Those whom God has accepted in the Beloved, being effectually called and sanctified by the Spirit, and given the precious faith of His elect, can neither totally nor finally fall from grace. They will certainly persevere in the faith to the end. They are eternally saved because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.1 The Lord continually begets and nourishes faith in the elect along with repentance, love, joy, hope, and every grace of the Spirit.2 Although many storms and floods arise to beat against them, they will never be moved off the foundation on which, by faith, they are fastened. Notwithstanding, due to periods of unbelief and/or the temptations of Satan, the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured.3 However, even in these times they remain secure, kept by the power of God, their being engraved on the palm of His hands and their names written in the Book of Life from all eternity.4
The perseverance of the saints depends in no way on the believer's own free will but depends solely on the unchangeableness of the decree of election.5 This security flows from several things: (1) primarily, the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; (2) the effectiveness of the intercession of Jesus Christ, (3) the saints' union with Christ;6 (4) the oath of God;7 (5) the indwelling of His Spirit; (6) the seed of God within them;8 and (7) the nature of the covenant of grace.9
The saints may fall into and continue in dreadful sins for a time10 through the temptation of Satan and the world due to the corruption remaining in them. When they do so, they neglect the means of their preservation, incur God's displeasure, grieve His Holy Spirit,11 impair their graces and comforts,12 harden their hearts, and wound their consciences.13 They may also hurt and scandalize others and bring temporal judgments on themselves.14 However, this is only temporary because they must renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.15
References: 1Romans 11:29; 2John 10:28, 29; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 2:19; 3Psalm 89:31, 32; 1 Corinthians 11:32; 4Malachi 3:6; 5Romans 8:30; 9:11, 16; 6Romans 5:9, 10; John 14:19; 7Hebrews 6:17, 18; 81 John 3:9; 9Jeremiah 32:40; 10Matthew 26:70, 72, 74; 11Isaiah 64:5, 9; Ephesians 4:30; 12Psalm 51:10, 12; 13Psalm 32:3, 4; 142 Samuel 12:14; 15Luke 22:32, 61, 62.
Temporary believers and unregenerate persons deceive themselves with false hopes. They are presumptuous of the God's favor and salvation, but, their hope will perish.1 However, those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus, who love Him sincerely, and who endeavor to walk in good conscience before Him may have assurance of their salvation and can rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.2 Such hope will never make them ashamed.3
This assurance is not a conjecture or mere probability based on a fallible hope but is of faith4 founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ as revealed in the Gospel.5 It is supported by the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit promised of God.6 It rests on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with the believer's spirit that he is a child of God.7 The fruit of this assurance keeps the heart both humble and holy.8
A true believer may struggle for a time before he actually gets assurance.9 Yet, the Spirit will enable him to know the things which are freely given him of God by the right use of means.10 Therefore, it is the duty of everyone to be diligent to confirm their calling and election. This assurance gives the believer peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, love and thankfulness to God, strength and cheerfulness in obedience, which are proper fruit.11 These things insure that the believer will not be careless.12
However, true believers will find the assurance of their salvation shaken from time to time in various ways, usually by negligence in preserving it,13 falling into sins that wound the conscience and grieve the Spirit.14 Assurance can be shaken by some sudden or intense temptation.15 God may also withdraw the light of His countenance and permit those who fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light.16 Yet, even in such conditions, they are never destitute of the seed of God,17 the life of faith,18 the love of Christ and the brethren, the sincerity of heart, or the conscience of duty. Out of these things, by the operation of the Spirit, assurance will in due time be revived,19 preserving them from utter despair.20
References: 1Job 8:13, 14; Matthew 7:22, 23; 21 John 2:3; 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24; 5:13; 3Romans 5:2, 5; 4Hebrews 6:11, 19; 5Hebrews 6:17, 18; 62 Peter 1:4, 5, 10, 11; 7Romans 8:15, 16; 81 John 3:1-3; 9Isaiah 50:10; Psalm 88:1-18; Psalm 77:1-12; 101 John 4:13; Hebrews 6:11, 12; 11Romans 5:1, 2, 5; 14:17; Psalm 119:32; 12Romans 6:1, 2; Titus 2:11, 12, 14; 13Song of Solomon 5:2, 3, 6; 14Psalm 51:8, 12, 14; 15Psalm 116:11; 77:7, 8; 31:22; 16Psalm 30:7; 171 John 3:9; 18Luke 22:32; 19Psalm 42:5, 11; 20Lamentations 3:26-31.
