Our Statement of Faith
Covenant of Grace is a local body of believers who are
committed to the goal of "glorifying God and enjoying Him forever". We are
united together by our "common salvation" (Jude 3), wrought for us by the
atoning work of Jesus Christ upon the cross.
As sinners saved by God's amazing grace, we profess that
there is only "one Faith" (Eph. 4:5), or one gospel by which men can be saved;
namely, we are saved by grace through faith alone in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9;
We also recognize, however, that true, genuine believers may differ on other
areas of doctrine. Thus, in order to strive toward the goal of the "unity of
faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man" (Eph. 4:13), the
elders have set forth the following Doctrinal Statement concerning our
convictions. We do this in the hope that the Head of the Church might be pleased
to develop within us a common understanding of the truth of Scripture. While
this is the doctrinal standard for this church's elders, deacons, and teachers
there are members in the church who may hold to various different views on minor
issues. This we accept basing our unity of the faith on the essential doctrines
of grace. We believe that the cause of unity in the church is best served, not
by finding the lowest common denominator of doctrine, around which all can
gather, but by elevating the value of truth, stating the doctrinal boundaries of
the church, seeking the unity that comes from the truth, and then demonstrating
to the world how Christians can love each other across boundaries rather than by
We believe and teach that all sixty six books of the Bible
is God's written revelation to man. It is verbally inspired in every word as
well as in all parts, and absolutely inerrant in the original documents. We
affirm the sufficiency, and authority of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:17-17) and that it
constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35;
John 10:35; 16:12 13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15 17; Hebrews
4:12; 2 Peter 1:20 21).
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We believe and teach the literal, grammatical historical
interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters
of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).
We believe and teach that God spoke in
His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so
superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and
different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God's Word to man (2
Peter 1:20 21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18; 2
We believe and teach that, whereas
there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is
but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one
diligently applies the literal grammatical historical method of interpretation
under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12 15; 1 Corinthians
2:7 15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain
carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper
application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in
judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
We believe and teach that there is but one living and true
God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5 7; 1 Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, all
knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence,
eternally existing in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19;
2 Corinthians 13:14) each equally deserving worship and obedience.
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GOD THE FATHER
We believe and teach that God the Father, the first Person of
the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and
grace (Psalm 145:8 9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the Creator of all things
(Genesis 1:1 31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler in
the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm
103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the
Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men
(Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2
Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass
(Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and
events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor
approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38 47), nor does He abridge the
accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously
chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4 6);
He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as his own
all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own
(John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5 9).
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GOD THE SON
We believe and believe and teach that Jesus Christ, the
second Person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in
these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30;
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We believe and teach that in the incarnation (God becoming
man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine
essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing
second Person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of
humanity and so became the God Man (Philippians 2:5 8; Colossians 2:9). We
believe and teach that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible
oneness (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9 10; Colossians 2:9).
We believe and teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin
born (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26 35); that He was God incarnate
(John 1:1, 14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God,
redeem men, and rule over God's kingdom (Psalm 2:7 9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29;
Philippians 2:9 11; Hebrews 7:25 26;
1 Peter 1:18 19).
We believe and teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished
our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the
cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary,
propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24 25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24).
We believe and teach that our justification is made sure by
His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to
the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High
Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38 39; Acts 2:30 31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews
7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We believe and teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has
accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus' bodily resurrection is
also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26
29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5 10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
We believe and teach that Jesus Christ will return to receive
the church, which is His Body, unto Himself at the rapture, and returning with
His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9
11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13 18; Revelation 20).
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead and as such is coequal and
coeternal as God. He has always been at work in the world, sharing in the work
of creation (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:30), awakening faith in the remnant of God's
people (Rom. 8:7-9), performing signs and wonders (Jud. 14:6), giving triumphs
in battle (Jud, 3:10), empowering the preaching of prophets (1 Sam. 10:6) and
inspiring the writing of Scripture (2 Pet. 1:21). Yet, when Christ had made
atonement for sin, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, He inaugurated
a new era of the Spirit by pouring out the promise of the Father on His Church
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We believe and teach that the work of the Holy Spirit in this
age began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John
14:16 17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ,
which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The broad scope of His divine
activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of
judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the
image of Christ (John 16:7 9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18;
We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural
and sovereign Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the Body of
Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies,
instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption
(Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13).
