Pope Drive Baptist Church
WHAT WE BELIEVE
The Holy Bible was written by men in its original form divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. The eternal God reveals himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.
GOD THE FATHER
God, as father, reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all loving and all wise. God is father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
GOD THE SON
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon himself the demand and necessities of human nature and identifying himself completely with mankind, yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross, He made provisions for the redemption of man from sin. He was raised from the dead and with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before the crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where he is the One Mediator, He is 100% God and at the same time became man, and is the person who effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presences in the Christian is the assurance of God to bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism and service. All work is governed and empowered by Him.
Man was created by the special act of God as the crowning work of His creation. Adam (the first man) was created in the image and likeness of God. Adam was innocent of sin and was indwelt by the Spirit of God. Adam chose to rebel against God’s commandment and therefore fell from his original innocence. This fallen sin nature was then passed on to every individual born of woman through the fall of Adam. Man went from being God-centered and alive spiritually to man-centered and void of the Spirit of God. Man is a sinner from his mother’s womb. It is only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ that results in Biblical repentance that can restore man to his original created state, i.e., containing the Spirit of God and God-centered in his thinking. Every man, woman, boy and girl is precious to God, but must be born again to have any fellowship or hope of eternal life.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who except Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by his own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense, salvation includes regeneration, sanctification, and glorification.
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 surrender 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 into 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 holiness 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.
GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE
Election is the gracious purpose of God. It is by His Spirit that God regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. God’s saving grace is available to every man, but will not be received by every man.
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 a sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, 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.