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DECLARATION OF FAITH & PRACTICE

Word of Grace Baptist Church accepts the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith as a faithful exposition of vital biblical doctrines, to aid in the instruction, edification, correction, and protection of the church. The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith does not serve to supplement, add to or subtract from the Word of God. The Confession does serve as a summary statement of the doctrine believed and preached by Word of Grace Baptist Church.

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT
A Brief Summary of Our Confession

 1. The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain, and infallible standard of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. The Holy Scriptures, or the Word of God written, consist of all the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. The books commonly called the Apocrypha were not given by divine inspiration and so are not part of the canon or standard of the Scriptures. The whole counsel of God concerning everything essential for His own glory and man’s salvation, faith, and life is either explicitly stated or by necessary inference contained in the Holy Scriptures.

2. The Lord our God is one, the only living and true God who is eternal, invisible, personal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, sovereign, independent, immutable, trustworthy, wise, almighty, righteous, holy, good, loving, merciful, long-suffering and gracious. This divine and infinite Being consists of three real persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three have the same substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence without this essence being divided.  All three are infinite and without beginning and are therefore only one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being. Yet these three are distinguished by several distinctive characteristics and personal relations.

3. In the beginning God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was pleased to create the world and all things in it, both visible and invisible, in a six-day period, and all very good.  After God had made all the other creatures, He created humanity. He made them male and female in the image of God, with rational and immortal souls.  

4. God the good Creator of all things, in His infinite power and wisdom, upholds, directs, arranges, and governs all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least, by his perfectly wise and holy providence, to the purpose for which they were created. He governs according to his infallible foreknowledge and the free and unchangeable counsel of his own will. 

5. God created humanity upright and perfect in a state of innocence with the freedom and power to will and to do what was good and well-pleasing to God. He gave them a righteous law that would have led to life if they had kept it but threatened death if they broke it. The first man, Adam, was appointed the covenant head of the human race thereby representing all his offspring in either his obedience or disobedience to God’s commands.

 

6. Disobeying the specifically revealed command to eat freely of any tree of the garden but not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam fell from his original state of righteousness into sin imputing his guilt and imparting a corrupt nature to all his offspring by ordinary generation.  We are now conceived in sin and are by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, and partakers of death.

7.  Humanity, by falling into a state of sin, has completely lost all ability to choose any spiritual good that accompanies salvation. Thus, people in their natural state, apart from the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, are absolutely opposed to spiritual good and dead in sin, so that they cannot convert themselves by their own strength or prepare themselves there unto. Humanity is now utterly incapable of being accepted by God on the same terms on which Adam was accepted in his state of innocence.

8. God, before the foundation of the world, and for His own glory, elected a great host of men and women to eternal life by pure grace alone through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

9. God sent the second person of the triune God, the Son of God, The Lord Jesus Christ, into the world, not by ordinary generation but conceived of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, being without sin, both fully God and fully man, two natures united in one person, born under the Law, to live out the very righteousness of God, in perfect obedience, keeping the covenant that Adam broke representing all those believing in Him in perfect righteousness.  The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross as a sacrifice, pouring out His blood, to satisfy the wrath of God and bring about reconciliation, redemption and atonement for believers. God testified to the acceptance of His Son's work by raising Him from the dead. The Lord Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of His Father and is enthroned in glory, where He intercedes on behalf of His people and rules over all things for their sake.

 

10. The price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ till after His incarnation. Yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit of it was imparted to the elect in every age since the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices that revealed Him and pointed to Him as the seed that would bruise the serpent’s head.

11. In God’s appointed and acceptable time, He is pleased to call effectually, by His Word and Spirit, those He has predestined to life. He calls them out of their natural state of sin and death to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. He enlightens their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God. He takes away their heart of stone and gives them a heart of flesh. He renews their wills and by His almighty power turns them to good and effectually draws them to Jesus Christ. Yet He does all this in such a way that they come completely freely and willingly having their natural enmity toward God removed.  Everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life and be raised on the last day.

12. Those God effectually calls He also freely justifies.  Faith that receives and rests on Christ and His righteousness is the only instrument of justification.  Yet it does not occur by itself in the person justified, but it is always accompanied by every other saving grace. It is not a dead faith but works through love. Good works are only those works that God has commanded in His holy Word.  Works that do not have this warrant are invented by people out of blind zeal or on a pretense of good intentions and are not truly good.  These works are absolutely necessary, faith being present, but are not meritorious toward our justification - salvation is by grace.  In all these ways, the justification of believers under the Old Testament was exactly the same as the justification of believers under the New Testament.

