Our Beliefs About God, Man And The Gospel
This statement of beliefs is taken from Grace Gospel Church in Apopka Florida, pastored by Greg Elmquist. It is an execellent summary of what the authors at this website believe about God and salvation. If you do an honest, Spirit-led study of these issues you will have to agree that the statements below are in full agreement with what God says – in Scripture – about Himself, about fallen mankind and about His one and only plan of salvation.
To answer this question properly, much needs to be said by way of introduction. However, for the sake of time, allow us to outline the difference as simply as we can. We will only make three brief introductory points. First, what we believe is rooted in WHO we believe. This is not an intellectual or academic exercise. It is a living relationship with Jesus, THE Christ, the Lord of glory, our Savior. That is the reason we refuse to allow our desire to be a witness for Him to be reduced to a debate. Second, the differences in what we believe are not a matter of theological emphases. Denominations have been created over one doctrine or tradition being emphasized over another. The difference in what we believe and what most believe is the difference in eternal life and eternal death. Third, we understand, from personal experience, that the only way to savingly see the difference between the truth and a lie is by the free and sovereign grace of God. He is the only one that can make us to differ from another. So, what are the differences?
1. We do not believe God loves everybody. We believe the love of God is only to be found in Christ, and that was determined by God before the world began. [Ephesians 1:4]
2. We do not believe Christ died for everybody. He laid down His life for the sheep not the goats. It is not for us to try to figure out which one men are. His sheep will hear His voice and they will follow Him. Christ purposed to save His elect, and He fulfilled all He came to do. [John 10:26-27; Isaiah 42:1-4]
3. We do not believe God, in any way, wills all men to be saved. God is God. His will is always accomplished. If He willed all men to be saved then all men would be saved. The purpose of God according to election will stand [Romans 9:11, 8:28]
4. We do not believe man has a “free will”. Man’s will is in bondage to his sinful nature. It is not free to choose Christ. Man left to himself is unable to believe. God must make him willing through the miracle of the new birth. [John 3:3]
5. We do not believe the gospel is an “offer” of salvation to be accepted by man. The gospel is the declaration of the “good news” that Christ has DONE everything necessary to secure the salvation of His people. God is not waiting for us to DO something to make what Christ did work for us. [2Timothy 1:9], [“It is finished!”- John 19:30]. This message of grace is irresistible to the elect.
6. We do not believe our faith is the effectual cause of our salvation. The Faith OF Christ is the only faith that makes us accepted before a holy God. Gal.2:16 Our faith is a gift of God given IN, not FOR salvation. [Ephesians 2:8-9]
7. We do not believe the Bible is a rule book for Christian living. We believe it is in its entirety a revelation of the glorious person and accomplished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He Himself is our rule of life. [Luke 24:44-45]
8. In short, we believe that “salvation is of the Lord”. He gets all the glory for saving a dead dog sinner such as I. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. God, our Heavenly Father, purposed the salvation of His chosen people in the covenant of grace before the world began. Christ, the Son of God, accomplished everything necessary for Righteousness and Justice on behalf of those chosen. The Holy Spirit, at the appointed time, gives the elect ears to hear and hearts to believe. He then keeps them in Christ until their sojourn in this world is over. At that time, they will see Christ in all His glory and be made like Him. — from Greg Elmquist, pastor, Grace Gospel Church, Apopka, FL.
Christ Died For The Ungodly
by Horatius Bonar
The divine testimony concerning man is, that he is a sinner. God bears witness against him, not for him; and testifies that "there is none righteous, no, not one"; that there is "none that doeth good"; none "that understandeth"; none that even seeks after God, and, still more, none that loves Him (Psa. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12). God speaks of man kindly, but severely; as one yearning over a lost child, yet as one who will make no terms with sin, and will "by no means clear the guilty." <continued>