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We Believe:



The confession of faith: What is it all about?

Christians are marked by the confession of faith. In this confession, Christians declare what they believe, but the faith confessed is not simply about what is believed intellectually. God has revealed himself to us through his word, and this word brings about faith. In no way are we to derive our beliefs about God from within ourselves: our hearts, experiences or perceptions. Faith is brought about by the word of God, receives that word, lives by it and speaks or confesses it. So the true confession of faith declares the truth by which the believer lives.

Christian faith is in God, fully revealed in Jesus Christ. Since God in Christ is the creator of all, who works out in this world what it means for him to be God in relation to all things, faith in Christ embraces the Christianís whole world. By faith he is made to see and use all things in relation to Christ. That brings all the details of life into the grasp of the living confession of God. This total confession we cannot write but must live and show. But, the confession of faith in Christ, which we will present, provides the comprehensive truth that embraces all the details.



Our confession

We will state our confession of faith in two ways. First we will open up the simple confession, Jesus is Lord. Here we do not give a list of what we believe. Instead, we show how faith in Jesus as Lord opens up the full scope of Christian faith. After this, we will present a more comprehensive confession of faith in which we present what we believe in a systematic way. Here we include how our faith in Christ gives shape to what we believe about things.




THEMES IN THE CONFESSION OF FAITH

Jesus is Lord: confession in focus

God is Lord
God became human in Jesus
God is the trinity of persons: God the Father, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit
Through Jesus Christ, we must relate to God by faith
Godís word in Christ


God over all: comprehensive faith

The source of what we believe
Revelation
Scripture
Revelation of God in Christ


We believe in God
God is one
God the Father
The Son of God
The Spirit of God


We believe thatÖ
Creation
Mankind
Ethics
   The human being as the image of God
   Male and female
   Marriage and Family
   Work
Salvation
The church
The Christiansí relation to the world
The end





Jesus is Lord: confession in focus

The briefest confession we can make is, ďJesus is Lord.Ē This brief confession, if fully understood, contains the full truth of God and all that is true about our life and, in the final analysis, about the universe. All truth is contained and revealed in Jesus as Lord.

We will open up the confession of Jesus as Lord, and by this we will show how the full scope of faith is defined in Jesus.

God is Lord
God is the creator of all, himself being eternal. He is Lord, the sovereign God, who works out through history all that it means for him to be God in this world. What it means for God to be Lord is seen in the resurrection of Jesus. In Jesusí resurrection, God has carried through his role of bringing about for mankind in sin and under death divine life that is the triumph of God over sin, death and evil. Jesus carried out the role of God in historyóhe is Lord.

God became human in Jesus
Jesus carried out the role of Lord as a real man. The full reality of his humanity is seen in that he died. His death was for our sins and is the basis of his resurrection and the salvation we have in him. Jesus carried out his role as God in the world by becoming a real man in history. In Jesus, God became man and carried out his role as God in history by doing, as a man, his will for mankind in sin.

God is the trinity of persons: God the Father, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit
Jesus was a person, like all human beings, and in his own personhood revealed God as a person. As a genuine man, he had a genuine personal relationship with God in heaven (as his Father) and carried out Godís work by the Spirit of God. Jesus thus revealed that the one God exists and functions as a trinity of personsóFather, Son and Holy Spirit.

God the Father is the absolute and eternal source of all. The Father imparts his all to the Son and only through the Son is the Father related as God to the world. The Son reveals God fully, so that there is nothing in God that is not in the Son. He mediates God to creation, and the Spirit puts all that is revealed in the Son into effect in the creature.

Being fully God, the Son and the Spirit with the Father are truly God in every way. They exist eternally as three distinct but inseparable and interrelated divine persons, carrying out the whole work of God as a trinity.

Through Jesus Christ, we must relate to God by faith
Jesus is God become human, and in him alone is mankind related to God. He opened up his relationship with God for sinful human beings by dying for their sins. We can only be in a right relationship with God through Jesus and his death for us. That means we can only relate to God by faithónot through what we do but through what God has done for us.

By faith we are justified (declared to be cleared of all sins before God) and accepted by God in Christ. All that God has achieved in Jesus, i.e., the removal of sins, new life out of his death for us and the full glory and kingdom of the risen Lord, is ours by faith in Christ. The Spirit of God indwells true believers to make real in them all that they have in Jesus. This work begins when we first believe and is carried on in our life in Christ. It will be finalized when Jesus comes again.

All creation came into being through Christ and exists for him. He will come again and judge all and establish Godís kingdom over all.

Godís word in Christ
Jesus, in who he is and by what he did, fully revealed God. He made himself known to people (in the only way we make ourselves intelligibly known) through his words spoken in human language. Thus Jesus sealed the fact that God reveals himself in human language and that the words of revelation are indeed the word of God.

