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“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister….” Colossians 1:19-23

It was the plan of God the Father to send His only-begotten Son into the world, a true man, to establish peace between God and man by shedding His holy and precious blood upon the cross for the sins of the whole world. And that is what Jesus has done through His death and resurrection. He took the sins of all mankind upon Himself and paid in full the just punishment, atoning for the sins of all, that we might be reconciled to God. His resurrection is proof that God accepted His sacrifice as full payment for mankind’s sin.

The people of Colosse, as well as you and I, were at one time separated from God and alienated from Him in our minds because of wicked works. Instead of loving God and gladly and willingly seeking His perfect will, we were in rebellion against Him and went our own way, desiring and doing what we deemed to be pleasing and best for us.

But even while we were yet in rebellion against our God and Maker, He gave His Son to redeem us, pay the price for our sins and win our reconciliation (cf. Rom. 5:6-11). The Colossians — and all believers today — are reconciled only “in the body of His flesh through death.”

And why did Jesus die for our sins, and the sins of the world? Why did He pay the price for our reconciliation and the reconciliation of all mankind? That He might present us “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

Jesus died on the cross and paid the just punishment for your sins and mine — indeed, for the sins of the whole world — that He might present us to Himself without sin, unblameable and unreproveable in His sight! Jesus paid the penalty for your sins and mine that God might pardon and forgive us and that we might be presented to the Father free of all sin and guilt.

How are we reconciled and forgiven? How can we be presented holy and righteous and unblameable in His sight? Through faith in Jesus! This pardon and forgiveness, this reconciliation won for us by Christ Jesus, becomes our own simply by believing the Word of God which promises to us reconciliation and forgiveness through Jesus’ blood shed for us on the cross! That is how the believers in Colosse were reconciled and became saints in God’s eyes, and that is how you and I can be reconciled and presented holy and righteous before our heavenly Father.

It is as Paul says: “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven.” The Holy Spirit worked faith in the Colossian believers’ hearts and He continues to call us to faith in Jesus yet today. It is “faith of the operation of God” (Col. 2:12) because it is God the Holy Spirit who creates such faith in our hearts through the preaching of the Gospel.

Jesus, God the Son in human flesh, atoned for the sins of all by His innocent sufferings and death in our stead. He reconciled the Colossians, and He reconciles you and me, by paying in full upon the cross and then bringing us to trust in Him for pardon and forgiveness. In Jesus, there is reconciliation and forgiveness. Through faith in Jesus, we can be presented before God the Father holy and without blame.

Trust in Jesus — He has done it all and we are complete in Him! Believe what God tells you in His Word. By the working of God’s Spirit, trust that through faith in Jesus, no matter how great your sins have been, you have forgiveness and life in God’s eternal kingdom. Trust that in Jesus you are indeed counted by God as “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

O Jesus precious Savior, thank You for going to the cross and shedding Your holy and precious blood to redeem me and make me acceptable and righteous in Your sight. Grant me faith to trust in You for pardon and forgiveness, and preserve me in that faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from King James Version of the Bible]

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“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12 (cf. Prov. 16:25).

This verse appears in two places in the Book of Proverbs (the verses are identical in the Hebrew) and that, perhaps, should draw our attention to the truth expressed by these words: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

What does it mean? People think they are doing right and walking in the right way but they are wrong! Instead of leading to life eternal, the end result of their path in this life is death and eternal damnation!

And, how true this is! People are convinced that they know God and are walking in His ways when, in fact, they have formed an image of God in their minds which is inconsistent with the God who has revealed Himself to mankind in the Bible.

Thus, so many assume that God just loves and accepts everyone as they are and would condemn no one to hell — except for, maybe, the worst of criminals. They think that the way to be acceptable to God is through love and tolerance of the views and lifestyles of others — except, maybe the views and lifestyles of Bible-believing Christians, whom they regard as unloving and intolerant.

And their way seems right to them. It fits their way of thinking and their views regarding God.

“But the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Instead of receiving in faith the life that God offers and gives through faith in the Son, Christ Jesus, they are on their way to eternal death and damnation while thinking they are on the path of life.

And, of course, this is a danger for all of us. We are convinced we are on the right path, that we are headed to eternal life and joy in heaven, but are we? The only way to know is to compare our views about God and our lives to His revelation in the pages of Holy Scripture. Our hearts and minds are infected and corrupted by sin and easily deceive us, but His Word “is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps. 19:8; cf. Jer. 17:9).

The Bible teaches that God’s commandments are good and right and reveal His will for us (Rom. 7:12). The problem is that we fail to keep them as He requires (Rom. 7:10ff.). As the Bible says, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20).

And what does the Bible say of God? It teaches us that He is a just God who punishes sin but also a merciful God who forgives transgression and sin when we repent and look to Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for pardon and forgiveness.

God Himself says, “I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:5-6; cf. 34:6-7).