We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine
Teacher, who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed
to writing God's revelation, the Bible. Every believer possesses the indwelling
presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of
all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John
16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Peter 1:19 21; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We believe and teach that the
newness of this era is marked by the unprecedented mission of the Spirit to
glorify the crucified and risen Christ (Jn. 16:13-14; 7:39). This He does by
giving the disciples of Jesus greater power to preach the gospel of the glory of
Christ (Acts 1:8), by opening the hearts of hearers that they might see Christ
and believe (Rom. 15:18-19; Acts 16:14; Jn. 3:8), by revealing the beauty of
Christ in His Word and transforming His people from glory to glory (2 Cor.
3:17-18), by manifesting His power and sovereignty in dispensing spiritual gifts
as He wills for the building up of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7-10).
We believe and teach that,
apart from the effectual work of the Spirit, no one would come to faith because
all are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-6); that they are hostile to God,
and morally unable to submit to God or please Him (Rom. 8:7-8). Thus, for God's
elect, the Spirit triumphs over all resistance (Rom. 6:17; 8:7-9), wakens the
dead (Eph. 2:1-6), removes blindness (2 Cor. 4:4-6), and manifests Christ in
such a compellingly beautiful way through the Gospel that He becomes
irresistibly attractive to the regenerate heart. The Holy Spirit does this
saving work in connection with the presentation of the Gospel of the glory of
Christ (2 Cor. 3:18; 4:4, 6; Acts 16:14).
We believe and teach that man was directly and immediately
created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a
rational nature, intelligence, volition, self determination, and moral
responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15 25; James 3:9).
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We believe and teach that God's intention in the creation of
man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God's fellowship, live his life in
the will of God, and by this accomplish God's purpose for man in the world
(Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
We believe and teach that all men are by nature spiritually
dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-3), and are unable to contribute to
their salvation being radically and totally depraved and wholly inclined toward
sin (Rom. 3:10-12, 8:5-8). As a depraved sinner by nature, man is without any
ability or desire whatsoever to come to saving faith on his own (Jn. 6:44; Acts
1:25; 1 Cor. 2:14).
We believe and teach that because all men were in Adam, a
nature corrupted by Adam's sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages,
Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by
choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1 3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9 18,
23; 5:10 12).
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We believe and teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the
basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on
the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8 10; 1 Peter
We believe and teach that in salvation the Father
graciously elects whom He will save (Jn. 6:37,39; Eph. 1:4), the Son redeems
those given to Him by the Father (Mt. 1:21; Jn. 10:11; Eph. 5:25), and the Holy
Spirit applies this salvation to the heart of the elect by effectually calling
and regenerating them so that their "opened hearts" (Acts 16:14) can repent and
believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Jn. 6:44, 63; Acts
2:38; 20:20-21; Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 2:12, 12:3; Jer. 24:7). Therefore, saving
faith and repentance are gifts from God (Acts 11:18; 2 Cor. 4:6; Phil. 1:29; 2
Tim. 2:24-26). Faith and repentance are not to be viewed as two separate and
distinct steps required for salvation. Rather, they are to be understood as
working in conjunction with one another. Each one necessarily implies the
existence of the other. One cannot exercise saving faith apart from true
repentance nor can one truly repent who does not have saving faith. Repentance
and faith are inseparable experiences of grace (Acts 20:20-21) that are wrought
in a person's life by the Holy Spirit through regeneration (Titus 3:5).
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We believe and teach that regeneration is a supernatural work
of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John
3:3 7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power
of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24),
resulting in the repentant sinner being enabled by the Holy Spirit to respond in
faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested
by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and
conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19
20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer
submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience
to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17 21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2
Peter 1:4 10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed
to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is
climaxed in the believer's glorification at Christ's coming (Romans 8:17; 2
Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:23)
We believe and teach that election is the act of God by
which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He
graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28 30; Ephesians 1:4 11;
2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1 2).
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We believe and teach that sovereign election does not
contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as
Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18 19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22
23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10 12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign
grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift
itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the
Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father
will receive (John 6:37 40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).
We believe and teach that the unmerited favor that God grants
to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part
nor to God's anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely
of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4 7; Titus 3:4 7; 1 Peter 1:2).
We believe and teach that election should not be looked upon
as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises
this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His
omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11 16). This
sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent
with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew
11:25 28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
We believe and teach that justification before God is an act
of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in
Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2
Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6 7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9
10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness
is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the
imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the
imputation of Christ's righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians
5:21). By this means God is enabled to "be just and the justifier of the one who
has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). Faith is thus the sole instrument (Rom.