13. God has granted that all those who are justified would receive the grace of adoption, in and for the sake of His only Son Jesus Christ. By this they are counted among the children of God and enjoy the freedom and privileges of that relationship.

14. Those who are united to Christ and effectually called, regenerated, and justified have a new heart and a new spirit created in them. They are also further sanctified, really and personally, and are more and more enlivened and strengthened in all saving graces so that they practice true holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.  The dominion of sin is destroyed, and the various evil desires that arise from it are more and more weakened and put to death.  This sanctification is never completed in this life. There is remaining corruption from which arises a continual and irreconcilable war, with the desires of the flesh against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh.

15. God has mercifully provided in the covenant of grace that believers who sin and fall will be renewed through repentance to salvation.  This saving repentance is a gospel grace in which those who are made aware by the Holy Spirit of the many evils of their sin, by faith in Christ humble themselves for it with godly sorrow and hatred of it. They pray for pardon and strength of grace and determine and endeavor by provisions from the Spirit to live before God in a well-pleasing way in everything. 

16. Those God has accepted in the Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and given faith can neither totally nor finally fall from a state of grace. They will certainly persevere in grace to the end and be eternally saved.  This perseverance of the saints does not depend on a decision they made but on the unchangeableness of the decree of God, which flows from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father. It is based on the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with Him.

17. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from human doctrines and commandments that are in any way contrary to His word or not contained in it.  So, believing such doctrines, or obeying such commands out of conscience, is a betrayal of true liberty of conscience.  Requiring implicit faith or absolute and blind obedience destroys liberty of conscience and reason as well.  Those who use Christian liberty as an excuse to practice any sin pervert the main objective of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction, and they completely destroy the purpose of Christian liberty. This purpose is that we, having been delivered from the hands of all our enemies, may serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our lives.

18. All believers are obligated to join themselves to local churches when and where they have the opportunity not forsaking the assembling of themselves for their mutual edification and the fitting conduct of public worship that God requires of them while they are in the world.  Likewise, all who are admitted to the privileges of a church are also subject to the discipline and government of it, according to the rule of Christ.

19. The elements of religious worship of God include reading the Scriptures, preaching and hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord, as well as the administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper.  God has instituted, in His Word, the acceptable way to worship. Thus, He may not be worshipped according to human imagination or inventions, nor in any other way that is not explicitly prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

20. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ. To those baptized it is a sign of their fellowship with Him in His death and resurrection, of their being grafted into Him, of remission of sins, and of submitting themselves to God through Jesus Christ to live and walk in newness of life.  Those who personally profess repentance toward God and faith in and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.  Full immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary for this ordinance to be administered properly.

21. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by Him the same night He was betrayed. It is to be observed in His churches to the end of the age as a perpetual remembrance and display of the sacrifice of Himself in His death.  In this ordinance, the Lord Jesus has appointed his ministers to pray and to bless the elements of bread and wine and in this way to set them apart from a common to a holy use. They are to take and break the bread, take the cup, and give both to the communicants while also participating themselves.  In the ordinance, Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor is any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the living or the dead. It is only a memorial of the one offering Christ made of himself on the cross once for all.

22. The bodies of those who have died return to dust and undergo destruction. But their souls neither die nor sleep, because they have an immortal character, and immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous are then made perfect in holiness and are received into paradise. There they are with Christ and behold the face of God in light and glory while they wait for the full redemption of their bodies. The souls of the wicked are thrown into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved for the judgment of the great day.  The Scripture recognizes no place other than these two for souls separated from their bodies.

23. At the last trumpet, when the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed from heaven at His second coming, those saints who are found alive will not sleep but will be changed. All the dead will be raised up and their bodies will be united again to their souls forever.  The bodies of the unjust will be raised by the power of Christ to dishonor. The bodies of the just will be raised to honor and will be made like Christ’s own glorious body.

24. God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given by the Father.  In that day, the apostate angels will be judged.  So also, all people who have lived on the earth will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds and to receive a reckoning according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.  At that time the righteous will go into everlasting life and receive fullness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards in the presence of the Lord. But the wicked, who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, will be thrown into everlasting torments and punished with everlasting destruction.

25. He has determined to keep the day secret, to encourage people to always to be watchful, because they do not know the hour when the Lord will come and so that they may always be prepared to say, “Come Lord Jesus; come quickly!  Amen.”

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