1 John 4:7


New International Version
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

Cross References

John 13:34
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

1 Corinthians 8:3
But whoever loves God is known by God.

1 John 2:3
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.

1 John 2:4
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.

1 John 2:7
Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.

1 John 2:29
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

1 John 3:9
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

1 John 3:11
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:11
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 5:1
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

2 John 1:5
And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.

Advertisements

Struggling With the Same Sin: How Do I Break Free?


Struggling with the same sin is like the feeling of drowning. You splash around frantically trying to find your footing, but you still sink under the water. Believers who struggle with the same sin over and over feel like failures. You know the truth of God’s word, but can’t overcome the sin long enough to walk in the freedom granted by the blood of Jesus. This sinful stronghold keeps it grip over your life choking out destiny that God wants for you. You have a love/hate relationship with sin. There’s hatred of the rope tied around your neck, yet (be honest) you love the pleasure of it. Should you just give up and give in? Or is there hope for deliverance? Begin by answering the right questions for breaking free of the same old sin.

Question #1) Are you a believer?

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5, NIV). Many people think they are saved even though they can’t attest to rebirth through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Salvation doesn’t have to be a dramatic outward event, but there does need to be a time when you moved from darkness of sin to the light of salvation. Take a few moments to reflect on how your salvation. Use Romans 10:9-10 as a guide.

Question #2) Do you really want to be free?

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD” (Proverbs 16:2, NIV). We may not like the consequences of our sin such as guilt, shame, or regret. Many of us can appear remorseful in front of others (especially if we get caught), but we may remain inwardly unrepentant especially if our pleasure in the sin is greater than our desire to please God. Reflect on the price of your sin on the Lord Jesus Christ. Use Philippians 2:6-8 as a guide.“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV). “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV).

Question #3) Have you confessed your sin to God?

“When I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD” (Psalm 32:5, NIV). Something happens within us when we verbalize our sin to the Lord. Our spirit agrees with the Spirit of God that we’re living in error and our relationship with God can be compromised. The Lord wants us to come to Him in repentance with a desire to be changed in the likeness of Jesus. Spend time talking to God about how you first became ensnared in sin. Use James 1:13-15 as a guide.

Step #4) Have you confessed your sin to another believer?

“Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done” (Acts 19:18, NIV). Confessing your sin to a mature believer provides human accountability. Every believer regardless of their spiritual growth needs someone to confess to. You’re not alone—every believer has to overcome temptation and sin as a personal struggle. Ask the Lord to direct you to the right person of faith. Use Psalm 37:30 as a guide.

Step #5) Have you removed yourself from your “temptation triggers”?

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14, ESV).You may need to make the courageous, but tough decisions of separating yourself from certain people, places, or things that keep you in bondage to sin. It’s not easy to break off a relationship, get rid of cable/TV/internet, or to move to a different job and/or location. However the refreshing hope and freedom in Christ makes it well worth it. Start a list of what needs to be out of your life in order to be free. Use 1 Corinthians 10:13 as a guide.

Step #6) Are you prepared to set aside a time of prayer and fasting to loosen the grip of this sin on your life?

“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV).Sometimes the power of sin is so strong that you need a time of prayer and fasting. This typically requires an abstinence of eating food for a certain period of time. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that helps you gain control of sinful desires instead of being controlled. Decide on a period of time to fast and pray. Use Mark 2:18-20 as a guide.Step #7) Do you have the mind of Christ?

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16, ESV)You have the mind of Christ as you memorize, recite, meditate, and apply the scriptures in faith. The word of God is powerful enough to break all sinful strongholds in your heart and mind. You will develop the ability to see your sin as God sees it—destroyed by the blood of Jesus. Set up a schedule that puts your Bible reading as an integral part of your day. Use Hebrews 4:12 as a guide.

Did you answer yes to all the questions?

If not, don’t skip a question that was difficult—deal with it and be free. You didn’t get into this situation overnight and it may take time to complete the perfect work of God in your life. At the moment of salvation, you were made in the image of Christ to be free from all bondages of sin. Never give up on the power of God to deliver you and use your experience to snatch others out of the fiery pit of a sinful life.

Sacrificial Love


“You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 ESV)

I had some misplaced priorities. I suppose at some level I’d known it for some time. But I didn’t fully recognize how misplaced they were until I took a trip to El Salvador with a Christian humanitarian organization.

I met two children on a home visit. They lifted their tarp door and invited me into mud puddles and dirt walls with just one bed where their family of five rested at night. One bed for dreaming dreams of being a doctor and police officer.

I’d come to offer gifts of detergent and food. But the children’s gifts exceeded anything I had to give. A tiny beaded bracelet smudged with dirt, drenched in love. They wanted it to be mine. They filled my hands with selfless love. Love shared in smiles and what few tangible gifts they owned.

Feeling too shy to hand me the bracelet herself, the girl nudged her brother. He presented it to me as if it were a royal crown and slid it gently on my wrist. I declare, diamonds couldn’t match the worth of their hearts, their gift in that moment.

The next morning as I was getting dressed, I felt a nudge. Give your bracelet away like those children gave theirs to you.

You see, I had another precious bracelet with me. It was one my dad had given me over twenty years ago. Just a simple wooden bracelet from South Africa, but it meant the world to me.

How could I part with it? I wrestled with indecision. My heart soared, anticipating the moment I’d spot a mama to whom I would give my bracelet. Then my heart sank, anxious at the thought of giving up one of my treasures.

And there lay the problem. My misplaced treasure.

I’m embarrassed … heartbroken. I’m sad to say I couldn’t give it away. Couldn’t? No; more like I wouldn’t. Both bracelets journeyed back home with me. One bearing selflessness; the other, selfishness.

I thought I was really something, bringing gifts to those kids in the form of beans and rice. Little did I know, I was the one in need. I needed God’s mercy. I needed a new perspective. I don’t want possessions if I’m not willing to use them to love others.

I needed the one thing I lacked … more love for the Lord than for my possessions. My heart held tighter to my bracelet than it did to what God had asked me to do. He beckoned, “Give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” A simple request, yet so difficult to follow.

I don’t want to be lacking in love for the Lord or those He cares for. Next time I’m giving it all. I’m starting by opening my hands and heart and looking for opportunities today. Are you with me?

Dear Lord, You are the perfect example of giving. Thank You for new mercies, second chances, and a heart capable of responding to Your prompting. Help me to respond to Your prompting this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Resources

Remember
You need more love for the Lord than for your possessions.

Reflect
You can choose each day to bear selflessness or selfishness. Why is it sometimes easier to hold more tightly to earthy possessions?

Respond
Set up a time to volunteer with those who have less than you to help gain perspective on what’s important.

Power Verses
Matthew 6:20; 1 Timothy 6:18-19

 

Jesus Christ


The most important doctrine and Person of the Christian religion is Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul chose to know nothing else in His preaching than Jesus Christ crucified (I Cor 2:2). He chose to glory in nothing else in life but the cross of Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14). It was Christ’s love for Paul that drove him to be the most diligent of the apostles (II Cor 5:14-15). Do you know the Christ of Paul?

