Preaching the biblical doctrines of God's sovereign grace

BIBLE CHAPEL of DELHI HILLS, Cincinnati - Preaching the biblical doctrines of God's sovereign grace


a. All of Grace

We believe that salvation is the restoration of fallen men to a right relationship with God. We believe that salvation is the free gift of God, neither merited nor secured in whole or in part by any virtue or work of man. This being the nature of salvation, we believe that from beginning to end it is all of grace (“sola gratia”).

Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24; 4:4-5; 5:1; 6:23; 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5.

b. The Fall

We believe that although God created humans perfect, our first parents lost their righteousness and forfeited their standing with God when they sinned against Him. They violated the covenant of works that required obedience as a condition of life, and they fell from the divine favor into a condition of sin, misery and both physical and spiritual death. Since Adam represented all mankind, his sin brought the imputation and consequences of his guilt upon all who descend from him by ordinary generation. As a result, his descendants are conceived and born in sin and corrupted in all faculties of body and soul.

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-24; 6:5-7; Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Romans 3:9-20; 5:12-21;

I Corinthians 15:21,22; Titus 1:15-16.

Prior to the fall God endowed humans with the liberty of will to act upon choice, so that He compelled them to do neither good nor evil. In their state of innocence Adam and Eve enjoyed freedom of will and the ability to do good that was acceptable to God. By a perverse use of that freedom they sinned and fell from God’s favor and thereby lost their liberty to choose and perform anything that is truly good and acceptable to their holy Creator, who can accept only that which is absolutely pure and holy in deed and motive. Because of the fall, all humanity is by nature “dead in trespasses and sins,” unwilling and unable to merit favor and cannot prepare itself to turn to God.

Genesis 3:1-7; Isaiah 59:2; I Samuel 16:7; Psalm 15:1-5; Ephesians 2:1-3; James 1:13-15.

Conceived in sin and subject to divine wrath, humans are servants of iniquity, who find pleasure in rebellion against God. They are therefore subject to the spiritual, physical, and eternal consequences of sin, unless Christ, the Redeemer, sets them free. The sins that people commit are the products of their corrupt nature transmitted to them by their first parents. Because of this corruption, they are unable and unwilling to please God and can do nothing to merit His favor.

Psalm 51:1-5; Proverbs 14:12; Jeremiah 17:9,10; Matthew 15:16-20; Romans 1:32; 3:9,10,23; 5:12-21; 6:15-23; 8:5-8; I Corinthians 2:14; 15:20-49; Ephesians 2:l-3; Colossians 1:21-23; Titus1:15,16; Hebrews 2:14-18; 11:6.

Although God mercifully intervenes to save His elect from sin and spiritual death, a corrupt nature remains within them as long as they remain in this world. That corruption and all the evil thoughts and deeds that come from it are actually sinful and deserve condemnation, from which Christ has spared them by His grace.

Romans 7:14-25; Galatians 5:16-17; I John 1:8-10.

c. God’s Eternal Saving Purpose (God’s electing grace)

We believe that God the Father, according to His all wise purpose and for His own glory, in love chose before the foundation of the world certain sinners to eternal life through Jesus Christ, thereby revealing His grace. Others, who were not the objects of His saving purpose, were left to perish in their sins, thereby revealing the terrors of His justice.

John 15:16; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29; 9:22-24; Ephesians 1:3-14; I Thessalonians 1:4;

II Thessalonians 2:13-15; II Peter 1:10; Jude 3,4.

We believe that God chose in Christ certain people to be the recipients of His saving favor. He did so out of His mere pleasure without regard to any merit within those He chose, and He appointed the means to accomplish His purpose in saving them. He willed that His elect should be redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ and called effectually by His Holy Spirit to embrace Christ through faith. By the work of His grace God elects, calls, regenerates, justifies, adopts, sanctifies, preserves and glorifies His people for eternal life with Him. The elect alone enjoy these undeserved benefits.

Psalm 65:4; John 6:35-40; 10:22-30; 17:1-26; Romans 8:29-30; 9:10-24; I Peter 1:1-9.

The mystery of predestination must be proclaimed with care and prudence, so that people are directed to the revealed will of God in Scripture that they may obey it. Believers become assured of their election in Christ through the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of predestination therefore leads the elect to praise God gratefully with reverence and wonder that He has included them with the body of His chosen people. It encourages humility and diligence in the service of God, and it brings great comfort to all who sincerely believe and obey the gospel.