God wrote a universal law on Adam's heart and then gave him a particular precept that he should not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.1 In this law He bound both Adam and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience,2 promising life for obedience, threatening death for disobedience, and enduing him with power and ability to keep His law.3
The same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be the rule of righteousness after the fall.4 This law was then delivered to Israel by God on Mount Sinai in ten commandments, written in two tables. Four commandments contained duty to God, and six contained duty to man.5
Besides these commandments, commonly called the moral law, God also gave to Israel ceremonial laws containing typical ordinances for worship that prefigure Christ, His graces, acts, suffering, and benefits.6 These commandments hold various instructions for moral duties,7 being appointed only until the time of reformation by Jesus Christ. Being the true Messiah and only Lawgiver, He had authority from the Father to end that law, abrogate it, and take it away.8
The various judicial laws that God gave to Israel expired with the state of Israel and have no obligation for any now except by virtue of their general value in modern civil law.9
The moral law as reflected in the Ten Commandments forever binds all mankind, including justified persons,10 to obedience, which includes submission to the authority of the Creator who gave it.11 Christ, in the gospel, does not dissolve the obligation of obedience but rather strengthens it because He insists that if one loves Him, he will keep His commandments.12
Although true believers are not under the law for either justification or condemnation,13 yet obedience to Christ is a rule of life. Thus, His commandments inform believers of the will of God and of their duty, directing and binding them to walk accordingly. In examining themselves by them, believers will (1) discover the sinful pollutions of their natures; (2) come to further conviction of sin, humility of heart, and hatred of evil;14 (3) have clearer insight of their need for Christ and the perfection of His obedience; (4) find restraint in that they forbid sin and show what sin deserves, though they are free from its curse. The promises for obedience likewise show what God approves and what blessings He bestows, although God owes nothing as a reward for obligation or obedience.
Since the commandments are valuable in encouraging the doing of good and refraining from evil, they should not viewed as evidence that believers are under the law and not under grace.15 The commandments are not contrary to the grace of the gospel16 because it is the Spirit of Christ who subdues and enables the will of man freely and cheerfully to do what the will of God requires him to do.17
References: 1Genesis 1:27; Ecclesiastes 7:29; 2Romans 10:5; 3Galatians 3:10, 12; 4Romans 2:14, 15; 5Deuteronomy 10:4; 6Hebrews 10:1; Colossians 2:17; 71 Corinthians 5:7; 8Colossians 2:14, 16, 17; Ephesians 2:14, 16; 91 Corinthians 9:8-10; 10Romans 13:8-10; James 2:8, 10-12; 11James 2:10, 11; 12John 14:15; Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 3:31; 13Romans 6:14; Galatians 2:16; Romans 8:1; 10:4; 14Romans 3:20; 7:7-25; 15Romans 6:12-14; 1 Peter 3:8-13; 16Galatians 3:21; 17Ezekiel 36:27.
Because the transgression of Adam brought sin and death into the world, God was pleased to give to His elect the promise of a Savior, Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman. This promise is the means of calling the elect unto life, begetting in them faith and repentance.1 In the promise of Genesis 3:15, the gospel is revealed in substance adequate for the conversion and salvation of sinners.2
The gospel of Christ and salvation is revealed only in the Word of God.3 The light of nature in the works of creation and providence reveal Christ and His grace in such a general or obscure way4 that men without the gospel revealed in Scripture could never attain saving faith or repentance.5
The revelation of the gospel to sinners at different times and in various ways with promises and precepts to the nations and persons to whom it was granted, was made solely by the sovereign will and good pleasure of God.6 This revelation is not annexed as any promise relating to one's improving his natural abilities, nor can the gospel be received by common light.7 Therefore, in all ages the preaching of the gospel has been granted to people and nations and either extended or limited according to the counsel of the will of God.
