We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His righteousness and shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12-13; Romans 5:18; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Salvation, therefore, is totally of God, and includes, though is not limited to, the following realities:
We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies, leaving the rest in their sin to their just condemnation (Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate human responsibility or the need to repent (Isaiah 55:6-7; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10) and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (John 3:18-19, 36; 5:39-40; Romans 10:9-10). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).
We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not owing to any initiative on their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7).
We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love. This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 9-11; Ephesians 1-2).
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in which spiritually dead people are made spiritually alive (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23-25). Regeneration is part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of glorifying Christ, for the instantaneous effect of regeneration—and thus the first evidence of regeneration—is repentance of sins and faith in Jesus Christ as the divine provision of salvation (1 John 5:1). Regeneration is, therefore, the efficient cause of faith in Christ, however regeneration and faith are temporally coincident and inseparably united. Regeneration is manifested further by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (Romans 7:4-6; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 1:22-23), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such conformity reaches its climax in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares us righteous. Specifically, through the instrument of faith we are united to Christ, the result of which union involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us as the only basis for our justification (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Thus, we are freely given an “alien” righteousness, which is apart from any inherent virtue or work of our own doing (Romans 3:20; 4:6; Philippians 3:8-9). By this means God is enabled to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26) and who believes in God who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 4:24-25).
We teach that there is a “positional sanctification” in which every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This positional sanctification is instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. Positional sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 10:10; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach also that the Holy Spirit causes a “progressive sanctification” in which every believer grows in personal holiness, so that their moral condition is made gradually to conform to the positional (legal) standing they enjoy through justification. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, by means of the Word, prayer, and fellowship, believers grow in holiness and become more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17-19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23).
We teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin in this life is not promised, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9). Furthermore, we teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Bible as an aspect of sanctification (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17), and we affirm that the Christian life is a life of faith-filled obedience characterized by happy blessedness (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 3:1-10). Salvation involves not merely being saved from sin’s penalty, but also being saved from sin’s power over us, as well as being saved for joyful submission to Christ. Therefore, separation from sin is a vital part of our salvation.
We teach that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. Therefore, it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word (John 5:24; 6:37- 40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 12-17, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Jude 24).