OUR BELIEFS - WHAT WE BELIEVE
Statement of Faith
God’s Word: The Bible
We teach that the Bible, or ‘the Holy Scriptures’ are God’s revealed Word to man (1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21). We believe that every word of the 66 books of the bible, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, from Genesis to Revelation, is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16).
The bible was written as God’s Holy Spirit worked through men to author the absolutely inerrant, infallible, and only all-sufficient basis for living and practicing a godly life of faith in Christ. We believe that, although there can be several applications of Scripture, there is only one interpretation of the objective truth of God’s Word. (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).
God is the creator of the universe and everything within it – He is the one living and true God, existing forever in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As three Persons in One, He is described as the ‘triune God’ or the ‘Trinity’. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4; John 4:24 Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
God the Father:
As the first person of the Trinity, God the Father is sovereign over everything and orchestrates all things in His universe to make His plans and purpose come to pass. As Creator, God the Father is Father to all men, yet He alone acts as a spritual Father to thos who profess saving faith in His Son Jesus Christ. (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9; Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36; Ephesians 4:6; Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). By His own kindness and grace towards us, He has chosen, before the foundation of the universe, those whom He would choose to be adopted as His own children (Ephesians 1:4-6; John 1:12)
God the Son:
Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity (John 1:1). He is the exact image of God the Father, being equal in nature and substance with Him (Hebrews 1:3). God the Father created all things through His Son Jesus, Who, even now, holds the whole of existence together (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-17).
The Old Testament of the bible foretold that God would send a Saviour to save God’s people from their sins. The New Testament tells us how Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise (Luke 24:44, Acts 3:18). Born of a virgin, Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human (John 1:14). He lived a perfect, sinless life before God and died on a cross to pay the penalty, through the shedding of His own blood, for the sins of God’s people.
Scripture teaches that, by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believer is freed from the punishment, power, and upon being glorified with Christ, the very presence of sin. By the death of Christ, believers are made right (righteous) before God, adopted as children of God and will inherit eternal life (Romans 3:25; 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
Jesus was raised back to life on the third day, confirming His deity and assuring all believers that He has promised to also raise them to eternal life after they die (John 3:16; John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5) and is the Head of His Body: the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). Scripture teaches that He is the coming universal King, Who will reign on David’s throne (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33), and will administer final judgement to all who do not ultimately place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31).
God the Holy Spirit:
God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is equal in nature and substance to both God the Father and God the Son. God the Holy Spirit carries out God’s will; both in creation and in the outworking of God’s plan for humanity. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of their sin, acting upon the conscience of humanity, convicting of them what is right before God and of God’s judgment of sin.
The Holy Spirit dwells within believers to transform them into becoming like Christ (Romans 8:29). The Holy Spirit guides believers in the truth of God’s word, comforting and instructing them as they walk with God, according to God’s ways as revealed in Scripture (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit will never contradict what is written in God’s word and works in the hearts of believers to reveal and glorify Christ (John 16:12-15). Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit in this age began to work at Pentecost, and just as promised by Christ, the Holy Spirit came from God the Father to both start and complete the building of the church; the Body of Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
We believe that God created man in His image and likeness (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9). Man was created free of sin, however scriptures reveals that, in Adam’s sin of disobedience to God, sin entered into the heart of man, causing man to lose his innocence. This moment of disobedience is known as ‘the fall of man’ and resulted in man receiving the penalty of spiritual and physical death, through the just wrath of a good and Holy God – thus man became inherently corrupted by sin and completely unable to choose or do what is acceptable to God apart from divine grace working in the heart of man. In his fallen state, man is hopelessly lost. Therefore, the only way man can be saved is through faith alone, in the redemptive work of Christ alone, by the grace of God alone, all to the glory of God alone (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).
Salvation is found solely in the Grace of God, through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross and is appropriated by the gift faith that God imparts to His chosen elect and is not based on any of man’s efforts to save or justify himself (Ephesians 2:8-9).