He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and He is coming soon to burn up this earth and all that is in it and to judge all men and angels with eternal authority. But He is the loving Apostle, Brother, Friend, High Priest, Intercessor, and Saviour for all those who love Him and obey Him. As fully God and fully man, He should be loved and served like no other. He has no peers of any kind. Do you know Him?

Sonship of Christ

Satan has attacked the Lord Jesus Christ from the beginning. And false religion, primarily the
Catholic Church and her daughter churches, has cooperated with him. Men did not know Him
when He was on earth, and they do not know Him today. Do you worship a begotten god? We do not! The Nicene Creed, adored by all denominational churches, demands a begotten god. Jesus of Nazareth is Jehovah, the Mighty God, in the flesh! He is only begotten in His humanity. Do you understand the sonship of Jesus Christ? He must be the object of your faith (Acts 8:37; I John 5:5)!

Deity of Jesus Christ

Is Jesus God? The Deity of Jesus Christ is the doctrine that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was and is truly God. The so-called Witnesses of Jehovah (groupies of Charles Taze Russell and Judge Rutherford) say Jesus was only a god, though He was actually Jehovah! Muslims say he was only a prophet. Mormons say he was a created spirit brother to Lucifer. Hindus say, “Who is Jesus?” What do you say?

He Is Altogether Lovely

How beautiful is Jesus Christ to you? Is he the fairest of ten thousand to your soul? How can we measure His beauty? Let us compare Him to the most ideal man we can imagine by every measure of greatness.

What a Word Is This!

Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh, but you need to consider the power of His spoken word! He could calm storms, cast out devils, raise the dead, and multiply small lunches with merely His word. Do you know the power of His word in two resurrections and a final sentencing?

X

Articles of Faith


A declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us. (Luke 1:1)

But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets. (Acts 24:14)

Introduction

The Scriptures

Nature of the Scriptures

Identification of the Scriptures

Interpretation of the Scriptures

God

Attributes of God

Unity of God

The Sonship of Christ

Sovereign Rule of God

Creation of God

Sin and Man’s Fall

Man’s Creation State

Man’s Fall into Sin

The Effects of Sin

Salvation

Eternal Phase: Election

Legal Phase: Justification

Vital Phase: Regeneration

Practical Phase: Conversion

Final Phase: Glorification

Good Works

Definition of Good Works

Source of Good Works

Purpose of Good Works

Evangelism

Purpose of True Evangelism

Means of True Evangelism

The “Great Commission”

The Use of the Law

The Church

Identity of the Church

Independence of the Church

Membership of the Church

Rulership of the Church

Worship and Practice

Relationship to Auxiliaries

The Duties of Church Membership

Regular Assembly

Exercise of Gifts

Judgment of Members in Sin

Christian Liberty of Conscience

Scriptural Ordinances

Importance of Every Word of God

Denial of Sacramentalism

Baptism

Purpose

Nature

Subject

Mode

Administrator

Relationship to church membership

The Lord’s Supper

Purpose and nature

For members only of the local body

Duty of self examination

The example of foot washing

Separation

Personal

Holy days

Secret orders

Authority

The purpose for authority

The offices God has ordained

The response to authority

Spiritual Gifts and the Charismatic Movement

Prophesy

Purpose

Methodology for Studying

The place of the Jews

The place of the Church

The identity of the Man of Sin

The 70th Week of Daniel

Matthew 24 and the Olivet Discourse

The Final Judgment and the Future State of Man

Church Covenant

 

Introduction

The only complete and infallible source of truth in the universe in contained in God’s holy Scriptures. These articles of faith represent a brief summary of many of the aspects of the truth that God has revealed to us in His Word over time. Being the work of men, we know that this writing will contain errors, though none are put here intentionally. As God gives us more light in the future, we expect and plan to add to and revise this document so as to accurately represent our knowledge of His divine will for us.

The Scriptures

Nature of the Scriptures

We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old (Hebrews 1:1) and New Testament (2 Peter 3:15-16; Revelation 1:1-2) only and exclusively, in whole and in part, are the divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17), inerrant (Psalm 19:7-11), God breathed (2 Samuel 23:2; 2 Peter 1:19-21), written word of God, and are the sole and total rule together of our faith and practice(Psalm 119:104,128; Isaiah 8:20).

Identification of the Scriptures

We believe the Authorized or King James Version of 1611 is the Word of God in English. We believe that God, according to His promises, has providentially preserved and transmitted this Word through the scattered remnant of His true churches; and has providentially directed the collating, editing, and translating of the precious and essential text and manuscripts, the witness being that these are the only texts God has ever used in all the great fruit-bearing evangelical movements of history (Matthew 7:16-20), and also that these texts have never been used in any of the awful and bloody ecclesiastical persecutions of history. We therefore believe any production based in whole or in part on any other texts, manuscripts (however ancient or accepted), or versions to be not the Word of God but to be a fraud.

Interpretation of the Scriptures

We believe that the Scripture is to be interpreted only by itself (1 Corinthians 2:13), apart from any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20), by prayerful and diligent study of the use of the words in the context of the work as a whole and with careful consideration given to the context of each part in the light of normal grammar and usage.

We believe that the Old Testament is only properly interpreted in the light of the revelation which God has given through His apostles and His Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2), contained in the New Testament.

We believe that the divine record is total and complete in its revelation of God’s will to His creatures (Deuteronomy 29:29), so that what is necessary for our knowledge of how to serve and please Him is conveyed to us within the pages of Scripture (Ecclesiastes 12:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), by precept or by example, and that anything not specifically so imparted is not to be taught as God’s will. (The argument from silence, e.g. what the Scripture does not teach, it does not teach, Hebrews 7:12-14.)

God

Attributes of God

We believe that there is only one (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6) living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9; Jeremiah 10:10), who is infinite in being and perfection (Job 11:7-9), a most pure spirit (John 4:24), invisible (1 Timothy 1:17), immutable (Jam 1:17; Mal 3:6), immense (1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:23-24), eternal (Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17), incomprehensible (Psalm 145:3; Isaiah 40:28; Romans 11:33), almighty (Genesis 17:1; Daniel 4:34-35; Revelation 4:8), all wise (Psalm 147:5; Romans 11:33-34; 16:27; Jude 25), most holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8), totally independent (Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Isaiah 46:10), most absolute (Exodus 3:14), working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will (Ephesians 1:9, 11) for His own glory (Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:36).

We believe He is most loving (1 John 4:8, 16), gracious (Exodus 22:27; Nehemiah 9:17, 31), merciful (Psalm 86:5; 103:8-13), long-suffering (Psalm 86:15; 2 Peter 3:9), abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin (Exodus 34:6-7). He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), and is most just and terrible in His judgments (Nehemiah 9:32-33), hating all sin (Psalm 5:5-6) and who will by no means clear the guilty (Nahum 1:2-3; Exodus 34:7).

