The entire Bible (of 66 books) in its original languages is the inspired Word of God (II Timothy 3:16). It was penned by holy men of God as they were “moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:20-21). The Scriptures are the Word of truth (John 17:17; I Thessalonians 2:13), a reliable revelation of God and His eternal purpose for mankind (Psalm 19:7;Psalm 119:89; II Peter 1:19-21).
The Right Division of Scripture
All Scripture is “written for our learning” (Romans 15:4); it is profitable for our study and its principles can be applied in our lives (II Timothy 3:16-17). However, not all Scripture is written directly to us or about us today for our obedience. We teach the Bible from a dispensational perspective, following the Apostle Paul’s admonition to “rightly divide” the Word of truth, recognizing that God has dealt with different groups of people in different ways and for different purposes throughout history (II Timothy 2:15; I Corinthians 14:37). We believe the present dispensation of grace began with the salvation of the apostle Paul (I Timothy 1:16). We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life that define man's responsibility in successive ages. These dispensations are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose (Ephesians 1:10; 3:1-10; Colossians 1:24-27; Romans 16:25; II Timothy 2:15).
There is one God who exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three persons are declared in the Scriptures to be God and to have all the attributes of God: eternal (no beginning or end), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and sovereign (He does as He wills). Furthermore, God is holy (He is separate from sin), and righteous (He always does what is just and right) (Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-3; Acts 5:3-4; 20:28; II Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:8-10; I John 5:7).
God created the universe in six 24-hour days as described in (Genesis 1:2; Exodus 20:11). All things were created “byHim” and “for Him,” and that “by Him all things consist (hold together)” (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17). Man did not evolve (an idea of men that is “falsely called science [knowledge]” I Timothy 6:20-21). Man was the highest of God’s created beings, being made in God’s own image(Genesis 1:26-27). However, when Adam disobeyed God, “sin entered the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men” (Romans 5:12).
All people are by nature (by birth) sinners and fall short of God’s holy and righteous standards (Romans 3:23). God has declared that the wages that must be paid for sin is death, which is separation from God (Romans 6:23). No one is righteous in God’s eyes (Romans 3:10). The only way anyone can be saved and brought into a relationship with God is through the gift of God’s grace, which is “eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23; Titus 3:5-6; I Peter 3:18).
The Cross of Christ
God is not only holy and righteous but also loving, merciful, and gracious. God demonstrated His love for us, even though we are sinners, by sending His Son into the world to save us from our sins (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, took a body of flesh and dwelt among men so that He could offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 1:14; I John 2:2; 4:10; I Timothy 2:6). He shed His precious blood on the cross of Calvary, paying in full sin’s penalty for all mankind. Jesus’ victorious cry of “It is finished,” testified to the fact that the work of redemption was completed on that cross; our debt was paid in full (John 19:30; II Corinthians 5:18-21).Following three days and nights in the tomb, Jesus was raised from the dead, demonstrating God’s satisfaction with and acceptance of His beloved Son’s sacrifice (I John 2:2; I Corinthians 15:3-4; II Corinthians 5:18-21).
While all men’s sins are paid for, only those who trust in Jesus Christ for justification are saved (Romans 3:24, 28).The gospel message that must be believed is that “Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4). Salvation is not based upon any works of righteousness on our part, but on Christ’s finished work on our behalf (Titus 3:5). Salvation is by God’s grace and is received through faith, simply trusting and relying upon Christ as Savior (Romans 3:24- 26;Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Believer’s Security
When we hear the gospel of the grace of God and trust in Christ as our Savior, we are baptized (permanently identified with) by the Holy Spirit into Christ and His Body, the Church (I Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3-4). We are then “sealed by the Holy Spirit of God until the day of redemption” (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). There is “no condemnation” to those who are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Nothing is able “to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:38-39). We are made secure in our relationship with Christ forever. The Holy Spirit is given to indwell every believer as a “guarantee” (earnest) fromGod that He will carry through what He has promised: to take us home to be with Him for all eternity (I Corinthians 6:19; II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14).
The Believer’s Assurance
We can be assured of our salvation because: 1) We can always trust God for what He has promised us in His Word.All the promises of God in Christ are “Yes” and “Amen” (II Corinthians 1:20). 2) Our salvation is not based on our works or goodness (Romans 3:10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5) but on the finished work of Christ who died on Calvary for our sins, was buried and raised again. Because ofHis death on Calvary for our sins, He is able to “save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). We are “complete in Christ.” Nothing needs to be added to His finished work (Colossians 2:10). 3) The Holy Spirit, who indwells us, “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). He at no time speaks to us audibly or in dreams or visions. The Spirit of God speaks to us through the Bible, particularly the Pauline epistles, assuring us of our security “in Christ.”
During this present dispensation of Grace, God is building a Church which is referred to as the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:24). Under the previous dispensation of Law, God dealt exclusively with the nation of Israel; Gentiles were considered outsiders. In the Church of today, God makes no distinction between Jew and Gentile (Colossians 3:10-11). All saved people are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ the moment they trust Christ as Savior (I Corinthians 12:13). The truth concerning this Church was a mystery, kept secret by God until He made it known to the Apostle Paul by special revelation. We find God’s plan and purpose for the Church of today only in the writings of the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 2:11-22; 3:1- 11; 5:30, Colossians 1:24-29; 3:10-11).
