All Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God. Inspiration means God the Holy Spirit superintended the human authors of Scripture (Prophets and Apostles) so that without sacrificing their particular literary style, the words they wrote in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, precisely communicate God’s thoughts to man (Mark 13:11; Acts 1:16; Rom. 1:18-25; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:21). The Bible is God’s Word and is without error in the original autographs. The Bible alone provides special revelation from God to man, and without it, we cannot know anything particular about Him, His creation, or His redemptive work in history through His Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 17:2-3; 18:28; 26:22-23; 28:23).
It is also important to state that the Bible provides the Christian with the necessary foundation for making sense of the world in which he lives; that is, the Bible provides the necessary presuppositions to have a correct worldview, as Scripture alone gives the true origin of the universe created in six literal days and reveals that mankind came from the hand of God as a special creature made in his image and in no way evolved from a lower species. More so, the Bible explains the origin of sin and evil, the beginnings of language and society, and why the earth is in a state of decay. Scripture gives hope to mankind, showing that God has provided salvation to all who trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (John 3:16-18; 20:31; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5). Lastly, God’s Word shows that evil—which had a beginning—will eventually come to an end, and that God will at some time in the future create a new heaven and earth (Gen. 3-11; Rev. 21-22).
The Bible teaches that God exists as Trinity; that there are three Persons in the Godhead who are co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal, possessing exactly the same attributes, but functioning in different roles (Deut. 6:4; Mt. 28:18-19; John 1:1, 14, 18; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 1:4-6).
God the Father
God the Father is the first Person in the Godhead. God the Father is the master planner of all creation and the Father of all those who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation (1 Cor. 8:6; Gal. 3:26), but is by no means the Father of unbelievers (John 8:42-44). God the Father sent God the Son into the world as an expression of His love and to provide salvation for lost sinners (John 3:16-18). The Father was completely satisfied with the substitutionary death of Jesus who died in the place of sinners (Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:25; 1 Cor.1 John 4:10).
God the Son
Jesus is the eternal Son of God who came into the world (John 1:1, 18), born of a virgin in the kingly Jewish line of David (Luke 1:30-35), and that being truly God, took upon Himself true humanity that He might live righteously according to the Mosaic Law (John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 4:15), and thus be a qualified substitute to die in the place of sinners (Mark 10:45). After His bodily crucifixion, Jesus was in the grave for three days and was resurrected to life never to die again and has ascended to heaven where He currently intercedes for the saints until He returns to receive them to Himself at the rapture (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is God (Gen. 1:2; Acts 5:3-4). God the Holy Spirit has a special ministry in the Church Age in which He indwells and seals every believer at the moment of salvation (John 3:3; 14:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). At the moment of regeneration, the Holy Spirit baptizes each believer into union with Christ and gives him a spiritual gift that can be developed for the edification of others through spiritual maturation (1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 12:6-8). The Spirit empowers, teaches, and guides the believer in accordance with Scripture, and often under the teaching ministry of a mature Pastor-Teacher (John 16:13-15; Rom. 12:6-8; Eph. 4:11-13).
God created an unknown number of spirit beings known in Scripture as “angels.” These spirit beings have intelligence, emotion, and volition. Angels are classified as either unfallen or fallen. One angel, according to the high order of Cherub, known in Scripture asLucifer, Satan, the Devil, the Dragon, and the Serpent, at some time before the fall of Adam (Gen. 3:1-7), led an angelic revolt in heaven and convinced many angels to follow him in rebellion against God (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19). Satan and his many fallen angels (known in the Bible as demons) continue in their rebellion (1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 16:14); whereas unfallen angels continue in their faithful allegiance to God and serve as His ministers in heaven and on the earth (Heb. 1:14; 13:2). Eventually, God will assign all fallen angels to the Lake of Fire for eternity (Matt. 25:31; Rev. 20:1-10).
Adam and Eve were uniquely created in the image of God with intelligence and volition that was untainted by sin and were completely free to serve Him in the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 2:8-15). Adam ruined his human nature, as well as the nature of all his children (excluding Jesus), when he willfully sinned by eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-7; Rom. 3:23; 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21-22).
Adam sinned against God when he ate the forbidden fruit, bringing death to himself, the creation, and all his descendants (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-7; 5:3; 6:5; Rom. 5:12; 8:19-22; 1Cor. 15:21-22; Eph. 2:1-6). Biblically, all of Adam’s children are sinners by imputation (Rom. 5:12-18; cf. Heb. 7:9-10), nature (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 7:19-21; Eph. 2:3), and choice (1 Kings 8:46; Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:9-18). Sin so completely permeates every part of man’s being (mind, will, and body) that he is helpless to live up to God’s perfect standard of righteousness and must rely completely on God for salvation and spiritual advance after regeneration (Isa. 64:6; Matt. 5:48 John 15:5; Eph. 2:1-6; Tit. 3:5). Jesus’ shed blood is the sole basis for the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 10:10-14). By the work of Christ on the cross, the believer is saved from the penalty of sin (Rom. 8:1; Eph. 2:5, 8), the power of sin (Rom. 6:1-14), and will ultimately be saved from the presence of sin (1 Pet. 1:3-5; Rev. 21:4).
Christ died for everyone; however, His death is only beneficial to those who believe in Him for salvation (2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Jn. 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 2:9).
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Man contributes nothing to his salvation, as it rests completely on the finished work of Jesus Christ who died as a substitute for sinners (Mark 10:45; John 19:30; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31; Rom. 3:21-28; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Gal. 2:16; 3:26; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 3:9; Tit. 3:5).
Salvation is completely the work of God and never the work of man; and those whom the Lord saves He preserves until He brings them home to heaven (John 5:24; 10:28; Phil. 1:6; 1 John 5:13). The biblical truth regarding eternal security is in no way a license to sin, as God calls His children to live righteously in this world (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:14-16), and disciplines them when they rebelliously turn from His will (1 Cor. 5:1-5; 11:27-30; Heb. 12:5-7).
There is both a universal church and a local church. The universal church is composed of all who are united by the Holy Spirit to the risen and ascended Son of God, are baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, and are members one of another (Acts 2:42-27; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:3-10; Col. 3:14-15).
The local church is an assembly of believers, committed to the Lord and to each other for the purpose of carrying out the universal church’s visible activities; that is, the communication of God’s truth to the people of God, worship and prayer to God, loving care for one another, and the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-47; 4:19; 5:29; 1 Cor. 1:1-2; 1 Thess. 1:1; Heb. 10:24-25).
The two ordinances for the church are the Lord’s Supper and water baptism by immersion (Matt. 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:23-34).
The Rapture of the Church
The next prophetic event to take place is the rapture, in which all those who are in Christ—whether dead or alive—will meet the Lord in the air when He comes for His church (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Tit. 2:13).
After the rapture of the church God will bring a time of judgment on the earth known in Scripture as the Tribulation, which will last seven years and will culminate with the return of Jesus to establish His millennial reign on the earth (Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24-25; Rev. 6-20).
The Second Coming and Millennial Reign of Christ
Immediately after God completes His time of judgment on the earth during the seven years of Tribulation, Jesus will personally return to reign as King in Jerusalem for one thousand years (Mt. 24:27-30; 1 Cor. 15:23-24; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:1-6).
The Eternal State
After Christ completes His one thousand year reign on the earth, heaven and earth will be destroyed and God will create a new heaven and a new earth that will be free from sin, death, pain, or sorrow of any kind (2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 21-22).
Steven R. Cook, D.Min.