I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I believe the Bible has been left to provide to us the revealed will, and purpose of God, teaching us what we need to know, how to rightly apply his truths. II Timothy 3:16, 17; Deuteronomy 29:29.
I believe that God is Sovereign, that he rules and reigns over his creation. God is the creator of the world and its creatures, including man. God is holy, righteous, just and true. Job 38, Isaiah 45:7, Proverbs 16:4
I believe that God exists in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each having their respective function, yet being one God. All were in the beginning and involved in creation. Genesis 1:1, 1:26; Matthew 3:16, 17; Matthew 28:19
I believe that God created man for his glory: to worship him, to fellowship with him. (Isaiah 43:21) Although Adam, the first man, was created in God’s image, perfect and without sin, Adam did sin. Once Adam sinned, death and judgment entered. God’s righteous character cannot tolerate sin, and therefore must judge sin. Romans 3:23, 6:23
I believe before the creation of the world, God had a purpose and plan for man’s salvation. That plan was Jesus Christ, the begotten Son of God. I believed that God before the foundation of the world, wrote in the book of life the names of those he would give to his Son as his bride, the elect. Ephesians 1:4, 5
I believe that because of Adam’s sin, we are all born in sin, and therefore are condemned to death. I believe that by God’s grace, Jesus Christ came to live in human flesh, that he might endure life in the flesh without sin, serving through his life, death and resurrection as the perfect sacrifice for sinners whose names are already written in the Book of Life, paying our sin debt in full. Romans 5:12
I believe Jesus died for the sheep. The sheep are those whose names are written in the Book of Life, who through the gospel, the Holy Spirit will regenerate, giving the gift of faith and repentance of our sins, and granting life everlasting. John 10:11,15b
I believe that this calling, this regeneration of the Holy Spirit is not based on the will of man, as all were dead in sin. This calling is all of God, not based on the merit or quality of man. John 6:37,44
This calling makes those who are called, humbled, ever grateful, because they know that their calling had nothing to do with them, but solely the grace and goodness of God.
In summary, I believe in man’s Total Depravity. Because of Adam’s original sin, all are born in sin and condemned. No man can come, nor will come to God on their own because all are dead in sin. Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1, 2
I believe in Unconditional Election. I believe that God chose the elect in him before the foundation of the world because he ordained who he would save through his Son. The choosing was unconditional on man’s part. Ephesians 1:4
I believe in Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption; that Jesus Christ died only for the sheep. His atonement was for the sins of the sheep. John 10:15b, 6:37
I believe in God’s Irresistible Grace. I believe that those whom the Holy Spirit shines the light on are awakened to their sin, their depravity, their need for a Savior, and as a result will repent and believe. John 6:44
I believe in Perseverance of the Saints. I believe all those whom God calls are eternally secure. Their security and that grace will cause them to work out their soul salvation with fear and trembling because they do not want to grieve the God who had mercy on them. Philippians 1:6
WHY THIS MATTERS
A majority of professing Christians will say that they believe most of what I believe, but if we drill down there is a great distinction in what most of us have always been taught, and currently being taught on most of the airwaves and churches.
I believe the primary difference is where we begin. I believe that we must begin with the understanding that God is Sovereign. Most will agree to that. But if he is Sovereign, if he is Creator God, that means that we also believe that he can do, can cause, can expect, can ordain whatever he pleases to do through whatever means he chooses. And yes, it means that he can save whomever he pleases according to his good pleasure. I don’t believe that this is fully embraced nor understood. Romans 9:11-24
With God being Sovereign as the starting point, I believe that God is Holy, Righteous, and Just. He is perfect in every way and cannot tolerate sin. I believe that he created man in his image, and for his glory. We were made to worship him, to glorify him, to adore him. But because man (Adam) sinned, our perfect relationship with God was broken, death entered in, and an awaiting damnation for all mankind. Romans 3:23, 6:23
But Creator God because of his gracious mercy determined to save some – an elect people, out of all sinners for himself; even though they too, deserved damnation and there was nothing good in them. Romans 3:10
So he purposed, predetermined that through the blood of his Son, the perfect sacrificed Lamb of God, he would impute the sins of the elect on Christ to satisfy their sin debt, and impute his righteousness on them. For he hath made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. II Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:25, 26
Most of us have been taught that salvation is work-based. No, we all will say that it is by his grace, but we still believe that we have to do something to accept salvation. We have been taught that we have to choose, exercise our free will to accept Jesus as our Savior; but salvation is solely the work of God.
We cannot choose. We cannot come to Jesus unless he makes us alive. We are dead in our sins, which means we are dead spiritually. We are born sinners. John 3:3, Ephesians 2:1, 8
It is against our sin nature to choose Christ. Yes, we have a freewill, but our freewill cannot go against the laws of nature, but only operate within the laws of nature. I may decide that I want to fly like a bird and go jump off a building, but flying goes against my human nature, and the law of gravity would kick in. I’ve heard this dilemma described like being in a prison cell. We still have our freewill while in the prison cell for we can sleep, we can read and we can sing, but we cannot walk out of our jail cell into total freedom because we cannot escape the laws of government. So it is with our sin nature, we sin because we are sinners. There is none righteous, no not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. Romans 3:10,11
Many churches teach Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection made salvation possible for all mankind, if we only believe and accept the gift, putting man back in the driver seat. So then, we can boast that we are saved because we made the decision to trust Christ, and those who are not saved simply did not choose to give their life to Christ.
This works-based teaching falls under the theology system of Arminianism which believes that salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must choose to respond to God’s advance)— so that man’s response is really the determining factor. The Arminian system believes that God has provided salvation for everyone through Christ, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. Again, so it is man’s will that plays the decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.
Contrasted with the belief supported by numerous scriptures that salvation is accomplished solely by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people for the Son, his Bride which is the church, the Son died and rose for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation. Yes, this is a mystery. The Bible describes it as such between Christ and the church in Ephesians 5:22-32. That God chose a bride for Christ is not unlike some cultures where the parents choose the bride for their son or arranged marriages.
This theology system is called Calvinism which has been summed up in the 5 Points known as TULIP provided earlier. TULIP simply codifies what the Bible teaches about God’s grace in salvation.