A SIMPLE STATEMENT OF MY FOUNDATIONAL BIBLE BELIEFS: –
The following Statement contains a succinct summary of my personal Christian faith. It has been prepared because of the apostle’s Peter’s statement contained in the following verse, where he exhorts us to be able to give answers to any person who might ask us questions concerning our Christian faith and hope.
1 Peter 3:15: – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
This STATEMENT of FAITH is not meant to be an exhaustive statement of every major Christian belief that I hold. The STATEMENTS that I have selected contain what I personally consider to be the most relevant to my own life. Just because a particular belief has not been listed, it does not mean that I do not believe in other important Bible doctrines. I have tried to state my beliefs in simple and straightforward language.
STATEMENT CONCERNING MY FAITH IN THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES: –
I believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by the inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16), through the Holy Spirit directing and selecting the words to be spoken and written out by the holy prophets and apostles (2 Samuel 23:1 & 2; Jeremiah 1:5-9; Acts 1:16; 2 Peter 1:20 & 21). All the Scriptures from Genesis through to Revelation are Christ’s witnesses, testifying of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (John 5:39). The Holy Scriptures point out to us the way of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and all the Scriptures are profitable to the Christian for doctrine, reproof, correction, and for instructing us in righteous living, so that the true believer can go on to perfection so that he or she can be fully equipped to perform good works (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Further I believe that they contain a full revelation of God’s will to mankind, and that they are the only infallible rule of Christian faith and duty.
STATEMENT CONCERNING MY FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: –
I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Eternal Word and was God from eternity, being equal with God, and he is the Divine Being through whom God the Father created all things in the Universe (John 1:1-3; Philippians 2:5 & 6). He took upon himself the nature of the seed of Abraham, for the redemption of our fallen race, becoming flesh such as we are, and dwelling among us full of grace and truth (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14-16). While in our flesh he lived a sinless life, being obedient to all of his Father’s Commandments (1 John 3:5; John 15:10), he lived as our example in righteous living (1 Peter 2:21 & 22; 1 John 2:6). He died once for all time the only sacrifice for our sins (Isaiah 53:5, 6, 10 & 12; Hebrews 10:12; 1 Peter 2:24). He was raised from the grave for our justification (Romans 4:24 & 25). He ascended to heaven and sat down on the right hand of God, becoming our merciful and faithful High Priest and Advocate with God the Father, interceding for us in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and making reconciliation for our sins (Mark 16:19; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 2:17; 8:1 & 2; 1 John 2:1). When the work of the gospel is finished, he shall come again (Matthew 24:14 & John 14:2 & 3), as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:11-16), to bring salvation to his people (Hebrews 9:28), and to execute judgment upon the ungodly (Jude 14 & 15). Of his kingdom and rule there shall be no end (Daniel 7:13 & 14).
STATEMENT CONCERNING MY FAITH IN THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION:-
I believe that sin is the transgression of God’s Moral Law (1 John 3:4), and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Every person who has ever lived has sinned against God [apart from our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ], by transgressing his Law, and as such is subject to the penalty of death (Romans 5:12). As human beings we are naturally carnal and cannot keep God’s Law (Mark 7:20-23 & Romans 8:7). Without being connected to Christ, we can do nothing good of ourselves (John 15:5). Therefore all our own efforts to keep God’s Law will result in failure for us to achieve justification (Romans 3:20). But God in his love and mercy has sent his only Son Jesus Christ to be our Saviour (1John 4:9, 10 & 14), who shall save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). Because of Christ’s sinless life in our flesh, his perfect sacrificial death upon the cross for our sins, his resurrection from the grave, his heavenly High Priestly intercession for us, and his promised 2nd Coming to bring his reward with him, all who comply with conditions of the gospel, shall receive salvation and eternal life (John 3:16). This is the good news of the gospel of Christ. I further believe that salvation is by the free gift of the grace of God, with this saving grace being a teaching power working in the life of the repentant sinner, to help them to live a sober, righteous and godly life in this present world. Our Saviour Jesus Christ gave himself for our us, so that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people who are zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14). If we truly repent of our sins against God, and have true faith in Jesus Christ as our Saviour (Acts 20:20 & 21), we can receive a free justification for our sins by faith in Christ (Romans 3:24-28), with this faith enabling us to establish God’s Law in our lives (Romans 3:31). When we have experienced justification by faith, we have been set free from continuing to be a slave to sin, so that we might become servants to God and righteousness, and have the fruit of holy living in our lives, and at the end, we shall receive everlasting life (Romans 6:17-22). Undergoing Christian Baptism outwardly demonstrates our repentance and faith in Christ, which is to be by total immersion in water (Romans 6:3-5 & Galatians 3:27). After having faith in God, and obtaining the hope of eternal life, we are to be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:7 & 8).