In Psalm 130, we read: “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared … Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (3-4,7-8; cf. Ps. 32:1-5).

The Bible calls upon all to “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19; cf. Luke 24:46-47).

If we continue on in our sinful ways, the end result is death, spiritual and eternal. If, by the grace of God, we repent and look in faith to the perfect life and innocent sufferings and death of Christ Jesus in our stead, the end result is God’s pardon and forgiveness and His gift of life eternal! “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

What does all this mean for you and for me? The answer is quite clear:

1) Don’t assume you are on the right path. Rather, examine your faith and life in the light of Holy Scripture that you might know the truth and see your sinfulness and your need for a Savior.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (2 Cor. 13:5).

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

2) Don’t assume you are righteous and acceptable to God because of your belief in God and your Christian life, but acknowledge and repent of your sins and place your faith in the blood of Christ shed for you to atone for your sins and the sins of the world.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 1:7 — 2:2).

3) Don’t assume you can maintain your faith and life apart from God’s means but continue in His Word and Sacraments that the Holy Spirit may continue His gracious working in you and preserve you in the true faith unto life everlasting.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14-15).

In regard to the Lord’s Supper, Jesus commanded His disciples: “This do ye…” (1 Cor. 11:25).

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

God graciously grant to you a right knowledge of the truth that you may repent of all sins and evil and trust in the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ for pardon and forgiveness. Amen.

The Confession
I now ask you in the presence of Almighty God, who searcheth the heart: Do you truly acknowledge, confess, and lament that you are by nature sinful and that by omitting to do good and by doing evil you have in thought, word and deed, grieved and offended your God and Saviour, and thereby justly deserved His condemnation? If this be the sincere confession of your hearts, declare it by saying: Yes.

Answer: Yes.

Do you truly believe that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and that all who believe on His Name receive the forgiveness of sins? Do you, therefore, earnestly desire to be delivered from all your sins, and are you confident that it is the gracious will of your Heavenly Father, for Christ’s Sake, to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness? If so, confess it by saying: Yes.

Answer: Yes.

Is it your earnest purpose, henceforth, to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, so as to hate and forsake all manner of sin, to live as in God’s presence, and to strive daily after holiness of heart and life? If so, answer: Yes.

Answer: Yes.

Let us humbly kneel, and make confession unto God, imploring His forgiveness through Jesus Christ our Lord.

O God, our Heavenly Father, I confess unto Thee that I have grievously sinned against Thee in many ways; not only by outward transgression but also by secret thoughts and desires which I cannot fully understand but which are all known unto Thee. I do earnestly repent, and am heartily sorry for these my offenses, and I beseech Thee of Thy great goodness to have mercy upon me and, for the sake of Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, to forgive my sins and graciously to help my infirmities. Amen.

The Absolution
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us and, for the sake of the sufferings, death and resurrection of His dear Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, forgiveth us all our sins. As a minister of the Church of Jesus Christ, and by His authority, I, therefore, declare unto you who do truly repent and believe in Him, the entire forgiveness of all your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

[On the other hand, by the same authority, I declare unto the impenitent and unbelieving, that so long as they continue in their impenitence, God hath not forgiven their sins, and will assuredly visit their iniquities upon them if they turn not from their evil ways and come to true repentance and faith in Christ ere the day of grace be ended.]

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven: Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

The Collect for Peace
O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels and all just works do proceed, give unto Thy servants that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Thy commandments, and also that by Thee, we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen

The Benediction:
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:15-18

Who is Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul answers that question in unmistakable terms. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” In other words, if you desire to know God, know Jesus, for He is God Himself in human flesh.

The Gospel of John (1:1,14,18) states of Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth … No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

Jesus is the firstborn of all creation – not in the sense of being created, but in that all was created by Him and for Him, and He is the inheritor of all. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Again, the Gospel of John says (1:3,4): “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

Jesus is before all things, for in the beginning He was. He is the great “I AM,” Jehovah God in the flesh (cf. Ex. 3:14; John 8:58).

Jesus is the head of the body, the church, for He loved the church and gave Himself for it – suffering and dying upon the cross for the sins of all – that He might present the church (all who have faith in Christ) to Himself, “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Col. 1:22; cf. Eph. 5:25ff.).

Jesus is the firstborn from the dead because He died for the sins of all and rose again from the dead on the third day. He is firstborn because all who trust in Him for forgiveness and life will also be raised up with glorified bodies on the last day to live and reign with Him forever in His eternal kingdom.

Paul’s point to the Colossian believers and to us? Jesus is indeed God Himself in human flesh, being miraculously conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, and we are complete in Him. He is our creator and He has accomplished our salvation by His innocent sufferings and death in our stead. As He rose from the dead on the third day, so He will raise up on the last day all who trust in Him and grant them life everlasting in His heavenly kingdom. Christ Jesus is our life and hope! We need look nowhere else!

