1) THE SCRIPTURES
The canon of Scripture is comprised of 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books and these are the inspired word of God. These books were written under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit by verbal plenary inspiration(i) and are inerrant(ii). The 66 books of the Bible form the complete written revelation of God to man(iii) and they are the final authority in all matters of faith and practice(iv) and are sufficient for every aspect of life(v).
2) THE GODHEAD
a) The Trinity
There is one true and living God(vi) eternally existent(vii) in three Persons, holy(viii), omnipotent(ix), omniscient(x), omnipresent(xi) and immutable(xii), equal in essence yet distinct in subsistence (personality) – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit(xiii).
b) God the Father
God the Father is the first Person of the Godhead and the self-existent one[xiv]. He is spirit[xv]. He is the Father of God the Son[xvi], the Creator of the universe[xvii] and the Author of mankind’s redemption[xviii].
c) God the Son
Jesus Christ, the Word of God[xix] is the second Person of the Godhead and He is the only begotten Son of the Father[xx]. He is one with the Father in essence, equal in power and glory[xxi]. He is eternally begotten of the Father[xxii] and yet is self-existent[xxiii].
For our salvation, God the Son was born of a virgin[xxiv], lived a perfect life[xxv], and died for the sins of mankind bearing those sins in His own body[xxvi]. He literally and bodily rose again from the dead on the third day[xxvii] and ascended into heaven forty days after His resurrection[xxviii].
Presently He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for the saints[xxix]. He is coming again to the clouds to rapture the saints[xxx]. He is coming to the earth to set up His millennial kingdom[xxxi]. He will finally judge all mankind[xxxii].
The Scriptures teach that in His Incarnation[xxxiii], God the Son took to Himself true humanity yet that humanity was without sin[xxxiv]. He retained the whole Divine nature so there existed in Him two natures in perfect union[xxxv]. Perfect God and Perfect Man, one Lord Jesus Christ.
d) God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, is the third Person of the Godhead. He has a personal existence possessing attributes of personality including an intellect[xxxvi], emotions[xxxvii] and volition[xxxviii]. He is self-existent and yet proceeds eternally from the Father[xxxix].
After Christ’s ascension He was sent by the Father and the Son into the world to convict men of sin, of judgement and of righteousness[xl]. He regenerates[xli], seals[xlii], indwells[xliii], teaches[xliv], sanctifies[xlv] and gifts[xlvi] all who believe the Gospel and makes intercession for them[xlvii].
God created all things from nothing by His Word in six, consecutive literal 24-hour days as per the Genesis account[xlviii]. That which God created was perfect[xlix] and was and is for His own pleasure and glory[l].
a) His Original Condition
Man was created in the image of God[li] on the sixth day of creation[lii]. He was created in a state of original righteousness free from sin[liii]. He was created with a free-will, that is, with the ability to choose between right and wrong. The free-will of man was evident in his probation, temptation and fall in the Garden of Eden[liv].
b) His Fallen Condition
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, man’s nature was fundamentally changed. He became a sinner, separated from the life and fellowship of God[lv] and destined to die[lvi]. He became an object of God’s righteous wrath[lvii] destined for everlasting punishment in the Lake of Fire because of his sin[lviii].
Adam’s original sin and its effect upon his nature have been transferred to all his seed[lix]. Man is born with a natural inclination to sin and inevitably follows that inclination and chooses to sin. Consequently, all men by virtue of being Adam’s offspring are separated from the life and fellowship of God[lx], have within their bodies the processes of death[lxi], are the objects of God’s righteous wrath[lxii] and are destined for everlasting punishment in the Lake of Fire because of their sin[lxiii].
Salvation is the act of God whereby he saves man from the consequences of his fallen condition, gives him eternal life[lxiv] and restores him into fellowship[lxv]. It is a work of God’s grace, there being no merit in man making him worthy or capable of attaining salvation by his own righteous deeds[lxvi]. Salvation was made possible by the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross[lxvii], the shedding of His blood by which He made propitiation for sin[lxviii] and His literal bodily resurrection[lxix].
The work of salvation for the individual involves both Divine and human elements:
i) The Divine Element
The Scriptures teach that God desires all men to be saved[lxx] and through the work of Christ He has made it possible for all men to be saved[lxxi]. The Scriptures also teach that God has chosen who He will save[lxxii] and He made that choice before the foundation of the world. God has chosen to save those individuals in Christ[lxxiii]. Therefore election to salvation is primarily corporate, i.e. the Church is chosen in Christ.
Regeneration is the work of God whereby He causes the sinner to pass from the death of sin into spiritual life in Christ. Regeneration is new birth into the family of God by the Holy Spirit[lxxiv] and it occurs at the point when a person places his/her faith in Jesus Christ[lxxv]. When they place their faith in Jesus Christ they receive the very eternal life of God[lxxvi]. Regeneration is an instantaneous act and by its nature it can only occur once.