We believe that He has all life (Psalm 36:9; John 5:26; 1:4;Acts 17:25), glory, goodness, blessedness in and of Himself;He is alone and unto Himself all-sufficient and independent, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made (Exodus 3:14; Acts 17:24-25), nor deriving any glory from them (Job 22:2-3), but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the sole foundation of all being, of Whom, through Whom, and to Whom are all things (Romans 11:36);and He has most sovereign dominion over them to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever He pleases (Revelation 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:15; Daniel 4:25, 35).

We believe that in His sight all things are open and manifest (Hebrews 4:13),that His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent of all creation (Romans 11:33-34; Psalm 147:5), so that nothing is contingent or uncertain to Him (Acts 15:18; Ezekiel 11:5); that He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands (Psalm 145:17; Romans 7:12), and that to this Great and August Being is due from angels, men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service or obedience that He is pleased to require of them (Revelation 5:12-14).

Unity of God

We believe that there is a Trinity of three Persons, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7), in the unity of the essence of the Godhead; that these three Persons are equal in nature, power, and glory; and that the Word and the Holy Spirit are as truly and as properly and as eternally God as is the Father.

The Sonship of Christ

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was set up by covenant from everlasting as the Mediator of the Eternal Covenant;and He, having engaged to be the Surety of His elect people, did, in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 1:5-6; Luke 2:13-14) , really assume human nature (Hebrews 2:16-18), and not before, neither in whole nor in part.

We believe that His human soul and spirit, being created things, did not exist from eternity, but were created and formed in His body by Him who forms the spirit of man within him; and this occurred when that body was conceived in the womb of the virgin (Luke 1:35).

We believe His human nature consists of a true body (Hebrews 10:5), soul, and spirit all of which together and at once the Word of God assumed into union with His divine Person (John 1:14), when made of a woman and not before or any point of time after (Galatians 4:4).

We believe this dual-natured Being is the prophesied Son of God; His sonship beginning with and proceeding from the virgin’s conception (Luke 1:32, 35), and being everlasting in duration.

We believe that the doctrine of the eternal generation or begetting of the Son of God, by nature, to be damnable heresy most grievous to God and most dangerous to those who profess belief in such teaching, as it denies the Lord of glory.

Sovereign Rule of God

We believe that God, the great Creator of all things, upholds (Hebrews 1:3), directs, disposes and governs all creatures, actions, and things (Daniel 4:34-35; Psalm 135:6; Acts 17:25-26, 28), from the greatest even to the least (Proverbs 21:1; Matthew 10:29-31), by His most wise and holy providence (Proverbs 15:3; Psalm 104:24; 145:17), according to His own will (Isaiah 46:10-11; Ephesians 1:9, 11), to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy (Isaiah 63:14; Ephesians 3:10; Romans 9:17-23; Genesis 45:7; Psalm 145:7).

We believe that God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means (Acts 27:31, 44; Isaiah 55:10-11); yet, He is free to work without (Hosea 1:7; Matthew 4:4), above (Romans 9:19-21), and against them (2 Kings 6:6; Daniel 3:27) at His pleasure.

We believe that the almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so manifest themselves in his providence that it extends even to the fall of man and all other sins of angels and men (Romans 11:32-34; 2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1; 1 Kings 22:22-23; 1 Chronicles 10:4, 13-14; 2 Samuel 16:10; Acts 2:23), and not to a bare permission only (Acts 14:16), but to the complete ordering and governing of them to His own holy ends (Genesis 50:20; Isaiah 10:6-7, 12; Psalm 76:10; 2 Kings 19:28); yet the sinfulness of the acts thereof proceed only and entirely from the creatures involved and not from God Himself, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin (James 1:13-14, 17; 1 John 2:16; Psalm 50:21).

We believe that our most wise, righteous, and gracious God does often times leave, for a season, His own children to many temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, so as to chastise them for their former sins, or to reveal unto them the hidden power of sin and the deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled (2 Chronicles 32:25-26, 31; 2 Samuel 24:1) and raised to a more close and steady dependence upon Him for their support, to make them more watchful against future occasions of sin, and for various other just and holy ends (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Psalm 73; 77:1, 10, 12; Mark 14:66-72 + John 21:15-17).

We believe that, because of their sins, God blinds and hardens wicked and ungodly men (Romans 1:24, 26, 28; 11:7-8), sometimes withdraws what light of understanding they have naturally (Matthew 13:12; 25:29), exposes them to opportunities that their corrupt natures will exploit (Deuteronomy 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12-13) and gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan (Psalm 81:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) whereby they harden themselves, even under the same means that God uses to soften others (Exodus 7:3; 8:15, 32; 2 Corinthians 2:15-16; Isaiah 8:14; 1 Peter 2:7-8; Isaiah 6:9-10; Acts 28:26-27).

Creation of God

We believe the Triune God, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness (Revelation 4:11), did create out of nothing (Hebrew 11:3), in six days of one hundred forty-four sixty-minute hours (Genesis 1; 2:2-3; Exodus 20:11), the heavens and the earth and all that in them is, whether visible or invisible (Colossians 1:16; Psalm 102:25; Isaiah 44:24; John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2).

We believe this was accomplished with no gaps or unknown ages before, during, or between the six days; that God ceased creation upon the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 20:11); and that the first eleven chapters of Genesis to be actual and accurate history with the rest of Scripture.

Sin and Man’s Fall

Man’s Creation State

We believe that God created the first man, Adam, after His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27);that he was upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29), holy, innocent and possessed of undying natural life; that he was given dominion over all of the creatures of the earth (Genesis 1:26; 9:2; Psalm 8:4-8); that he had a will able to choose to obey or disobey the commandments of his good and wise Creator; and that he enjoyed the blessing of full and joyful communion with God (Genesis 2:8-15).

Man’s Fall into Sin

We believe that Adam was capable of continuing in that state of righteousness, but sinned against God, changing his nature to sinful and mortal natural life (Genesis 2:17); that his race without exception sinned in him (Romans 5:12-18), the guilt of that sin imputed to all and a corrupt nature passed unto them all who descended from him by ordinary and natural generation.

The Effects of Sin

We believe, therefore, that the entire human race are by their first birth carnal and unclean, averse to all that is good (Romans 3:12), incapable of doing any good (Romans 3:10) , prone to every sin, totally unable to recover themselves, without strength, enemies of God, by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), under a sentence of condemnation and therefore subject to physical death, involved in spiritual death, and appointed to eternal death, from all of which there is no deliverance but by the blood and works of Christ the Second Adam, and Him alone.

Salvation

We believe that the Scripture shows five distinct divisions, aspects or phases of the work of God in the salvation of His people, and they are as follows:

Eternal Phase of Salvation: Election

We believe that before the world was created, God elected (Ephesians 1:4) a certain and invariable number of people (Romans 8:29-30), out of Adam’s fallen race (Romans 9:21), to be delivered from the condemnation which they justly deserved (Romans 6:23) and to be adopted as His own children (Ephesians 2:1-3), this choice not based on any conceivable or foreseen compliance of those chosen (Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:9-19), but simply upon the free grace and sovereign will of God (Ephesians 1:3-11).