Although preaching the gospel is the outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace (being abundantly sufficient for it), yet those who are dead in trespasses can be born again, quickened, or regenerated only by the effectual work of the Holy Spirit. He produces spiritual life in them,8 without which no other means will effect their conversion to God.9
References: 1Genesis 3:15; 2Revelation 13:8; 3Romans 1:17; 4Romans 10:14, 15, 17; 5Proverbs 29:18; Isaiah 25:7; 60:2, 3; 6Psalm 147:20; Acts 16:7; 7Romans 1:18-32; 8Psalm 110:3; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:19, 20; 9John 6:44; 2 Corinthians 4:4, 6.
The liberty that Christ purchased for believers under the gospel is freedom from the guilt of sin, the wrath of God in punishing sin, and the severity and curse of the law for sin.1 This liberty also delivers believers from this present evil world,2 bondage to Satan,3 dominion of sin,4 the evil of afflictions,5 the fear and sting of death, the fear and sting of death, the grave6 and everlasting damnation.7 It also gives them free access to God, rendering their obedience to Him, not of slavish fear,8 but of child-like love and willingness.9 These things were also common to believers under the law as to the substance of them,10 but under the New Testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the Mosaic law, giving New Testament believers greater boldness of access to the throne of grace and full communication of the free Spirit of God.11
He alone is Lord of the conscience12 and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men that are either contrary to His Word or not contained in it.13 To believe such doctrines or to obey such commands out of conscience is to betray true liberty of conscience.14 Therefore, to require implicit faith with absolute and blind obedience is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason.15
Those who, upon pretext of Christian liberty, practice sin or cherish sinful lusts thereby pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction.16 In doing so, they completely destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is that, being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives.17
References: 1Galatians 3:13; 2Galatians 1:4; 3Acts 26:18; 4Romans 8:3; 5Romans 8:28; 61 Corinthians 15:54-57; 72 Thessalonians 1:10; 8Romans 8:15; 9Luke 1:73-75; 1 John 4:18; 10Galatians 3:9, 14; 11John 7:38, 39; Hebrews 10:19-21; 12James 4:12; Romans 14:4; 13Acts 4:19, 29; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Matthew 15:9; 14Colossians 2:20, 22, 23; 151 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 16Romans 6:1, 2; 17Galatians 5:13; 2 Peter 2:18, 21.
The light of nature shows that there is a God who has lordship and sovereignty over all things but who is also just and good, doing good to all. He is, therefore, to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the heart and with all the soul and with all the might.1 However, the only acceptable way to worship the true God has been instituted by Him2 and limited by His own revealed will. He is not to be worshiped according to the imagination and devices of men or the suggestions of Satan. There are to be no visible representations of Him nor any practices not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.3
Worship is to be rendered to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and to Him alone.4 Worship is not to be given to angels, saints, or any other creature.5 Also, since the fall, worship is not to be engaged in without a Mediator6 or with a mediator other than Jesus Christ.7
God requires prayer and thanksgiving as a part of the natural worship of all men.8 However, for it to be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son9 by the help of the Spirit;10 according to His will;11 with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance.12 Prayer is to be made for lawful things and for all sorts of men living now or in the future13 but not for the dead.14 Prayer is not to be made for those known to have sinned the sin unto death.15
Worship must include public reading,16 preaching, and hearing the Word of God;17 teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord;18 and the administration of baptism19 and the Lord's Supper.20 All parts of worship are to be performed in obedience to Him in a holy and solemn manner with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear. Solemn humiliation, with fasting21 and thanksgiving should also be exercised on special occasions.22
Under the gospel, God's acceptance of prayer and worship does not depend on the place where it is performed. He can be worshiped everywhere in spirit and in truth,23 including private24 daily worship25 both in personal26 and family devotion. Public worship in assemblies must not be carelessly or willfully neglected, especially when God in His Word calls us to it.27
As a law of nature, God also appoints a proportion of time to be set apart for His worship. In His Word, He appointed one day in seven to be kept holy for Him by perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages.28 From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, that day was the last day of the week, the Sabbath. Since the resurrection of Christ, that day was changed to the first day of the week, the Lord's Day.29 Sabbath observance has been abolished.
