We teach that salvation is a sovereign work of God for man, as opposed to a work of man for or with God (Psalm 3:8; Jonah 2:8; John 1:13). As such we teach that salvation is wholly, from start to finish, by grace alone on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the propitious 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 1:18-19). We teach that God’s great salvation of man involves the following works of His supreme and sovereign grace.
Choosing – We teach that because salvation is a work of God, it is an eternal work commencing with His sovereign choice whereby He chose us rather than us choosing Him (John 15:16). We teach that God’s sovereign act of choosing took place in eternity past before the world began, and before man existed as a moral agent (Romans 9:10-13; Ephesians 1:4 2 Thessalonians 2:13). We teach that God’s sovereign choice was rooted in and issued from His eternal work of predestination/foreordination by which He ordains and works all things, including salvation, according to His own sovereign and gracious council, so that none can stay His hand, or even ask Him what He does (John 1:13; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:5, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:1-2). We teach that God’s sovereign and gracious act of choosing is also called “Election” and is solely and wholly by the riches of His grace according to the inscrutable council of His own wisdom and knowledge with a view to His eternal glory and praise (Romans 9:11; 11:5-6, 33-36; Ephesians 2:7).
Calling – We teach that because salvation is an eternal work of God, and because all men are born dead in sin so as to be bound by the nature and bondage of Adamic depravity and inability, no man can or will come to Christ apart from the sovereign and effectual work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 3:10-12; Ephesians 2:1; John 6:44). We teach that the Spirits work of drawing unto salvation is a supernatural and effectual call whereby the dead sinner is regenerated or quickened unto life so as to be enabled to then do what he was otherwise unable to do, namely, hear the Gospel and believe the Gospel (John 3:3-8; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Peter 1:2). We teach that the Spirit’s sovereign and supernatural calling unto regeneration always comes in and through the proclamation of the Gospel message and that it is through the power of the Spirit and the Word that faith is granted unto repentance and salvation (Romans 10:13-17; Ephesians 1:12-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). We teach that because salvation is a work of God for man effectually operated and applied through the calling of the Spirit in and through the Gospel message – repentance, belief, and faith are grace operations of God sovereignly working in the heart of the regenerated person (John 6:29; Acts 5:31; 11:18; Ephesians 2:8).
Conversion – We teach that because salvation is a work of God effectually produced through His own sovereign choice and call leading to spiritual regeneration or new birth unto life, such salvation always results in a true conversion of nature and will so that the once dead sinner becomes a living child of God partaking of the very life of God Himself (John 3:3; 10:10; Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 John 3:1-2). We teach that the life of true conversion is always evidenced by the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:9-10; Galatians 5:22-23). We teach that such conversion is the gracious work of justification and sanctification.
Justification – We 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).
Sanctification – We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present state (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). We teach that there is also a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23). We teach that through practical sanctification the Holy Spirit provides for daily victory over the power of sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9). We teach that practical sanctification commences when the believer, empowered by the Holy Spirit, makes a once-for-all surrender of his body as a living sacrifice to the Word and Will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
Security – We teach that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure 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). We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).