New Life Church Confession of Faith
God: We are a God-centered, Trinitarian church
There is one God, existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in His love and in His holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, He perfectly and completely knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about His eternal good purposes to redeem a people for Himself and restore His fallen creation, to the praise of His glorious grace.
The Scriptures: We are a church of the Word
The 66 books of Holy Scripture as originally given are in their entirety
the Word of God verbally inspired and wholly without error in all they declare.
They are the supreme and final authority of faith and life.
God has graciously disclosed his existence and power in the created order, and has supremely revealed himself to fallen human beings in the person of his Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, this God is a speaking God who by his Spirit has graciously disclosed himself in human words: we believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. We confess that both our finitude, our human limitations, and our sinfulness preclude the possibility of knowing God’s truth exhaustively, but we affirm that, enlightened by the Spirit of God, we can know God’s revealed truth truly. The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.
The Human Condition: We are all image-bearers, We are all sinners
Man was originally created in the image of God, yet fell into sin through the first Adam.
All men have inherited the sin nature and are themselves responsible
for the sins they commit, resulting in a separation from God.
We believe that Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness— for himself and all his progeny—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death—apart from God’s own gracious intervention. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.
Jesus Christ: We are a Christ-centered church
Our Lord Jesus Christ is God and Man in one person.
He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed miracles
and vicariously atoned for sin through His shed blood and death.
He was bodily resurrected from the dead,
He ascended to the right hand of God the Father,
and He will personally and bodily return in power and glory
We believe that, moved by love and in obedience to his Father, the eternal Son became human: the Word became flesh, fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven. As the mediatorial King, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty, and is our High Priest and righteous Advocate. We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross he canceled sin, propitiated (satisfied the just judgment of) God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe. By his resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all his people; by his ascension he has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with him.
Salvation, the Good News: We are a Gospel-Centered church
Salvation from everlasting punishment and entrance into a state of eternal fellowship with God
is only possible by a personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
We believe that salvation is found in nothing and no one else other than in faith in Jesus Christ, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation and being made right with God. We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged (paid) the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore in our stead (place) the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. By his perfect obedience he satisfied the just demands of God on our behalf, since by faith alone that perfect obedience is credited to all who trust in Christ alone for their acceptance with God. Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. No human being can ever boast before him—Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. We believe that a zeal for personal and public obedience flows from this free justification, that through faith in Jesus Christ we are set free to serve God and love others out of gratitude for God's saving grace.
The Holy Spirit: We are a Spirit-formed, Spirit-led church
The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers and enables them
to live a godly life through the work of sanctification.
We believe that salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to His people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and is present with and in believers through the proclamation of the Gospel. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. By His powerful and mysterious work, He regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening and persuading them to repentance and faith, baptizing them into union with the Lord Jesus, so they are justified before God. By the Spirit’s working, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive His sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is Himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
Christ's Return: We are an Expectant church
Both the saved and the lost will be resurrected from the dead.
The saved will be resurrected unto life and the lost will be resurrected
unto death which is eternal separation from God.
We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with His holy angels, when He will exercise His role as final Judge, and His kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in Hell, as our Lord Himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of Him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ; all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all, His people will be enthralled by His holiness, and everything will be to the praise of His glorious grace. Our belief in Christ's future return and the resurrection of the dead gives us perspective for living our lives in the present and compels us to be Christ's ambassadors until he returns.
The Church: We are the Body of Christ, sent into the world
The church is the body of Christ. There is a spiritual unity of all true believers
in our Lord Jesus Christ. The church is to spread the gospel throughout the world.
We believe that God’s new covenant people, His universal church is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only Head; thus each “local church” is, in fact, the church, the household of God, the assembly of the living God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth. The church is the body of Christ, the apple of his eye, graven on his hands, and he has pledged himself to her forever. The church is distinguished by her gospel message, her sacred ordinances — baptism and the Lord's Supper —, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, by her love for God, and by her members’ love for one another and for the world. Crucially, this gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: he has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers are neither to withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the community and world around us, for all the glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose creation this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The church serves as a sign of God’s future new world when its members live for the service of one another and their neighbors, rather than for self-focus. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness to God in the world.
*The italicized statements above are taken from Statement of Faith presented in the New Life Book of Church Order a more exhaustive compilation of the church's beliefs, government, and ministry. The explanatory paragraphs that follow are in large part drawn from the confessional statement included in the Foundation Documents of The Gospel Coalition, which were adopted by the Council of The Gospel Coalition on May 22, 2007, and revised on April 12, 2011, and are used by permission of The Gospel Coalition, (thegospelcoalition.org), Deerfield, IL 60015. For the New Life Book of Church Order.