3:28; 4:4-5) by which we, as sinners, are united to Christ, whose perfect
righteousness and satisfaction for sins is alone the ground of our acceptance
with God (Rom. 5:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:21; Ph. 3:9; Jer. 23:5-6). This acceptance
happens fully and permanently at the first instant of justification (Rom. 5:1).
Thus the righteousness by which we come into right standing with God is not
anything worked in us by God, neither imparted to us at baptism nor over time,
but rather is accomplished for us, outside ourselves, and is imputed to us.
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We believe and teach,
nevertheless, that the faith, which alone receives the gift of justification,
does not remain alone in the person so justified, but produces, by the Holy
Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), the fruit of love (Gal. 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:5; Col. 1:4-5; 1 Jn.
4:8, 16, 20), and leads necessarily to sanctification (2 Thess. 2:13; Acts
26:18; James 2:17, 26; 1 Jn, 2:3-4; 5;1).
We also affirm that it is the
responsibility of the church to preach the gospel to the world as it is the
means by which God draws His chosen people to Himself (Rom. 10:13-15; Mt.
28:18-20; Acts 17:30).
We believe and teach that sanctification is a sovereign work
of God whereby He gradually renews the believer into His own image (Phil. 1:16;
Col. 3:10). In this work of renewal, God uses various means of grace which each
believer should diligently pursue: the study of Scripture, prayer, godly
fellowship, the fruit of the Spirit, the Lords supper, good works, etc (2 Pet.
1:5-11). Although sanctification is imperfect in this life due to indwelling
sin, it will be complete in heaven (Phil. 1:6; Col. 1:22).
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We believe and teach that separation
from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that
the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness
shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1 5).
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We believe and teach that out of deep
gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us and because our glorious
God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a
manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach
upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from all religious
apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1
2, 1 Corinthians 5:9 13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15 17; 2 John 9 11).
We believe and teach that believers
should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11 12; Hebrews
12:1 2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness
that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2 12) and a continual
pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1 2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11
14; 1 John 3:1 10).
We believe and teach that all who possess true saving faith
are eternally secure in Christ and unable to lose their salvation (Jn. 6:37-40;
1 Thess. 5:23-24; Jn. 10:27-30; Rom. 8:35-39). By God's indwelling Spirit, they
can never finally nor totally fall away from the state of grace, but will
persevere in the faith to the end (Jer. 32:40; Mt. 7:16-18; Phil. 1:6, 2:13; 1
Jn 3:9, 5:18).
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We believe and teach that true believers are in a spiritual
warfare and due to our remaining corruptions may fall into grievous sins.
However, those who profess faith but continue to live in sin and disobedience to
Christ without repentance, and who fail to progress in any form of
sanctification have no assurance of being born again (Tit. 1:16; Heb. 12:14;
Jas. 2:14-26; 1 Jn. 2:4, 29, 3:9-10).
We believe and teach that all who put their faith in Jesus
Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body,
the church, of which Christ is the head. This universal church is manifested
visibly by the local church made up a regenerated membership. The church is
distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this
age (Ephesians 3:16; 5:32).The purpose of the church is to glorify God by
building its members up in the faith, by instruction of the word, by fellowship,
by keeping the ordinances, and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the
entire world. The formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day
of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the
rapture (1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18; 3:15; Eph. 5:23; Acts 2; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
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We believe and teach that there are only two church offices:
elders and deacons. We affirm that there is only one Head of the Church, the
Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:23), and that each local church should have a
plurality of elders who function as under-shepherds, pastors and overseers (Acts
14:23). They should be qualified men (1Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9), who are able to
guard the truth (Acts 20:28-32), and lead with a godly example (1 Pet.
5:1-3),and a servant's heart (Jn. 13:14-15). Deacons are also to be qualified
men (1 Tim. 3:8-13) who assist the elders in service to the church.
We believe and teach that two ordinances have been committed
to the local church: baptism and the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:38 42). Christian
baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36 39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a
believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and
his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1
11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of
Christ (Acts 2:41 42).
We believe and teach that the Lord's Supper is the
commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always
preceded by solemn self examination (1 Corinthians 11:28 32). We also teach that
whereas the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood
of Christ, the Lord's Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen
Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1
We believe and teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew
28:19 20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other
(Matthew 18:5 14), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the
congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15 22; Acts
5:1 11; 1 Corinthians 5:1 13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6 15; 1 Timothy 1:19 20; Titus
We believe and teach the autonomy of the local church, free
from any external authority or control, with the right of self government and
freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations
(Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with
each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church,
however, through its elders and their interpretation and application of
Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its
cooperation. The elders should determine all other matters of membership,
policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19 31; 20:28; 1
Corinthians 5:4 7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1 4).
