God in his essential being is, invisible (John 1:18, I Timothy 1:17) unknowable (Luke 10:22, Matthew 11:27) immaterial (John 4:24) omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12) is one in number and unity (Deuteronomy 6:4) is Father of the universe as Creator / Progenitor ( Isaiah 63:16, 9:6, Psalm 89:26) and Paternally to humanity as Nurturer and Caregiver (Psalm 103:13, Matthew 9:6).
The Word is God self-revealing (John.1:1-3), God’s self-disclosure of himself (Hebrew1:1-3, Isaiah 9:6), God going out from himself (Revelation 5:6,7) God proceeding or emanating, the one whose “goings forth” have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2 Revelation 1:8).
Jesus Christ is the Word become flesh (John 1: 1, 14 Micah 5:2), God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16), the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), and in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). He is God visible (Hebrews 1:1-3) knowable, (John. 14:8), approachable (Matthew 11:28-30) touchable (I John. 1:1-3, John. 20:27), is the revealer of the Father (John. 14:9, 17:6) the only way to the Father (Matthew 11:27, John. 14:6-8) and the Father revealed (John.10:30, Isaiah.9:6, Revelation 1:8, 11). He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come (Revelation 1:8). He is also complete human (Heb. 2:10-18), the true son of Mary (Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:33, 34, Gal. 4:4), the second man Adam (I Corinthians 15:47), the last Adam (I Corinthians 15:45) and the Son of God by both birth (Luke 1:35, Rom. 1:3) and declaration (Rom. 1:4, Acts 13:33). His victory over death, hell, and the grave (I Corinthians 15:1-4) elevates the name of Jesus to the position of highest universal authority. The full power and authority of the Godhead is encapsulated in that name (John 5:43, Philippians 2:9, John 14:13, 14, 26, Acts 4:12).
The Holy Spirit is God indwelling the believer in personal agency, (Jeremiah 31:31-33, Romans 8:9), is one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13), is the Spirit of Grace, (Hebrews 10:29) , is the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9) is the Spirit of Jesus (John 14:17, 18, Acts 16:7, II Corinthians 3:17), is the source of and medium for dispensing God’s grace in the Church Age. (Acts 2:38, I Corinthians 12:l) and is essential for salvation (Acts 2:36-38, 11:14, Romans 8:9).
MAN and SALVATION
Man – male and female – is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; 9:6). This sets him apart from all other creation (Genesis 1:26a). He is both earthly (Genesis 2:7) and universal (I Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12), and is both finite (I Corinthians 2:11,12) and infinite (Genesis 2:7).
- The well-being of man is God’s will (Romans 8:26,27)
- Man is presently alienated from this well-being due to the transgression of Adam (Genesis 3:4-6, Rom.3:23). The penalty for sin is death (Genesis 2:17). Thus, the first couple of the human race died (i.e. were alienated from God) the day they sinned.
- The human race is represented by two federal heads. Adam is the first federal head of the human race because humans are descended from him and bear the results of his falleness and are thus born in sin and shaped in iniquity, (I Corinthians 15:47; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12,19).
- Jesus Christ came as the “second man,” or the “last Adam.” As such, He is the second “federal head” of the human race (I Corinthians 15:21,22,45; Romans 5:12-21). Christ’s triumph over sin, death, hell, and the grave (I Corinthians 15:1-4) created a new bridge between God and man (I Timothy 2:5; Colossians 2:13). This is what salvation is. “Salvation” (gr. soter) means to make complete, to make whole, to restore, as in total health, body, soul, and spirit (Hebrews 2:9-11; I Thessalonians 5:23). Thus, both salvation for the soul and divine healing of the body is a reality in the church. (Exodus 15:26; Matthew 4:23,24; Hebrews 13:8; Isaiah 53:5; I Peter 2:24; James 5:14-16). However, the body not being yet glorified is still subject to vanity (Romans 8:20), thus healing is needed. This does not however, nor does Scripture, preclude the use of human health providers. Further, should the believer die, the soul does not repose in sleep, but rather the promise is that one who is absent from the body is at once present with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:6).
- One becomes the recipient of God’s gift of salvation by obeying the command given on the birthday of the church: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” (Acts 2:38,39). Repentance (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; Luke 24:47), being baptized (immersed) in water in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:6). and being filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:6) was the normative experience in the New Testament and are the essential elements of initial salvation. This fulfills the birth of water and spirit that Jesus spoke of in John 3:3-5.
- “Being baptized in” or “with”, “being filled with”, and “receiving” the gift of the Holy Spirit are all synonymous biblical phrases which describe the same experience. Luke’s description of this phenomenon is: “They were all filled with Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues (languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance,” (Acts 2:4). While there are a number of signs that are recorded as accompanying the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the normative New Testament experience upon the initial receiving of the Holy Spirit included speaking with other tongues. (Isaiah 28:11,12, Mark 16:17, Acts 2:4 10:48, 11:14, and 19:6, I Corinthians 14:14, 15, 18). Speaking in tongues in Acts 2:4, 10:46, 19:6 and the gift of tongues as explained in I Corinthians 12 and 14 are the same in essence, but different in use and purpose.
- This promise of the Holy Ghost was not an “afterthought” nor of secondary importance. The Old Testament is replete with promises and descriptions of this promise and it clearly plays a central role in God’s plan for governance of His people (Joel 2:28,29; Isaiah 28:11,12; Jeremiah 30:31, Hebrews 10:16). Jesus describes it as the “promise of the Father,” which Peter later reiterates (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8, Acts 2:33).
The church is founded by Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew16:18) and is comprised of those who have believed upon him (John 3:16 and 1:12). Scripture contains various descriptions of the church, including the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12-14, 25:27), the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32), a spiritual house (building; Ephesians 2:19-22), an holy nation (I Peter 2:9), and God’s elect (Colossians 3:12). “Church” literally means “called-out ones.” The first council describes the church age as “God taking out of the Gentiles a people for His name” (Act 15:14). While the church receives the Old Testament spiritual promises promised to national Israel, the church is not Israel (Romans 11:25), is not an earthly nation (Hebrews 12:22-23) and its mission is not to take political and governmental control of the world through evangelism. It is rather planted in the earth and grows hidden in the hearts of men as opposed to publicly in political structures (Matthew chapter 13). The overarching purposes of God do, indeed, include political domination of the earth (Revelation 20:6; I Corinthians 15:24); however, this will be accomplished at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19), not during the Church Age.
- Mission: The mission of the Church is to be the recipients of, and to carry the good news of Jesus Christ to the world (Matthew 28:19). This includes bringing to bear every acceptable resource to the accomplishing of these ends.
- Mandate: The church is held in tension between its theological mandate (preserving truth, Jude 3) and its apostolic mandate (disseminating truth, Matthew 28:19), neither of which is effective, except as done by, and in, the Spirit. Attempting to “do God’s work” minus this anointing invariably leads to destruction of the polarity and inevitable distortion of both the church’s mission and identity.
- Revival: The church is a dynamic, living entity whose motive power is the Spirit. Discipleship is completely voluntary without coercion. The church is authentically the church only as it is the incarnation of the mission of God in the earth, which mission is to bring renewed life – salvation (re-vive-al) to all who will. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John. 12:32).