We believe that in pursuance of this design, God the Father did determine and make a covenant with the Word and the Holy Spirit on behalf of those persons alone, wherein all the duties and necessary actions were appointed to the Godhead to perform, and all the spiritual blessings provided for the elect.

We believe that this salvation, being decreed by Him who calls those things which are not as though they were (Romans 4:17), was considered as accomplished and finished before the world began.

We believe the eternal redemption and salvation which Christ has obtained by the shedding of His blood is special and particular;it was intentionally designed exclusively for the elect of God (Romans 8:33), the sheep of Christ (John 10:26-29), and they only share the benefits and blessings of it, and that infallibly (Romans 8:31-39), the rest of fallen mankind left in the state of condemnation it received from Adam’s transgression in the garden of Eden (Romans 5:12; 9:21-22).

Legal Phase of Salvation: Justification

We believe the legal sentence of death against the elect was executed upon the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary, His pure and sinless life being the perfect and only substitute for the filthy rags of their righteousness, and His holy blood being the only acceptable propitiation for their sins (Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthian 5:21).

We believe that the Father received this offering of the Lamb of God (Hebrews 10:10, 14), and that He accordingly justifies the elect, seeing in them not their sins, but the spotless righteousness of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, their sins being forgotten and covered by His precious blood.

Vital Phase of Salvation: Regeneration

We believe that those elected by God and justified by Christ’s blood are, in the course of this life, given a new and sinless nature, created in true holiness, and capable of receiving and acting upon the spiritual realities taught in the Scriptures.

We believe that the same powerful Spirit that moved upon the face of the deep in the creation of the world moves on the nature of the elect to create spiritual life where there was death and corruption, that Spirit following the spoken direction of the Son of God to give life to His child, His sheep, and that the soul of the child of God is totally passive in this process, just as a natural child is passive in his conception, gestation and birth.

Practical Phase of Salvation: Conversion

We believe that God provides the means for His elect, regenerate children to know Him and have fellowship with Him during this life through the preaching of and obedience to the Scripture, and that conversion is, accordingly, an educational process whereby the born again child of God learns of his helpless condition in Adam, of the wonderful salvation that His heavenly Father has provided through the life giving blood of Jesus Christ, and what His God requires of him to enjoy fellowship with Him in his pilgrimage of life.

We believe that God grants to the elect the opportunity to repent and acknowledge the truth, but that, repentance, having been granted, it is their responsibility to exercise their God given faith (Philippians 2:12) and repentance to obtain the blessings that He offers in this life, and that this aspect of salvation, if they harden their hearts, can be lost and replaced by God’s severe chastisement.

We believe that, in general, those whom God has chosen to be His own will believe and obey the gospel call when they hear it, though we acknowledge that God, as the Sovereign Lord of the universe, can leave some individuals in ignorance of the glorious salvation that Christ secured for them, these being a small exception.

Final Phase of Salvation: Glorification

We believe that all of those chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and regenerated by the Spirit, shall be glorified together with Christ when He returns to judge the quick and the dead, their mortal forms clothed with immortality, and their sin wracked bodies resurrected or changed to be like the sinless body that our Lord Jesus Christ now inhabits.

We believe that God will preserve His elect unto this glorious day, and that Jesus Christ shall present them unto the Father pure and spotless, clothed in His own righteousness, regardless of their works of righteousness or lack thereof.

Good Works

Definition of Good Works

We believe that good works are only such as God commands in His holy Word, and not such as are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intentions.

Source of Good Works

We believe that the ability to do good works is something not at all of man himself, but wholly derived from the Spirit of God to do His good pleasure, and are an outgrowth of a renewed heart given by God in regeneration.

Purpose of Good Works

We believe that good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith; and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto.

Evangelism

Purpose of True Evangelism

We believe that the gospel is the good news of salvation for God’s elect, declaring salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone, and that this salvation is the only hope of eternal life, the gospel being merely the message of this glorious event, and having no power in and of itself to give life to those who hear it, the giving of life being the sole province of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe that the preaching of the gospel will be viewed as foolishness and will be rejected by natural, unregenerate men, who thereby show their ungodly and unrepentant natures, while the same message will be viewed as the power and wisdom of God by those who have been regenerated by the grace of God.

We believe that all who hear the gospel have the responsibility to believe and obey it, and those who do not believe and obey it receive to themselves damnation, the unbelieving elect receiving the just chastisement of God while in this life, and the non-elect receiving God’s judgment both now and in eternity.

Means of True Evangelism

We believe that the gospel is to be proclaimed by any and all means available to those who will hear it; the normal course of this proclamation to be through the preaching of the Word of God by means of the ministry that God has left in this world, who are to be supported in this endeavor by their congregations for this work.

We believe that the gospel is also proclaimed through the godly witness of believing saints, who are ready to give an answer of the reason of the hope that is within them to those who ask them.

We believe that public teaching of the gospel, by whatever means (i.e. seminars,home neighborhood Bible studies), are good, proper, and should be encouraged among God’s people.

The “Great Commission”

We believe that the “Great Commission” as taught in Matthew 28 and related passages was fulfilled by those whom Christ appointed and empowered (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18), with many mighty signs and wonders (2 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 15:18-19), to perform that task, those being the apostles; and that the commission was completed before the destruction of the nation of Israel in 70 AD (Matthew 24:14; Colossians 1:23; Romans 10:18).

The Use of the Law

We believe that the law of God, as contained in the Old Testament Scripture, has relevance for the New Testament believer in the following ways:

We believe it shows man what sin is (its terrible nature and its effects) and our need of the Savior, Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24).

We believe it shows man what God requires and forbids of His children for their sanctification, as it reveals God’s moral nature, which does not change (John 14:15).

We believe it gives us examples of God’s dealing with His people in all times, giving us hope of blessings for obedience and the sure knowledge of His cursing for disobedience (1 Corinthians 10:11).

We believe that it provides wise rules in dealing with men to live by while in this life.

We believe that the ceremonial law given to the Jews was filled with types and shadows of Him Who was to come, even our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who personally and in His life and ministry fulfilled all.

We believe that the restrictions given in the Old Testament regarding foods and the observance of Jewish holy days have been done away with in the New Testament and are not binding upon Christ’s saints in His churches (Acts 15:19-31; Romans 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 10:23-31; Colossians 2:16-23).

We believe that God gave man to rest one day out of seven, and we believe that New Testament believers should follow this practice. We believe that believers are to assemble on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) to worship Him, as was practiced by the early church. But we believe that the Sabbath, as taught in the Old Testament, has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and that we rest from our works for righteousness in Him.

The Church

Identity of the Church

We believe that the church, as referred to most often in the New Testament, is a local congregation or body of disciples of Jesus Christ; that it is identified by its location and membership, and referred to under various titles and descriptions, singularly considered as the church, the whole church, the body, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the temple of the Holy Ghost, and collectively known as the churches of Christ and the churches of God.

We believe that a church is formed by the mutual consent and commitment of individual believers to perform their Scriptural duties. It does not require any pastor, church or other body to ordain them as a church, though there is nothing unscriptural with a pastor or another church assisting or aiding in the forming of a new church.