The Lord's Day ought to be reserved as holy to the Lord. After duly preparing their hearts and arranging their affairs beforehand, people are to avoid secular employment and recreation30 but rather rest and spend their time in the public and private worship and in the duties of necessity and mercy.31
References: 1Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33; 2Deuteronomy 12:32; 3Exodus 20:4-6; 4Matthew 4:9, 10; John 6:23; Matthew 28:19; 5Romans 1:25; Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10; 6John 14:6; 71 Timothy 2:5; 8Psalm 95:1-7; 65:2; 9John 14:13, 14; 10Romans 8:26; 111 John 5:14; 121 Corinthians 14:16, 17; 131 Timothy 2:1, 2; 2 Samuel 7:29; 142 Samuel 12:21-23; 151 John 5:16; 161 Timothy 4:13; 172 Timothy 4:2; Luke 8:18; 18Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19; 19Matthew 28:19, 20; 201 Corinthians 11:26; 21Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12; 22Exodus 15:1-19; Psalm 107:1-43; 23John 4:21; Malachi 1:11; 1 Timothy 2:8; 24Acts 10:2; 25Matthew 6:11; Psalm 55:17; 26Matthew 6:6; 27Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42; 28Exodus 20:8; 291 Corinthians 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10; 30Isaiah 58:13; Nehemiah 13:15-22; 31Matthew 12:1-13.
We believe that singing praise to God1 is a holy ordinance of Christ, not merely a part of natural religion or moral duty. The whole church in public assembly as well as individuals in private ought to sing God's praises according to the best light that they have received.2 Our Lord Jesus Christ practiced the singing of hymns with His disciples3 after He instituted and celebrated the ordinance of His holy supper, the commemorative token of redeeming love. However, while the churches of Christ should obey this divine injunction, believers should be cautioned that the use of music in worship, contrary to worldly standards, is not for the purpose of exhibiting talents or skills. Music used in worship is to be to the Lord alone, not for the entertainment of those in attendance of worship.4
References: 1Acts 16:25; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 2Hebrews 2:12; James 5:13; 3Matthew 26:30; 4Ephesians 5:19.
God, the supreme Lord and King of the entire world, has ordained civil government to have authority for His glory and the public good. To this end He has armed civil authorities with "the power of the sword" (capital authority to enforce its laws for the defense and encouragement of those who do good and for the punishment of those who do wrong).1
It is permitted in Scripture for Christians to accept and serve in public office, if they are able to do so without spiritual and moral compromise. In performing the duties of public office, officials are to maintain justice and peace2 according to the laws of each government. To that end, they may, on New Testament authority, engage in warfare on just and necessary occasions.3
Civil government as established by God for His purposes requires that every citizen submit to every lawful ordinance. Thus, believers must submit to civil government as to the Lord, not only for wrath's sake but for conscience's sake.4 Believers, however, must always obey God when man's laws require disobedience but must also suffer the civil consequences of such disobedience.5 Believers are also to make supplication and prayer for kings and for all that are in authority in order that, under them, they may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.6
References: 1Romans 13:1-4; 22 Samuel 23:3; Psalm 82:3, 4; 3Luke 3:14; 4Romans 13:5-7; 1 Peter 2:17; 5Acts 4:19, 20; 5:29; 61 Timothy 2:1, 2.
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife,1 for the increase of mankind through legitimate offspring,2 and for preventing the sin of moral unclean-ness.1
Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife,2 for the increase of mankind through legitimate offspring,3 and for preventing the sin of moral uncleanness.4
Anyone may marry who is able, with judgment, to give his or her consent in it.5 However, it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord.6 Therefore, Christians may not marry unbelievers or idolaters; neither are the godly to be unequally yoked by marriage to those who live wickedly or support heresy.7
Marriage is to be governed by the Word of God,7 ruling out all unions that are forbidden in Scripture, such as incestuous, homosexual, and polygamous marriages.8 Such marriages can never be made lawful either by legislation or by consent.9
References: 1Genesis 2:24; 2Genesis 1:28; 31 Corinthians 7:2, 9; 4Hebrews 13:4; 1 Timothy 4:3; 51 Corinthians 7:39; 6Nehemiah 13:25-27; 7Leviticus 18:1-30; 81 Corinthians 5:1; Romans 1:26, 27; Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:15; Matthew 19:5, 6; 9Mark 6:18; 1 Corinthians 5:1.
