SOTERIOLOGY

I. THE DEATH OF CHRIST

We teach that Christ's substitutionary death accomplished the following: it was a substitution (He died in our place, on behalf of us; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18), He received the punishment for our sin (Isa. 53; 2 Cor. 5), His righteousness was applied to us (Rom. 5:19), He has redeemed us from the penalty of sin (2 Pet. 2:1), the power of sin (Gal. 3:13) and in the future from the presence of sin (1 Cor. 1:30). Christ's death has also brought reconciliation. Men are no longer alienated (Rom. 5:10) from God through Christ (2 Cor. 5:19). We teach that Christ was also a propitiation for our sin. He satisfied the just demands of God concerning sin (Rom. 1:18; 1 Jn.2:2). This satisfaction was through the blood of Christ (Rom. 3:25). We teach that another result of Christ's death is that the sin nature was judged , (Rom. 6:1-10). Saints are no longer in bondage to the old disposition, although the believer that yields to the flesh can and will serve the old nature, yet grieve God and His Spirit. The Christian has the potential of holy living through the Spirit of God (Gal. 5). Believers in Christ are not in bondage to the ceremonial and Levitical laws of Moses, but at the same time, believers are to live by the eternal unchanging moral code of God as they are yielded to the Spirit of God. God has not called believers to a lawless life, but rather a holy life and God's holy standards and principles are clearly revealed throughout His word. Believers now have cleansing from sin (1 Jn. 1:7-9). And finally, Christ's death fulfilled the prophecy concerning the judgment of Satan in Genesis. We teach that Christ's death was an unlimited atonement for the sins of men (2 Pet.2:1; 2 Cor. 5:19). Although it will only be made effective to those who are saved. And only those who are elect will be saved.

II. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE SALVATION OF MEN

We teach that in man's depraved state (on his own) would not seek after God in the right way (Rom. 3:10-12). Man needs the work of the Holy Spirit in order to be illuminated to spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). The Spirit convicts of sin (Jn. 16:7-11) and regenerates the believer (Titus 3:5). {See also the ministry of the Spirit.}

III. THE BLESSINGS OF SALVATION

We teach that believers have the following blessings as a result of salvation: "acceptance by God (redeemed, reconciled, forgiven, delivered, justified, and glorified; a new position with God (citizens of Heaven), Phil.3:20, members of royal priesthood, 1 Pet. 2, part of the family of God, Eph.2:19, adopted as sons, Gal. 4:5, and peculiar people of God, 1 Pet. 2:9, a new inheritance ( in Christ, Eph.1) , in spiritual blessings, as an heir in Heaven, 1 Pet. 1:4, a new enablement (now under grace, Rom. 6:14, freed from the law, 2 Cor.3:6, indwelling by the persons of the Godhead, Gal. 2:20.

IV. THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

We teach that a genuine believer can not loose his salvation. We reject the belief that one can loose their salvation by sinning or denouncing their original belief (if in fact it was genuine). The Scripture clearly states that salvation is a work of God and requires only faith on the part of man (Eph. 2:8-9). Jesus was clear that salvation was permanent (Jn. 10:8-30). It is Christ that presents us faultless not man himself (Jude 24). Christ said the Spirit of God would indwell forever in the believer (Jn.14:16) and the Spirit is our earnest of complete salvation (Eph.1:13-14). And finally, God's word guarantees our salvation (Rom. 8:28-39).

V. THE CONDITION FOR SALVATION

We teach that there is but one condition for salvation and that is genuine faith in the Person and Works of Jesus Christ (Jn.1:2; Acts 16:31). We reject those unbiblical views that require the following as conditions to be met for salvation: baptism, membership, repentance (meaning "change your life first"). We understand that God's Word clearly teaches that a genuinely saved person will manifest fruits of salvation, but these fruits are the manifestation of a salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Simply stated, signs of life can only be manifested AFTER one is born again (made alive spiritually - Eph. 2:1-2). Still, these signs although an evidence of spiritual life have no merit in gaining salvation.

VI. THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION

We teach that the Scripture teaches the doctrine of election (Rom. 9,8:27-30; Eph. 1). Election means "God's unconditioned and pre-temporal choice of those individuals He would save." We do not teach in a limited atonement. 1John 2:2, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." John 4:42, "Then they said to the woman, 'Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world." 1Timothy 4:10, " For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe."

God's word teaches that God truly offers salvation to all who will believe (Acts 8:37, "If you believe with all your heart, you may".) The Scriptures also teach us that God will draw those men who actually will believe (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." Also John 6:65, "And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." John the Baptist said in John 1:29, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" The Lord Jesus' sacrifice satisfied the just demands of God the Father for all men. However, just as in the Passover of Exodus chapter 12, the blood must be applied by faith (spiritually of course) in order for one to be saved. Yes, Jesus is the Savior of the whole world! Yes, all that will believe, will be saved. Yet only the elect will believe. Only those who are drawn by God, having their blindness removed (2Cor. 4:3-6; 1Cor. 2:14; Rom. 11:25) will come to Christ believing in Him.

One might ask, "then what is the purpose of Jesus being the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world? The purpose of Jesus being the Savior of all men is this: all men are left without excuse for not receiving Christ. The preacher of the gospel does not know who the elect are and the ones listening to the gospel do not know if they are elect. So a legitimate gospel is preached and heard. We can preach "that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." The choice and opportunity to choose Christ or not is given to unsaved men. Those who remain unbelievers have determined in their own spiritually darkened heart not to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. God is not making them "not choose Christ". Fallen man rejects God and God's plan of salvation all on his own, leaving himself without excuse for rejecting the only way of salvation.

We teach that man is totally depraved after the fall of Adam. Paul describes this dead condition in Rom. 3:10-18 and Eph. 2:1-5. We teach that without God's spiritual intervention, man would not and could not come to Christ. We realize that volumes have been written on this subject matter and we only attempt to state our teaching position briefly in this article. These truths are very sobering and humbling to those who are saved. There is no room for pride (Rom. 9:15-16, "For He says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.' So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." Even those who are saved do not deserve this "amazing grace."

We realize this subject causes a great deal of tension between dear brethren in Christ. We do not make this subject an issue of separation, although we would most certainly separate from all that teach salvation can be "earned" or "lost"!

Some have suggested that this view of salvation will diminish one's zeal for the lost. This might happen if a believer ignored the rest of God's Word concerning the salvation of men and the believer's call to "go preach" the gospel. We have a great focus on reaching the lost for Christ and our prayer meetings manifest this great concern. Our assembly realizes that God is sovereign and at the same time we realize that our Lord has commanded us to go into all the world preaching the gospel to all men. We hope and pray that each one to whom we proclaim the gospel will in fact believe. And we will pray for the salvation of each individual we know until we are taken home to be with the Lord or those individuals pass on to the next life.

Practically, we realize the business of sovereignty and election is in God's hands and the responsibility to proclaim the Gospel "to all" has been placed in our hands.

Detailed Doctrinal Statement Page