We believe that this is the kingdom foretold by the Old Testament prophets, proclaimed by John the Baptist, and established by the ministry of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Independence of the Church

We believe that each church stands alone under Christ as its head, independent of any pope, cardinal, president or moderator and separate from any other body, group or organization in this world.

We believe that fellowship, as described in Scripture, is a function of individual members of a local body and not of churches in conventions, associations, denominations or other such structures, and, while praying for God’s blessing on His churches where ever they may be and being willing to help those whom we encounter, we believe it to be improper to form any alliance between our congregation and any other body or congregation.

Membership of the Church

We believe that a church is composed of individuals who have professed belief in Jesus Christ as their only Lord and Savior from sin, have been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and have mutually agreed together to worship God and perform their Scriptural duties towards one another.

We believe that a member is received into a congregation by unanimous consent of all of the members of that congregation. Therefore a member is put out or released from membership only by unanimous consent of the members of the congregation.

Rulership of the Church

We believe that a church is properly ruled by a pastor (bishop or elder being other terms to describe the office and individual in the same office), ordained of God and set aside for his task by the laying on of hands by a duly ordained minister, whose task it is to feed the flock of God and direct the congregation’s affairs in the light of the Scriptures.

We believe that the pastor is to rule over the congregation as Christ’s ambassador with the power to enforce the oracles of God upon His people, his leadership being to declare God’s mind as taught in His Scripture, to insist upon its obedience, and to guide by the example of his own godly life and deportment.

We believe that they that preach the gospel should, where at all possible, be completely supported by their congregation so as to give themselves wholly to the work of the ministry, to prayer and study of the Word.

We believe that God has given the office of deacon to the church to serve the congregation in carnal necessities; that deacons are to be selected by the congregation and ordained to their office by the pastor, under whose authority they serve; and that they are to be men who are sound and exemplary in their spiritual lives and conduct before the congregation and the world in general.

We believe that these two offices, that of pastor and deacon, are the only offices that God has ordained for His congregations. We believe that the Reformed practice of distinguishing between “ruling ” and “teaching” elders is unscriptural and a misinterpretation of the Scriptures.

We believe that women are to be silent in the church and under the authority of their fathers or husbands and are not to be in positions of authority over a man, but have a proper role in teaching each other and their children.

Worship and Practice of the Church

We believe that the worship of God as given by precept and example in the New Testament consists of assembling to pray, sing, praise God, offer up thanksgiving, exhort one another to our duties, make collection for poor saints and for the support of the ministry, and hear God’s word taught and proclaimed.

We believe that the New Testament emphasizes the teaching aspect of God’s worship, so that this is given preeminence over other forms of worship, with the aim of proper instruction being to guide members to better performance of their duties, first of all toward God, then to each other, and finally toward men with whom they associate in this world.

We believe that the proper form of musical expression in New Testament churches is congregational singing unaccompanied by musical instruments, the purpose being to praise God and to edify each other.

Relationship of Church to Auxiliaries

We believe that any additions to or departures from those things taught in Scripture are to be rejected as unnecessary and ungodly; such things as Sunday schools, church camps, bus ministries, Christian schools, choirs, gospel clowns and the like have nothing to do with the worship of God in His church and should be forbidden. This does not preclude members of a congregation, voluntarily and apart from the assembly, in banding together to engage in profitable enterprises such as the education of their children or arranging for times of recreation together, but such activities are clearly not to be part of the ministry of a New Testament church.

The Duties of Church Membership

Regular assembly

We believe that it is the duty of every member to be in regular attendance whenever the church assembles for the comfort of our mutual faith and the exercise our duties one to another, such absences as caused by illness, performance of special acts of charity and other reasonable circumstances being excepted.

Exercise of gifts

We believe that God has placed the members within His churches as it has pleased Him, and that He has blessed them with a variety of natural and spiritual gifts for the benefit of the entire body. Each member should be exhorted and encouraged to use the gift or gifts that he has been given for the blessing and profit of the congregation in general and the other members in particular, whether public or private.

Judgment of members in sin

We believe that a church is responsible before God to judge those of its own who are publicly known to be living in sin or error, as the New Testament teaches that there are offences which are not to be named once among saints. Those found guilty of such offences are to be removed from the membership of the body, turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, and exhorted to repentance, for the glory of Christ and their own salvation. Upon demonstration of repentance such should be reinstated as members of the congregation.

We believe that it is the duty of each member to work for the recovery of any brother or sister that is privately known to have committed sin or be in error, and upon demonstration of godly repentance such matters should be covered, forgiven and forgotten, even as Christ covers, forgives and forgets our sins when we confess them to Him and forsake them.

We believe that the church has the right to judge between members in small matters of this life as they arise, and that such judgment is binding upon all; any member failing to abide by the church’s judgment in such matters is to be removed from the membership, as discussed above.

Christian Liberty of Conscience

We believe that only what the Scripture positively teaches or negatively forbids should be held and enforced upon believers, the silence of Scripture to be echoed by the church. Where the Bible speaks and declares It must be followed, but other areas are to be left to the conscience of the individual believer before God.

We believe that our liberty is not to be used as a cover for wickedness, and that it is to be limited by a charitable consideration of the conscience of others and our own faith.

Scriptural Ordinances

Importance of Every Word of God

We believe that it is an error to select certain points of doctrine and practice, or “fundamentals”,for special enforcement or for establishing grounds for fellowship, and then to leave the remainder of God’s revelation to the whim of the individual or congregation as to what is to be believed and practiced.

We believe that every word of God is pure and should be obeyed in its sphere of reference. While not all passages are of equal weight on every subject, yet each is to be followed and obeyed in the area of life to which it speaks, being the mind of God on that subject and an ordinance to be followed by His saints.

Denial of Sacramentalism

We believe that obedience to God’s revealed commandments brings His blessing upon the life of those who are exercised therein; but it is a grievous error and heresy promulgated by the church of Rome and her offspring to believe that by keeping God’s ordinances of any kind supernatural grace is imparted to the soul or life of the person, or that partaking in any observance given in Scripture makes a person holy intrinsically.

Baptism

Purpose of Baptism

We believe that baptism is the first act of gospel obedience for the child of God;he publicly declares his allegiance to Jesus Christ and witnesses his dependence on Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for his salvation, of which baptism is a symbol and picture.

Nature of Baptism

We believe that baptism is totally figurative and emblematic in nature, no special grace or supernatural power being conferred upon the recipient;that it is simply the answer of a good conscience toward God, and not a means of imparting regeneration to a soul, as the Roman Whore and other heretical groups maintain.

We believe that baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; a symbol of the believer’s death to sin, and its power over him, and his resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ; and a figure of his hope, that being his resurrection at the last day to be with his Lord and Savior forever in glory.

Subject of Baptism

We believe that baptism is only properly administered to a person who is of sufficient age and sensibilities to express belief and confidence in Jesus Christ for the saving of his soul.

Mode of Baptism

We believe that the mode dictated in Scripture (by the meaning of the words used, by the nature of what it symbolizes, and by the examples given in the New Testament) is immersion of the candidate into water and the raising of him up out of water. Therefore pouring, sprinkling or any other wetting is not Bible baptism.

