Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Salvation is a gift from God and there are no works which any man can do to earn this gift of Salvation.
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with God giving each man the free will.
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
e. Doctrinal Views
We acknowledge that there are many ways to define exactly what Calvinism means. We will not attempt to define these views with a blanket answer. However, we do choose to clarify what we believe. We provide these beliefs to hold steadfast to sound doctrine.
1. Total Depravity of the Sinner
Romans 3:10-11, states that we are all sinners and that on our own we do not seek after God. John 6:44, Jesus states that no one can come to salvation unless the Father draws him. We are all sinners and as Romans 6:23 says because of our sins we have all earned punishment. None of us are as bad as we could be but the standard of righteousness is perfection and we all fall short.
The Bible, in 1 Peter 1:2, states that election is based on the foreknowledge of God. What this foreknowledge means is not clarified. We believe that election simply means that God knows who will trust Him when they hear the Gospel and chooses them to be carried through till, they are conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-30). We believe no man can know beforehand whom God will save. Therefore, all men are commanded to preach the Gospel to all nations.
We believe Christ died for everyone (John 1:29, 3:16, 1 Timothy 4:10). 1 John 2:2 states that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. This means that atonement is possible for everyone but is only effective for the ones who accept Christ as Savior.
2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4, Matthew 23:37, clearly make the case that God would like the whole world to be saved and some were not willing to come to Him. Matthew 22:14, also states that many were called (invited to salvation), but only a few were chosen (willing to accept).
5. Perseverance of the Saints
We believe that salvation does not come by works nor can we keep salvation by works. We also believe in the eternal security of the believer. It is God Himself that holds and keeps us saved (John 5:24, 10:27-29, 2 Timothy 1:12).
Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:18-26; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:9,27-29; 15:1-16; 17:6,12-18; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2,18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-22; 3:1-11; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 1:12; 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:6-2:19; 3:2; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5
Salvation is one of the centerpieces of the story of the Bible. Beginning in the Garden of Eden, (Genesis 3:6), where sin entered the world and mankind fell from their sinless state until the end of Revelation, (Revelation 22:3-4), when the believers are enjoying the presence of God in heaven the salvation is one of the most important themes in the Bible.
God’s great love and desire for a relationship with mankind makes the Bible the greatest love story ever written, (John 3:16). Mankind has a tremendous need due to our sinful nature (Romans 6:23a). This is a need we cannot meet on our own. Mankind found itself in a desperate situation and unable to resolve the dilemma.
God stepped in with an extravagant act of love that is shocking and says so much about God and His love. (Romans 5:10). We are occasionally willing to give something to someone, but we rarely do so in a way that truly costs us something valuable to us. And usually, we will only do this for a friend or someone we have a relationship with. God in His great love gave His precious Son as a willing sacrifice to pay a horrible price on the cross for our sins, so that some of us, who were enemies and rebels, would be able to have a relationship with Him throughout eternity.
God desires that people come to him for salvation. (1 Timothy 2:4). We must be willing to repent of doing life our own way and our sins and surrender our lives to Him. (Acts 17:30). Romans 10:9, states that if we will declare with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
One of the responsibilities of those who have benefitted from the salvation so richly provided by God is to tell others about it. (Romans 10:14). Salvation was never meant to provide fire insurance to keep us from hell, but the beginning of a relationship where we become more and more like Christ including spreading the good news of God’s great offer of salvation. (Matthew 28:19-20).