Jesus made it clear that he came to fulfill the scriptures written before Christ (i.e., the Old Testament) as Godís word and that all scripture, in all details, must be fulfilled in him. He also commissioned the apostles to communicate his words by the power of the Holy Spirit. We have the word of God for all time written by the Spirit of God in the Bible as a whole.

We can only know Christ from within the scriptures, and only in Christ do we have the meaning of the scriptures as a whole. Godís word in the scriptures is the agent by which God carries out his work in peopleís lives and in this world. The Spirit of God puts into effect the word of God in peopleís lives, and the scriptures can only be truly understood from within this work of the Spirit of God.




God over all: comprehensive faith

Christian faith is faith in Jesus Christ, pure and simple. But, this faith embraces all. Jesus, in his person and work, takes in all. He takes in all of God and all of creation as well as comprehending the whole relationship between God and man. We have mapped out the scope of faith in Christ. Now we will present the confession of faith in a systematic way, which will provide a comprehensive outline of what we believe.

The source of what we believe

Revelation

We believe in God, as he has revealed himself. The complete revelation of God is given to us in the Bible, the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament.

We believe that God is only known through his act of revealing himself and that everything else is known in truth only in light of the knowledge of God. True faith comes about by the revealed word of God.

Scripture
We believe that all scripture is God-breathed (2Tim 3.16). Men were moved by the Spirit of God to write the scriptures so that these writings are truly the word of God (2Pt 1.21; also 1Cor 2.13). The scriptures alone give us the once-for-all word of God and are the only source for what we must believe and do.

We believe that scriptures must be interpreted from within scripture itself, each scripture and all of scripture together being understood in the context supplied by the scriptures.

Revelation of God in Christ
We believe that God is fully revealed in Jesus Christ so that the Bible in its entirety and in all of its parts has its unity and true meaning in the revelation of God in Christ as set forth in the New Testament. Also, the truth of Jesus must be understood only in terms given in scripture.

A person can only understand the spiritual truth of the scriptures by the Spirit of God (1Cor 2.13-14). This means that we must study the scriptures within the setting of the Spiritís work. This work of the Spirit includes 1) the regeneration and sanctification of the individual person and 2) the unity and building up of the church as the body of Christ.

We believe in God

God is one

We believe that God is one. He alone is creator, being eternal, infinite, self-existing, self-sufficient and self-determining. God is perfect in himself, free from the possibility of defect or limitation, being the source of all right, authority and power.

We believe that God is sovereign and works to carry out, according to his own purpose, what its means for him to be God in this world and in human lives.

We believe that God is personal, existing eternally in trinity in the unity of three distinct, inseparable and interrelated persons who are one and equally divine: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All the works of God are carried out in the trinity.

God the Father
We believe in God the Father, eternally the Father in relation to the Son, from whom and for whom are all things, who is over all, through all and in all. God the Father has his identity and carries out his role through the Son.

The Son of God
We believe in the Son of God, fully God, eternal with the Father, who receives all that is the Fatherís to fully communicate and impart all, so that all things came into being through him, are held together by him and exist for him.

We believe the Son of God, sent into the world by the Father, became truly and fully human so that he is both truly divine and truly human. We believe that the Son was born of the virgin Mary, lived a genuine human life apart from sin, was anointed by the Holy Spirit, taught and performed miracles, died for our sins on the cross, was buried, was raised from the dead on the third day, appeared to his disciples, commissioned the apostles to preach his gospel throughout the world, ascended into heaven, poured out the Holy Spirit and is seated at Godís right hand where he holds the fully glory, position and authority of God.
The Son is the object of faith, the source of eternal life, the head of the church and the advocate and high priest of those who believe in him. He will come again to consummate the work of salvation and judge the living and the dead.

The Spirit of God
We believe in the Holy Spirit, fully and eternally God with the Father and the Son, putting into full effect all that the Father does through the Son. On the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit indwells and works within all who have faith in Christ, unites all into one vital body of Christ and will give the resurrection life of Christ to their mortal bodies when Christ comes again.

We believe thatÖ

Our faith in God is to determine what we believe about all things.

Creation
We believe that God created the universe by his word. The universe is neither part of God, nor is God a part of it. It was not created out of any pre-existing substance. The universe was created to exist outside of Godís being but does not exist independently of or in opposition to God. All things are from and for God.

We believe that God created all in heaven and on earth, the invisible and visible, the spiritual and material orders of creation. God created an order of spirit beings called angels to worship and serve God. Satan and all evil spirits are fallen angels.

Angels had no part in creating the world and so do not in any way share Godís glory as creator. They are ďministering spirits, sent out to render service for those who will inherit salvationĒ (Heb 1.14). Human beings must have their relationship with God alone and receive what angels do from God. We are not to seek to relate to angels.

We believe that the earth is the Lordís and all that is in it and that all that God has made is to be received with thanksgiving, used and enjoyed according to the will of God for the glory of God and the good of mankind.

