Volume Forty-NIne — Article 1 If you are reading this in a hard copy format you may want to view this document in electronic format with interactive links to Bible verses. Simply go to www.PresentTruthMag.org.
Part 1 . . . What Does the Everlasting Gospel Affirm?
1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ—
The Proclamation of the Gospel to All the World: Because of His unmerited grace and infinite love for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, God Himself in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ has come into this sin-darkened world, lived a sinless, spotless life by perfectly obeying and fulfilling the Law of God, and then He suffered and died for our sins, in our place, as our atoning sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary. As the Second Adam, our Lord took upon Himself the legal guilt, punishment, penalty, and death which we all deserve. The curses pronounced at the fall of the First Adam, fell in full measure upon the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ God has provided a sin bearer, substitute, and redeemer for the entire human family. He alone as the divine Son of God could have offered to the holy Law of God a righteousness equal to its broadest demands for perfect righteousness.
1.) Active obedience — The Law of God requires perfect obedience to all of its holy commandments, and absolute holiness and sinlessness of life. This perfect righteousness Jesus performed for us as the sinless Second Adam.
2.) Passive obedience — The Law of God also requires punishment and death for all who sin and come short of its righteous demands. This legal penalty Jesus bore for us when He suffered and died for us, in our place, at Calvary . The guilt of all the world was reckoned and imputed to Him while He hung upon the cross.
The finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross is the meritorious cause (or the legal basis) of acceptance with God: In Christ's sinless life and atoning death on the cross of Calvary, God has by His unmerited grace provided a divine legal substitute, legal representative, and Second Adam for every fallen child of Adam. Christ was reckoned and treated as a sinner in the eyes of Divine justice so that by God's unmerited grace alone, in Christ alone, salvation from the penalty of sin has been make available for all the world. In Christ God has provided a ransom for all of humanity by paying the legal debt of all. The Lord Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, suffered and died as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, arose again from the dead, and ascended into Heaven where He ever lives as the one High Priest and mediator who intercedes in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to save all repentant sinners who call upon His name for forgiveness and eternal life.
2. Justification by Faith—
The Invitation of the Gospel to All the World: We believe that God's offer of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Christ's shed blood on Calvary is proclaimed to all the world and is attended by the outpouring power of the Holy Spirit in "prevenient" enabling grace (or "preceding" enabling grace). It is God's will that all should come unto a saving knowledge of Christ to receive the forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Thus the Holy Spirit, through the proclamation of the everlasting Gospel, calls and enables whosoever will to personally respond and believe the Gospel of Christ's finished work of atonement on the cross of Calvary, to repent of their sins, to commit their lives to Christ as their Savior and Lord, and to be baptized for the remission of sins.
Repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are the "instrumental" cause of personal salvation. The Holy Spirit is the instrumental agent of salvation to bring lost sinners to personal reconciliation with God. The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin and guilt and judgment to all the world. The Holy Spirit attends the proclamation of the Good News of the forgiveness of sin and eternal life through faith in the sinless life and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit enables and invites whosoever will to call upon the name of Christ and personally come to repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ. All who respond to Christ's invitation through the drawing power of the Holy Spirit's enabling grace are forgiven of sin and saved from the penalty of sin. The forgiven justified believers in Christ will hear and obey the Spirit's call to commit their lives to Christ as their Lord and Savior. They are justified freely by God's unmerited grace alone through faith in the sinless life and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.They are justified, forgiven, declared righteous and innocent, accepted, pardoned, perfected, saved, elected, set free from condemnation, reconciled, accounted righteous, chosen, adopted, purged, delivered from death and made alive, atoned for, found, brought back, bought back, made nigh, and predestined unto life eternal in Christ. By the unmerited grace of God they are accounted perfect and sinless in His merciful reckoning; and their sinfulness and guilt are covered by His sinlessness. The Law of God finds nothing to condemn in the repentant sinner who believes and continues to believe in Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord. The repentant sinner who believes in Christ is forgiven and acquitted of all guilt and is reckoned as sinless through the imputed righteousness of Christ and his name is recorded in the Book of Life. He is reckoned as righteous in Christ and accounted worthy of eternal life. This is what the apostle Paul calls justification by faith in Christ (Righteousness by Faith). Christ ever lives to make intercession for believers as the one and only mediator between God and Man. On the Last Day He will come again to give eternal life to all who eagerly await His return.
