What Is the Gospel?
At our church, you will hear the word “gospel” repeatedly because it is the most important truth that we can know and experience. The gospel is not merely a message that needs to be shared with non-Christians, but also with Christians. It is not something that mature Christians move on from, but rather something that they move deeper into. The gospel is the lens in which we should view theology, ministry, and all aspects of life.
The Apostle Paul defined the word “gospel” concisely in 1st Corinthians 15:3-5 when he wrote, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” Simply put, the gospel is all about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, and the implications it has for us for all of life.
The word “gospel” literally means “good news.” It is the good news of God taking on flesh through the person Jesus Christ and rescuing mankind by His perfect life that we could never live, His substitutionary death that we deserved, and the resurrection that now gives us true life through His Spirit. While the gospel can be stated in a sentence, it is also the grand narrative that is told throughout the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The gospel is the glorious story of how God is reconciling the whole world back to Himself through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. It is personal, yet cosmic. It is simple, yet infinite.
The Bible: God's Message to Man
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, which is composed of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament. Therefore, we hold that every word in every phrase was given to man by God and man thus stands accountable to every part of Scripture. The Bible, at one and the same time, speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors. Furthermore, because God breathed out the very words of Scripture, the Bible is without error in the original autographs and has been preserved for us today through the many manuscripts that we have available to us. These Scriptures are our final authority in faith and practice in all that we do (II Timothy 3:16-17).
God: The One and Only True God
As Deuteronomy 6:4 tells us, we believe that there is only one true God, eternally existing in three persons — God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit — who are all one in essence or divine nature. The Bible tells us that God created the world and all that is in it (Gen. 1, 2), He is holy (Is. 6:3), all-powerful (Lk. 1:37), all-wise (Ps. 139:1-4), everywhere present (Ps. 139:7-12), and never changing (James 1:17). God continues to work in our world fulfilling His sovereign and redemptive purposes.
Jesus Christ: The Savior of the World
We believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God (Jn. 1:1). Though He was equal with God, He took on human flesh through the virgin birth (Phil. 3:5-8). He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of mankind by dying on the cross as their substitute (2 Corinthians 5:21). He arose bodily from the dead and today sits at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5), continually makes intercession for His own.
The Holy Spirit: The Believer's Guide and Aid
We believe that the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of its sin and guilt (Jn. 16:8-11). He regenerates sinners and progressively transforms them, as genuine believers, more and more into the image of Jesus (Titus 3:5; Philippians 1:6). The Holy Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service and gives gifts for the building up of the body of Christ, the Church (I Corinthians 12).
Sin: Man's Separation from God
We believe that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 2:26), that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death (Romans 5:12). As a result, all are separated from God by their sin and are hopeless apart from the salvation found in Christ alone (Romans 5:12-19).
Salvation: Our Trust and Confidence
Because of man's original sin in the garden, mankind has been alienated from God and in need of a divine sacrifice to render what has been done as null and void (see Colossians 2:14). Jesus Christ was that one perfect, divine sacrifice who paid the penalty for our sins (Galatians 4:5). By dying on the cross, Jesus was taking all of the guilt of our sins and placing it upon Himself. He faced the full fury of God's wrath so that judgment would be taken from us onto Himself. Salvation, then, is wholly a work of God's free grace, not the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness (Ephesians 2:8-9) and must be personally appropriated by repentance and faith in Christ (Acts 20:21). Everyone who places their faith in Christ is eternally secure for all time (Jn. 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 8:1).
The Church: The Body of Christ
We believe that when a person places His faith in Christ, that person immediately becomes a part of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13). This aspect of the Church is known as the "universal church." The second aspect of the church is referred to as the local church. The local church is the physical expression of the universal church consisting of a community of believers who meet together for the purpose of worship, edification, the teaching of the Word, fellowship, service to the body, and outreach to the world (see Ephesians 4:11-16). We furthermore believe that Christ has commanded the Church to observe two ordinances: that of baptism (by immersion) and communion (Matthew 28:19-20; I Corinthians 11:23-32).
The Return of Christ: The Hope of Every Believer
We believe in the personal, physical return of Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service, and energetic mission (I Thess. 4:13-18; Matt. 24:36-39; I Thess. 5:6; Titus 2:13).
Response and Eternal Destiny
God's gospel requires a response that has eternal consequences. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen. (Jn. 5:24, 3:16; Mk. 9:43-50; 2 Thess. 1:9)