O dearest Lord Jesus, Son of God and Son of man, thank You for creating us and giving us life; and thank You for redeeming us with Your holy and precious blood shed for us on the cross that we might be granted forgiveness, new life and a place with You in Your eternal kingdom. Keep us steadfast in You. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible]

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“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” Psalm 19:12-13

So many times, we do not even see or understand that we have sinned. We don’t recognize our faults and don’t realize that we are unclean before our holy God and deserving of nothing but His eternal wrath and punishment.

When we read and study God’s Word, it reveals our sinfulness. The Holy Spirit, who authored the Scriptures, shows us what God desires of us and reveals to us that we do not measure up and have garnered the wages of our sinfulness — eternal death and damnation!

That is why David, in Psalm 19, says, “Who can understand his errors?” and prays that God would cleanse him from his secret faults — faults that he does not even see in himself and recognize.

This is also what we do in our general confession when we ask God to forgive us all our sins of thought, word and deed, both sins of omission and sins of commission. We ask God to forgive us all our sins for Jesus’ sake, those we know and recognize as sin and even those sins we do not know and feel in our hearts.

And, we are assured that God, for the sake of Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Indeed, the Bible tells us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (cf. 1 John 1:9). And this is so because “Jesus Christ the righteous … is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2).

Presumptuous Sins

David continues his prayer: “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.”

What are presumptuous sins? we might ask. These are those sins we know are wrong and contrary to God’s commandments and, yet, we willfully choose to go ahead and do them, presuming that God will deal with us in mercy and not condemn us for our wickedness.

John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress) once referred to sin as “the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.” And this is a fitting description of presumptuous sins. Those who commit them treat the blood of Christ, shed for the sins of all upon the cross, as a common and worthless thing to be used as a license to indulge in the sinful desires of our flesh (cf. Heb. 10:26-31). Presumptuous sins are, indeed, the “rape of His mercy” in Christ Jesus!

And, of course, the Scriptures warn against them, telling us that, if we go on sinning wilfully after we have learned of Christ, we should not expect to receive pardon and forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice (Heb. 10:26-27; 2 Pet. 2:18-22).
Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

To the believers in Ephesus, he wrote: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them” (Eph. 5:5-7).

To the churches of Galatia, he wrote: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

That is why David prays that the Lord would hold him back from following his own lusts and committing presumptuous sins. He recognized that His sinful flesh longed to plunge forward into sin and He needed God to hold him back from such sin and eternal ruin.

David adds, “Let them not have dominion over me.”

David knew well the dangers of presumptuous sin. Going against his knowledge of God’s commandments, he lusted after Bathsheba and committed adultery with her. Then, he tried to hide and cover up his sin and ended up murdering Bathsheba’s husband Uriah to do it. And, had God not sent Nathan the prophet to rebuke David and call him to repentance, he would have been lost forever (Read 2 Samuel 11-12).

Sin is deceitful and, once we give in to its desire, we easily become entangled and enslaved by it. We know it’s wrong to drink to excess or take mind-altering drugs but, once we give in, we find ourselves giving in again and again until we cannot stop. We know that sexual immorality, pornography and adultery are wrong but, once we give in just a little, we become addicted and enslaved. We know it is wrong to be dishonest in our dealings with others but one deception leads to another and another. We know we should take the time to hear God’s Word and worship and serve Him but, once we start neglecting to do so, it becomes easier and easier.

The apostle Paul wrote: “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:15-16).

Thus, we pray with David, “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.”

We ask God to graciously forgive all our sins — both those we know and those which are unknown to us — for the sake of Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, and God pardons our sins for Jesus’ sake. And we pray that God would keep us back from following our sinful desires into presumptuous sins which so easily entangle and ensnare us and lead us away from Christ Jesus our Savior to our eternal ruin!

O gracious and merciful God, we have sinned in our thoughts, desires, words and actions. Some of our sins we know and recognize and others are known only to You. Forgive all our sins for Jesus’ sake. Cleanse our hearts and souls and make us acceptable in Your sight through the shed blood of Christ Jesus. Keep us back from presumptuous sins and do not let them gain the upper hand and rule over us. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible]

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The summary statements which follow are not offered as a new confession of faith. We have a public confession of faith in our unqualified subscription to the creeds and confessions contained in the Book of Concord of 1580 as a true and right exposition of the teaching of God’s Word. Nor are they offered to replace the use of Luther’s Small Catechism for instruction in the Christian Faith; we continue to use Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms for instruction and edification in our study of God’s Word. The statements which follow are offered only as an outline and summary of the teaching of the Bible on various subjects so that we may be clear on what we believe and teach and that we might provide the Scriptural basis for these teachings.

As such, it is hoped that the following statements will be read and studied with a Bible in hand to diligently search the Scriptures and verify that these things are indeed so (Acts 17:11).

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WORD OF GOD

We believe that each and every word, as well as the entirety and whole, of the Holy Scriptures was given by inspiration of God and is, therefore, the true and unerring Word of God (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:13; John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Samuel 23:1-2).