Thus, we as repentant sinners are personally saved from the penalty for our sins when we call upon Jesus and believe in the atoning death of Christ on the cross of Calvary. No repentant believer in the Lord Jesus Christ can ever be lost so long as we continue to trust only in the sinless life and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the end of our lives or until Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven on the Last Day. There will never be a point in our lives where we will not need to be legally justified by God's unmerited grace alone through faith in the imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Any repentant believer in Christ who afterwards falls away from repentance towards God and faith in Christ as his Savior and Lord will lose his hope of eternal life unless he repents of his high-handed willful sins and returns to faith.
All saving merit is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is never the meritorious cause of salvation. In other words, there is no merit in faith, but rather all righteousness and merit are in the object of our faith, the sinless Lamb of God, the one Mediator between God and Man, Jesus Christ.
Unlimited Atonement and Resistible Grace: It is not God's will that any should perish, but those who resist the call of the Holy Spirit's enabling grace, refuse to repent of their transgressions of God's Law, and will not believe the gospel of their salvation in Christ are blaspheming against the Holy Spirit and are calling God a liar. Unrepentant sinners will have to bear the full penalty for their own sins and stand alone without a sinless Mediator on the final Judgment Day.
3. The Sanctified Life of the Believer
Imparted Righteousness and Good Works: The Holy Spirit urges, teaches, empowers, and enables all believers in Jesus to begin to live loving, sanctified lives and enter into the life-long battle against sin. This daily growth in character is called sanctification or the rebirth. Christ lives in the believing community, the church, through the anointing power of the Holy Spirit. In Christ, we will begin to bear the fruits of God's Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. We are called to unite with Christ to use the spiritual weapons He has made available for Christians to enter the battles of life as we struggle against sin and hardness of heart. Daily the spiritual qualities of God's Law, the Ten Commandments, including the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment, are impressed and written upon the heart and then expressed and reflected in the life as we earn a living, raise our children, are faithful in marriage, help our neighbor, reach out to our enemies, wrestle with inbred tendencies to evil, and actively labor in the name of Christ to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the fallen world in which we live. Thus, the good works of believers are the "fruit" of our justification and never the "root" of our justification.
In Sanctification: we resist the Devil; strive against sin — take up our cross and follow Jesus — hunger and thirst after righteousness — overcome the love of the world, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life — love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls — love our neighbors as ourselves by doing unto others as we would have others do unto us — endure hardships and persecution — bless those who persecute us and not curse them — labor to proclaim the gospel to all the world — pray without ceasing — use every talent we have for the glory of God as we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, not conforming to the world but rather being transformed by the renewing of our minds — rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep — do not set our minds on high things but associate with the humble — pay no one evil for evil, not avenging ourselves — show mercy to all with cheerfulness — teach all — minister to all — give to all — show love to all — do not lag in diligence — do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought but think soberly — are kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love — rejoice in hope — are patient in tribulation — distribute to the needs of the saints — pursue hospitality — despise all forms of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, dissensions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, and ungodly associations. In all things we are to be zealous of good works, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and not make any provision for the flesh.
However, even as we personally mature in Christ — obey the Commandments of God — partake of the divine nature — grow in faith and a knowledge of His word — and deepen in our repentance — there is no point in the Christian life where we will not need forgiveness and legal justification by God's unmerited grace alone through faith in Christ's imputed righteousness. Our daily prayer, this side of eternity, to our Heavenly Father will always be — "Father, please forgive us of our sins, for Jesus' sake" and — "Lord, I am an unprofitable servant. Be merciful to me a sinner, for Jesus' sake." Thus the Christian church is always a forgiven community and therefore is to always be a forgiving community. This is true now and even unto the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven.
