VII. Salvation (Soteriology)
A. Basis of Salvation
1. We teach that Salvation is freely offered to all.1 Those who turn to God in repentance from their sin2 and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ3 will be saved.
· John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
· Acts 20:21 …testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. We teach that God initiates salvation4 and so our salvation is wholly of God by grace, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, 5 and not on the basis of human merit or works. 6
· Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
· Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
1 Isaiah 45.22; Matthew 10:8; John 3.16; Revelation 22:17 2 Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19: 11:18 2 Peter 3:9 3 Romans 10:9-10; Acts 20:21 4 Philippians 1.6 5 Ephesians 1:7 6John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19
1. We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves and sanctifies.1 We teach that election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord.2 All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive.3 The grace that God grants or gives to hopeless sinners is not related to any initiative on their own part, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy. 4
· John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
· Ephesians 1:4-11 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
2. We teach that God exercises His sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His love, mercy, omniscience, justice, holiness, and wisdom. This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. 5
· Matthew 11:25-28 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
· 2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
1 Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2 2 Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17 3 John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8 4 Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7 5 Matthew 11:25-28; Romans 9:11-16; 2 Timothy 1:9
C. Election & Evangelism
We teach that the doctrinal truth of election wrongly applied can be divisive and devastating to the local church body. Three applications we want to affirm are:
a. We believe since the doctrine of election is clearly taught in Scripture, 1 that we should never dilute the gospel message in an effort to see someone "saved", 2 or compromise other scriptural truths to proclaim the gospel. 3
b. We believe that from man's viewpoint of election we should look at every unsaved person as potentially coming to Christ. Christ and the apostles always modeled a gospel call to everyone and so should we. 4 The doctrine of election should never dampen our zeal to share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone. The apparent logical tension between election and the free offer of the gospel to every person should never cause us to throw out one side of the equation.
c. We teach that God's Word always presents the mystery of election as involving both God’s Sovereignty and man’s response. This Divine paradox is a secret thing that belongs to God, and that we admit, respect, and never can fully explain.5
1 Ephesians 1:3-6; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2 2 Galatians 1:8-9 3 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 4 Matthew 11:28; Acts 13:39; Acts 19:30; 1 Corinthians 9:22; 2 Timothy 2:10 5 Deuteronomy 29.29; Isaiah 55:8-9; Acts 13:48
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which we are born again by the quickening, renewing, cleansing work of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God and become new creations in Christ.1 It is instantaneous and is accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the word of God to which the sinner voluntarily responds in repentance and faith. Regeneration results in a desire and willingness to do good works and follow Christ in obedience to His Word.2
- Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
- 1 Peter 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
1 John 3:3-7; 2 Corinthians 5.17; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23 2 Phil. 2.13, Eph. 2:10, Acts 26:20; 1 John 3:10
1. We teach that men are justified on the simple and single ground of the shed blood of Christ1 and upon the simple and single condition of faith in Him who shed the blood.2 Justification before God is an act of God,3 by which He declares righteous those who through faith in Christ repent of their sins4 and confess Jesus as Lord.5
- Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
- Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
2. We teach that this righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man6 and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ7 and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us.8 By this means God is enabled to "be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus".9
- Galatians 2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
1 Romans 3:24; Romans 5:9 2 Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:8 3 Romans 8:33 4 Acts 3:19; 2 Corinthians 7:10 5 Romans 10:9-10; Philippians 2:11 6 Romans 3:20; 4:6 7 Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24 8 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21 9 Romans 3:26
1. We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God1 by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 is therefore declared to be holy, 3 and is therefore identified as a saint. 4 This is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer's standing, not his present walk or condition. 5
1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Acts 20:32; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 2 Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2 3 Hebrews 3:1 4 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 1 Corinthians 6:11 5 Hebrews 10:14
2. We teach that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit,6 a progressive sanctification by which we are brought closer to the positional standing we enjoy through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God7 and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, we are able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God,8 becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ.9
John 17:17-19 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Romans 6:11-14 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
6 2 Corinthians 3:18 7 John 17:17-19 8 Romans 6:1-22; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 9 1 Thessalonians 5:23
3. We teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict--the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh10--but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life.12 All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. 13 However, the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin.14
Romans 7:19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh
10 1 Peter 2:11; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22- 24 12 Romans 7:19 13 1 John 1:8 14 1 Corinthians 10:13
4. We teach that good works are the evidence of sanctification,15 and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God.16 Obedience to God's Word causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.17 Such a conformity culminates in the believer's glorification at Christ's coming.18
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
15 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10 16 Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10 17 2 Corinthians 3:18 18 Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:23 1 John 3:2-3
G. Separation from Sin
1. We teach that separation from sin1 is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments.2 We also teach that separation from all religious apostasy, and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God.3 The Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase.4
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
1 Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:3-8 2 Isaiah 52:11 & 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Leviticus 19:2 & 1 Peter 1:16 3 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 John 1.9-11 (ie. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4) 4 2 Timothy 3:1-5
2. We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ5 and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness demonstrated by a Christ-like attitude6 and a continual pursuit of holiness.7
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
5 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2 6 Matthew 5:2-12 7Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 3:1-10
H. Eternal Security
1. We teach that all the redeemed are kept by God's power and are secure in Christ forever.1
John 10:27-29 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
Jude 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
1 John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24
2. We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word, 2 which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality. 3
1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
2 Romans 8:31-39; 1 John 5:13 3 Titus 2:11-14;