Statement of Faith Generally

Grace Church’s doctrine, religious beliefs, and religious practices are substantially described in this Statement of Faith.  This Statement of Faith and associated citations to verses within the Holy Scriptures are not exhaustive, as the entirety of the Bible itself as described below is the sole and final source of Grace Church’s doctrine, religious beliefs, and religious practices for which Grace Church exists, and according to which Grace Church must always conform all of its policies, procedures, operations, ministries, and other affairs.

The Holy Scriptures

The written words of the Holy Scriptures that constitute the Holy Bible are the only writings containing the words of God Himself.  The Scriptures are divinely inspired and authoritative; to disbelieve or disobey the Scriptures is to disbelieve or disobey God Himself.  In their original manuscripts, the Scriptures are truthful and inerrant, not affirming anything contrary to fact.  The Scriptures are clearly understandable by all persons who will read them with a willingness to follow them, seeking proper understanding from the Lord.  They contain all of the words that God intended to be known for salvation.  The Scriptures are profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  Exodus 24:4; Numbers 23:19; Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6:6-7, 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalm 1:2, 12:6, 19:7-10, 119:11, 119:89, 119:96, 119:105, 119:130, 119:140; Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 34:16, 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16, 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18, 22:29, 24:35; Luke 21:33, 24:44-46; John 5:39, 16:13-15, 17:17; Acts 2:16ff, 17:11; Romans 10:13-17, 15:4, 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Timothy 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2, 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21, 3:14-16.

God

There is only one God, eternally existing in the three persons of the Trinity including the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.  Genesis 1:1, 1:26, 18:14; Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Job 37:16; Psalm 24:8, 90:4, 115:3, 139:1-2, 139:4, 139:6, 139:7-10, 139:16; Isaiah 9:6, 46:9-10, 55:9; Jeremiah 23:23-24, 32:17, 32:27; Matthew 3:9, 3:16-17, 6:8, 10:29-30, 19:26, 28:19; Mark 1:10-11; Luke 1:35, 1:37; Acts 17:28; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 3:7-11, 4:13; 2 Peter 3:8; 1 John 3:20, 5:7; Revelation 1:8.

(a)  God the Father

God the Father is the first person of the Trinity.  God the Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the course of human history, according to His purposes.  Genesis 1:1, 2:7; Exodus 3:14, 6:2-3, 15:11ff, 20:1ff; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4, 32:6; 1 Corinthians 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3, 43:15, 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10, 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff, 7:11, 23:9, 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24, 5:26, 14:6-13, 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6, 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.

(b)  God the Son

Jesus Christ is God the Son, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity.  In His incarnation, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary to live among men on the earth, where He performed miracles and later died on the cross for the sins of man.  Jesus was both fully God and fully man, and was without any sin.  According to the Scriptures, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after His death on the cross, appeared in a glorified body to His disciples and many witnesses, and ascended into heaven to take His exalted place at the right hand of God the Father.  Through the shedding of His blood in His substitutionary death on the cross and His resurrection three days later, Jesus atoned for the sins of man once and for all, and is the one Mediator between God and man by which man can be reconciled to God.  Today, Jesus dwells within and intercedes for believers, and one day He will return in power and glory.  Genesis 18:1ff; Psalm 2:7ff, 110:1ff; Isaiah 7:14, 7:53, 9:6; Matthew 1:18-25, 3:17, 8:29, 11:27, 14:33, 16:16, 16:27, 17:5, 17:27, 28:1-6, 28:19; Mark 1:1, 3:11; Luke 1:27-35, 4:41, 22:70, 24:46; John 1:1-18, 1:29, 8:58, 10:30, 10:33, 10:38, 11:25-27, 12:44-50, 14:7-11, 16:15-16, 16:28, 17:1-5, 17:21-22, 20:1-20, 20:28; Acts 1:9, 2:22-24, 7:55-56, 9:4-5, 9:20; Romans 1:3-4, 3:23-26, 5:6-21, 8:1-3, 8:34, 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 2:2, 8:6, 15:1-8, 15:24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21, 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20, 3:11, 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22, 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6, 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3, 4:14-15, 7:14-28, 9:12-15, 9:24-28, 12:2, 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25, 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9, 3:2, 4:14-15, 5:9; 2 John 1:7-9; Revelation 1:13-16, 5:9-14, 12:10-11, 13:8, 19:16.