We believe that "he who is justified by faith shall live " (Romans 1:17). Repentant sinners who put their faith in the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ are justified freely by God's unmerited grace alone through faith in the sinless life and atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ alone and have the forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life and immortality. Just as repentant believers are reckoned perfectly righteous by faith, even so we have the gift of immortality by faith in the blood of Christ. The life and righteousness that we possess now are merely the small down payment of the righteousness and immortal life that we will have "by sight" at His coming.
After the Fall of Adam, a flaming sword hedged the way to the Tree of Life so that Man could no longer eat of its fruit and "live forever". Thus sickness, suffering, and death entered the creation through Adam's sin. But that flaming sword of judgment has pierced our dear Savior's side, so that by the unmerited grace of God the redeemed sons and daughters of Adam will once again eat from the Tree of Life. At the coming of Jesus we shall shout, "O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?" Death has been swallowed up in victory through the blood of Calvary !!! And so death for believing repentant sinners is a mere moment of sleep from which we shall arise to be like Him. In a moment — in the twinkling of an eye — we shall put on perfect righteousness and immortality at the Last Trump. Just as in water baptism Christians are "buried" in the likeness of our Lord's death and "arise" in the likeness of His resurrection, even so we who fall asleep in death shall arise on the Last Day to everlasting life through the promise of the resurrection.
5. The Last Days and the Judgment Hour
However, God in His mercy and providence has raised up the "always reforming" Protestant reformation to recover all the precious truth of the Gospel that the Antichrist has sought to destroy. Now in these last days of Earth's history, the fully restored Gospel in all of its apostolic purity is once again being proclaimed to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people in the "latter rain" power of the Holy Spirit. All the world is being invited to repent of their transgressions of God's holy Law, including the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and receive the "seal of God" in the free gift of the forgiveness of sin and justification unto eternal life by the unmerited grace of God alone through faith in the sinless life and atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ alone.
The Christian era — symbolically called the "1260 days" — "42 months" — or the "3 and ½ years" — is a time of judgment, tribulation, and terrible plagues upon the Earth. Just before the very end of the world, Satan, the deceiver, himself will be permitted to visibly appear and deceptively announce and claim to all the world that he is the true creator, savior, and god of the world. Just as he deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, he will claim that humanity is naturally immortal and that the "immortal soul" of man can never die. Also as the "Lawless One" he will claim that he alone has the authority to determine what is good and what is evil. He will claim to have changed the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment of the holy Law of God. He will demand that all the world worship him by recognizing Sunday, the first day of the week, as the day to honor him as the creator and savior of the world. In this final world-wide crisis, this over-powering deception if possible would deceive even God's elect. But those bible-believing Christians who keep the true Ten Commandments of God and who trust in the atoning blood of Christ will not be deceived by Satan's end-time lies and deceptions.
In this time of judgment, those who refuse to repent of their sins and will not trust in the blood of Jesus will receive the final verdict of condemnation and will receive the "mark of the Beast" and the "seven last plagues" of God's wrath against sin. God's people who "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" will pass through this terrible time shielded by the power and mercy of God and be delivered when Jesus returns. When Jesus comes in all of His glory those with the "mark of the Beast" will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming.
6. The Second Coming of Christ
We believe in the literal, visible Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power and great glory. All the world will see Him come in the clouds of heaven with all the holy angels. The Lord will raise His redeemed people who have fallen asleep in death and, together with the living saints, they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. The Lord Jesus Christ at this time will not touch the earth. But rather, His redeemed people will be caught up to meet Him in the air and taken to heaven to spend one thousand years with Him deciding the punishment due to Satan, his demons, and the unbelieving unrepentant lost.
The redeemed saints on that day will be accounted worthy of eternal life only by the unmerited grace of God. God's blood-bought people know that only the "imputed" righteousness of Christ can enable them to stand before the unveiled glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. They know that even after an entire lifetime of wrestling with evil tendencies from within — wrestling with temptations from without — and at the same time seeking to be a blessing to others — their sanctification always falls short of God's holy and righteous Law. The sanctified life of the Christian always bears the taint of imperfection even unto the coming of the Lord in the clouds of glory.
