We believe Scripture when it teaches that Adam (Genesis 3:1-7), the first human created by God, represented all of humanity (Romans 5:12) when he disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the forbidden fruit. When he disobeyed he fell into a condition that the Bible refers to as sin. It became a part of his nature, and he began passing that nature on to his descendants (Romans 3:23), who, in turn have passed it on to their children. All around us we see rampant sinful behavior, which is evidence of humanity’s fallen state.
ADOPTED BY GOD
We believe Scripture teaches that, because of humanity’s fallen condition (Romans 3:9-18), the only way we can get back to God is if He does something to bring us into relationship with Him. Scripture tells us in Ephesians 1 (and other places) that God took the first step and adopted some of us long before we were born; long before we could do anything to make ourselves appear worthy of His affection. When a child is adopted, he does not initiate the process. Mankind cannot initiate the process with God. God chooses him.
We believe Scripture when it teaches that Jesus’ death was purposeful and intentional; i.e. it accomplished salvation for His people (John 6:37-40; 10:17-18). He did what He set out to do. He atoned for (covered over) the sins of His people. His death did not provide an opportunity for salvation, it actually provided salvation for His chosen ones. He died to pay for the sins of a specific group of people which Scripture refers to as “elect” Matthew 24:22), “chosen” (Psalm 33:12), “my sheep” (John 10:14-15), etc.
TRANSFORMED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe Scripture when it teaches that once the atonement has been made it can only be applied by the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). This means that God first changes the heart of the sinner so he can respond to His love (Jeremiah 17:9, 10). He gives us a new heart which enables us to respond to the good news of the gospel.
HELD BY GOD
We believe Scripture when it teaches that God doesn’t save part way; i.e. we do not believe we can slip from the hands of our gracious, loving Father. Some, I believe incorrectly, call this “once saved, always saved”. The phrase has connotations which are misleading to many. It is more correct to say that the God who called, saved and holds you is eternally faithful; (2 Timothy 2:11-13, John 10:27-30).