The universal church consists of all the elect that have been, are, and will be gathered into one under Christ. Some call it the invisible church because of the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace. The church is the wife, the body, and the fullness of Christ, who fills all in all.1 The church is always manifested on earth through local visible assemblies. All who profess the faith of the gospel and obey God by Christ are called saints,2 and only of such should all visible churches be constituted.3
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. He, by the appointment of the Father, has supreme and sovereign authority for the calling, institution, order, and government of the church.4 No one but Christ has this power, and anyone who exalts himself in the church against Christ shall be destroyed by the Lord with the brightness of His coming.5
Visible churches, even the purest, are subject to mixture and error.6 Some churches have even degenerated to the point of becoming synagogues of Satan.7 Nevertheless Christ always has had and always will have a kingdom in this world for those who believe in Him and openly profess His name.8 In executing His power, the Lord Jesus calls out of the world to Himself by His Spirit through the ministry of His Word those that are given to Him by the Father9 in order that they may walk before Him in obedience as prescribed in His Word.10 Those so called, He commands to walk together in particular societies or churches for their mutual edification and public worship.11
Members of the churches are saints by calling but also visibly evidence that call by obedience to Christ,12 walking together in willing consent by the appointment of Christ. They are to give themselves up to the Lord and to one another by the will of God in submission to Gospel ordinances.13 In order to make such obedience possible, Christ has given all power and authority necessary for the worship and discipline He has instituted for them to observe.14
Each particular church consists of both members and officers. The officers, bishops (or elders) and deacons,15 are appointed by Christ and are to be set apart by the church for the administration of the ordinances and the implementation of the duties Christ entrusts to them to be sustained until the end of the age. The calling of those fitted and gifted by the Holy Spirit for the office of bishop or elder is to be by the common consent of the church,16 solemnly setting them apart by fasting, prayer, and the laying on of hands of the eldership of the church.17 Deacons are also to be chosen and set apart in a similar manner.18
The duty of the pastor is to attend the service of Christ in His church, which consists of the ministry of the Word and prayer, watching for the souls of those for whom he must give account.19 Thus, it is the duty of the church to whom he ministers not only to give him due respect but also to provide for him according to their ability.20 The pastor should have enough to sustain him and also have enough to exercise hospitality21 without his becoming entangled in secular work.22 This support is required both by the law of nature and by the express order of our Lord Jesus, who has ordained that they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel.23
Although a requisite of the office of bishop or pastor is the preaching the Word, yet preaching the Word is not necessarily limited to him. Others may and ought to preach the Word24 if they are called and approved by the church, being gifted and equipped by the Holy Spirit.
All believers are bound to join themselves to particular churches when and where they have opportunity to do so. All who are thus admitted to the privileges of a church are also under its discipline and government by the rule of Christ.25
A Church member who becomes offended should not disturb church order. He must not absent himself from the assemblies of the church or from the ordinances on account of the offence. After his doing scriptural duty (Matthew 18:15-20) to the offender, the offended member is to wait upon Christ in further disciplinary proceedings of the church.26
Churches are bound to pray continually for the good and prosperity of all the other churches in Christ27 in all places and on all occasions. When planted by the providence of God where they may do so, each church ought to join in fellowship with others of like faith and order for peace, love, and mutual edification.28
Since each church is sovereign under Christ, where the churches in general are concerned, if they have differences either in point of doctrine or administration, the churches in fellowship ought to meet in order to consider and seek the mind of Christ on the matter. They should, then, give advice about the particular matter in difference, reporting their findings to all the churches concerned.29 However, the messengers of the churches to these fellowship meetings are not to have any authority or jurisdiction over the churches themselves, nor are they to impose discipline over any church or person. They cannot impose their findings on the churches or their officers30 but give advice only.
