Our Statement of Faith
At Grace Community Church, there is a great deal about the Christian Faith that seems clear to us and foundational to all that we believe. However, there is also much of God’s nature, purposes, and plans as revealed in the Bible and borne out in human history and in our lives that retains its mystery and lies beyond our full comprehension and on which we don’t all agree. We come from a great variety of backgrounds and faith traditions, are at different points in our journeys of faith, and have had vastly different life experiences. So it should not be too surprising that there is diversity among us. We believe that our almighty God is not the least bit threatened by this, but deliberately allows us such freedom as we grow in our knowledge of Him. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi: “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” Philippians 3:15-16
Following are some of those central tenets of our faith at Grace in which we do share a common understanding and conviction:
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, eternally existing in three equal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the beginning, God demonstrated His power, wisdom, goodness, and love by creating the world and everything in it. Through His divine power and providence, God continues to sustain His creation, operating within history to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
We believe the entire Bible, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired word of God written by men as they were moved by God’s Spirit. Scripture speaks with the authority of God while at the same time reflecting the individual backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of its human authors. We hold that the Bible is trustworthy and true in all matters of life and faith.
We believe that all people were originally created to be in relationship with God, but through willful rebellion defied God by choosing to go their own independent way. As a result, we are alienated from God and incapable of restoring a right relationship with Him through our own efforts. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled, and renewed.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, who became a man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He was both fully God and fully man, yet without sin. He came into the world to reveal the fullness of God and to pay the consequences of our sin through His sacrificial death on the cross. He physically rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. He promises to return to earth, personally and visibly, to complete history and fulfill God’s eternal plan.
We believe that the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross on our behalf, provides the sole basis for the forgiveness of sin. Having been alienated from God and condemned to death by our own rebellion, we are declared not guilty in God’s sight and restored to a right relationship with Him by confessing our sin and placing our faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Salvation is completely and exclusively a free gift of God’s grace and is in no way a result of human effort or merit.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and applies the saving work of Christ to our hearts. He convicts us of our sin and draws us to the Savior. When we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the human heart; instructing and guiding us in truth and working to encourage, equip, and empower each of us to follow the example of Christ — which we are called to do.
We believe that the Church is a people – all those who have been saved by grace through faith – who together are united as the Body of Christ with Jesus Christ as its head. The Church finds its visible and local, yet imperfect expression wherever followers of Christ meet together. The purpose of the Church is to glorify God by loving Him and by making Him known to a lost world.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2nd Corinthians 5:17-20a
THE RETURN OF CHRIST AND OUR ETERNAL DESTINY
We believe that Jesus Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead. Only those who have accepted God’s free gift of grace and have been made clean through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will escape eternal punishment and separation from God. For them, eternity will be spent in God’s presence enjoying everlasting fellowship with Him!
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As testimony to the reality that God is always on the move in our lives – seeking to restore and heal us, shape and grow us –one has to only look at the movement that has taken place at Grace Community Church these last few years. Our story has been a difficult one and, although none of us would have wished for all that happened, it is clear now how our understanding of the Gospel of Grace has deepened and become more real to us. Running counter to all of this world’s wisdom, it is both a profound joy and a mystery of God’s magnificent plan of redemption that in our brokenness and desperate need God enters our lives. He offers us hope and the promise of life as it was intended to be – in relationship with Him. When we read Jesus’ words: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”, they resonate like never before.
The recognition of our need for God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace is not a onetime event, but is ongoing. It helps each one of us adopt a more humble and submissive posture of heart and mind, which, in turn,allows God ever-greater freedom to work in and through our lives. As the Holy Spirit works to help us better understand and embrace our complete insufficiency, the more able we are to respond in gratitude and obedience to what Jesus Christ has already accomplished on our behalf.
We want Grace to be a place that authentically and transparently acknowledges its joys and sorrows, its celebrations and struggles as we together walk this life of faith. We believe that by doing so we can bear effective witness to the hope and power of the Gospel that is both relevant and enormously appealing to a lost and fallen world.