We also believe that the Word of God has not been lost or corrupted, but has been faithfully preserved by God down through the centuries as a witness to all the nations (Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 40:8; I Peter 1:25; Matthew 24:14,35). We believe that it is still accurately recorded in the Hebrew and Greek texts and manuscripts commonly used and accepted by the Church down through the centuries and that it can be read and studied in faithful Bible translations such as the King James Version and the New King James Version. We discourage the use of texts and translations of the Bible which are unfaithful and would change, add to or take away from the Word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; Jeremiah 23:28; Matthew 5:18-19; Revelation 22:18-19).

Since all of Holy Scripture is God’s true and unerring Word, we teach that the Bible is to be the source and judge of all Christian doctrine. What is not in accord with God’s Word is not to be taught as Christian doctrine (Isaiah 8:20; Jeremiah 23:28-32; Psalm 119:128; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 17:11).

The Bible is also its own interpreter; thus, passage interpretations which are not in agreement with other clear passages of Holy Scripture are to be rejected (2 Peter 1:20-21; Isaiah 8:20).

We teach that the Bible is to be diligently studied and heard; for it reveals to mankind the only way of salvation, which is through faith in Christ Jesus, and it guides the Christian in living according to God’s Holy will (John 5:39; 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Psalm 119:105).

GOD

We believe that there is only one true God (Isaiah 44:6; 1 Corinthians 8:4). This God (called the LORD or JEHOVAH) is one divine Being or Essence, but three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (thus the name, Triune or Three/One God), each being eternal and equal in power and majesty because each Person is the LORD God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; 1 John 5:7; Isaiah 48:16-17; John 1:1; Colossians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 4:14).

We believe that no one can worship or serve the Triune God except he believes that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and the Savior of mankind from sin and its consequences (John 3:18,36; 5:23; 14:6; 1 John 2:23; 5:11-12). Hence, all who deny the Trinity of God (that God is three Persons) or the Unity of God (that God is one divine Being), or who do not trust in Jesus Christ, the Son, for salvation, do not worship and serve the true God.

CREATION

We believe that the LORD God created the heavens, the earth, and all things in six normal-length days; that this occurred only about six thousand years ago (ca. B.C. 4,000) rather than millions and billions of years ago; that all things were originally created good and without sin; and that God created and still preserves all things by His almighty Word (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 33:6; 139:13-16; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2-3; 11:3; Old Testament genealogical records). We, therefore, reject all teaching and theory which contradicts the Biblical record of creation, including atheistic and theistic evolution and other (falsely called “scientific”) theories which suggest that the earth and life came to exist by chance over millions or billions of years.

ANGELS

We believe that the LORD God, when He created the heavens and the earth, also created a great number of angels to carry out His commands and do His will (Nehemiah 9:6; Exodus 20:11; Colossians 1:16; Psalm 104:4; 103:20-21; Daniel 7:10). These angels are spirits of great power and strength (Psalm 103:20; 2 Kings 19:35). We believe that a large number of these angels sinned and fell away from the LORD God shortly after creation and that the devil and the other evil angels who fell away with him are reserved unto the judgment of eternal torment in hell (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Matthew 25:41). Until the last day, these evil spirits continue to oppose God and His will and seek the destruction of God’s works (Genesis 3:1ff.; Revelation 12; John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Job 1-2; Matthew 4:1-11). The great number of angels who remained faithful to the LORD God is now confirmed in their holy estate and continue to carry out God’s commands and serve the needs of Christians (Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 18:10; 25:31; Psalm 91:11-12; 103:20-21).

MAN

We believe that the first man and woman were created by God (Adam’s body from the dust of the ground, and Eve’s from the rib of Adam); that they were given a rational and immortal soul (not being unintelligent or brutish) and were created for eternal life; and that they were created in the image of the LORD God, having a knowledge of God and His will and being righteous and holy in thoughts, desires, words and deeds (Genesis 1:26-28,31; 2:7,18-25; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).

We believe that Adam and Eve sinned as described in Genesis, chapter three; that, as a result of this sin, all men are conceived and born in sin and are inclined to evil (having lost the image of God); that, as sinners, all of mankind stands condemned by God’s holy Law to eternal suffering in hell; and that all people, as they are by nature, are unable to do God-pleasing works or reconcile themselves to God and thus escape His wrath and punishment (Psalm 51:5; Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Romans 3:10-20,23; 5:12,18-19; Galatians 3:10; James 2:10-11; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Isaiah 64:6; John 3:6; 15:5-6; Psalm 49:7-9).

JESUS CHRIST AND REDEMPTION

We believe that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God from eternity, and also true man, being conceived by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless and holy life under God’s Law in the stead of all mankind and then suffered and died upon the cross, paying the just penalty for the sins of all people, and rose again from the dead on the third day (John 1:1,14; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25; Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21-24; 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We believe that Jesus Christ, by His holy life and innocent sufferings and death in our stead, has redeemed and made atonement to God for the sins all people (Hebrews 2:14-17; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Colossians 1:19-22; Galatians 3:10,13; Romans 3:23-26; 4:25; 5:6-11,18-19; John 1:29; 1 John 2:1-2; Isaiah 53).

