BELIEFS OF LIVING GRACE CHURCH
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all by dying on the cross. He arose from the dead after three days, demonstrating His power over sin and death. He was seen by over 500 people and returned to the Father to prepare a place for us. (Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1: 1-5;John 14: 10-30; Hebrews 4: 14,15; I Corinthians 15: 3,4; Romans 1: 3,4; Acts 1: 9-11).
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. We believe in The Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has eternally existed, and made Himself known in three modes (or ways): Father in creation, Son in redemption and Holy Spirit in inspiration. These three are one God. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Genesis 1:1, 26, 27; 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19;I Peter 1:2; II Corinthians 13:14).
The Spirit of the living God has always been in existence. He existed in the beginning when He moved upon the face of the waters. Scripture is filled with examples of how the Spirit of God moved in the lives of Old Testament believers in powerful and miraculous ways. However, He never came to live in the heart of believers until Jesus Christ. The indwelling power of God that came to live in man was promised in the Old Testament, but not fulfilled until Jesus Christ. What a blessing! As a New Testament believer, we are privileged to receive that which the Old Testament believers only saw from a distance!
Christ never intended believers to live for God without His help. This is one of the reasons why a New Testament believer can not be saved without the Holy Spirit. If living for God depended upon us, we would be saved by our works. Unlike the Old Testament believers who were saved under the time and period of the law, New Testament believers are saved by grace. Grace was ushered in by Jesus Christ, and we can receive His grace only through His Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God. He is present in the world to make humankind aware of our need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation, and makes Himself known based upon our desire and commitment to Christ. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Holy Spirit demonstrates His presence and power in our lives. We believe that one of the initial, physical signs is speaking in tongues as the spirit of God gives utterance. The other, more reliable sign is the changed life of the believer. When a believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, there is a revolutionary change. The believer seeks to live under His control daily. (Genesis 1:2; John 14:17; Romans 8:9; John 1:14,17; Ezekiel 11:19,20;II Corinthians 3: 17; John 16: 7-13; 14: 16,17; Acts 1: 8;I Corinthians 2: 12; 3: 16; II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:13;Galatians 5: 25; Ephesians 5: 1; Acts 1:4-8; 2:4; 38: Acts 8, 10, 11, 19,Romans 8:11; 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1).
Originally mankind was made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. We are the supreme object of God's creation. Although mankind has tremendous potential for good, we are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called "sin". This attitude separates us from God. Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59: 1,2
We all were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. The place of eternal separation from God is called Hell. Heaven is the place of eternal union and eternal life with God.John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:15 (Hell);Matthew 25: 41; Revelation 21:27 (Heaven)
ABOUT SALVATION & GRACE
All mankind has sinned, and fallen short of God's standard. The sinful state of mankind has earned him sin's penalty – eternal damnation, or hell. This is why man needs a savior – to free mankind from eternal damnation. Salvation is a free gift from God purchased through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This free gift is available to all who believe in Christ. It can never be earned by works, because we can never make up for our sin by good works or self improvement. This is why we call it "grace", because it is God's favor poured out to us freely without us deserving it or earning it. We receive the grace of God by faith, and when we do so, we are "born again." Only by trusting in Jesus Christ can we be born again. Only by God's offer of forgiveness can we be saved from sins penalty. Eternal life begins the moment we receive Jesus Christ into our life by faith.
ABOUT ETERNAL GRACE
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the believer is secure in this salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self effort of the Christian. It is the grace and "keeping power" of God that gives this security. (John 10:29; II Timothy 1: 12; Hebrews 7:25; 10: 10-14; I Peter 1: 3-5). Jesus called all sinners to repent – to change their mind. The scriptures clearly state that God grants and leads us to repentance. God is longsuffering and patient with mankind, not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to repent. (Luke 5:32; 24:47; Romans 2:4;12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 3:9).
Repentance means you are willing to renounce sin in your life. Repentance means a change of heart and mind. Those who come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord have a change of heart and mind about who and what is central – what is most important to life. Jesus Christ becomes central to their lives. They become a new creation in Christ.