We believe and teach the calling of all saints to the work of
service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
We believe and teach that God grants spiritual gifts to His people for the common good and the building up of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:7-13, 1 Cor. 12-14). Every believer has been given at least one spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:7). Such gifts are sovereignly dispensed through the agency of, and at the sole discretion of, the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8-11). As spiritual gifts are for the edification and building up of the body, we believe that it is important for the members of the body to earnestly pray for, seek out, and use their spiritual gifts to glorify God.
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We believe and teach that angels are
created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher
order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him
(Luke 2:9 14; Hebrews 1:6 7, 14; 2:6 7; Revelation 5:11 14; 19:10; 22:9).
We believe and teach that Satan is a
created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by
rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12 17; Ezekiel 28:11 19), by taking
numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1 14), and by
introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1 15).
We believe and teach that Satan is the
open and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:13 14; Matthew 4:1 11;
Revelation 12:9 10); the prince of this world, who has been defeated through the
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20); and that he shall be
eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12 17; Ezekiel 28:11 19;
Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
purpose is to thwart the plan of God in every area and using every means
possible. Whereas, we do not believe Satan or his demons can possess believers
it is possible for believers to be oppressed and influence by satanic forces.
Believers, therefore, need to be alert to Satanic and demonic attacks as Peter
warns and put on the whole armor of God in order to experience victory over
Satan (Is. 14:12-15; Ezk. 28:11-19; 1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:11-18).
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We believe and teach that physical
death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9 11), that
the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke
23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul
and body (Philippians 1:21 24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will
continue until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13 17), which initiates the first
resurrection (Revelation 20:4 6), when our soul and body will be reunited to be
glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35 44, 50
54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful
fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).
We believe and teach the bodily
resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10 11,
19 23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting
punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13 15).
We believe and teach that the souls of
the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection
(Luke 16:19 26; Revelation 20:13 15), when the soul and the resurrection body
will be united (John 5:28 29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne
judgment (Revelation 20:11 15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire
(Matthew 25:41 46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew
25:41 46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7 9).
The Rapture of the Church
We believe and teach the personal,
bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven year tribulation (1
Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13) to translate His church from this earth (John
14:1 3; 1 Corinthians 15:51 53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11) and, between this
event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to
their works (1 Corinthians 3:11 15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
The Tribulation Period
We believe and teach that immediately
following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1 3; 1 Thessalonians
4:13 18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving
world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7 12; Revelation 16),
and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to
the earth (Matthew 24:27 31; 25:31 46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7 12). At that time the
Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be
judged (Daniel 12:2 3; Revelation 20:4 6). This period includes the seventieth
week of Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9:24 27; Matthew 24:15 31; 25:31 46). The
Second Coming and the Millennial Reign
We believe and teach that, after the
tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David
(Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31 33; Acts 1:10 11; 2:29 30) and establish His messianic
kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1 7). During this time
the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of
the earth (Ezekiel 37:21 28; Daniel 7:17 22; Revelation 19:11 16). This reign
will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and
by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17 27; Revelation 20:1 7).
We believe and teach that the kingdom
itself will be the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17 25;
Ezekiel 37:21 28; Zechariah 8:1 17) to restore them to the land which they
forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15 68). The result of their
disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matthew 21:43; Romans
11:1 26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of
blessing (Jeremiah 31:31 34; Ezekiel 36:22 32; Romans 11:25 29).
We believe and teach that this time of
our Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace,
righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11; 65:17 25; Ezekiel 36:33 38), and will
be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
The Judgment of the Lost
We believe and teach that following the
release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7),
Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against
the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be
devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be
thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10)
whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and
judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment.
We believe and teach that this
resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection,
whereupon receiving their judgment (Romans 14:10 13), they will be committed to
an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation
We believe and teach that after the
closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of
unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7 15), the saved will enter the
eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to
be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only
righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21 22). Following this,
the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the
dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God
and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21-22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having
fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the
Father (1 Corinthians 15:24 28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign
forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).
* * * * *
The elders of Covenant of Grace desire that we all might
imitate the Berean brethren who were noble-minded, "for they received the word
with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these
things were so" (Acts 17:11). May the Lord be pleased to sanctify us through the
truth of His word, and bring about a unity of faith while preserving the love of
the Spirit and the bond of peace (Eph. 4:2-3)
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