The Walk of the Believer
Once we are saved by God’s grace, we are to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” so that we may “walk worthy of the calling” we have in Him (Ephesians 4:1; II Peter 3:18). Our walk is to be different than those who are unsaved and living according to this sinful world (Ephesians 4:17-32). We are to “walk in love” as Christ loved us and gave Himself as a sacrifice to God, an offering for our sins (Ephesians 5:1-2).We are to “walk as children of light,” having been delivered from the power of darkness and made light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8). We are to “walk circumspectly,” being careful to walk in accordance with God’s will and using every opportunity to serve the Lord (Ephesians 5:15-16). The only way we can have this type of walk is to present (yield) ourselves to the Lord, making it our aim to be well-pleasing to Him (Romans 12:1).
The Mission of the Believer
The mission of every believer is to proclaim the work of Christ in His death, burial and resurrection that others may have a clear understanding of the gospel of the grace of God that some may be saved (Acts 20:24; Romans 11:14; I Corinthians 9:22; I Corinthians 15:1-4). His commission is to communicate the fact that the sins of the world were judged in Christ and that acceptance of that work by faith provides one with the perfect righteousness God’s justice demands for salvation (II Corinthians 5:18-21). Our objective should be to faithfully proclaim Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the “mystery” truths given by the ascended Christ to the apostle Paul (Romans 2:16; 16:25; Ephesians 3:8-9).
The Believer’s Blessed Hope
Believers today have a wonderful hope “laid up for us in heaven” (Colossians 1:5). The word “hope” does not mean something we wish will happen, but something we know will happen because God has promised it (Titus 2:13).Unlike Israel’s hope, which is tied to this earth (land, nation, kingdom), the hope of the Church, the Body of Christ, is heavenly. When the Church, the Body of Christ, is completed and this present dispensation of grace is over, the Lord Jesus will appear in the air to catch the Church up to be with Him in glory (Titus 2:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51-53). Our bodies of sinful flesh will be changed and made like the glorious body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:51- 57). “When He appears, we will also appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4) and “so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The Period of Tribulation
After the Church is caught up to be with the Lord, God’s prophesied plan for Israel, which is postponed during this present age of Grace, will resume. Israel’s hope of reigning with their Messiah (Christ) in an earthly kingdom will once again be in view. However, before Christ returns to earth to establish this promised kingdom, the nation Israel must be brought through a period of great tribulation (Daniel 9:24-27, Matthew 24:15-22), a period referred to as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:4-7). During this time, the world will be ruled by Satan’s man, theAntichrist (Revelation 13). This tribulation will culminate with the revelation of Jesus Christ from heaven (Matthew 24:29-31) who will return to the earth “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God” (II Thessalonians 1:7-9). These events are prophesied in the Old Testament and are the subject of the book of “TheRevelation.”
The Millennial Kingdom
God promised David that his house and his throne would be everlasting (II Samuel 7:12-16). At the close of the tribulation period, the Lord Jesus Christ, the greater “Son of David,” will return to this earth to judge and make war (Revelation 19:11-16). The kingdoms of this world will be taken from the usurper, Satan, and will become “the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15). Satan’s man, the Antichrist, and his false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:19-20), and Satan himself will be chained in the pit of the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3). Christ will rule and reign, initially for a thousand years (millennium) (Revelation 20:4). The people of Israel will reign with Him as a “kingdom of priests” (Revelation 1:5, Exodus 19:6).
The Final Judgment of the Unsaved
At the end of the Millennial Kingdom (1000 years), Satan, his angels, and unbelievers from every age will stand before God to be judged. This judgment has been committed to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:25-29). Every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). The devil and his angels will be cast into the lake of fire, which has been prepared by God for them (Revelation 20:10, Matthew 25:41). All unbelievers will be judged according to their works of righteousness in as much as their sins were all judged at the cross (Matthew 7:21-23; II Corinthians 5:18-21). None will measure up to God’s perfect righteous standards, therefore, they will all be cast into the lake of fire where they will be punished for all eternity (Revelation 20:11-15, Revelation 21:8).
The Final Judgment for Believers of the Dispensation of Grace
This final judgment of the saved is to do with reward, not punishment. It occurs at the end of the present dispensation of grace (II Corinthians 5:10). It is the occasion for the evaluation of the works performed by believers and the distribution of rewards to those who lived in the dispensation of grace (I Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 14:10-12).
The Eternal State
Following these judgments, God will purge the old heavens and earth and create new heavens, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem (Revelation 21-22). The saints from all ages will enjoy eternity in the presence of the Lord, where there will be no more sin, pain, tears, sorrow, or death (Revelation 21:3-5, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Ephesians 2:6-7, Colossians 3:3-4). All things will be gathered together and headed up by the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:10), the One who “fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23).