On that Day the wicked unbelieving people of the world who are alive at His coming and who have rejected our Lord's offer of mercy through faith in the blood of Christ and who have fully aligned themselves with the Lawless One in the final rebellion against the Truth will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming.
7. The Millennium, the End of Sin and
After our Lord comes to take His people to Heaven, Satan and his evil angels will be bound to the desolate Earth for 1000 years.
The redeemed will spend this 1000 years reigning in Heaven with Christ judging and determining the punishment to be meted out to the unsaved of the world and the wicked angels of Satan. At the end of this 1,000 years, Jesus and His people in the "New Jerusalem" will return to the Earth. The wicked lost will be raised from the dead and then Satan and his angels and the wicked lost will make one final attempt to destroy the New Jerusalem. But as they come up to the City, eternal fire from heaven will rain down upon them and they will be punished according to the measure of the wickedness of their lives. Satan, his evil angels, and the wicked lost will be completely burned up and consigned to eternal death, Christ will then make a new heaven and a new Earth where sin and sinners will be no more. God's redeemed people will live eternally in the beautiful Earth made new where there is no more curse or sorrow or death.
We believe in Almighty God — the Creator and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth. The only true, merciful, and loving Eternal God — who is the all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal, self existing One — without beginning or end — who alone possesses life unborrowed and underived, is the source of all life and righteousness, — and through whom all the creation is sustained, upheld, and exists moment by moment by the power of His Word. The one true God has revealed Himself to us in His word as — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
9. Jesus Christ—
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is the same LORD who called the universe into existence; walked in the Garden with Adam — saved Noah and his family from the flood — called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — wrestled with Jacob and thereafter called him Israel — lead the children of Israel out of Egypt through the Red Sea and into Canaan land — established the sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood to pre-figure His death as the Messiah — raised up the many Judges and major and minor Prophets to deliver the sinful and disobedient people of God — delivered Daniel from the lions and gave him the vision of the "seventy weeks of years" from the command to rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah's being "cut off" — and finally sent His angel Gabriel to Mary to announce His arrival as the Messiah. The LORD of the Old Testament is the same Lord and Savior of the New Testament — The Lord Jesus Christ!
From all eternity Jesus Christ was and still is the eternal self-existent One who was and is and is to come, Yahweh, the great I Am, the Alpha and the Omega, the First Born, the Only Begotten Son of God, the Son of Man, the Arche of the Creation, the Word of God whose divinity was unborrowed, underived, and unconferred.
10. The Incarnation of Christ
We believe that in His incarnation, our Lord Jesus Christ was truly and uniquely both fully God and fully Man . Our Lord Jesus Christ lived an absolutely sinless life as the Son of Man, the second Adam, but also retained all of His eternal divine nature as the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead. The sinless human nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, although affected by sin, was not in any way infected with sin. His divine nature was and is from all eternity, but His human nature was conceived by the Holy Spirit through the virgin Mary.
11. The Holy Spirit
Justifying Grace: We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead. He is the "instrumental" agent of salvation who empowers the word of God and makes it effective for the salvation of the world.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. John 16:7-15
He takes the things of Christ and reveals them unto the world. He brings lost sinners to a conviction of sin and righteousness, judgment, and guilt leading to a personal fear of God's judgment, punishment and death. The Holy Spirit also then attends the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By this enabling prevenient or "preceding" grace He invites and leads sinners to repentance towards God and faith in Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. For those who do not resist the calling and drawing of the Holy Spirit, the proclamation of God's grace in Christ brings deep conviction of sin to the heart of the sinner and results in true contrition, remorse, regret, and sorrow for sin. All who personally call upon the the name of Christ and pray for God's forgiveness of their sins are forgiven and justified by God's unmerited mercy and grace in Christ. God's forgiveness and justification are by His unmerited grace alone through faith in the sinless life and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
Sanctifying Grace: The Holy Spirit then infills the born again forgiven believer in Christ and begins to teach the perfect will of God through the word of God, the Bible. The Spirit begins the life-long sanctifying work of writing the Law of God upon the heart of the repentant believer. The Holy Spirit urges and empowers believers to seek to live sanctified lives of good works of unselfish love for God and neighbor. He continues to reveal to us our secret sins, reprove us of our known sins, and lead us to a deepening repentance towards God and trust in the merits of Christ. The witness and testimony of the Holy Spirit is always in perfect harmony with the word of God, the bible. Christ dwells in the heart of the born-again believer by the word of God through the anointing and indwelling power of the Holy Spirit—.
