If it’s in the Bible, we believe it, with no extremes.
Salvation happens when a person confesses and repents of their sin and accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior (Matt. 3:2; Jn. 3:16; Lk. 24:47). We call it being saved. We are saved from God’s eternal judgment by entering into a covenant relationship with Him through Jesus. It isn’t just praying a prayer to ask God to forgive you. It’s more than that. When you and I stand before God, and we will, it will be about our relationship with Him and how we lived it out with others. Did we enter into a good relationship with God (Matt. 7:23)? The evidence of salvation is then found in how we live, and how we relate with others (Gal. 5:22-23). Jesus said to love God, and love people (Mk. 12:30-31). If we can’t love people we can see and touch, how can we begin to believe we truly love God (1 Jn. 4:20)?
God didn’t just make a list of things that are fun and call them sin. All of His commands have to deal with one thing–relationships. God calls certain behaviors sin because it damages relationships. Anything bringing damage to or distance in my relationships with God and/or people–can only mean one thing: Someone participated in sin. Exodus 20 records the big 10 commandments where God established the boundaries of having a relationship with Him. He made it clear that to have a relationship with Him we must respect Him and worship Him only. And we must treat others with respect, honor, and love–not killing, stealing or coveting their stuff. Jesus summed all the commands up with: Love God, and love people, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:37-40). We must learn how to maintain long-term relationships with people and God. When I do something to hurt those relationships, it’s sin. When they hurt me and I flippantly throw those relationships out without the possibility of reconciliation, it’s sin. When I hurt someone or do something to harm the relationship, I need to do what I can to repair it and make things right (Matt. 5:23-24). When someone else hurts me, or distances themselves from me, I need to forgive them and keep my heart open for them to come back and reconcile the relationship. Otherwise, I have participated in sin (Matt. 18:21-35).
Repentance to God is not only turning away from my sin, but it is also actively making things right with those my sin has hurt (Matt. 5:23-24). It is me saying the same thing about my sin that those affected by it are saying, and doing my best to go back and fix it. If it was stealing, repay them more than you stole. If it was slander, go and tell the people the truth about the person you lied about (Luke 19:1-9).
Forgiveness is commanded by God. No matter what someone does to us, we have to forgive them and give them over to God. God says, “Vengeance is Mine…” (Rom. 12:19). In other words, when we forgive them we are letting God deal with it. We are saying, God, I trust you to take care of them. And if that means they eventually connect their lives with you, I’m good with that. God demands that we trust Him with what happens. Furthermore, you don’t wait for them to ask for forgiveness. Whoever taught us that asking for forgiveness was a sign of humility missed it–big time! Asking for forgiveness is asking for more! It’s offensive and most likely they are just asking for permission to do it again. So don’t wait for them to ask for it–do it in your own heart and soul. Release them to God and get on with your life in peace and joy.
Forgiving them is between you and God. You forgiving them releases God to deal with them based upon how they handle their sin (Rom. 12:19). God says to release it to Him…trust it to Him…He’s a perfect and just God. Forgiveness does not mean the relationship is reconciled (see below). It just means you and God are good, and your heart is free from bitterness and hate. God takes His own advice on this one too. God has already forgiven us through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. So He isn’t sitting on the throne frustrated and angry because of our sin. He has released us to whatever destiny we choose for eternity–Heaven or Hell. Now that forgiveness is taken care of, it’s about whether or not we reconcile our relationship with Him. That comes through repentance, accepting Him for Who He is, and growing in a relationship with Him (Lk. 13:22-28).
Two keys must be turned for reconciliation in a relationship. One person holds the key of forgiveness, and the other repentance. One without the other never works. You can declare that you have forgiven them on CNN in front of the whole world, but without their repentance it’s a waste of extreme goodwill. Or if the one in the wrong decides to truly repent, that is, to make things right…but the victim nurses the grudge and never forgives–reconciliation is not possible. Reconciliation can happen, but only with both keys: forgiveness and repentance.
Following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the new believer is commanded by the Word of God to be baptized in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (see Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38). Water Baptism is a great moment for every believer to create a new memory in people’s minds about them. It’s a tool God gave us to show and tell those we have hurt, and those we love that this is a new beginning in our lives.
The Lord’s Supper
A time of communion in the presence of God when the symbolic elements of bread and grape juice (the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ) are taken in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. (See Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12,36-38; 10:47,48; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23-26). We observe open communion in our services (meaning all are welcome to participate; not just our members).
Some of the other doctrines we adhere to:
- Healing (physical and spiritual).
- The Trinity (Including the work and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives as seen in the book of Acts).
- The Rapture of the Church.
- The Second Coming of Christ.