(c)  God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, and is the fully divine Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit was active in Old Testament times and inspired men to write the Scriptures, and was given to the Church in fullness at the time of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit calls men to Jesus Christ, enables men to understand truth and the meaning of the Scriptures, and convicts men of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  He comforts and indwells believers, and bestows spiritual gifts by which believers serve God as members of the Church.  Spiritual gifts always operate in harmony with the Scriptures.  Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalm 51:11, 139:7ff; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18, 3:11, 3:16, 4:1, 12:28-32, 28:19; Mark 1:10, 1:12, 13:11, 16:17; Luke 1:35, 4:1, 4:18-19, 11:13, 12:11-12, 24:45, 24:49; John 3:8, 4:24, 14:16-17, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7-14; Acts 1:4-5, 1:8, 2:1-4, 2:17, 2:38-39, 4:31, 5:3, 6:3, 7:55, 8:14-17, 8:39, 10:38, 10:44-47, 11:15-17, 13:2, 15:28, 16:6, 19:1-6; Romans 1:11, 5:5, 8:9-11, 8:14-16, 8:26-27, 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14, 3:16, 12:1-31, 14:1-40; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:16, 4:30, 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:8, 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16, 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:5-16, 3:16, 4:14; Hebrews 2:4, 9:8, 9:14; 1 Peter 4:10; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13, 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10, 22:17.

Man and The Fall

Man was created by God, male and female, in God’s own image and innocent of any sin.  God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, and gave man freedom of the choice to sin.  The fall of man occurred when Satan tempted man and man sinned against God.  Because of the fall, man today is inclined toward sin, and needs the grace of God to bring man back into fellowship with God.  God created man in His own image, and later was willing to send His Son Jesus to die for the redemption of man from sin and the effects of the fall of man.  Genesis 1:26-30, 2:5, 2:7, 2:18-22, 3:1-24, 9:6; Psalm 8:3-6, 32:1-5, 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32, 3:10-18, 3:23, 5:6, 5:12, 5:19, 6:6, 7:14-25, 8:14-25, 8:29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31, 15:19, 15:21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22, 3:9-11.

Salvation

Salvation is the free gift of God for redemption of man from the power and penalty of his sin.  Salvation is offered to all who by faith alone accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Salvation is available to man through Jesus’ blood from His sacrifice on the cross, where He took man’s place and atoned for man’s sin, and His resurrection from the dead after three days.  Jesus Christ is the only way to be reconciled to God, as He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to God the Father but by Him.  Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17, 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21, 4:17, 16:21-26, 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69, 2:28-32; John 1:11-14, 1:29, 3:3-21, 3:36, 5:24, 10:9, 10:28-29, 14:6, 15:1-16, 17:17; Acts 2:21, 4:12, 15:11, 16:30-31, 17:30-31, 20:32; Romans 1:16-18, 2:4, 3:23-25, 4:3ff, 5:8-10, 6:1-23, 8:1-18, 8:29-39, 10:9-10, 10:13, 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1:30, 6:19-20, 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:16, 2:20, 3:8, 3:13, 5:22-25, 6:15; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-22, 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22, 3:1ff; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14, 3:5; Hebrews 2:1-3, 5:8-9, 9:22, 9:24-28, 11:1-12:8, 12:14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20, 21:1-22:5.