However, those who personally resist the Holy Spirit's conviction of sin and the calling to repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and will be eternally lost on the final Day of Judgment.
12. The Bible
We believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the sacred scriptures in their present Old and New Testament canon. The Bible is the infallible word of God which leads the reader to find eternal life by the unmerited grace of God alone through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord alone. All Christian faith, practice, and doctrine must be derived solely from the scriptures. The Bible was not only inerrantly inspired and compiled by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, but the Bible has also been miraculously preserved by the Holy Spirit.
We believe that in six literal days, approximately 6,000 years ago, God through the Lord Jesus Christ created a perfect, sinless universe without death or decay, sin or rebellion. All creation was a perfect expression of the will of God. Having free access to the Tree of Life, Adam and Eve were to live eternally in their beautiful home.
14. The Fall of Man
We believe that sin and suffering and death entered God's perfect creation as a result of Adam and Eve's first act of rebellion against God.
Legal corruption: in Adam all die. As the legal Head of the human family, when Adam sinned he sold all of his children into the slavery of sin. All are born as sinners in the eyes of God's holy Law and thus the wages of sin is death for all. Bondservants give birth to children who are bondservants, and so it is that all the children of Adam are born under the condemnation of God's holy, just, and good Law. Sin and guilt and death have come upon all of the natural-born sons and daughters of Adam.
Moral corruption: because Adam came under the condemnation of God's Law, he cut off himself and all his descendants from the original indwelling of the Holy Spirit. All are born without the indwelling Holy Spirit, and thus Man in his very heart and mind and spirit and soul has a fallen human nature which is morally polluted with inherited and cultivated tendencies and propensities to sin. All are now born with a fallen, sinful moral nature and all have lost their freewill to live righteously and are under the bondage of a sinful human nature. The natural Man is by nature selfish, unholy, unkind, unloving, pompous, self-righteous, and he by nature despises God's holy Law of unselfish love for God and neighbor — the Ten Commandments.
A.) We believe that the Christian church is composed of all who are believers in Christ as Savior and Lord. Any sinner who repents and believes in Christ has his name written in Heaven in the Lamb's Book of Life. — the invisible church.
B.) We believe that all new believers ought to be baptized by immersion and join a local fellowship group. There they can grow and mature in the faith, enjoy the blessings of Christian fellowship with like-minded believers, and share in the communion table of the Lord's Supper. Members of the body of Christ should work unitedly to support the proclamation of the gospel through the various evangelical outreach programs, educational institutions, medical ministries, and publishing efforts of an organized evangelical Christian church.— the visible church.
We believe that the Sabbath fellowship meetings of the local church ought to inspire the congregation through beautiful sacred Christian music, scripture reading, teaching of true doctrine, partaking of the Lord's Supper, solemn prayer, giving of thanks, praise, pastoral exhortations, and the baptism of new believers. Children ought to be included and not separated from the general service. A little childish background noise should be tolerated.
We believe that the church ought to elect pastors, teachers, evangelists, administrators, elders, deacons, and deaconesses to serve in the Gospel ministry. They ought to be mature Christian believers who fully embrace all the doctrines of the true evangelical Gospel without reservation. They ought to be carefully chosen individuals who are ready to serve in those roles which are in harmony with the biblical counsel and who are always ready to teach the truth and speak in defense of the Gospel and the word of God . The distinctive roles of men and women in Christian service as outlined in the word of God should be recognized.
We believe that the great commission of the church is to proclaim the Good News of salvation to every nation, people, and language and to invite all to repent of their sins and be forgiven and justified by the unmerited grace of God alone through faith in the sinless life and atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary. It is the duty of all believers to actively proclaim the Gospel regardless of their field of human endeavor and vocation.