We believe that regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit, Who actively and supernaturally applies the truth of God’s Word in the heart of man, to cleanse and sanctify the believer to become more like Christ (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5; Romans 8:29, Philippians 2:13). Genuine regeneration is evident in the life of every true believer and can be seen in godly attitudes and conduct that stem from a repentant heart before God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10). The fruit of regeneration in a believer’s life is dependent upon a believer’s submission and faithful obedience to the Word of God (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10).
Scripture teaches that, before the foundation of the world, God chose in Christ those whom He 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). We believe that God’s grace is given to sinful man, who is totally depraved and unable to save himself. Therefore, salvation is not dependent upon any initiative on their own part, nor is it dependent upon God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own choice, but is an act of His sovereign grace and mercy alone (Romans 9:15; Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).
God has sovereignly chosen His elect, yet man still has a responsibility to repent and trust in Christ as Savior and Lord – we teach that man’s responsibility does not contradict or nullify God’s process of sovereign election (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). God’s sovereign grace in the election of believers brings about God’s pre-determined will by giving believers the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself; therefore sovereign election results in believers repenting from sin and trusting in Christ as Lord and Saviour. All therefore, whom the Father has chosen and calls will come in faith and will be received by the Father (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).
Scripture teaches that God alone acts to justify sinners before Him (Romans 8:33). He imputes to believers the right standing of His Son, Jesus Christ, through faith in Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, leading sinners to 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 Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). The gift of right standing before God (righteousness) is not based on any work or inherent virtue of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and is brought about by the imputation of our sins to Christ on the cross (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24). By this process, believers are justified before God, enabling God to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
Scripture teaches that every believer is sanctified or ‘set apart’ to God by His process of justification. The set apart believer is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This sanctification happens instantly, positioning a believer as righteous and set apart before God. Sanctification in this sense is not be confused with the progressive sanctification that comes as a believer is regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).
God’s Word teaches that true believers, God’s elect, cannot lose their salvation. In this respect, all the elect, redeemed saints, are kept by God’s power and have their security sure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).
It is a privilege that only believers enjoy to known the assurance of their salvation through the promises of God’s Word. However, scripture clearly teaches that a Christian’s liberty should not be used as an occasion for pursuing sinful desires (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).
God’s Word teaches us that all who profess true saving faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into Christ as one united spiritual Body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Scripture teaches that Christ is the Head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18). The church was founded on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be complete and gathered together at the second coming of Christ, when He returns for His own at the rapture and to judge the unbelieving world (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We believe that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ Himself, and by implication, His Holy Word, the bible (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18). Therefore, all aspects of church governance and function are laid out in the Scriptures. Elders are the biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the church, along with deacons. Those serving in either office must meet relevant biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). These leaders carry out their offices as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and derive their authority from Christ in governing and shepherding the church of God. The congregation is mandated by scripture to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
Discipleship is an integral part of the function of the body of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2). This discipleship includes the mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14), as well as the need for spiritual discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of God’s Word (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).
Since Christ is head of His body, the church is therefore free from any external authority or control, with the inherent right to self-govern and God-given liberty from the interference of any individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). The ultimate purpose of the church is to bring glory to God (Ephesians 3:21) by building up the body of believers in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), through the instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing the cause of the gospel to the world by participating in the great commission (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
Baptism & The Lord’s Supper
Christian baptism by full immersion in water (Acts 8:36-39) is the public declaration of a believer’s faith in Christ and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to newness of life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also an outward signal of identification with the Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42). Subsequently, we do not believe scripture teaches infant baptism, although we do believe in parent’s responsibility to be dedicated in bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is instrumental to the health and sanctification of a body of believers. The Lord’s supper – the taking of the bread and the wine, is a commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be accompanied by solemn self-examination, honestly before God and mutual accountability of believers (1 Corinthians 11:28-32; James 5:16). Scripture teaches that the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, however, participation in the Lord’s Supper is an intimate communion between Christ and His church, who indwells every believer (1 Corinthians 10:16).
If you have any questions about what we believe here at Hope United Church or want to know more about faith in Christ and becoming a Christian, please contact us here.