The Church

The Church is the fellowship of God in Christ, the body of Christ, and the family of all believers who have accepted the free gift of salvation and profess the Lordship of Christ in their lives.  Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her by His redemptive sacrifice on the cross.  The Church engages in worship to God and the singing of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to the praise of His glory.  The Church nurtures believers, admonishing and teaching every believer with all wisdom in order to present every man mature and complete in Christ, equipping believers for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ, and attaining to the unity of faith in Christ.  As instructed by Jesus at the end of His ministry on earth, the Church brings His teachings to all nations, teaching them and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 16:15-19, 18:15-20, 28:19-20; John 17:11, 17:20-23; Acts 2:41-42, 2:47, 5:11-14, 6:3-6, 13:1-3, 14:23, 14:27, 15:1-30, 16:5, 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 3:16, 5:4-5, 7:17, 9:13-14, 12:1-31; Ephesians 1:12, 1:22-23, 2:14-15, 2:19-22, 3:8-11, 3:21, 4:12-13, 5:18b-20, 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18, 1:28, 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:9-14, 3:1-15, 4:14; Hebrews 10:25, 11:4-32, 11:39-40, 12:1, 12:23; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2:1-3:22, 21:2-3.

Christian Living

A person who has experienced salvation is united with Christ in His death and resurrection, having crucified the old sinful self with Christ’s death on the cross and having been delivered from bondage to sin.  At the moment of salvation, justification occurs whereby the believer instantaneously stands in a right relationship with God, the believer is adopted as a member of God’s family, and the process of sanctification begins.  Sanctification is the cooperative process between God and the new believer whereby the believer progressively becomes more and more free from sin as explained in the Scriptures and increasingly resembles the example of Christ.  Upon confessing Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God, the believer experiences a transformation by the renewing of his mind, and begins to walk in the Light and newness of life as a child of God as he abides in God and God abides in the believer.  The Christian life is marked by obedience to the Lord, and a desire to practice righteousness and follow His will as made known through the Holy Scriptures.  The believer has a special love of one another as God’s love is perfected in the believer increasingly bearing the fruit of the Spirit including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and demonstrating faith through good works according to the gifts, talents, and abilities the Lord has provided.  The believer in Christ uses the Holy Scriptures for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness in order to be adequate and equipped for every good work.  The believer must by constant use and practice train himself in the word of righteousness to discern good from evil and approve the things that are excellent, so that his love may abound more and more in real knowledge, and in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.  Such believer must seek instruction with obedient ears, and accept correction and reproof as excellent oil or an ornament of fine gold.  The believer must be ready and able to teach in order to become a deacon or overseer, progressing from the milk of elementary principles to the meat of the mature.  The believer must be prepared through training in righteousness and personal blamelessness not practicing the same things to be a wise reprover, speaking the truth in love and showing a brother his fault in private, in a spirit of gentleness without putting a stumbling block in the brother’s way, for the purpose of restoring the brother to right behavior and reconciling him to other believers and to God, and if necessary, to follow up with one or two witnesses and tell it to the Church so that the rest will be fearful of sinning, while reaffirming love for the brother or permitting sorrow to the point of repentance.  Conflicts between believers are to be resolved only within the Church and according to biblical guidance, as lawsuits before the unrighteousness are dishonoring to Christ and the Church and a defeat for the believers.  The believer should not let the sun go down and resolve conflicts promptly according to the same forgiveness Christ has demonstrated to the believer, so that no root of bitterness may spring up and cause trouble; a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.  The believer must always seek to protect the integrity of the Church and its leadership and the honor of Christ and His Gospel.  Leviticus 19:17; Deuteronomy 8:5; Job 5:17; Psalm 1:2, 105:14, 118:18, 141:5; Proverbs 3:11-12, 6:23, 9:7-8, 10:17, 12:1, 13:1, 13:18, 13:24, 15:5, 15:10, 15:12, 15:31-32, 17:10, 19:18, 19:20, 19:25, 19:27, 21:11, 22:15, 23:12-13, 25:12; Isaiah 1:17; Matthew 4:4, 5:1-7:29, 18:15-17, 18:21-35, 28:19-20; Luke 17:3-4; John 8:31-32, 14:15, 14:21, 17:17; Acts 5:11, 9:31, 20:32; Romans 2:1-11, 6:4-14, 6:17-19, 8:1-17, 12:1-13:14, 14:1-23, 15:5, 15:14, 16:17-20; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 4:21-5:13, 6:1-8, 6:11, 6:13, 6:18-20, 9:27, 11:32, 12:12-26, 13:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, 3:18, 5:11, 6:14-18, 7:1, 7:8-11, 10:5; Galatians 4:5, 4:16, 5:16-24, 6:1-2; Ephesians 1:5, 4:1-6:20; Philippians 1:9-10, 2:12-13, 3:9-14, 4:4-9; Colossians 1:10, 1:28, 2:5, 3:5-4:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-12, 5:11-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:5, 1:19, 3:1-13, 4:1-8, 5:17-22; 2 Timothy 1:7, 2:15, 2:20-21, 3:16-17, 4:2; Titus 1:7-9, 1:13, 2:15, 3:10-11; Hebrews 3:13, 5:11-14, 10:24-25, 12:1-2, 12:4-11, 12:14-15, 13:20-21; James 1:2-27, 2:14-26, 5:19; 1 Peter 1:2, 1:13-25, 2:2, 2:11-5:11; 2 Peter 1:3-11; 1 John 1:3-8, 2:15-17, 3:3-10, 4:7-13, 4:19-21, 5:1-5, 5:18; 2 John 1:7-11; Revelation 3:19.