Mankind
We believe that God made man in his image and gave him the mandate to rule on earth (Gen 1.26-27). We believe that the whole human race sinned and fell in Adam and that mankind is only redeemed in Christ (Rm 5.12-19). God will establish his kingdom on earth through mankind redeemed in Christ.

Life in Christ is not an escape from Godís creation but is to be lived in creation, and through this life in the world we enter the kingdom of God. Christ saves from sin so we can live in creation according to the purpose of the creator, doing his will and through this God will bring us into this reign over creation.

Ethics
We believe that in creation God laid the ethical foundations of life on earth and that in Christ we are restored to live according to the will of the creator.

The human being as the image of God: We believe that every human being, from conception, is the image of God. This was confirmed by the incarnation of Christ, which miracle happened in the virginal conception in the Virginís womb. Human beings from conception onward are to be treated as the image of God.

As the image of God, people must find the spiritual source of their life and strength in God alone rather than in themselves, the world, material things or consciousness altering substances.

Male and female: We believe that God created mankind as male and female, being equal as human beings as well as different and complementary (Gen 1.27; 2.18-24). The created equality is realized in Christ (Gal 3.28) as well as the complementary difference in the mystery of Christ and the church (Eph 5.22-33), and both the equality and difference must be maintained according to the will of God as taught in the Bible.

Marriage and family: We believe that the physical or sexual union of male and female must be kept within the covenant of marriage of one male and one female (Gen 2.24). All other sexual relationships and activities are sinful. The act of breaking a marriage is the sin of breaking the ďcovenant of GodĒ (Prov 2.17; Matt 19.1-9; Heb 13.4).

We believe that the creator has given parents the divine blessing to have children and the responsibility and mandate to raise their children, and that this cannot be overruled or usurped by another jurisdiction (Gen 1.28; Eph 6.1-4).

Work: We believe that God blessed mankind to rule over the earth and to work as the image of God in the physical creation (Gen 1.28; 2.15). People, insofar as God has given them strength, are to work so that the fruit of their labour provides for their own well being and that of others; and this work ethic is essential to faith and godliness in Christ (Acts 20.35; 2Thess 3.15; 1Tim 5.8; 6.17-19).

Salvation
We believe that salvation is entirely Godís work. We believe that the incarnation of Christ, his death on the cross and resurrection are necessary and sufficient for our salvation. We believe that the Holy Spirit brings into effect the whole work of salvation in peopleís lives.

We believe that we are justified through faith in Christ alone.

We believe that by justifying us God accepts us in a relationship with himself in which we are presently sanctified and will be glorified when Christ comes again. We believe that the Spirit of God regenerates and indwells each believer to lead him to walk in the Lord and that the person who is in Christ is kept by Godís will, power and work forever.

We believe that faith involves a conscious and willing abiding in Christ so that the believer does not simply believe in something Christ does for him but through faith lives in him.

The church
We believe that by the purpose of the Father, the work of Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, there is one universal church made up of all who have true faith by which they are in Christ.

We believe that the local church is a gathering of disciples of Christ in the name of Christ with the promise of Christís presence in the gathering to realize the life of the body of Christ. By grace all believers are in the universal church, being baptized in one Spirit into one body. By the same grace, all are called to the practical life in the body in the local church.

We believe that the Lord ordained baptism and the Lordís Supper to set forth the believersí relation to Christ. Believers are to be baptized and partake of the Lordís Supper, according to Christís command, to enter into the practical reality of life in Christ.

The Christiansí relation to the world
We believe that the civil government is ordained of God for the administration of public justice and the good order of society and is an institution separate from the church. Christians individually and the church collectively are to honour and pray for those in authority and obey them insofar as they can do this without disobeying the complete will of God.

We believe that the disciples of Christ are in the world but not of the world. As the Father sanctified and sent the Son into the world so Christ sanctifies and sends the disciples into the world. We believe that it is the work of Christians to present the gospel to the world, make disciples of Christ and build up the church, the body of Christ.

The end
We believe that the Lord will return, bring all who belong to him into resurrection life (which is received in a glorified body) and recompense each for his deeds in the body. The Lord will establish Godís kingdom in the world and that the saints will reign with him. This hope sets the believerís orientation in this world. In redemption the Lord purchased us as a whole, in our bodies, so that we must commit our life in the body wholly to the Lord for sanctification and carrying out his will. The Lord also has claimed all creation for his redemption so that the believer is to relate to and use all things in the Lord.

We believe the Lord will judge the whole world, raise all the dead outside of Christ unto eternal damnation. The lost will suffer eternal wrath as whole persons in their resurrected bodies. In view of this, God is calling all people everywhere to repentance.

We believe that the final and eternal state is a new heaven and new earth in which God will be all in all and we will be with God forever.

To God be the glory both now and forever. Amen.




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