References: 1Hebrews 12:23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:10, 22, 23; 5:23, 27, 32; 21 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 11:26; 3Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:20-22; 4Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11, 12; 52 Thessalonians 2:2-9; 61 Corinthians 5:1-13; Revelation 2:1-29; 3:1-22; 7Revelation 18:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12; 8Matthew 16:18; Psalm 72:17; 102:28; Revelation 12:17; 9John 10:16; 12:32; 10Matthew 28:20; 11Matthew 18:15-20; 12Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 13Acts 2:41, 42; 5:13, 14; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 14Matthew 18:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 5:13; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8; 15Acts 20:17, 28; Philippians 1:1; 16Acts 14:23; 171 Timothy 4:14; 18Acts 6:3, 5, 6; 19Acts 6:4; Hebrews 13:17; 201 Timothy 5:17, 18; Galatians 6:6, 7; 211 Timothy 3:2; 222 Timothy 2:4; 231 Corinthians 9:6-14; 24Acts 11:19-21; 1 Peter 4:10, 11; 251 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14, 15; 26Matthew 18:15-17; Ephesians 4:2, 3; 27Ephesians 6:18; Psalm 122:6; 28Romans 16:1, 2; 3 John 8-10; 29Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 25; 302 Corinthians 1:24; 1 John 4:1.
As saints are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by His Spirit through faith by which they partake in Christ's suffering, death, resurrection, graces, and glory,1 so they are also united to one another by gifts and graces in love and communion.2 This union obligates them to public and private duties that contribute to their mutual good both in the inward and outward man.3 As saints by profession, they are bound to maintain holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, so they are to maintain other spiritual services tending to mutual edification.4 This involves relieving each other in outward needs according to each one's abilities and necessities.5 According to the rule of the gospel, this communion is to be exercised as to their relation, family6 or church,7 and, as God offers opportunity, is to extend to all the household of faith who in every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, in their sharing with one another as saints, each person retains possession and title of what belongs to him.8
References: 11 John 1:3; John 1:16; Philippians 3:10; Romans 6:5, 6; 2Ephesians 4:15, 16; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 3:21-23; 31 Thessalonians 5:11, 14; Romans 1:12; 1 John 3:17, 18; Galatians 6:10; 4Hebrews 10:24, 25; 3:12, 13; 5Acts 11:29, 30; 6Ephesians 6:4; 71 Corinthians 12:14-27; 8Acts 5:4; Ephesians 4:28.
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are positive and sovereign ordinances appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only Law-giver, to be continued in His church to the end of the age.1 These holy appointments are to be administered only by those who are qualified, having been called according to the commission of Christ.2
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to signify the fellowship of the one baptized with Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. Baptism symbolizes the believer's being engrafted into Christ,3 his sins' being remitted (washed away),4 and his being dead to self in order to live to God through Jesus Christ, walking in newness of life.5
Only those who actually profess repentance towards God with faith in and obedience to our Lord Jesus are the proper subjects of this ordinance.6 Water is to be used for baptism, wherein the candidate is to be baptized in the name (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit;7 Immersion or dipping of the whole person in water is the proper form of the administration of this ordinance.8
The Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ the same night He was betrayed with the command that His churches are to observe it until His Second Coming at the end of the age. Therefore, it is a perpetual remembrance of His death9 in order to confirm the faith of believers for their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him and to show their willingness to undertake every duty that they owe to Him. It is also a bond and pledge of their communion with Him and with each other.10
We reject every error of this ordinance that destroys Christ's sacrifice as the only propitiation for all the sins of the elect. We do not believe that these elements, in any way, are an actual offering up of Christ to His Father, nor do they constitute a real sacrifice made for remission of sins, either of the living or the dead. The supper is a memorial of that once-for-all11 offering made by Christ on the cross with its spiritual oblation of praise unto God.12
The Lord Jesus has in this ordinance appointed His ministers to pray, sanctifying the elements of bread and fruit of the vine, setting them apart from a common to holy use. They are to take and break the bread, then take the cup, and give both to the communicants.13 Denying people the cup and worshiping the elements by lifting them up and carrying them about for adoration or reserving them for some pretended religious use is contrary to the nature of the ordinance and the institution of Christ.14