Administrator of Baptism

We believe that baptism is only to be administered by a duly ordained minister of the gospel.

Relationship of Baptism to Church Membership

We believe that baptism is a prerequisite for a person who is seeking to join a New Testament church, but, as it is the personal act of a believer answering a good conscience toward God, that it is erroneous to view baptism as a rite that adds a person to a church.

The Lord’s Supper

Purpose and Nature of Communion

We believe that the Lord’s supper is an observance given to New Testament churches as a memorial of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ until He returns. It is totally symbolic in nature and serves to remind God’s people of the price that was paid for their redemption.

We believe that the Mass, transubstantiation, consubstantiation and all other forms of Roman Catholic sacramentalism are doctrines from the father of lies himself and are to be rejected as gross heresy.

Only for Members of the Local Body

We believe that the Scripture clearly teaches that communion – common union – can only exist among members of a body, the same local body that is responsible for maintaining its purity through church judgment; therefore, only those who are members of our local body are allowed to partake of the Lord’s table in our assembly.

Duty of Self-Examination

We believe that God expects His children to judge themselves and to come to His table with clean hearts, having confessed their sins to Him, and that those who come without such preparation bring upon themselves His chastisement and judgment.

Foot Washing

We believe that the example given by Christ in John 13 was to teach His disciples the importance of humility and service to one another; but the absence of further instructions on the subject in the Pauline and General epistles as well as no further examples in the New Testament lead us to conclude that this is not a practice that is required of New Testament saints.

Separation

Personal Separation

We believe that God has called His children to be light and salt in a dark and corrupt world, so that it is incumbent upon every believer to walk in wisdom toward those who are in the world, to be renewed in his mind, to think soberly and righteously, to keep his body under subjection, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Separation from Holy days

We believe that the religious holidays observed by the world, such as Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, are, at best, mixtures of pagan practices and doctrines with portions of God’s truth. They are products of the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth (the Roman Catholic church). We believe they are strictly forbidden and condemned by God in His holy Word, and cannot be participated in by godly, knowledgeable Christians, but should be separated from and taught against in His churches.

Separation from Secret Orders

We believe that the religion of Jesus Christ is one of light, not darkness, and one of revealed truth, not hidden mysteries, so that it is impossible for a Christian to be a member of a secret society or esoteric fraternal order.

Authority

The purpose for authority

We believe that God, as the Supreme Lord and King of all creation, has ordained positions or offices of authority over men for the orderly functioning of society, for the good of those under them, and for His own honor and glory.

The offices God has ordained

Husbands – We believe that God has ordained for men to rule over women in the relationship of marriage (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1,5; 1 Corinthians 14:35; Titus 2:5; 1 Corinthians 11:9).

Parents – We believe that God has ordained parents to rule over children in the relationship of a family.

Masters – We believe that God has ordained that masters rule over servants in the business relationship.

Pastors – We believe that God has ordained priests (OT) and pastors (NT) to rule over His people in the congregation.

Governors – We believe that God has ordained kings and magistrates to rule over citizens in political and national relationships.

The response to authority

We believe that, in their proper spheres, each officer represents God directly and should be prayed for, honored, paid their appropriate tribute and dues, reverenced and feared as God’s personal representative, and not from a motive of personal regard for the man in the office, but out of respect for the office and for God’s appointment of the individual in that office; and those who disobey or resist those officers in their rightful exercise of their authority do get to themselves damnation and should be in fearful expectation of judgment for their folly.

We believe that it is right and proper for God’s children, in order to maintain a godly reputation in this world and that the ignorance of foolish men be silenced, to subject themselves to every civil ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake (1 Peter 2:13-16), and in particular to be ready and willing to pay taxes to the state and nation in which they reside, rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25; Matthew 17:24-27).

Spiritual Gifts and the Charismatic Movement

We believe that it is proper to divide the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament into ordinary gifts, which are given by God to His churches throughout all ages for their profit and edification, and special gifts, which are further divided into the sign gifts and the revelatory gifts.

We believe that the sign gifts recorded in the New Testament were given for the purpose of convincing unbelieving Jews that the preaching of the gospel by the apostles was of God (1 Corinthians 14:21-22), and that they ceased by 70 AD, when God had ended His witness to the Jews by destroying them as a nation.

We believe that the revelatory gifts recorded in the New Testament were given to reveal the fullness of God’s truth in the New Covenant to his churches until such time as His apostles had completed writing the New Testament, at which time they ended.

We believe that the modern Charismatic movement with its emphasis of love over truth, its disdain for sound doctrine, its love of compromising associations, and ungodly rejection of Scriptural guidelines for the use of tongues shows itself to be part of the prophesied lying sins and wonders of these, the last days.

Prophesy

Purpose

We believe that prophecy is given to confirm the saints’ faith when it occurs and is not given as a source for speculation on the future; that history shows the fulfillment of the events that God foretold and His people can take comfort and strength from the fact that God has demonstrated His power in the affairs of men and that He told them about those things before they happened.

Methodology for Studying

We believe that God has spoken in signs and similitudes, figurative and symbolic language describing spiritual realities and applications that need to be carefully interpreted; and that to engage in a totally literalistic scheme of interpretation, as the followers of C.I. Scofield, John Darby, and others of the Dispensational school do, is to wrest and pervert the Scripture.

We believe that the present gospel age contains the reality fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament, and that fulfillment in Jesus Christ, His life and ministry, should be sought above all else; and we believe that the Old Testament prophecies must be viewed in the light of the revelation given to the apostles and writers of the New Testament.

The place of the Jews

We believe that the nation of Israel, called the Jews in the New Testament, was God’s chosen people to convey, until the time of Christ, His worship, testimonies, commandments, and oracles to the world, and His vehicle for bringing the Son of God into the world through the lineage of David, and as such was accorded blessing and honor that no other nation or people on earth had.

The place of the Church

We believe that the gospel church is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets’ message concerning the rebuilding of God’s temple; that it is the visible portion of God’s kingdom consisting of both Jews and Gentiles; and that it, as a bride adorned for her husband, will be glorified with Jesus Christ when He returns.

The identity of the Man of Sin

We believe that the testimony of Scripture, as confirmed by the witness of history, amply shows the man of sin to be the Papacy of Rome, which has been a steady and constant adversary of the truth of Jesus Christ and His saints during the Dark Ages and up to the present.

The 70th Week of Daniel

We believe that the events described in Daniel 9:24-27 referring to the last of the seventy weeks were fulfilled in the time from Christ’s earthly ministry, beginning with His baptism and ending with His ascension to His throne on high, to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD; and that it is an absurd delusion to think that those events are yet waiting fulfillment.

Matthew 24 and the Olivet Discourse

We believe that the events described and prophesied in the Olivet discourse were fulfilled in God’s destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and the Jewish nation thereby, in 70 AD by the Roman armies under Tragan.

The Final Judgment and the Future State of Man

We believe that there shall be a general resurrection of the dead and a final judgment where all men shall give account of themselves and be judged by their works.

