The Gospel The primary and most important thing we believe is the good news about Jesus – the Gospel. This is absolutely central to everything we believe, what we do and who we are! The gospel is the good news that God has shown his love to us by sending Jesus to die in our place – so that those who trust in Jesus’ death will be forgiven of all wrongs, bringing them into community with God and into his community of believers – the church. We are first and foremost a Gospel-centred Community. We only know what the Gospel is because we have the Bible. The BibleThe Bible (Holy Scripture) is God’s Word. This Word has no equal because:
- It is inspired by God the Holy Spirit, who led many different men to write it over a 2,000 year period.
- It is infallible in that it is completely reliable and trustworthy.
- It is sufficient because it contains the will of God and reveals all we need to know in order to be saved and live the Christian life.
So the Word of God is the final authority on matters of faith and life, and the standard for the regulation, foundation, confirmation and defense of our faith. (Psalm 12v6; 119v105, 160; Proverbs 30v5; John 10v35; 2 Timothy 1v13; 3v15; 2 Peter 1v20, 21) The Triune God God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God (Matthew 28v19; 2 Corinthians 13v14; 1 Peter 1v2). God the Father : Scripture consistently distinguishes between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit without robbing any of their full deity or their unity. They are the three persons of the one Godhead. Jesus words in John’s gospel give us the clearest descriptions of what we know as the trinity and testify to his unity with and distinction from both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ : Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. He lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of people by dying on a cross. He rose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to heaven’s glory and will return again one day to judge the living and the dead and to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Isaiah 9v6; Matthew 1v22, 23; Luke 1v34-35; John 1v1-18; 14v10-30; Acts 1v9-11; Romans 1v3, 4; 1 Corinthians 15v3, 4; 1 Timothy 6v14, 15; Titus 2v13; Hebrews 4v14-15) The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is co-equal with Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need of Jesus Christ. He lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with understanding of spiritual truth, spiritual gifts, and power for living the Christian life. As Christians we seek to live under the Spirit’s control daily (John 16v7-13; Acts 1v8; 1 Corinthians 2v12; 3v16; 2 Corinthians 3v17; 14v16-17; Galatians 5v5; Ephesians 1v13).
People are made in the image of God, and are the supreme object of God’s creation. All human beings are marred by an attitude of rebellion and disobedience toward God (called ‘sin’), and are consequently under the wrath and condemnation of God. (Genesis 1v27; Psalm 8v3-6; Psalm 51v4-5; Isaiah 53v6a; 59v1-2; Romans 3v23)
Salvation is a free gift from God, which is received by believing in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. He redeems people from the guilt, penalty and power of sin by taking our place and bearing the punishment we deserve. His resurrection from the dead is the demonstration of His victory. We are saved to eternal life when we receive this gift in true repentance and faith (John 1v12; 14v6; Romans 5v1; 6v23; Galatians 3v26; Ephesians 2v8-9; Titus 3v26; Romans 1v2-4; 1 Corinthians 15 esp. vs 56-57).
The Bible clearly teaches that any who are saved have been predestined from before the beginning of time in the eternal plan of God (Ephesians 1v4-6, Romans 8v29-30). Because God gives us eternal life through belief in Jesus Christ and by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by self-effort, although the Christian is called to strive for holiness. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security (Matthew 5v6; John 10v29; 1 Corinthians 1v9; 2 Timothy 1v12; Hebrews 7v25; 10v10; 14v1;1 Peter 1v3-5)
Christians look forward to the day when Jesus Christ will personally return to judge the living and the dead, destroy all that is evil and bring into being a new heavens and earth where God’s people will be with God and enjoy Him forever (Matthew 24v36-42; 1 Thessalonians 4v13-17; 2 Peter 3v1-14; Revelation 21v1-4).
Sacraments are symbols given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen His people in their faith, and assure them of His forgiveness and love in and through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are called signs and seals. Signs in that they are physical symbols of a spiritual reality, and seals in that they guarantee that what is symbolised is real. Christ instituted only two sacraments: (1) baptism and (2) the Lord’s Supper, and the Bible teaches that the sacraments are only for those who can receive them in true faith (i.e. for believers). Baptism: In baptism the sign is water, which points to the blood of Christ. The seal is the guarantee that as surely as water washes away dirt, so Christ’s blood cleanses us from all our sin. We believe that those who believe in Jesus, and their children, ought to be baptised because they are part of God’s family and enjoy the benefits of belonging to God’s Covenant of Grace (Matthew 28v19-20; Acts 2v39; 1 Peter 2v9; Genesis 17v7; Exodus 6v7; 2 Corinthians 6v16-18; Revelation 21v2-3)). It is our prayer as a church and our deepest desire as Christian parents that baptised children grow up knowing Jesus as part of the family before professing their own faith in Jesus Christ at an appropriate age. We do not presume that baptized children are regenerate. The Lord’s Supper: In the Lord’s Supper the signs of bread and wine point to the body and blood of Christ. The seal in the Lord’s Supper is the guarantee that just as bread and wine (or juice) strengthen and nourish us as we take them into us, so also what the symbols mean also strengthen and nourish our faith as we take them into us. We are reminded again that Christ’s sacrifice paid the price to reconcile us to God (Isaiah 53v5; Matthew 26v26-29; John 10v11, 26-30; 1 Corinthians 11v24-26). In participating in Christ’s death in this way we powerfully express what it means to be united as one body because of Jesus’ death. At One Way we take care not to participate in the Lord’s Supper either lightly – as some kind of conscience cleansing ritual – or wrongly – when we have some grudge or grievance against a fellow Christian. This is because whenever we eat the bread and drink the wine (or juice actually) we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. We celebrate this as a whole family together. Confessions: The Christian Reformed Churches of Australia are confessional churches. The confessions are subordinate, but faithful and systematic explanations of Bible doctrine. The Confessions and Statements of Faith to which we hold are the Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort and the Westminster Confession. You will find these documents in our Book of Forms.