Luke 10:17-20; Romans 11:1-6; 33-36; I Corinthians 1:26-31; Ephesians 1:1-6; I Thessalonians 1:4-6; II Timothy 2:10-14; II Peter 1:10-11; Revelation 7:9-10.

d. Christ, the Mediator

We believe that in order to enact His eternal purpose, God commissioned His unique, eternal Son, Jesus Christ, as the mediator between God and His people. Jesus entered history to be Prophet, Priest, and King, Head and Savior of His church, Heir of all things, and Judge of the world. He came to redeem those whom the Father had given Him in eternity, those whom the Father decreed to call to Himself, to justify, sanctify, and glorify.

Psalm 2:1-12; Isaiah 42:1-4; 52:13-53:12; Luke 1:26-33; John 17:6-12; Acts 3:22-23; 17:29-31; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:15-23; Hebrews 1:1-4; 6:17-20; I Peter 1:17-20.

In order to execute the work of mediator, Christ the Son of God, became a man and subject to God’s law and fulfilled its requirements completely. He endured the punishment due for the sins of His people and thereby suffered incomparably in body and soul, as he was “obedient unto death, even death upon a cross.” After His crucifixion Jesus rose bodily from the grave and ascended to heaven, where He sits at the Father’s right hand and intercedes for His redeemed people. He will come back to earth at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.

Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 26:26-28; 27:45-46; John 10:14-18; 20:24-31; Acts 1:1-11; 10:39-43; Romans 8:31-39; I Corinthians 15:1-8; II Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 9:23-28; 10:5-10; 12:2;

I Peter 3:18; II Peter 3:1-18.

By His perfect obedience to and fulfillment of the divine law, Jesus Christ demonstrated that He was fully qualified to save sinners by His sacrifice on the cross, which satisfied all of the claims of divine justice vicariously for His people, reconciled them to God and gave them an eternal inheritance in heaven.

John 17:1-5; Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 9:11-15.

Christ certainly and effectually applies eternal redemption to all of those for whom He accomplished it. By his Holy Spirit He unites them with Himself, persuades them to believe and obey the Word of God, and assures them of His fellowship. He does all things graciously for His elect with no regard for any merit of their own.

John 3:1-15; 6:35-40; 10:14-16; 17:6-12; Romans 5:9-11; 8:9,12-17; I Corinthians 15:20-28; Ephesians 1:7-10.

Christ’s threefold offices, prophet, priest, and king are for the well-being of His people. They need His prophetic office to overcome their sinful ignorance, and because sin has alienated them from God, they need His priesthood to reconcile them to God and to intercede on their behalf. His kingship is necessary to rule and protect them until they enter His heavenly kingdom.

Psalm 110:1-4; Luke 1:68-75; John 1:15-18; 10:27-29; Colossians 1:21-23.

e. Effectual Calling

We believe that effectual calling is the work of God, whereby He convinces His elect of their spiritual misery and lost condition and persuades them to embrace Christ, freely offered in the gospel. As a consequence of this call His people begin to understand revealed truth, to seek and to perform what is actually good. The elect respond willingly to this call, for the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit makes them willing.

Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 17:6,7; Acts 26:15-18; Romans 8:30; Ephesians 1:15-23; 2:1-10;

II Thessalonians 2:13-15; I Peter 2:9-10.

God’s effectual call of sinners proceeds from His grace alone. Until sinners receive spiritual life, they remain dead in sin and insensitive to God’s demands. In regeneration and effectual calling they are entirely passive and make no contribution to their salvation. The power that enables them to answer God’s call comes completely from God Himself, and the effect is comparable to a resurrection from the dead.

John 5:24-27; Romans 3:10-18; 5:10; I Corinthians 2:10-15; II Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 1:18-21;

2:4-9; II Timothy 1:8-10.

f. Regeneration

We believe that regeneration (new birth from above) is a gracious and sovereign work of God whereby an inward change is effected in the spiritually dead sinner and he is thereby made to be a partaker of the divine nature. The change effected in regeneration is both moral and spiritual. This supernatural and gracious act of God is effected by the Holy Spirit in a manner above our comprehension and in connection with God’s Word. In this gracious work of God the sinner is passive and neither initiates nor cooperates to effect it. Regeneration is a sovereign and gracious exercise of God’s power upon His elect people and as such cannot be frustrated or made ineffective by them or anyone else. Although the sinner is passive in the act of regeneration, the fruits of it will be evidenced in the holy fruits of repentance, faith and a new manner of life. Regeneration is the basis for all change in heart and life in the believer. All those who have been regenerated have a “new heart,” are a “new creation,” are no longer dead in sins and transgressions but “made alive together with Christ” and are “born again” and “born of God.”

Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 7:20; John 1:13; 3:3-8; Romans 5:5; 6:11,17,18; 8:9; I Corinthians 1:30; 2:14; 15:22,23; II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:16-23; 6:15; Ephesians 2:1,4,5,14-22; 4:20-24; 5:9; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 2:13; 3:9-11; Titus 3:5; James 1:16-18; I Peter 1:3,22-25; II Peter 1:4;

I John 3:7-10; 5:1-5,18; Revelation 21:27.

g. Repentance and Faith

1. Repentance

We believe that biblical repentance is the product of a gospel grace by which the Holy Spirit causes elect sinners to realize the wickedness of their sins and to humble themselves before God. This repentance expresses itself in deep sorrow for sin, a profound hatred and grief because of sin, a turning to Christ alone for forgiveness of sin, and a firm resolve to abandon sin and to live a righteous life which is in accord with God’s moral laws and for His glory.

Psalm 119:5-8; Proverbs 28:13; Ezekiel 36:24-32; Luke 24:47; Acts 11:15-18; 17:30-31;

I Corinthians 6:19,20; II Corinthians 7:9-15.

When our Lord Jesus said, “repent,” He willed that the entire life of believers be one of repentance, because Christians remain sinners with an inner corruption that inclines them toward disobedience. Repentance for particular sins, regular confession of sins and frank admissions of their unworthiness to receive divine favor will characterize true believers.

Psalm 32:3-5; 34:14; 119:36,37; Luke 19:1-10; Acts 17:30; I Timothy 1:12-17; I John 1:9.

2. Faith

We believe the Holy Spirit confers the gift of faith upon the elect and thereby enables them to whole-heartedly trust in Christ alone for salvation (sola fide, solus Christus). The ministry of the Word of God, the fellowship of the saints, and the ordinances nourish this faith and enable believers to strengthen their confidence in Christ and to progress in holy living.

Acts 20:32; Romans 10:14-17; 2 Corinthians 4:13-15; Galatians 3:6,9; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:9; I Peter 2:2.

The primary object of saving faith is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom believers receive and rest upon for justification, sanctification, and eternal life. In the Christian life the believer is progressively led by the Holy Spirit to believe everything God has revealed in Scripture.

Psalm 19:7-9; 119:72; Isaiah 40:8; 66:1-2; John 1:10-13; Acts 15:5-11;16:29-31; 24:10-16; Galatians 2:20-21; II Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 11:1-16.

We believe that the gospel calls men to both repent and believe. At times these are mentioned together in the Scripture and at other times not. When repentance stands alone it implies not only turning from sin but faith in Christ. When faith stands alone it implies not only faith in Christ but repentance from sin. Repentance and faith are two aspects of the one act of conversion.

h. Justification

We believe those persons whom God effectually calls He justifies, by pardoning their sins and reckoning and declaring them righteous. He does this for Christ’s sake alone and not because of any merit in them. The righteousness that God imputes to His elect is through the means of faith, but is in no way merited by faith or by any other act of obedience they may have rendered. The righteousness of justification is based upon the obedience and merits of Christ — His active obedience in satisfying the demands of Divine law flawlessly, and His passive obedience to the Father’s will in His death upon the cross. The faith through which sinners believe and rest upon Christ alone for salvation is a free gift from God, not an ability inherent within them. Justification through faith alone in Christ alone is indispensable to true Christianity, the article upon which the true church stands. John 1:10-13; Romans 1:16-17; 3:21-24; 4:1-8; 5:12-21; 8:28-30; I Corinthians 1:26-31; Galatians 3:6-9; Philippians 3:1-11.

By His obedience and death Christ paid the full debt of all of those He justifies. By the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus entirely and absolutely satisfied all the claims which God’s justice had against His people.