STATEMENT OF MY FAITH CONCERNING GOD’S MORAL LAW: –
I believe that God has given to mankind a Moral Standard of righteousness by which he requires his human creation to live by, that is contained in the Ten Commandments, that God himself proclaimed publicly, and that were written by God upon two tables of stone (Exodus 20:1-17; 24:12 & 31:18). It is a holy, just and good Law (Romans 7:12). All of the Commandments contained in this Law are righteousness (Psalm 119:172), and they all stand fast for ever (Psalm 111:7 & 8). Jesus Christ himself proclaimed their immutability in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-19). It is by this Law of Liberty that we shall be judged, and if we violate one of the Commandments, we have violated all the Commandments (James 2:8-12). The transgression of this Law is sin, and without the existence of this Law, there can be no sin (1 John 3:4 & Romans 4:15). This Moral code gives us the knowledge of our sins (Romans 3:20 & 7:7). This is a perfect Moral Law of Liberty that plays a part in all conversions (Psalm 19:7 & James 1:25), and is our schoolmaster to bring us to Jesus Christ, that we might experience justification by faith (Galatians 3:24). After we have experienced justification by faith, our faith in Christ establishes this Law in our lives (Romans 3:31), and our love to God is revealed by our obedience to God’s Commandments (1 John 5:2 & 3). The saints of God are identified as being Commandment-keepers in the book of Revelation (Revelation 14:12).
STATEMENT OF MY FAITH CONCERNING THE LORD’S HOLY DAY: –
At the end of his work of creating the heavens and the earth and all things therein, in six days, the Lord rested upon the seventh day of the week from all his work, and he blessed and sanctified the seventh day because he had rested from all his creative works upon that day (Genesis 2:1-3). The seventh-day Sabbath is the eternal sign that the Lord is the Creator of heaven and earth (Exodus 31:16 & 17). Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath day, and in his capacity as being the Lord of the Sabbath day, he stated that the Sabbath was made for man – that is, for all humanity (Mark 2:27 & 28). The seventh-day Saturday Sabbath is the Fourth Commandment of God’s holy Law, and as such it is just as binding upon mankind as any of the other nine Commandments are (Exodus 20:8-11 & James 2:10-12). It is to be observed from evening unto evening (Genesis 1:13), and the Bible informs us that evening or even is at sunset (Mark 1:32). Jesus Christ himself was a seventh-day Sabbath keeper throughout his earthly life (Luke 4:16 & 31), and he exhorted his disciples that they should pray that they might not have to flee from their homes during winter or on the Sabbath day, in the time of “great tribulation” at the end of the world (Matthew 24:20 & 21). The apostle Paul testified near the end of his life, that he had not sinned against the law of the Jews or against the customs that God had entrusted to the Hebrew fathers (Acts 25:7 & 8 & 28:17). He could not truthfully make such public statements, unless he was a faithful seventh-day Sabbath keeper. The New Testament Scriptures distinguishes clearly between the seventh day Sabbath according to the Commandment, and the first day of the week (Luke 23:54 – 24:1). All the saints will keep the Sabbath day in the earth made new through the ceaseless ages of eternity, when they shall come before the Lord to worship him (Isaiah 66:22 & 23).