We believe that all who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord ought to be baptized by immersion in the name of the Father and in the name of the Son and in the name of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a public declaration of faith in Christ's atonement, and a symbol of the believer's commitment to die to sin and be raised up to the newness of life in Christ — that is, it symbolizes both justification and sanctification.
20. The Lord's Supper
We believe that Christians ought to partake of the Lord's Supper as a symbol and remembrance of our Lord's giving of Himself as a ransom for our sins. The elements of the bread and new wine proclaim the truth of the Gospel until Christ shall come again. The bread represents the sinless spotless life of our Lord while the new wine represents our Lord's atoning substitutionary death on the cross of Calvary for our sins. Christ the innocent One who knew no sin suffered the penalty of death for the sins of the whole world. His atoning death on the cross is the meritorious cause of salvation for all repentant believing sinners who put their faith in Him as Savior and Lord.
21. The Sabbath Day and the Law of God
We believe that the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week, is a day for Christian believers to set aside the secular affairs of life and come together to worship, pray, and fellowship in Christ our Creator and Redeemer. As we rest from our labors on the Sabbath day, we celebrate and rejoice in the "rest" that we have by the unmerited grace of God alone through faith in Christ's finished work of redemption and atonement for our sins upon the cross of Calvary.
The Sabbath ought never become a burdensome legalistic requirement for the people of God, but rather a day of comfort and joyful rest that is in harmony with the spirit and not just the letter of the Commandment. We believe that God created the world in six literal days and then rested on the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath day. It is the duty of the church in these last days of Earth's history to urge all to believe in the literal creation account as found in Genesis and to remember the Lord's Day — the Sabbath — as set forth in the fourth commandment of the Decalogue.
The Holy Law of God, the Decalogue: Its Threefold Uses
1.) The First or "Social Use" of the Law: especially the second tablet of the Law used as a basis for all secular civil law in human governments and legal systems to restrain evil within societies and nations.
2.) The Second or "School Master Use" of the Law: used as a stern schoolmaster to convict all the world of sin and righteousness / condemnation and guilt before a holy God so that the Holy Spirit may preveniently draw us and lead us to seek out the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life by the unmerited grace of God through faith in the sinless life and atoning death of Jesus Christ our Lord.
3.) The Third or "Moral Guide" Use of the Law: used for the believer as a rule of one's daily life as a Christian in sanctification and righteous holy living.
22. The Priesthood of All Believers
We believe that all may go directly to God in prayer for the forgiveness of their sins and justification unto eternal life through the one Mediator between God and Man — the Lord Jesus Christ — who is our merciful and sinless High Priest in the most holy place of the Heavenly sanctuary.
23. The Blessing of Prayer
We believe that God invites all the world to call upon Him in prayer in the worthy name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin and salvation unto eternal life. Those who respond to this invitation to become Christians should "pray without ceasing" and in all things give thanks. It is the privilege of every believer to offer heart-felt prayers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ for the continual forgiveness of our sins, intercession for the salvation of our friends and loved ones, petition for our present earthly needs, thanksgiving for God's bountiful blessings, and praise to our Lord for His infinite gift of eternal life. He hears and answers our prayers according to His all-knowing will, infinite wisdom, and divine purpose.
24. The Blessing of Giving
We believe that the various ministries of the church ought to be supported by the freewill offerings of its members. The Lord loves a cheerful giver and He invites all to give liberally and sacrificially of their worldly means so that the gospel might be proclaimed to all the world. The financial needs of the church should be made known to the congregation so that all may give as they are able. However, offerings to support the programs of the church should never be a condition of membership or a test of fellowship.
25. The Origin of Evil
We believe that evil originated before the creation of the universe with the fall of the angel Lucifer who became Satan — a literal, living, fallen angel who, along with one third of the angels of God, rebelled against the rule and authority of Jesus Christ. Satan and his demonic fallen angels caused the fall of Adam into sin and are now actively engaged in spiritual warfare against Christ and His kingdom in the salvation of mankind. Satan hates God's holy Law and the holy gospel of the forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
26. Godly Living in a Perverse World
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock."
We believe that because of the perverseness and ungodliness of the times, we ought to urge the following recommendations to the body of believers —