Isaiah 53:5-6; Romans 3:25-26; 8:31-34; II Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:1-10; I Peter 1:17-19.

God decreed from eternity to justify His elect, and at the proper time Christ died for their sins and rose again. The chosen people are not, however, justified personally until the Holy Spirit regenerates them and calls them effectually to the Savior and thereby enables them to receive Him through faith. Believers in the Old Testament were justified exactly the same way as New Testament believers. Whereas Old Testament believers were justified through faith in a promise that awaited future fulfillment, New Testament believers are justified through faith in the actual fulfillment of that promise.

Matthew 13:17; John 8:56; Romans 4:18-25; Galatians 3:6-9; Colossians 1:21-23; Titus 3:4-7; Hebrews 9:11-28; 11:13.

i. Adoption

For the sake of Christ, God confers the grace of adoption upon all justified persons. In this way, they are received into and enjoy all the privileges and duties of the children of God, and are entitled to call Him “Father,” and by His grace they remain in His family forever.

Psalm 103:13; Proverbs 14:26; Isaiah 54:8-10; John 1:10-13; Romans 8:15-17; II Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 4:4-6; Ephesians 1:1-7; 4:30; Hebrews 12:4-8; I John 3:2,3; Revelation 3:11-13.

j. Sanctification and Good Works

Because of the Word and Spirit of God at work within them, those who are justified are being transformed into the image of God, such that God enables them progressively to die unto sin and live unto righteousness. Sanctification weakens the desire to sin and increases and strengthens a desire for holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. These blessings flow from the merits of Christ’s death and resurrection. John 17:3-19; Acts 20:32; Romans 6:5-14; I Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 3:14-19; Colossians 1:9-14; I Thessalonians 5:23-24; Hebrews 12:14.

Sanctification is a progressive growth in holiness that will not come to completion in this temporal life. The remnants of sinful corruption remain within believers and defile all parts of their lives. A spiritual warfare therefore occurs within them, an antagonism between the renewed image of God and the sinful nature inherited from Adam. Saints, nevertheless, grow in grace and sincerely love God’s law and habitually endeavor to obey it in all things, as they submit to Christ, their King.

Romans 7:7-25; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 7:1; Galatians 5:16-26; I Pet. 2:11-12.

We believe that the desire and ability to do good works does not arise from human nature but from impartation of saving grace, so that good works are the fruits and evidences of genuine, living faith. By means of such works, believers demonstrate their love and gratitude, strengthen their assurance of salvation, and improve their Christian witness. They glorify God, who has made them new creatures in Christ.

Psalm 116:12-14; Matthew 5:13-16; John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 6:11-12; James 2:14-18.

Although the works of believers are never perfect, God is pleased by them because they are done in faith, proceed from the new heart of love bestowed in regeneration, and are made acceptable to God through Christ. The works of unbelievers, even though they may conform to the outward requirements of God’s law, are not acceptable to God. They do not proceed from faith, nor do they express love for God. They cannot make the doers worthy of divine favor, but to neglect such works is even more sinful and displeasing to the Lord than is the performance of them.

Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 25:14-30; 25:31-46; Romans 12:1,2; I Corinthians 1:30; 13:1-13; II Timothy 3:16,17; Titus 2:11-14; 3:3-8; Hebrews 11:4-6; I Peter 2:5.

k. Perseverance and Preservation of the Saints

We believe that salvation is all of God’s grace through the all-sufficient work of Christ and therefore all of God’s elect are preserved in this grace in which they come to stand. They are kept by the power of God so that nothing in them or outside of them will ever be able to sever them from the love of God in Christ.

John 5:24; 6:37-50; 10:27-30; Romans 5:2,9,10; 8:1,29-39; I Corinthians 1:4-9; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; I Peter 1:5; Jude 24.

We further believe that because all true believers are preserved by God and cannot fall from grace, that they will endure in persevering attachment to Christ throughout all their lives. This persevering attachment to Christ is the chief mark that distinguishes them from superficial professors. God’s providence watches over their welfare, and His power keeps them through faith unto salvation.

Psalm 37:23-29; John 8:31-32; 10:25-30; Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 3:14; I John 2:18-19; II John 9.

The preservation and perseverance of the saints rests upon the free, unchangeable love of God the Father, the immutable decree of God in election, the redeeming merits of God the Son, the Son’s present intercession, and the believers’ union with Him. The Holy Spirit indwells the saints and never departs from them.