JUSTIFICATION

We believe that, for the sake of Jesus Christ’s holy life and innocent sufferings and death upon the cross for the sins of the world, God’s just wrath is propitiated and satisfied and God offers pardon and forgiveness to all in the Gospel (1 John 2:1-2; Ephesians 1:6-7; 2 Corinthians 5:19,21; Romans 3:23-26; 4:25; 5:18-19). God justifies people, forgives them, reconciles them and counts them righteous in His sight when they receive in faith the Gospel promise offering forgiveness and life eternal in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:28; 4:5; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 10:43). We reject as false all teachings which would make a man’s justification dependent upon his own works and merits, his own will or decision, or any justification apart from God-wrought faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus for the sins of all (Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 2:16; John 1:12-13).

FAITH IN CHRIST

We believe that it is through faith alone – and not of works – that a sinner receives the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation which Christ Jesus won for all by His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross. Such faith, which is also a gracious gift of God worked by the Holy Spirit, is to believe and apply to one’s self the Gospel promise, the good news that God is gracious to us and forgives our sins for the sake of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work (John 3:16; Galatians 2:16; Romans 1:16-17; 3:20-28; 4:3-8; 5:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-9,11-18; Philippians 1:6,29; Colossians 2:12). We also believe that no one can be saved without such faith in Christ, for all who do not believe the Gospel message and trust in Christ alone for their salvation remain guilty in their sins and will be condemned to eternal suffering in hell, having rejected the only salvation provided by God – that won by the atoning sacrifice of His Son for the sins of the world (John 3:18,36; 8:24; Mark 16:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

CONVERSION

We believe that conversion is the turning of a lost and condemned sinner from unbelief to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. This occurs when a man, condemned by the Law of God, is brought to faith in the Gospel and believes that God, for the sake of Christ’s redemption, is gracious to him and forgives all his sins (Acts 2:37ff.; 3:19; 11:21; 16:29-34; 26:18; Titus 3:3-7; Isaiah 55:7). We believe that conversion is entirely the result of God’s gracious working in us; for man, as he is by nature, is spiritually blind, dead and an enemy of God and, therefore, cannot by his own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ as Savior or come to Him (Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 3:10-18; Genesis 6:5; 8:21; John 1:12-13; 3:3-6; 6:44,63,65; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 12:3; Colossians 2:11-15; Philippians 1:29; Jeremiah 31:18; 1 Peter 1:2-5, 23-25). We, therefore, reject as false all teaching which attributes a man’s conversion to his own will or decision rather than to God’s grace alone, and also any teaching which would limit God’s gracious desire and working for the salvation of all men.

REPENTANCE

We believe that true repentance consists of a troubled conscience (godly sorrow) over one’s sins and sinfulness and of faith in God’s mercy and forgiveness for the sake of Jesus Christ and His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross for our sins and the sins of the whole world. It is a coming to the knowledge and conviction of one’s utter sinfulness and of the punishment of God justly deserved; and it is a turning to God in faith, trusting that He will mercifully forgive our sins and accept us as His own dear children for the sake of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross (Psalm 51; Psalm 32; Romans 3:9-28; Mark 1:4, 15; Acts 2:36ff.; 3:19; 20:17-21; 26:20; Isaiah 55:6-7; Luke 24:45-47; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Ephesians 1:3ff.; 2 Peter 3:9). We also teach that a fruit of genuine repentance is a new and amended life lived for our God and Savior (Luke 3:3, 7-17; Acts 26:20; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Romans 6:1ff.; 1 John 1:5-10; 2:1-6; Isaiah 1:16-20; Ephesians 2:8-10).

We believe that a true Christian lives his life here in this world in continual and daily repentance; that is, acknowledging his sins and failures to the LORD God and receiving His mercy and forgiveness for Christ’s sake – as well as the needed help and strength to amend his life and live for the LORD God (1 John 1:8 – 2:2; Psalm 32; Psalm 51; Psalm 86:5; Ephesians 1:15-23; Philippians 4:13). We, therefore, reject the false teaching that true believers do not sin and thus do not need to continue in repentance, or that God cannot bring a fallen believer back to repentance or will not forgive the sins of those who have fallen and returned to repentance.