Justification is the judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims and requirements of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner. The act of justification involves the forgiveness of sins, that is, the pardon or remission of sins on the ground of the finished work of Christ[lxxvii] and the imputation of righteousness, that is, God the Father putting the righteousness of Christ to man’s account giving him a right standing before God[lxxviii]. Man is and has always been justified by faith alone[lxxix].
d) Eternal Security
At salvation a Believer is regenerated, given eternal life and is thus eternally secure and cannot lose his salvation[lxxx]. The Believer is kept by the power of God[lxxxi] and is predestined to be glorified[lxxxii].
ii) The Human Element
Man was created with a free-will, that is, the ability to choose between right and wrong, to obey or disobey God. This is evidenced by his probation, temptation and fall in the Garden of Eden[lxxxiii]. The fall of man did not remove his ability to choose between right and wrong[lxxxiv]. All men are capable of choosing to accept or reject God’s free gift of salvation and are able to exercise saving faith when they hear the Word of God and are illuminated by the Holy Spirit[lxxxv].
In relation to salvation, repentance is a change of mind regarding sin and the claims of the Gospel. In order to be saved an individual must have a change of mind about their sin and acknowledge what the Scriptures teach about it. They must also have a change of mind about God and acknowledge what the Scriptures teach about His way of salvation. Repentance therefore is a decision to turn away from sin to the Saviour[lxxxvi].
Faith is to believe or trust in something or someone unseen[lxxxvii]. Faith in Jesus Christ and His death for sin, burial and resurrection is the only means by which man is saved[lxxxviii]. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit[lxxxix].
6) THE HEREAFTER
Heaven is a literal, physical place where God dwells[xc]. It is free from all sin and sickness and all who reside there serve and worship God[xci]. The Lord Jesus Christ presently dwells in heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father[xcii]. It is populated with holy angels, Old Testament saints and New Testament Believers who have passed away[xciii].
Hell is a literal, physical place of torment created for the Devil and his angels[xciv]. It is the eternal dwelling place of all who reject Jesus Christ[xcv] and after the Great White Throne Judgement it will be cast into the Lake of Fire[xcvi].
c) The Believer
A Believer is a person who has exercised saving faith in Jesus Christ. Believers are no longer under the wrath and condemnation of God[xcvii] and they possess eternal life[xcviii]. When they die, their soul and spirit go to be with God in heaven[xcix] but their bodies remain in the grave until the resurrection that will occur at the Rapture[c]. When this resurrection occurs, the soul and spirit of all Believers will be reunited with their bodies and their bodies will be changed into its glorified state[ci]. Believers will be judged according to their works at the Judgement seat of Christ. At this judgement Believers will receive reward or suffer loss of reward[cii].
d) The Unbeliever
The Unbeliever is a person who consciously rejects Jesus Christ and the way of salvation prescribed in the Scriptures. The Unbeliever is condemned by God[ciii] and upon dying will immediately enter into hell and experience with full consciousness its torments[civ]. In hell, the Unbeliever will await the final Great White Throne judgement where he will be judged according to his works[cv]. The Unbeliever’s name will not be found written in the Book of Life and as a consequence he will be cast into the Lake of Fire and there dwell for eternity[cvi].
7) CHRISTIAN LIVING
The Lord has called all Believers to separate themselves from sin, the world and the fleshly desires of the world[cvii]. This is because Believers are no longer of the world, but have become sons of God[cviii] and citizens of heaven[cix] responsible for glorifying God[cx]. Believers are the light of the world and are commanded to let their light shine in the darkness by their godly manner of life[cxi].
The Scriptures teach that there are three elements to God’s work of sanctification in the life of the Believer.
a) Positional Sanctification
At salvation, every Believer is sanctified, that is, set apart from sin and made to stand in the imputed holiness of Jesus Christ before God the Father[cxii]. This element of sanctification relates only to the Believer’s new position in Christ before God, it is not personal or practical change towards holiness neither does it involve the removal of indwelling sin[cxiii].
b) Progressive Sanctification
God calls Believers to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to progressively sanctify their lives towards Christ-likeness[cxiv]; this involves personal and practical change towards holiness. Believers are to cooperate with the Spirit’s work through obedience to the Word of God[cxv], walking in the Spirit[cxvi], being led[cxvii] and filled[cxviii] by the Spirit, and by confessing sin and appropriating the cleansing of the blood of Christ[cxix].
c) Final Sanctification
Every Believer is predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son Jesus Christ[cxx]. This conformity will ultimately occur at the Rapture when all Believers, living and deceased, will receive glorified bodies free of indwelling sin[cxxi]. At this point the full work of sanctification will be accomplished.
8) SPIRITUAL GIFTS
At salvation the Holy Spirit imparts to every Believer one or more gifts (or abilities) for use in the local Church so that it might grow and be edified[cxxii]. In the apostolic era, these gifts included sign gifts such as speaking in tongues, physical healing, and revelatory prophecy. These sign gifts were given to authenticate the Gospel message[cxxiii].
Speaking in tongues was also a particular sign of coming judgement to the unbelieving Jewish nation[cxxiv], judgement which subsequently came with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Speaking in tongues and other sign gifts were foundational in nature and ceased when the completed canon of Scripture was available to the Church[cxxv]. Therefore, they have no legitimate place in the Christians personal life or in the Church today