STATEMENT OF MY FAITH CONCERNING THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST:-
I believe that Jesus made a definite promise to his disciples to come again the second time and to take his people to the heavenly mansions which he is preparing for them, so that they will be where their Lord is (John 14:1-3). Jesus has warned us that the definite time of his return will not be known by humanity, but that when his followers see the prophesied signs of his return being fulfilled, then they will know that his coming is very near, even at the doors (Matthew 24:32-36). At the 2nd Coming of Jesus he will then reward every person according to their works (Matthew 16:27 & Revelation 22:12). Jesus has given us the illustrations of the Divine interventions at the time of the flood in Noah’s day, and the destructions of the wicked cities of the plain in Lot’s day, when God saved the handful of righteous, and destroyed all the wicked, as being representative of what will take place at the 2nd Coming of the Son of man (Luke 17:26-30). The Bible writers have clearly portrayed the “Day of the Lord” (which is another Biblical term for the 2nd Coming of Jesus) as being a day of wrath and destruction upon all the wicked, with the natural world of this planet undergoing a tremendous upheaval and desolation as Jesus comes again (Isaiah 13:6 & 9; 2 Peter 3:10 & Revelation 6:14-17). Jesus Christ shall return the second time descending in the clouds of heaven, with all the holy angels with him, coming in power and great glory to gather together his elect from all over the earth, and to reek vengeance upon the ungodly (Matthew 24:30 & 31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Every eye shall see Jesus’ return, and all the unsaved world shall wail and mourn because of his coming (Revelation 1:7). All the living wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of Jesus’ 2nd Coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8), and when the “last trump” sounds the Resurrection of the Just takes place, with the righteous dead being called from their graves, and with the living righteous, all the saints are changed from corruption to incorruption, and from mortal to immortal in a moment of time, who then meet the descending Lord in the air, who then takes the saints to heaven to the city of God to spend the 1, 000 years, where they shall sit with Christ in judgment upon the fallen angels and the wicked world (1 Corinthians 15:50-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 15:2 compared with Revelation 4:6; Revelation 20:4-6, 1 Corinthians 6:2 & 3).
STATEMENT OF MY FAITH CONCERNING THE MORTAL NATURE OF HUMANITY AND IMMORTALITY:-
I believe that only the Divine members of the Godhead possess inherent immortality (1 Timothy 1:17 & 6:14-16). For humanity to have the ability to live forever, they must have continual access to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Life, which access since the fall of our first parents, has been denied to all humanity by God (Genesis 3:22-24). Hence we are all mortal beings (Job 4:17), with our mortal bodies (Romans 6:12) being subject to physical decay and deterioration as we are in “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21), and finally, we all fall under the sentence of death, because we have all sinned (Romans 5:12). Not one of us can escape the sentence of death and corruption, or has the ability to keep himself alive forever (Psalm 49:7-9). I believe that it is only through the gospel of Christ that the gift of immortality has been brought within the reach of all repentant sinners (2 Timothy 1:10), who are seeking for immortality and eternal life (Romans 2:7). The change from mortal to immortal, and from corruption to incorruption for the saints of God, takes place at the Resurrection of the Just, at the 2nd Coming of Jesus, when the “last trump” sounds (1 Corinthians 15:50-55 & 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Those who have been accounted worthy to have a part in the this 1st Resurrection unto Eternal Life, are no longer subject to death, but are equal to the holy angels of God, in that they cannot die any more (Luke 20:35 & 36).
STATEMENT ON MY FAITH CONCERNING WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE:-
Believing that all mankind are mortal and subject to decay and death, with only the saints of God being transformed into immortal beings at the 2nd Coming of Jesus, man’s nature or state in death is to return to the state of dust from which God created him, through the process of corruption or decomposition (Genesis 3:17-19; Job 17:13-16; Psalm 104:29 & Ecclesiastes 3:19 & 20). The Bible writers have repeatedly likened death to being a state of sleep, with even our Lord using this same description of death when he referred to the death of Lazarus (1 Kings 2:10; Job 14:12; Daniel 12:2 & John 11:11-14). The sleep of the dead is a state of complete unconsciousness and silence in the grave without any remembrance or praise of God, and without any emotions or mental processes functioning (Psalm 115:17; 146:3 & 4 & Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6 & 10).