Jeremiah 32:36-41; John 14:13-21; Romans 5:9-11; 8:28-30; 9:10-16; Hebrews 6:13-20; I John 3:9-10.

When Christians fall into sin, they incur God’s displeasure, grieve His Holy Spirit, dishonor God’s holy name, diminish their comforts, experience accusations of conscience, impair their witness, and bring divine chastisements upon themselves. Yet, because they are saints, they will renew their repentance and through faith persevere in Christ to the end of their lives. Psalm 32:1-5; 51:1-10; Isaiah 64:1-9; Matthew 26:69-75; Ephesians 4:29-32; I John 1:5-10.

l. Assurance

We believe that the certainty of salvation is not mere probability but an infallible assurance of faith grounded in the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the . The Holy Spirit bears witness with believers’ spirits that they are children of God.

Romans 8:15-17; Hebrews 6:11-20; I John 3:1-3.

The infallible assurance of salvation is not an essential part of salvation, for true believers may struggle long before attaining to it. It does not come by extra-biblical revelation but by means of grace, as the Holy Spirit enables believers to know the reality of God’s eternal love as guaranteed to the elect in Scripture. It is the joyful duty of all who claim saving faith to be diligent in making their calling and election sure by regular self-examination for a love of God and those things He has ordained for progress in holiness, and for an obedience to His demands for holiness.

Psalm 77:1-12; 119:33-40; Isaiah 50:8-10; Romans 5:1-5; 6:1-2;14:16-18; Titus 2:11-14; II Peter 1:3-11; I John 4:13-16.

m. Glorification

We believe that all of God’s elect will be glorified in the last day when they shall stand perfect before God in body and soul. Perfected in holiness, the saints shall never again struggle against sin but with perfect hearts will worship and serve God forever and ever.

John 17:22-24; Romans 8:30; I John 3:2; Jude 24,25; Revelation 21:3-5.

A Summary Statement of Doctrine

We believe in the one true and living God, in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who is invisible, personal, omnipresent, eternal, dependent on none, unchanging, truthful, trustworthy, almighty, sovereign, omniscient, righteous, holy, good, loving, merciful, long-suffering and gracious.
We believe that Almighty God has revealed all that is necessary to life and salvation in the sixty-six books of Holy Scripture which are the Word of God. All Scripture was given by inspiration of God, is infallible and inerrant, and is the final arbiter in all disputes. Its authority is derived from its Author and not from the opinions of men.

We believe that God made our first father Adam perfect, holy and upright. He was appointed representative and head of the human race thereby exposing all his offspring to the effects of his obedience or disobedience to God’s commands.

We believe that Adam fell from his original righteousness into sin and brought upon himself and all his offspring death, condemnation and sinnership.
We believe it is utterly beyond the power of fallen man to love God, to keep His laws, to understand the gospel, to repent of sin or trust in Christ.
We believe that God, before the foundation of the world, for His own glory did elect an innumerable host of men and women to eternal life as an act of free and sovereign grace. This election was in no way dependent upon His foresight of human faith, decision, works or merit.

We believe that God sent His Son into the world, conceived of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, unchangeably sinless, both God and man, born under the Law, to live a life of perfect righteousness, on behalf of His elect people.

We believe that God’s Son died at Calvary to effect propitiation, reconciliation, redemption and atonement for His elect people. God bore testimony to His acceptance of His Son’s work by raising Him from the dead.

We believe that God’s Son ascended to the right hand of His Father and is enthroned in glory, where He intercedes on behalf of His people and rules over all things for their sake.

We believe that God the Son has poured out the Holy Spirit to work through the preached Word. The Spirit of God regenerates the elect sinner and draws him irresistibly to faith in Christ the Savior.

We believe the elect, who are called by grace, are justified in the sight of God on account of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ which is received by faith alone.

We believe that such as are regenerated, called, and justified shall persevere in holiness and never finally fall away.

We believe that baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper are gospel ordinances belonging only to regenerated believers.

We believe that the local church is under the authority of Christ alone. The communion of saints, however, requires recognition of and fellowship with other churches.

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ shall come again to raise the dead, both righteous and unrighteous, and that the righteous shall enjoy everlasting life and the wicked endure everlasting punishment.

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