God First City Church Statement of Faith
This document is God First City’s Statement of Faith. These truths are what we regard, from our study of Scripture, as core to the Christian Faith. We expect all members to be able to affirm this statement with a clear conscience.
Perhaps the most obviously Christian of all doctrines, we believe that there is one God, infinite, eternal, all-powerful, holy, and loving, who exists in three distinct persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each person has always existed and each person is fully divine. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father, and yet each is fully God. The doctrine: One God, existing as Father, Son and Spirit, is foundational to all of Christianity. While mysterious in its nature, we affirm that the Bible teaches the doctrine of the Trinity with great clarity.
God the Father
God the Father is the sovereign Creator of heaven and earth, which He created out of nothing by His powerful Word. By this same Word, He sustains all things in existence. Both His creating and sustaining is done so that He might rightly be praised for His glory from all of His creation. He rules over all and none of His purposes can be frustrated and all of His promises will be fulfilled. In His astonishing grace, He gave His Son Jesus Christ to a lost and broken world, that it might be redeemed.
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, “begotten” not created, who at a point in human history took on human flesh without giving up His divinity. He was born a human being, after being conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He is both fully God and fully man and is perfect in every way. While being sinless, He has chosen to identify Himself with sinful humanity so that it might be redeemed. Through Him all things were made, but He Himself is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. He is the ultimate revelation of the Father: the true image of the invisible God. He offered Himself up for death on a cruel Roman cross as a substitute for those who would believe in Him. By rising from the dead, Jesus demonstrated that His sacrificial death was accepted by the Father. He has now ascended into heaven, never to die again, from where He rules as Lord of the entire universe. He is even now interceding for His people, who eagerly await His return.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity and comes to reveal to the world the Father and the Son. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. Through the preaching of the gospel, the Spirit comes and makes people dead in their sin alive to God. He does this by uniting a new believer to Jesus, thus making a new creation. It is in this new person that the Holy Spirit then dwells. The Spirit leads the people of God to understand the Word of God. As He dwells in the believer, that person bears more and more fruit of the Spirit and becomes more and more like Jesus in character. Believers are to continue asking God to fill them with His Spirit, as the Bible instructs. The Holy Spirit also dispenses supernatural gifts, both “normal” ones and more overtly miraculous ones. All of the operations of the Holy Spirit are in operation today.
The Bible, made up of 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books, is the fully inspired Word of God. This book is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Because it is God’s revelation, it is free of error and our only authoritative guide for all of faith and life. Scripture is not to be added to or taken away from. All believers should diligently study and apply the Bible to their lives.
God made man, both male and female, in His own image, as the pinnacle of creation. Man was created to fellowship with God in a unique way. However, after being tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God and became estranged from his Maker and subject to divine wrath. Incapable of returning to God without miraculous intervention on the part of God, man is ruined by sin, which affects all of him: mind, will and emotions. Without God’s intervention, man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan, and is hostile to God. However, all people, whether believers or not, still bear the imprint of their Maker, and are therefore capable of amazing achievements in business, art, literature, politics, education and every sphere of life.
The Gospel is the exceedingly magnificent news that God has sent His Son to live a perfect life on behalf of sinful people who never could, and then die the death they deserved to die. The story of the Person of Jesus is therefore the heart of this good news. God, being perfectly holy, demanded justice for sin and couldn’t “just forgive” anyone without His holiness being corrupted. Therefore, from eternity past, the members of the Trinity planned amongst themselves to act in great love toward humanity by the Father sending His only Son to bear His (the Father’s) wrath for sin so that those who put their trust in the Son by the power of the Spirit may go free, without God setting aside His justice. At the cross we see the perfect mix of God’s love, mercy, holiness and judgement – and to the believer, this is an awe-inspiring sight.
Because even one sin cannot go unpunished by God, we learn in the Gospel that no amount of good works could ever make up for our accumulated sin. Therefore, we can only be saved by grace through trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, and all religious systems or worldviews that suggest we can be made right with God through doing good works, are both unbiblical and irrational. The Gospel both destroys any pride (since Jesus had to die for us) and gives us great confidence (because Jesus was willing to die for us).
While we cannot earn a right standing with God by doing good works, a life of righteousness and good works is the only appropriate response for someone who has believed the Gospel. So while the Gospel is simply good news to be believed, a holy lifestyle is the natural consequence of believing the Gospel.
Another creation of God is the Church, known variously as the People of God, the Body of Christ, or the Bride of Christ. Each of these phrases teaches the incredible value with which God regards His church. The church is not a religious institution, denomination, or building. Rather, the church consists of all those who have been made new by God to become genuine followers of Jesus, and who now no longer live for themselves, but for God who saved them. The church exists to worship God as its highest calling and joy, and to sweep others into this same joy by serving them and sharing the gospel with them. It is in the community of the church that believers learn how to follow Jesus as His disciple.
True believers will seek to identify with Jesus in being baptised on profession of their faith, and will want to partake of the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. Both ordinances are rich visual displays of the Gospel, and are given for our assurance and comfort. More detail on our beliefs regarding Water Baptism are available on request.
The church is led by qualified men known as elders, who are recognised as having being set apart by the Holy Spirit for this calling to guard, guide and govern the church. Our elders have been recognised according to strict standards of calling, competence and character, as laid out in Scripture. Deacons assist the elders by leading areas of service in the church. Members are expected to participate joyfully and diligently in the life of the church, and should be prepared to follow the lead of the elders with a clear conscience. But make no mistake, the elders are seeking to release into fruitful service all the members of the church, rather than doing everything themselves.
The ascended Jesus has given people-gifts to the church in the form of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists and Pastor-Teachers, so that the church might mature through every believer coming into full maturity in Christ. A significant part of this maturity consists in learning how to live and serve faithfully in the community of the church.
The consummation of all things will be inaugurated by the physical, visible and glorious return of Jesus Christ, who will return in great power and glory to be seen by all, unlike his first coming in relative obscurity. Satan, his demons and all those outside of Christ, alive or dead, will be judged and cast eternally from the blessed presence of God into a place known as hell, and will experience eternal conscious punishment for their sins.
Those who have experienced the saving grace of God will, however, be given glorious bodies that will be united with their eternal souls. These ransomed people will live and reign with God forever and ever, enjoying life free of sin, and an earth redeemed from the curse of sin. And so the People of God will be with God in His place, serving, working, playing, eating, drinking, reigning, and singing, to His glory and their joy, forever and ever, without end. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God, who makes all things new. In this we put our hope.