STATEMENT OF MY FAITH CONCERNING THE ETERNAL FATE OF THE LOST: –
I believe that the Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death (Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23). The unrepentant sinner shall die the 2nd time because of his iniquities (Ezekiel 18:26). The apostle John in the book of Revelation refers to this death for unrepentant sinners as being the 2nd Death in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone (Revelation 21:8). As I believe that the Bible teaches that death is a state of unconscious sleep until the Resurrection for all mankind, the wicked are not being punished in the Lake of Fire after they die. The apostle Peter has informed us that the unjust and the ungodly have been reserved unto the Day of Judgment to receive their punishment (2 Peter 2:9 & 3:7). Therefore, this truth concerning mankind’s nature in death makes it essential that there shall be also a Resurrection of the Unjust so that they can be raised up from their graves to receive their eternal fate. That there shall be two resurrections of the dead, the first one for the just and the second one for the unjust, the Bible writers have made plain (John 5:28 & 29; Acts 24:15). As we have seen previously that the 1st Resurrection of the just takes place at the 2nd Coming of Jesus, the 2nd Resurrection is for the unjust, and takes place at the end of the 1, 000 years of Revelation 20, when God, the saints and the holy city New Jerusalem descends to this earth (Revelation 20:4-6 & 21:2). After the wicked dead have been raised up from their graves, they shall stand before the great Judge siting upon his throne, and then they shall be judged according to their works, finally being cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15). The Bible clearly portrays everlasting destruction as being the eternal destiny that awaits the wicked (Psalm 145:20 & 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The wicked shall be burned up, devoured and consumed by the fires of God’s Justice in the Lake of Fire, finally being reduced to a state of ashes (Psalm 37:20 & Malachi 4:1-3). This is further confirmed by the fact that the wicked cities of the plain who were reduced to ashes by the fiery judgment of the Lord, are an example of those who shall suffer the fate of eternal fire (2 Peter 2:6 & Jude 7). They shall end up as being as though they had not been, having suffered the 2nd Death, from which there can be no resurrection (Psalm 37:10 & Obadiah 15 & 16).
STATEMENT OF MY FAITH CONCERNING THE ETERNAL REWARD OF THE RIGHTEOUS: –
I believe that the fires of God’s Justice which shall destroy the wicked in the Lake of Fire, will also dissolve this present decaying heavens and earth, and that after the wicked have been finally destroyed, the Lord will then fulfil his promise to recreate New Heavens and a New Earth, where only righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:12 & 13). The New Jerusalem which shall descend out of heaven to this earth at the end of the 1, 000 years will be the capital of this new earth. God himself will dwell with his people forever upon this recreated earth. This is going to be a world where suffering, pain, death and the former miserable condition of this fallen world shall not take place, or even come into mind (Revelation 21:1-5). This recreated new earth will be the eternal inheritance of the saints of God (Psalm 37:11 & 29). The righteous shall have work to do, and dwell in the houses that they shall build, and every new month they shall come before the Lord to partake of the new monthly fruit of the Tree of Life; and every Sabbath day, they shall come before the Lord to worship him (Isaiah 65:17-25; 66:22-24 & Revelation 22:1-5).
STATEMENT OF MY FAITH CONCERNING CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE:-
I believe that our bodies are to be the Temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and that they have been bought with the price of Christ’s blood, therefore God requires that we glorify him in our bodies (1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17; 6:19 & 20 & 1 Peter 1:18 & 19). The apostle Paul has exhorted us to present our bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice for his service (Romans 12:1). The New Testament writers have instructed the disciples of the Lord to cultivate temperance and to keep their bodies in subjection to the fruit of the Holy Spirit – Temperance [that is, self-control], or we shall lose our heavenly crown (Acts 24:24 & 25; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Galatians 5:22 & 23 & 2 Peter 1:4-7). Paul exhorts us to glorify the Lord even in our eating and drinking habits (1 Corinthians 10:31). God wants to sanctify us totally, preserving our bodies in a blameless condition (1 Thessalonians 5:23), abstaining from fleshly lusts that war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11). Therefore understanding these Biblical injunctions to be a call to live a healthy and sober lifestyle, we should not put into our bodies, substances that are known to be harmful to our physical or mental health.
God bless you – Rick Henwood.
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