GOOD WORKS

We believe that, while good works cannot justify a man in the sight of God or merit God’s grace and favor, good works are commanded by God in the Holy Scripture (Romans 3:10-20,28,31; 10:4; 12:1-2; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 2:11-14; Psalm 119:1-5,35). Good works are those things a child of God does, speaks or thinks as a fruit of saving faith in Christ Jesus which are in accord with God’s commandments, are for the glory of God and the benefit of his neighbor, and are motivated by love for God and neighbor (Psalm 119:9,133; Psalm 19:14; Proverbs 12:5; Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Matthew 15:9; 22:36-40; John 14:15; Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 13:1-3; Luke 10:25-37). We believe and teach that no man can perform such works unless he first has faith in Christ as Savior and is regenerated by the Holy Spirit (John 15:1-5; Hebrews 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 2:11-14; 3:3-8). Good works of believers are acceptable in God’s sight only for Christ’s sake – because God, for the sake of Jesus Christ’s innocent sufferings and death, pardons the sins and impure motives of His children (Isaiah 64:6; 1 John 1:7ff.).

MEANS OF GRACE

We believe that God offers, gives and assures to men the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation which Christ won for all by His innocent sufferings and death on the cross through certain means: namely, the Word of the Gospel, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. Through these means, God the Holy Spirit graciously tells us of Christ Jesus and the salvation He won for us and all people by His atoning sacrifice upon the cross; and He assures us that, for Christ’s sake and through faith in His name, we are forgiven of all sins and have everlasting life in heaven (Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Romans 1:16-17; 10:15; Acts 2:38-39; 22:16; Colossians 2:11-15; 1 Peter 3:21; Matthew 28:19; 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; 10:16-17). We believe that it is through these means of grace that the Holy Spirit creates and sustains saving faith in men’s hearts (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:2,23-25; 2:2; John 3:5-6; Titus 3:5; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:23ff.; Philippians 1:6).

GOSPEL

We believe that the Gospel is the good news of man’s redemption in Christ Jesus. It is the proclamation that Christ died for all sins and rose again and that God, for the sake of Christ’s innocent sufferings and death upon the cross, forgives sins and offers and gives everlasting life through faith in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16-17; 10:15; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Luke 24:46-47; Colossians 1:19-23; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:15; 2:3-7; John 3:14-16). We reject the teaching that the Gospel is a new law requiring love and good deeds for our fellow man.

BAPTISM

We believe that Baptism has been instituted by God to be a means whereby He offers, gives and assures to an individual the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation which Christ won for all by His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross (Colossians 2:11-15; 1 Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:26-29). In Christian Baptism, water is applied (by sprinkling, pouring or immersing) in the name of the Triune God (Matthew 28:19); and through Baptism, the Holy Spirit works to create and preserve saving faith in Christ Jesus, thus washing away sins and giving eternal salvation to all who believe (John 3:5; Titus 3:5; Acts 22:16; Mark 16:16).

We believe that all people are to be baptized – including infants and children, for they too can be brought to believe – and that those who reject Baptism forfeit the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation which God wills to give them through Baptism (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38-39; Luke 18:15-17; John 3:5-6; Matthew 18:6; Luke 7:30).

LORD’S SUPPER

We believe that, when the Lord’s Supper is observed according to Christ’s institution, Jesus offers and gives to those who partake of the bread and the cup (wine) in His Supper His body and blood which were given and shed upon the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the remission of all sins – indeed, the Scriptures say in 1 Corinthians 11:23ff.: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (Cf. Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; 10:16.)

Those who partake of Christ’s Supper with a penitent heart and faith in Christ’s words receive through this new covenant meal the forgiveness of sins and the eternal salvation won for them by Christ’s atoning sacrifice, but those who partake of Christ’s Supper in impenitence and without faith in Christ and His words partake of the Supper to their own condemnation, not discerning the Lord’s body and treating the blood of the covenant by which they were redeemed as an unholy thing (Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32; Hebrews 10:29). Therefore, we receive at the Lord’s Table only those who profess the true Christian doctrine and are able to examine themselves; and we exclude others who have not yet been instructed in the true Christian Faith or who continue to live in open disobedience to God’s Word (1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 16:17; Ephesians 5:11).

PRAYER

We believe that prayer is an act of worship in which Christians call upon the LORD God with their hearts and voices, offering up praise and thanksgiving to God and making requests of Him (Psalm 5:1-3; 19:14; 103:1; 95:1-6; 96:1-13). Though prayer is not a means of grace, it is a great privilege that God gives to those who trust in Christ Jesus for their salvation (1 John 5:11-15; Romans 8:15; John 16:23). Since God commands His children to come to Him in prayer, and promises to answer the prayers of those who have saving faith in Christ Jesus, we believe that every true Christian should pray regularly and in all things (Matthew 7:7-8; Psalm 50:15; Philippians 4:6; Isaiah 65:24; Psalm 65:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

HOLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH

We believe that there is only one Holy Christian Church and that this Church is made up only of true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, of those who have despaired of their own righteousness before God and trust that God is gracious to them and forgives all their sins for the sake of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work (Matthew 16:16-18; Ephesians 2:8-22; 4:4-6; 5:23-32; 1:22-23; Romans 12:4-5; 8:9; Philippians 3:8-9). We believe that this Church is invisible in that God only, and not man, can see faith in the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Luke 17:20-21; 2 Timothy 2:19). Nevertheless, the Holy Christian Church does and will continue to exist in this world wherever the saving Gospel is still in use and the Sacraments are rightly administered (Matthew 16:18; 1 Kings 19:8-18; Isaiah 55:10-11; Romans 1:16-17; 10:17). We reject as false the claim that Christ’s Church in this world is to be identified with any particular denomination or church body.

