The Lord our God is but one only living and true God;1 whose subsistence is in and of Himself,2 infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but Himself;3 a most pure spirit,4 invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto;5 who is immutable,6 immense,7 eternal,8incomprehensible, almighty,9 every way infinite, most holy,10 most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will,11 for His own glory;12 most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him,13 and withal most just and terrible in His judgments,14 hating all sin,15and who will by no means clear the guilty.16
1 1 Cor. 8:4,6; Deut. 6:4, 2 Jer. 10:10; Isa. 48:12, 3 Exod. 3:14, 4 John 4:24, 5 1 Tim. 1:17; Deut. 4:15–16, 6 Mal. 3:6, 7 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23, 8 Ps. 90:2, 9 Gen. 17:1, 10 Isa. 6:3, 11 Ps. 115:3; Isa. 46:10, 12 Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36, 13 Exod. 34:6–7; Heb. 11:6, 14 Neh. 9:32–33, 15 Ps. 5:5–6, 16 Exod. 34:7; Nahum 1:2–3
God, having all life,17 glory,18 goodness,19 blessedness, in and of Himself, is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which He hath made, nor deriving any glory from them,20 but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things,21 and He hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever Himself pleases;22 in His sight all things are open and manifest,23 His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent or uncertain;24 He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works,25 and in all His commands; to Him is due from angels and men, whatsoever worship,26 service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever He is further pleased to require of them.
17 John 5:26. 18 Ps. 148:13, 19 Ps. 119:68, 20 Job 22:2–3, 21 Rom. 11:34-36, 22 Dan. 4:25,34–35, 23 Heb. 4:13, 24 Ezek. 11:5; Acts 15:18, 25 Ps. 145:17, 26 Rev. 5:12-14
In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit,27 of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided:28 the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;29 the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son;30 all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on Him.
27 1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14, 28 Exod. 3:14; John 14:11; I Cor. 8:6, 29 John 1:14,18, 30 John 15:26; Gal. 4:6
The Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, is truly and eternally God. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory, the same in substance and equal with him. He made the world and sustains and governs everything he has made. When the fullness of time came, he took upon himself human nature, with all the essential properties and common weaknesses of it9 but without sin.10 He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit came down upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her. Thus, he was born of a woman from the tribe of Judah, a descendant of Abraham and David in fulfillment of the Scriptures.11 Two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without converting one into the other or mixing them together to produce a different or blended nature. This person is truly God and truly man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and humanity.12
9John 1:14; Galatians 4;4. 10Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14, 16, 17; Hebrews 4:15. 11Matthew 1:22, 23; Luke 1:27, 31, 35. 12Romans 9:5; 1 Timothy 2:5.
The Holy Spirit convicts the world of its sin and regenerates sinners,1 in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted into the family of God.2 He indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers in Christ.3 The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.4 The Holy Spirit is finite and without beginning and is one with the Father, and Son.
1John 3:5-6, 14:17. 2Galatians 3:27-28. 3John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:14, 4-11; John 3:5-6. 4John 15:26; Galatians 4:6.
The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain, and infallible standard of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.1 The light of nature and the works of creation and providence so clearly demonstrate the goodness, wisdom, and power of God that people are left without excuse; however, these demonstrations are not sufficient to give the knowledge of God and his will that is necessary for salvation.2 Therefore, the Lord was pleased at different times and in various ways to reveal himself and to declare his will to his church.3 To preserve and propagate the truth better and to establish and comfort the church with greater certainty against the corruption of the flesh and the malice of Satan and the world, the Lord put this revelation completely in writing. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are absolutely necessary, because God’s former ways of revealing his will to his people have now ceased.4
12 Timothy 3:15–17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20. 2Romans 1:19–21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalm 19:1–3. 3Hebrews 1:1. 4Proverbs 22:19–21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19, 20.
God created humanity upright and perfect. He gave them a righteous law that would have led to life if they had kept it but threatened death if they broke it.1 Yet they did not remain for long in this position of honor. Satan used the craftiness of the serpent to seduce Eve, who then seduced Adam. Adam acted without any outside compulsion and deliberately transgressed the law of their creation and the command given to them by eating the forbidden fruit.2 God was pleased, in keeping with his wise and holy counsel, to permit this act, because he had purposed to direct it for his own glory.
By this sin our first parents fell from their original righteousness and communion with God. We fell in them, and through this, death came upon all.3 All became dead in sin4 and completely defiled in all the capabilities and parts of soul and body.5
1Genesis 2:16, 17. 2Genesis 3:12, 13; 2 Corinthians 11:3. 3Romans 3:23. 4Romans 5:12ff. 5Titus 1:15; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10–19.
Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins.1 His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation and eternal life in heaven.2
1Hebrews 9:12. 2Acts 4:12
The church may be called invisible with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace. It consists of the full number of the elect who have been, are, or will be gathered into one under Christ her head. The church is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.1
All people throughout the world who profess the faith of the gospel and obedience to God through Christ in keeping with the gospel are and may be called visible saints,2 as long as they do not destroy their own profession by any foundational errors or unholy living. All local congregations ought to be made up of these.3
1Hebrews 12:23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:10, 22, 23; Ephesians 5:23, 27, 32. 21 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 11:26. 3Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:20–22.
We believe in the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service, and energetic mission.
1 Th 4:16-17; Mat 25:1-11
There is no one who does good and does not sin.2 Even the best may fall into great sins and offenses, through the power and deceitfulness of the corruption in them, along with the strength of temptation. Therefore, God has mercifully provided in the covenant of grace that believers who sin and fall will be renewed through repentance to salvation.3
This saving repentance is a gospel grace4 in which those who are made aware by the Holy Spirit of the many evils of their sin, by faith in Christ humble themselves for it with godly sorrow, hatred of it, and self-loathing.5 They pray for pardon and strength of grace and determine and endeavor by provisions from the Spirit to live before God in a well-pleasing way in everything.6
2Ecclesiastes 7:20. 3Luke 22:31, 32. 4Zechariah 12:10; Acts 11:18. 5Ezekiel 36:31; 2 Corinthians 7:11. 6Psalms 119:6, 128. 4Zechariah 12:10; Acts 11:18. 5Ezekiel 36:31; 2 Corinthians 7:11. 6Psalms 119:6, 128.
The bodies of those who have died return to dust and undergo destruction.1 But their souls neither die nor sleep, because they have an immortal charactera, and immediately return to God who gave them.2 The souls of the righteous are then made perfect in holiness and are received into paradise. There they are with Christ and behold the face of God in light and glory while they wait for the full redemption of their bodies.3 The souls of the wicked are thrown into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved for the judgment of the great day.4 The Scripture recognizes no place other than these two for souls separated from their bodies.
asubsistence; i.e., souls are not subject to dissolution
1Genesis 3:19; Acts 13:36. 2Ecclesiastes 12:7. 3Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6,8; Philippians 1:23; Hebrews 12:23. 4Jude 6, 7; 1 Peter 3:19; Luke 16:23, 24.
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ. To those baptized it is a sign of their fellowship with him in his death and resurrection, of their being grafted into him,1 of remission of sins,2 and of submitting themselves to God through Jesus Christ to live and walk in newness of life.3
Those who personally profess repentance toward God and faith in and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.4
1Romans 6:3–5; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27. 2Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16. 3Romans 6:4. 4Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8.
The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night he was betrayed. It is to be observed in his churches to the end of the age as a perpetual remembrance and display of the sacrifice of himself in his death.1 It is given for the confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits of Christ’s death, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, and their further engagement in and to all the duties they owe him. The supper is to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Christ and each other.2
In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor is any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the living or the dead. It is only a memorial of the one offering Christ made of himself on the cross once for all.3 It is also a spiritual offering of the highest possible praise to God for that sacrifice.4 Thus, the Roman Catholic sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is utterly detestable and detracts from Christ’s own sacrifice, which is the only propitiation for all the sins of the elect.
11 Corinthians 11:23–26. 21 Corinthians 10:16, 17, 21. 3Hebrews 9:25, 26, 28. 41 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:26, 27.
Marriage is to be between one man and one woman. A man must not have more than one wife nor a woman more than one husband at the same time.1 Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife,2 for the increase of humanity with legitimate offspring,3 and for the prevention of immorality.4
Everyone who is able to give rational consent may marry.5 Yet Christians are to marry in the Lord.6 Therefore, those who profess the true religion should not marry unbelievers or idolaters. Nor should the godly be unequally yoked by marrying those who lead evil lives or hold to damnable heresy.7
The attempt to change one’s sexual identity outside of God’s original design does not meet with God’s approval based on the precepts of the Bible.8
1Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:15; Matthew 19:5, 6. 2Genesis 2:18. 3Genesis 1:28. 41 Corinthians 7:2, 9. 5Hebrews 13:4; 1 Timothy 4:3. 61 Corinthians 7:39. 7Nehemiah 13:25–27. 8 1 Corinthians 11:14-16; Genesis 1:26-31.