We believe that the unregenerate, being justly and righteously condemned for their wicked and abominable works, shall be cast into the lake of fire, a real and literal place of torment, which they shall inhabit with the Devil and his angels for eternity.

We believe that the elect, while some will initially be ashamed at the Lord’s coming because of their slothfulness and lack of godly diligence, yet all, their sins having been fully and completely paid for by the propitiation of Jesus Christ, and being judged pure and holy through His substituted righteousness, shall enjoy everlasting fellowship with God in perfect, glorified bodies in the new heavens and new earth created for them by God.

We believe that God’s saints who die before these events occur go to be with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven and shall return with Him at the general resurrection, therefore the doctrine of soul sleep is unscriptural and damnable.

Church Covenant

Now all and each of these doctrines together with the entirety of Holy Scripture we covenant together as a church, in common faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, to embrace, maintain, and defend, believing it our duty to stand fast, in one spirit with one mind striving together for the faith once delivered to the saints.

We esteem it our duty to walk with each other in all humility and brotherly love, to watch over each other’s conversation, to stir up each other to love and good works, overlooking one another in love for good and not for evil; not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together as we have opportunity to worship God according to His revealed will; and when the case requires, to warn, rebuke, and admonish one another according to the rules of the Gospel. We earnestly desire to contribute together also, to the need of the poor saints, to the support of the ministry, and the furtherance of the Gospel as the possessions of life and the providence of God may enable and direct us.

Male and Female He Created Them in the Image of God


Topic: Biblical Manhood And Womanhood

Scripture: Genesis 1:26-28

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Discussion

I want to think with you this morning about three things taught in this text. One is that God created human beings. The second is that God created us in his image. The third is that God created us male and female.

It is possible to believe these three truths and not be a Christian. After all they are all taught right here in the Jewish Scriptures. Therefore a good Scripture-believing Jew would accept these truths. But even though you can believe these three truths and not be a Christian, all of them point to Christianity. They all beg for the completion that comes with the work and Christ. That’s what I want to talk about, especially in regard to the third truth—that we are created in God’s image as male and female.

1. God Created Human Beings

Let’s take the first truth: that human beings have been created by God. I think this begs for an explanation. WHY did he create us? When you make something, you have a reason for making it. But does the world as we know it give an adequate answer to that question? The Old Testament speaks of man bringing the world under his dominion. It speaks of being created to show forth God’s glory (Isaiah 43:7). It speaks of the earth being filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.

But what do we see? We see a world in rebellion against the Creator. We see the Jewish Scriptures coming to an end with the story of creation utterly unfinished and the hope of glory still to come. So just believing that God created human beings the way the Jewish Scriptures teach that he did begs for the rest of the story to be told, namely, Christianity. Only in Christ can the purpose of creation be achieved.

2. God Created Us in His Image

Or take the second truth for example: God created us in his image. Surely this must have something to do with why we are here. His purpose in making us must have something wonderful to do with the fact that we are not frogs or lizards or birds or even monkeys. We are human beings in the image of God, we alone and no other animal.

But what a mess we have made of this awesome dignity. Are we like God? Well, yes and no. Yes, we are like God, even sinful and unbelieving there is a likeness. We know this because in Genesis 9:6 God said to Noah, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” In other words, even in a world where sin abounds (with the likes of murder) human beings are still in the image of God. They may not be killed like mice and mosquitoes. You forfeit your life if you murder a human being. (See James 3:9.)

But are we the image God made us to be? Is not the image marred sometimes almost beyond recognition? Do you feel that you are like God in the way you should be? So here again the belief that we were created in God’s image begs for a completion—in this case a redemption, a transformation, a kind of re-creation. And that is exactly what Christianity brings. “By grace are you saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works . . . Put on the new nature created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 2:8–10; 4:24). God created us in his image, but we have marred it almost beyond recognition and Jesus is the answer. He comes by faith, he forgives, he cleanses, and he begins a reclamation project called sanctification that will end in the glory that God intended for human beings in the first place. Therefore since we know that we were created in the image of God, our sin and corruption begs for an answer. And Jesus is the answer.

3. God Created Us Male and Female

The third truth in these verses is that God created us male and female. And this too points to Christianity and begs for the completion of Christ. How? In two ways at least. One comes from the mystery of marriage. The other comes from the historical ugliness of male-female relationships in sin.

The Mystery of Marriage

Take the mystery of marriage. In Genesis 2:24, right after the account of how woman was created, Moses (the writer of Genesis) says, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Now when the apostle Paul quotes this verse in Ephesians 5:31, he says, “This is a great mystery, and I say it refers to Christ and the church.” And, with that as his clue, he unfolds the meaning of marriage: it’s a symbol of Christ’s love for the church represented in the husband’s loving headship toward his wife; and it’s a symbol of the church’s glad submission to Christ represented in the wife’s relation to her husband.

He calls Genesis 2:24 a “mystery” because God did not reveal clearly all his purposes for the marriage of male and female in Genesis. There were hints and pointers in the Old Testament that marriage was like the relation of God and his people. But only when Christ came did the mystery of marriage get spelled out in detail. It is meant to be a portrait of Christ’s covenant with his people, his commitment to the church.

Do you see, then, how God’s creating man as male and female and then ordaining marriage as the relationship in which a male leaves mother and father and cleaves to his wife in covenant commitment—how this act of creation and this ordinance of marriage beg for the revelation of Christ and his church. They beg for Christianity as the revelation of the mystery.

This is a very foreign thought to most people, even most Christians, because marriage is a secular institution as well as a Christian one. You find it in all cultures, not just in Christian societies. So we are not prone to think of all the non-Christian marriages that we know as mysterious symbols of Christ’s relation to the church. But they are, and our very existence as male and female in marriage cries out for Christ to make himself known in his relation to the church. Christianity completes our comprehension of the marriage covenant.

Let me paint a picture for you here and give it a twist that you may not have thought of before. Christ is coming again to this earth. Even as you saw him go, he will come again, the angels said. So imagine that day with me. The heavens are opened and the trumpet sounds and the Son of Man appears on the clouds with power and great glory and with tens of thousands of holy angels shining like the sun. He sends them out to gather his elect from the four winds and raises from the dead those who died in Christ. He gives them new and glorious bodies like his own, and transforms the rest of us in the twinkling of an eye to be fit for glory.

The age-long preparation of the bride of Christ (the church!) is finally complete and he takes her arm, as it were, and leads her to the table. The marriage supper of the Lamb has come. He stands at the head of the table and a great silence falls over the millions of saints. And he says, This, my beloved, was the meaning of marriage. This is what it all pointed toward. This is why I created you male and female and ordained the covenant of marriage. Henceforth there will be no more marriage and giving in marriage, for the final reality has come and the shadow can pass away” (see Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34–36).

Now recall what we are doing: we are trying to see that the third truth, God created us in his image as male and female, points to Christianity as its completion. And I said it does this in two ways. The first was by the mystery of marriage. The creation of human beings as male and female provides the necessary framework in creation for the ordinance of marriage. You could not have marriage without male and female. And the meaning of marriage is not known in its essence or fullness until we see it as a parable of Christ’s relationship to the church.