LOCAL CHURCHES

We believe that the Holy Scriptures speak, not only of the Holy Christian Church, which is made up of all believers in Christ; they also speak of local churches or congregations of believers and command Christians in every locality to gather together with other faithful Christians and form congregations where they may establish the public ministry and mutually care for and encourage their fellow believers in the true and saving faith (2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; Revelation 1-3; Acts 2:41-47; 14:23; 20:28; Titus 1:5; Jeremiah 23:3-4; Hebrews 10:23-25; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:1-16; Matthew 18:15-20). Though the Bible speaks of one Church, made up of all true believers, and of local churches, there are not two kinds of churches; for even in the local churches, only the believers are truly members of Christ’s Church in that place (1 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 1:7). On the Last Day, the unbelieving and hypocrites who are outwardly connected with Christ’s Church in this world will be separated from the believing and cast into the fires of hell (Matthew 13:24-43, 47-50).

CHURCH FELLOWSHIP

We believe that God commands all Christians to discriminate between churches which are faithful to Christ and that which is taught in His Word (orthodox churches) and those which are not faithful to Christ and His Word (false and heterodox churches) and to practice church fellowship (joining together in those things which one would do with fellow believers, such as, worship, prayer, reception of the Lord’s Supper, evangelism, mission work, etc.) only with those who are faithful to Christ and His holy Word (Matthew 28:18-20; 7:15-23; John 8:31-32; 1 John 4:1-6; Acts 2:42; Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 John 7-11). We, therefore, condemn as sin the syncretistic and unionistic practices of our day in which church fellowship is practiced and church union is sought without regard for full adherence to the Scriptural Doctrine.

A church’s faithfulness to Christ and His Word is to be judged, not only by its acceptance of and subscription to an orthodox creed or confession but by what is actually taught and practiced in the church. Errors in both doctrine and practice will continue to trouble churches in this world (Acts 20:28-32; 1 Corinthians 11:19); but those which are faithful to Christ and His Word will, through Scriptural admonition and discipline, continue to combat and remove such error from among themselves (Matthew 18:15-18; 2 Timothy 3:13-17; 4:1-5; Titus 3:10-11).

OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY

We believe that Christ has given to His Church, the congregation of all true believers, the office of the holy ministry and has commanded that faithful men be called and ordained to preach God’s Word, forgive and retain sins, and to administer Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21-23; Jeremiah 23:3-4,28; Hebrews 10:19-25; Acts 14:23; 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-12; Titus 1:5-9; 2 Timothy 4:2). Only men meeting the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9 are to be entrusted with this office.

Though the public ministry of Word and Sacrament exists by the will and command of God, those holding this office have no authority and power but the Word of God (1 Peter 4:11; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 1:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Thus, obedience must be rendered to the public ministry only when the Word of God is faithfully proclaimed and applied (Hebrews 13:17; Luke 10:16).

We reject as contrary to God’s will and as sinful the current practice of placing women into the public ministry or other positions or offices where they must teach or exercise authority over men (1 Timothy 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

CHURCH AND STATE

We believe that both the Church and the State are ordained of God – the Church for the eternal salvation of men, and the State for the maintenance of external righteousness and order among men in this world (Matthew 16:16-19; Ephesians 2:8-9, 19-22; Colossians 1:18-24; Acts 2:41-47; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14; 1 Timothy 2:2). In order that men might be saved, the Church has been commanded to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47; Romans 1:16-17; 10:15,17; John 18:11,36-37; 20:22-23; 1 Cor. 11:23-29; 2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:10-18). To maintain civil order and righteousness in this world, civil governments have been given power and responsibility to enact just laws, to punish evildoers (including the use of the death penalty), and to wage just wars (1 Peter 2:13-14; Psalm 82:1-4; Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:3-4).

GOD’S GRACIOUS ELECTION

We believe that God desires the salvation of all men and has already, in His divine foreknowledge and from eternity, chosen those who believe and persevere in the faith to obtain eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and that this election and choosing of God is entirely of God’s grace and mercy in Christ Jesus, without any merit or worthiness on the part of men (2 Timothy 1:9; Matthew 22:14; Ephesians 1:3-14). We take comfort in the Bible’s promise that all those whom God has graciously chosen before the creation of the world and brought to saving faith in Christ through the Gospel will be preserved in that faith unto life everlasting (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-14; Matthew 24:22-24). This doctrine of Scripture gives to believers the assurance “that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

We reject as contrary to the Holy Scripture the teachings that God does not desire the salvation of all men; that He is the cause of unbelief and damnation in those who do not come to faith; or that God’s election is based upon some merit or quality in men (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 33:11; Matthew 23:37).

