The scriptures are the infallible rule of faith and practice, the authoritative guide for Christian living.
God inspired persons of the covenant community to write the scriptures. In and through the scriptures God speaks about creation, sin, judgment, salvation, the church and the growth of believers.
There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three are coequal and co-eternal.
God’s mighty act of reconciling love was accomplished in Jesus Christ, the divine Son who became flesh to be the means by which the sins of the world are forgiven.
Jesus Christ, being truly human and truly divine, was tempted in every respect as every person is, yet he did not sin. While fully sharing human life, Christ continued to be holy, blameless, undefiled, and thoroughly fitted to be the savior of the world, the only hope of reconciliation between God and sinful persons.
Jesus Christ willingly suffered sin and death for every person. On the third day after being crucified, Christ was raised from the dead, appeared to many disciples, afterward ascended to God, and makes intercession for all persons.
The Call and Work of the Holy Spirit
God acted redemptively in Jesus Christ because of the sins of the world and continues with the same intent in the Holy Spirit to call every person to repentance and faith.
The Holy Spirit works through the scriptures, the sacraments, the corporate worship of the covenant community, the witness of believers in word and deed, and in ways beyond human understanding. The spirit moves on the hearts of sinners, convincing them of their sins and their need for salvation, and inclining them to repentance and faith toward God.
Repentance and Confession
Repentance is that attitude toward God wherein sinners firmly resolve to forsake sin, trust in Christ, and live in grateful obedience to God.
Persons do not merit salvation because of repentance or any other human exercise. Yet repentance is necessary to partake of the saving grace and forgiveness of God in Christ.
Saving faith is response to God, prompted by the Holy Spirit, wherein persons rely solely upon God’s grace in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Persons do not merit salvation because of faith, nor is faith a good work. Faith is a gift made possible through God’s love and initiative.
When persons repent of sin and in faith embrace God’s salvation, they receive forgiveness for their sin and experience acceptance as God’s children.
Justification is God’s act of loving acceptance of believers whereby persons are reconciled to him by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When they in repentance and faith trust Christ, who is their righteousness, God gives them peace and restores their relationship with him.
In this relationship God continues to forgive sin. Although believers sometimes disrupt their peace with God through sin and experience separation from God, yet they are assured that it is by God’s grace that they are accepted and the relationship is sustained. Only by growth in grace can the believer experience the fullness of relationship with God.
Regeneration and Adoption
Regeneration is God’s renewal of believers and is solely of God’s grace. Those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ are recreated, or born again, renewed in spirit, and made new persons in Christ.
Regeneration is necessary because all persons who are separated from Christ are spiritually dead and unable of themselves to love and glorify God.
Adoption is the action of God to include in the covenant family all who are regenerated and made new persons in Christ. This action assures community with God and one’s brothers and sisters in Christ, both now and in the full redemption of the family of God.
Sanctification and Growth in Grade
Sanctification is God’s setting apart of believers as servants in the world.
As believers continue to partake of God’s covenant of grace, to live in the covenant community, and to serve God in the world, they are able to grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord. Believers never achieve sinless perfection in this life, but through the ministry of the Holy Spirit they can be progressively conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, thereby growing in faith, hope, love, and other gifts of the Spirit.
There is one, holy, universal, apostolic church. She is the body of Christ, who is her Head and Lord.
The church is holy because she is founded on the finished and continuing work of Christ in setting her apart for God’s glory and witness in the world.
The church in the world consists of all who respond in faith to God’s saving grace and who enter into formal covenant with God and each other. The children of believers are included in this covenant community and are under the special care and instruction of the church and their parents or guardians.
The church in the world never exists for herself alone, but to glorify God and work for reconciliation through Christ.
Sacraments are signs and testimonies of God’s covenant of grace. Circumcision and Passover are the sacraments of the Old Testament; baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the sacraments of the New Testament. They are given by God and through his presence, word, and will are made effective.
Jesus Christ ordained the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper for the church. They are administered by and through the church as part of her common worship, being entrusted to properly ordained ministers under the authority of a judicatory of the church.
Death and Resurrection
Death is both a spiritual and physical reality. Therefore the church has the privilege and duty to proclaim that in Jesus Christ, God acts to redeem persons from bondage to death both in spirit and body.
Those who have been regenerated in Christ live with joyful and confident expectation that after death their redemption will be complete in the resurrection of the body.
As in regeneration the whole person is resurrected to new life in Christ, so in the resurrection of the dead the whole person is raised to live in and enjoy the presence of God forever.
Judgement and Consummation
The judgment of God is both present and future. Persons experience God’s judgment in many forms, including broken relationships with God and others, the guilt and consequences of their own actions, and the sense of anxiety that comes from lack of confidence in God’s faithfulness and the purpose of life.
God’s judgment transcends this life, ever standing against all human attempts to deny dependence on God and to live without repentance, faith, and love. Those who reject God’s salvation in Jesus Christ remain alienated from God and in hopeless bondage to sin and death, which is hell.
In the consummation of history, at the coming of Jesus Christ, the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdom of the Lord and of the Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.
For more information, please view our Confession of Faith here.