(a)  Marriage

The Scriptures teach that the marriage covenant shall be reserved only for one man with one woman.  God the Creator decided that the man should not be alone, and specifically fashioned the woman as the suitable helper for the man, made the woman from a part of the man and in the woman made the man complete, designed sexual union to be with a husband cleaving to his wife as one flesh, bestowed His divine blessing upon the unity of a man and a woman, gave the man and the woman the ability to fulfill His charge to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and ordained the pattern for human life that a man and a woman would join in this marriage covenant and cleave to each other as one flesh.  The Lord designated specific duties for the holy unity between a man and a woman, instructing the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, and instructing the wife to be subject to the husband in everything and to submit to him as unto the Lord.  No other relationship can ever be the holy unity between one man and one woman established by the Creator, which the Apostle Paul frequently compared to the holy unity of Christ and the Church, and man has no authority to alter the divine order of the marriage covenant between one man and one woman, or to separate what God has joined together.  Genesis 1:27, 1:28, 2:18-24; Matthew 19:1-12; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:1-40; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19.

(b)  Sexuality

The Scriptures limit the expression of human sexuality to the marital relationship of one man with one woman, which is the only legitimate and acceptable sexual relationship.  Genesis 2:24; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10-21; Deuteronomy 5:18; Proverbs 5:3-5, 5:8-13, 7:21-27; Matthew 5:27, 19:18; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:26-27, 13:9; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 6:18, 10:8; Galatians 5:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4; James 2:11; Jude 7.

Last Things

God has appointed a day when He will judge the world.  On that day, God will demonstrate His mercy by eternal salvation in Heaven for all who have placed their faith in Christ for salvation, and His justice by eternal damnation in Hell for those who have rejected God’s free gift of salvation in Christ.  Isaiah 2:4, 11:9; Matthew 7:13-14, 7:21-23, 16:27, 18:8-9, 19:28, 22:13-14, 24:27, 24:30, 24:36, 24:44, 25:31-46, 26:63-64; Mark 8:38, 9:43-48; Luke 12:40, 12:48, 13:24-28, 16:19-31, 17:22-37, 21:27-28, 24:16, 24:36, 24:39; John 2:19-21, 14:1-3, 20:26-28, 21:4; Acts 1:9-11, 17:31, 24:15; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5, 15:24-28, 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 1:21-23, 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5, 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, 5:1ff; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff, 2:1-17; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1, 4:8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28, 10:26-31; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff; 1 John 2:28, 3:2; Jude 1:14; Revelation 1:7, 1:18, 3:11, 20:1-22:13.