The Bible is God's word to all mankind. It was written by human authors who were under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit so that what they wrote is the Word of God. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. (II Timothy 3: 16;II Peter 1: 20, 21; II Timothy 1: 13; Psalm 119: 105; 160;Psalm 126; Proverbs 30: 5).
BODY OF CHRIST
The church is not the physical building. The Church is the living body of Christ – the body of believers on earth. Christ is the head and the source of its life. We believe that all true believers want to be a part of the Body of Christ so they can grow in their faith, worship and fellowship with other believers, and make a united impact in the world. (Psalm 133:1; Hebrews 10:25; Ephesians 5:23;Romans 12: 4-8; I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4: 1-16;Colossians 1: 15-20).
We are a covenant keeping church. God enters into a covenant (special binding agreement) with those whom He calls to be his sons and daughters. The Holy Spirit is the sign of the covenant. Covenant people have a special relationship with God and have a special responsibility. We keep covenant with God by living our lives as his children, by keeping covenant with our spouses and family and by keeping covenant with all believers regardless of race, age, gender or marital status. (John 1:12; Romans 12:1-2; Genesis 17: 7; Jeremiah 32: 38-40; II Corinthians 6: 16-18; Romans 8: 12-17;Acts 2: 39; Ephesians 5: 21-33; 6: 1-4;Galatians 3: 28-29; Ephesians 4: 1-6).
ABOUT FINAL THINGS
When history has run its course according to God's plan, Jesus Christ will return in power and glory to judge the world and to complete the total victory over sin, death and Satan. The time is drawing near for His coming. At that time those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will enter heaven to be with him forever. Those who have not believed will be eternally separated from God. (Acts 1: 6-11; Mark 13: 24-27; Revelation 1: 7; I Peter 4:5; Matthew 24: 29-31;25: 31-46; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:20-21;I Thessalonians 4:14-17).
We believe that the work of the church is to be supported by the tithes and free will offerings of the body of Christ. God calls all believers to acknowledge His ownership of all things by giving back to Him 10% of all that He entrusts to us.The tithe was instituted by God before and after the Law. In fact, its practice predates the Mosaic Law by at least 400 years. When believers tithe, they come to understand the nature and character of God. Our loving Father not only instructs us to give generously, but He graciously supplies the resources that we are to give. In short, when we are obedient to God, He supplies our every need.Genesis 14:18-20; 28:20-22; Malachi 3:10-12;Exodus 23:19; 35:20-21;Philippians 4:19.
ABOUT THE SACRAMENTS
Living Grace believes that there are two sacraments given by Christ to strengthen our faith as members of His Church:
The first is physical baptism which is a sign and seal of God's eternal covenant of grace for us. Baptism symbolizes the washing away of our sins through the blood of Christ. Baptism is the sacrament of entrance into the Christian community. Jesus himself instructed his disciples to go and baptize people. Baptism signifies repentance (willingness to renounce sin in your life), forgiveness of sins and entering into the new life in Christ.Christians use different modes, or baptismal formulas. Some practice sprinkling with water; others believe complete immersion in water is important. Although we acknowledge and respect all beliefs, Living Grace Church practices baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ through immersion.(Acts 19:3; Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48).
The second is the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Communion expresses the unity each believer has with Christ and with other believers. Partaking of communion is an expression of faith. By receiving communion we say that we trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. The bread and the cup symbolize the body and blood of Jesus, which were given as a sacrifice of love.The broken bread symbolizes the broken body of Christ. The cup symbolizes the blood of Christ poured out at the Cross for our salvation. Christ is spiritually present in the bread and wine (juice). When we celebrate Holy Communion, we are strengthened. (Genesis 17: 1-10;Deuteronomy 7: 9; Matthew 26:26-29; 28: 19; Acts 16: 14-15; 30-33;Mark 14: 22-25; I Corinthians 11: 23-26;I Corinthians 1: 16).