The elements in this ordinance, set apart to the use ordained by Christ, figuratively show Him crucified, although the terms used are the names of the things they represent, the body and blood of Christ,15 in substance and nature, the elements remain as they were before, only bread and wine.16
We reject the doctrine called transubstantiation that maintains that the substance of bread and wine are actually changed into the real body and blood of Christ by the consecration of a priest. This doctrine is not only not found in Scripture17 but it is against common sense and reason. It overthrows the nature of the ordinance, and has been the cause of many superstitions, even idolatry.18
Those who partake of the visible elements in this ordinance in a worthy manner do so inwardly by faith, not car-nally and corporally. They spiritually receive and feed upon Christ crucified and on all the benefits of His death. Thus, in that ordinance, the body and blood of Christ are not corporally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.19
Ignorant and ungodly persons are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ and, so, are unworthy of the Lord's Table. They cannot, without great sin partake of these holy mysteries and should not be admitted to them.20 Indeed, whoever receives them unworthily is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, bringing judgment on himself.21
References: 1Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:26; 2Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 4:1; 3Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27; 4Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; 5Romans 6:4; 6Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; 2:41; 8:12; 18:8; 7Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38; 8Matthew 3:16, John 3:23 91 Corinthians 11:23-26; 101 Corinthians 10:16, 17, 21; 11Hebrews 9:25, 26, 28; 121 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:26, 27; 131 Corinthians 11:23-26; 14Matthew 26:26-28; 15:9; Exodus 20:4, 5; 151 Corinthians 11:27; 161 Corinthians 11:26-28; 17Acts 3:21; Luke 24:6, 39; 181 Corinthians 11:24, 25; 191 Corinthians 10:16; 11:23-26; 202 Corinthians 6:14, 15; 211 Corinthians 11:29; Matthew 7:6.
After death our bodies see corruption and return to dust,1 but our immortal souls immediately return to God, who gave them.2 The souls of the righteous, made perfect in holiness, are received into paradise to be with Christ while waiting for the full redemption of their bodies.3 There they will behold the face of God in light and glory.
The souls of the wicked are cast into hell to remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved for the judgment of the great day.4 The Scripture acknowledges nothing besides these two places for souls after death.
The saints who are alive when Christ returns shall not sleep but will be changed.5 The bodies of all the dead in Christ will be raised6 and reunited with their souls forever.7 The just shall be raised to honor, being made conformable to His own glorious body.8
At the end of Christ's millennial reign the bodies of the unjust shall by be raised in dishonor to be judged and cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone forever.9
References: 1Genesis 3:19; Acts 13:36; 2Ecclesiastes 12:7; 3Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6, 8; Philippians 1:23, Hebrews 12:23; 4Jude 6, 7; 1 Peter 3:19; Luke 16:23, 24; 51 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 6Job 19:26, 27; 71 Corinthians 15:42-43; 8Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29; Philippians 3:21; 9Revelation 20:11-15; Daniel 12:2.
The Father has given all authority and judgment to Jesus Christ and has appointed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness by Him.1 In that day all the apostate angels2 and all the non-elect who have lived on the earth will be judged.3 This judgment is for the manifestation of His justice in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient,4 who know not God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These will be cast into eternal torments5 to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.6
Christ's second coming is also for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect. The righteous shall go into everlasting life and receive fullness of joy and glory with everlasting reward in the presence of the Lord.7
Certain knowledge of Christ's coming and judgment ought to deter men from sin and console the godly in their adversity.8 On the other hand, the timing of this day should shake off all carnal security, making us always watchful, because we do not know at what hour our Lord will come.9 Since there is confusion and disagreement between brethren, one's views concerning the timing of our Lord's return or concerning events at the end of the age should not be used as a test of fellowship. Let us all, therefore, be ever prepared to say, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." 10 Amen.
References: 1Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; 21 Corinthians 6:3; Jude 6; 32 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:10, 12; Matthew 25:32-46; 4Romans 9:22, 23; 5Matthew 25:21, 34; 2 Timothy 4:8; 6Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:48; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 72 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11; 82 Thessalonians 1:5-7; 9Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-40; 10Revelation 22:20.
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