, death, and resurrection, and because what he has promised to do at the end of history.
The Salvation of man (how God saves)
Mankind is saved solely by the revelation of 1) God’s Word alone. God’s Word, the Bible, Holy Scripture, is the only and sufficient means by which we know God and are made wise unto salvation. 2) By grace alone. Salvation is a gift that God gives- not according to any foreseen decision of man but only by the sheer grace of God. It is a gift given by God’s own good pleasure, by His predestining, electing, calling, justifying, sanctifying and glorifying work. God gives the unbeliever eyes to see the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ- only then will they repent of sin and put their faith in Jesus. God the Holy Spirit regenerates the dark and depraved heart thus causing those dead in their sin to be born again to a living hope in Christ Jesus. Only after their eyes opening, their heart being regenerated, and their being born again, will a sinner see and trust in Christ as our Savior and King. 3) Through faith alone. Salvation is to be received by faith alone in the finished work of Jesus, not by any work of man. 4) In Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ, and his finished work, is the only means that any man or woman can be saved. 5) To the glory of God alone. God alone is glorified for his saving and reconciling of sinners to himself.
The Holy Spirit (God’s powerful Spirit)
This salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to his people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and, as the other Advocate, is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, and in him they are baptized into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
The Universal Church (God’s redeemed people)
The Church is the universal bride of Christ containing everyone that has been saved by God through the perfect and satisfactory work of Jesus Christ. The Church contains those that are living presently in the world and those that are living already in the presence of God because of what Jesus has done to redeem them.
The Local Church (how God is glorified through his people)
The local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord. They have been reconciled to God and to each other, through the work of Jesus Christ, and are given a new life with God and each other. In obedience to the Bible they 1) organize under qualified leadership, 2) gather regularly for preaching and worship, 3) observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and Communion, 4) are unified by the Holy Spirit, 5) are disciplined for holiness, 6) and scatter to fulfill the Great Commandment (to love God and man) and the Great Commission (to make disciples of all Nations) as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy. The local church exists to make much God, through the gospel, in salvation, in life, and in mission, and to plant other local churches that are committed to the same mission.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (God’s covenant privileges)
Water Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus himself. The former is connected with entrance into the new covenant community, the latter with ongoing covenant renewal. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us, divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipations of his return and of the consummation of all things.
The Kingdom of God (how God’s people will live)
Those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the city, for all the glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.
The Restoration (how God will make all things new)
Jesus will personally, gloriously, and bodily return with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. Both the just (those who have been saved by the finished work of Jesus) and the unjust (those who stand guilty before God because of their sin) will be resurrected in body and spirit— the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as Jesus himself taught, and the just to eternal joy in the presence of God, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Jesus, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his indescribable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.