As to why some are saved and others are lost, we can only say with Scripture that God’s elect are saved entirely by God’s grace for Christ’s sake, and that the lost are so entirely of their own fault because they have “not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18; 12:48; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 7:51).

FINAL JUDGMENT

We believe that, at death, the souls of believers are taken to be with their Lord and Savior in heaven, and the souls of unbelievers begin suffering the eternal torments of hell (Luke 16:19-31; 23:43; Philippians 1:23; Revelation 14:13; 1 Peter 3:19; 2 Peter 2:4-9). On the Last Day, Jesus Christ will return to judge the living and the dead; and on that Day, all the dead will be raised up (John 5:28-29; Job 19:25-27; Revelation 20:11-15; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10). The wicked and unbelieving will be cast, both body and soul, into the everlasting torments of hell; but those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation will, according to both body and soul, dwell with Christ forever, enjoying the blessings of heaven (John 5:29; Matthew 10:28; Luke 16:23-24; Isaiah 66:24; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 John 3:2; John 3:36; 17:24; 14:1-3; Psalm 16:11). We believe that the Day of Christ’s return is known only to God and not to man (Matthew 24:29-42; Mark 13:32; 2 Peter 3:10). Therefore, we also reject as false all contrary doctrines, such as purgatory or limbo, an earthly millennial kingdom, a secret rapture, and attempts to predict the time of Christ’s return.

ANTICHRIST

We believe that though there have been and are many antichrists who oppose Christ and the true Word of God with their lies and false teaching, there is also one antichrist, the son of perdition, whose coming was foretold in the Scriptures (1 John 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). We also believe that this antichrist is none other than the Roman Papacy, for all the marks of this antichrist have been fulfilled in the papacy of Rome (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 13 & 17; cf. Galatians 1:6-9).

SABBATH DAY

We believe that the Old Testament observance of the Sabbath and other holy days has been abrogated by God and is not required of believers under the new covenant (Colossians 2:16-17; Romans 14:5-6). The Commandment regarding the Sabbath Day does still require us to regularly take time to hear and learn God’s Word and to worship Him (Exodus 20:8; Isaiah 58:13-14; Acts 2:42; Colossians 3:16; Psalm 119:15-16; 26:8; 111:1; 95:1-6; 96:1-2). For this reason, we have set aside Sundays and other feast days for the hearing of God’s Word and for our gathering together to worship the LORD our God (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 2:42). However, the observance of these certain days is a church ordinance made in Christian liberty rather than a divine command binding upon the conscience (Romans 14:5-6).

MARRIAGE AND BEARING CHILDREN

We believe that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman, that marriage was instituted by God and is entered by mutual consent and promise (Matthew 19:3-6; Genesis 2:18-24; Romans 7:1-3; Luke 20:27-38; Matthew 1:18-25; Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Therefore, we teach that it is sin to violate the marriage union by unfaithfulness or desertion (Matthew 19:3-9; 5:31-32; Mark 10:6-12; 1 Corinthians 7:10-16; Hebrews 13:4; Exodus 20:14; Malachi 2:14-16). With Scripture, we also condemn as sin: fornication (sexual relationships outside the bonds of Biblical marriage), sodomy, homosexuality and bestiality (Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

We believe that children are a blessing of the LORD and that the conception and formation of a child in the womb is the result of God’s creative working (Genesis 1:27-28; 25:21; 29:31; 30:22-23; Ruth 4:13; 1 Samuel 1:5,10-11,19-20; 2:21; Psalm 127:3-5; 128:1-6; 139:13-16; Ecclesiastes 11:5), and that it is God’s will and command that a husband and wife seek and desire to have children (Genesis 1:28; 9:1,7; 1 Timothy 2:15; 5:14).

We also believe that human life begins at conception and that it is murder to kill or destroy the life of an unborn child (Psalm 139:13-16; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Genesis 25:21-23; Genesis 9:5-6; Exodus 20:13). Therefore, we condemn as sin abortion – in all its forms – and reject as contrary to God’s will and intention the modern views and practices which would limit and discourage Christian parents from conceiving and bearing children.

SANCTITY OF LIFE

We believe that every human life is a creation of God and that every human life is precious to God, for God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7,21-22; 9:5-6; Psalm 139:13-16). We also believe that, except in the cases of punishing evildoers and waging just wars or taking just actions to protect life and property, God has reserved for Himself the right to end or destroy a human life (Genesis 9:5-6; Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:14; Exodus 20:13; Psalm 31:15; 39:4-5; 90:1-3; Job 14:1-12; Acts 17:24-28). Therefore, we must condemn as murder and sin the practice of abortion, euthanasia, self-inflicted death (suicide) and all other unjustified taking of human life.

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