Highland Baptist Church
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Helping People Follow Jesus
What We Believe
HIGHLAND'S STATEMENT OF FAITH
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament, the Holy Scripture. We believe that Scripture in its entirety originated with God, (2 Tim. 3:16) and that it was given through the instrumentality of chosen men. Scripture thus at one and the same time speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, styles and vocabularies of the human authors. We hold that the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God. (Rev. 22:18)
We believe that there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - each of whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning God created the world out of nothing and all the things therein, thus manifesting the glory of His power, wisdom and goodness. ( Gen. 1:1; John 1:3) By His sovereign power He continues to sustain His creation. By His providence He is operating throughout history to fulfill His redemptive purposes. (Romans 8:28; Ezk. 12:25; 2 Chron. 16:9; Heb. 13:8)
The central purpose of God's revelation in Scripture is to call all people into fellowship with Himself. (2 Pet. 3:9) Originally created to have fellowship with God, man defied God, (1 Cor. 1:9) choosing to go his independent way, and was thus alienated from God and suffered the corruption of his nature, rendering him unable to please God. (Gen. 3:1-24) The fall took place at the beginning of human history, and all individuals since have suffered these consequences (Rom. 5:12) and are thus in need of the saving grace of God. (Rom. 3:23) The salvation of mankind is, then, wholly a work of God's free grace, not the result, in whole or in part of human works or goodness, (Eph.2:4) and must be personally appropriated by repentance (1 John 1:9) and faith. (Romans 10:9-10) When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day of its full consummation. (Phil. 1:6; John 10:28-29)
Jesus Christ is the eternal second Person of the Trinity who was united forever with a true human nature (John 1:14) by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:34-35) He lived a life of perfect obedience (Heb. 4:15) to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all (Luke 22:42) by dying on the cross (Heb. 12:2; Col. 1:20) as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, (Luke 24:7, 46; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor. 15:4) in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven, (Acts 1:11) and sat down at the right hand of the Father, (Luke 22:69; Eph. 1:20; Col.3:1) where He, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. (Heb. 7:25) He shall come again to earth, (John 14:3) personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
The Christian Life (The Holy Spirit)
The essential accompaniment of a genuine saving relationship with Jesus Christ is a life of holiness (1 Peter 1:16) and obedience, (John 14:15) attained by believers as they submit to the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. He was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to mankind the saving work of Christ. (John 15:26, 16:13) He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them recognition of their need of a Savior and regenerates them. At the point of salvation He permanently indwells every believer (Eph. 4:30) with gifts for the upbuilding and edification (including those found in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and I Peter 4) of the body. All of the original gifts remain available to the church today and should be exercised in accordance with biblical guidelines. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scripture. His power and control are appropriated by faith, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character to bear fruit to the glory of the Father.
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. (Heb. 9:27) For all mankind, there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world, and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. (Matt. 8:12, 13:42; Luke 13:28) God's judgment will reveal His justice in consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life. (2 Cor. 5:10)
The corollary of union with Jesus Christ is that all believers become members of His body, the church. There is one true church universal, comprised of all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scripture commands believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, (Acts 2:42ff) observance of baptism and communions as the ordinances established by Jesus Christ, fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world. (Matt. 20:19-20) Wherever God's people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church. Under the watch care of elders and other supportive leadership, its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the one ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. (Phil. 2:1-11)