So creation as male and female points to marriage and marriage points to Christ and the church. And therefore the belief that God created us in his image as male and female is not complete without Christianity—without Christ and his saving work for the church.

The Historical Ugliness of Male-Female Relationships

Now I said that there was another way that the creation of male and female in God’s image points to Christianity as the necessary completion, namely, from its distortion in the historical ugliness of male-female relationships. Let me try to explain.

When sin entered the world, the effect on our relationship as male and female was devastating. God comes to Adam after he had eaten the forbidden fruit and asks what has happened. Adam says in Genesis 3:12, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate.” In other words it is her fault (or yours for giving her to me!), so if somebody must die for eating the fruit, it better be her!

There you have the beginning of all domestic violence, all wife abuse, all rape, all sexual slurs, all the ways of belittling woman whom God created in his own image.

Genesis 3:16 pronounces a curse on fallen man and woman like this: to the woman God says, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” In other words the result of sin and the curse of our age is conflict between the sexes. This verse is not a description of the way things should be. This is a description of the cursed way things are going to be while sin reigns. Dominating men and devious women. This is not the meaning of male and female in God’s image. It is the ugliness of sin.

Now how does this ugliness point to Christianity? It points to Christianity because it begs for the healing that Christianity brings to the relationship between men and women. If God created us in his image AS MALE AND FEMALE, that implies equality of personhood, equality of dignity, mutual respect, harmony, complementarity, a unified destiny. But where is all this in the history of the world? It’s in the healing that Jesus brings.

Two Observations About the Healing Jesus Brings 

There is so much to say here. But let me just mention two things.

3.1. The Destiny of Being Created Male and Female

First, Peter says in 1 Peter 3:7, that a Christian husband and wife are “fellow heirs of the grace of life.What does this mean? It means that in Christ men and women recover what was meant by being created male and female in God’s image. It means that together as male and female they are to image-forth the glory of God and together as fellow-heirs they are to inherit the glory of God.

Creation as male and female in God’s image (when you see it alongside sin) begs for the completion of the healing that comes with the transforming work of Christ and the inheritance he purchased for sinners. Christ recovers from sin the reality that male and female are fellow-heirs of the grace of life.

3.2. The Meaning of Singleness as Male and Female

The other thing to mention about the way Christ turns things around and overcomes the ugliness of our warfare and fulfills the destiny of being created male and female in the image of God is found in 1 Corinthians 7. There Paul says something almost unbelievably radical for that day: “To the unmarried and widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do . . . the unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord and how to please the Lord . . . the unmarried woman is anxious about the affairs of the Lord and how to be holy in body and spirit . . . I say this . . . not to lay any restraint upon you, but to . . . secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:8, 32–35).

Do you see what this implies? It implies that the healing which Jesus brings to male and female created in God’s image is not dependent on marriage. In fact Paul’s experience as a single man (and the model of Jesus as a single man) taught him that there is a kind of single-minded devotion to the Lord possible to the single man or woman that is not usually the portion of married saints.

Another way to say it is this: marriage is a temporary institution for this age until the resurrection of the dead. The essence of its meaning and purpose is to represent Christ’s relation to the church. But when the reality comes, the representation as we know it will be laid aside. And there will be neither marriage nor giving in marriage in the age to come. And those who have been single and devoted to the Lord will sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb as full fellow-heirs of the grace of life. And according to their devotion to the Lord and their sacrifices they will be rewarded with affections and relationships and joys beyond all imagination.

Summary 

So let me sum up what we have seen.

  1. God created human beings. And as the Old Testament closes, this awesome fact demands the rest of the story, Christianity, to make sense out of what God was up to. His purposes in creation are incomplete without the work of Christ.
  2. God created us IN HIS IMAGE. But we have marred the image so badly it is scarcely recognizable. Therefore this truth begs for the completion of Christianity because what Jesus does is reclaim what has been lost. It is called a “new creation in Christ.” The image is restored in righteousness and holiness.
  3. God created us in his image AS MALE AND FEMALE. And this too begs for completion in the truth of Christianity. No one can fully grasp what it means to be male and female in marriage until they see that marriage is meant to portray Christ and the church. And no one can know the true destiny of being created male and female in God’s image until they know that male and female are fellow heirs of the grace of life. And finally no one can fully understand the meaning of singleness as male and female in God’s image until they learn from Christ that in the age to come there will be no marriage, and therefore the glorious destiny of being male and female in God’s image is not dependent on marriage, but on devotion to the Lord.

Therefore dwell on these truths: God created you; he created you in his image; and he created you male or female that you might be utterly and radically and uniquely devoted to the Lord.

The Message of Love


Passages for Further Study

  1. Deut. 7:7–8
  2. Prov. 3:3
  3. Rom. 12:10
    1 Cor. 13
  4. Heb. 13:1

Recommended

 

Coram Deo

God calls us to love every Christian. He does not call us to love only our polite brothers or only our Reformed brothers or only our wise brothers. No, if we are to reflect God’s character, then we must love all of our brothers just as God loved all of His people. God forgives sinners and continues to love them despite their struggle with sin; so too must we. If you and another believer are currently at odds with each other, do what you can to bring healing to the relationship.

being a child of God:

As we continue our study of 1 John and the three tests the apostle gives us in order to determine false teaching and gain assurance, let us note that so far John has focused his attention on personal holiness and righteousness. John has also spoken of love (2:7–17) and of belief in the incarnation (vv. 18–27), but has thus far spent more time speaking of the need to live a holy life (1:5–2:6; 2:28–3:10).

Last Friday, we learned that the practice of righteousness will be evident in those who are the sons of God. Those who do not seek after holiness are not of God but instead are of the Devil. But not only is holiness a mark of all Christians, so too is love for the brethren. If we do not love other believers, we are not God’s children (v. 10).

In today’s passage, John introduces a lengthy section on love as the mark of the believer. Specifically, John is speaking of the need to love others in the covenant community (v. 11). This is the message we have heard from the beginning, for loving one another has always been an essential mark of God’s people (Lev. 19:18; John 13:34). Believers will not wander after new ideas but remain in what is taught by Jesus and His apostles and prophets. This involves loving other Christians.

Though John seems to separate love and holiness in 1 John 3:10, he does this only for matters of emphasis and not because the two are opposed. Indeed, they cannot be, for God Himself is holy (Isa. 6:3) just as He is love (1 John 4:8). To practice righteousness is to obey the commands of God (Ps. 1), and God commands us to love our brothers (1 Peter 1:22). To be holy is to love our fellow Christians, and to love our fellow Christians is to be holy.

Furthermore, we have seen that there is always a familial resemblance between God and His children. Therefore, if we are to resemble our heavenly Father, we must love His people. God Himself, out of love for His people, sent His Son to die for their sins (Rom. 5:8). While we, of course, cannot atone for the sins of others, being a child of God means that we must love God’s people and be willing to give up our lives for them if necessary (1 John 3:16).