STATEMENT OF FAITH West Highland Fellowship Baptist Church Statement of Faith Preamble West Highland Baptist Church with Christians of all traditions affirms the historic Apostles', Nicene and Chalcedon Creeds in all that they teach concerning the Triune God. As a church rooted theologically in the convictions of the Protestant Reformation, and in the beliefs of the people historically called Baptists, and in the tradition of the Evangelical awakenings and world missionary movements of the 18th and 19thcenturies, we set forth the following confessional statement as our own theological identity within the broader Christian and evangelical communities: 1. The Biblical Narrative – The Purpose and Plan of God We believe that the Bible records the scope of God's eternal purpose to redeem and restore humanity and all creation. Within its pages we learn of the historical outworking of God's plan to have a people of whom he could say "I will be their God and they will be my people.” Ephesians 1:9-10; Exodus 6:7; Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 30:22; Ezekiel 11:20; Romans 9:24-26; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 21:2-3 The Bible begins with creation so that we may know the divine image in which we were made, the life and divine fellowship that we have rejected and the heights from which we have fallen. The Bible tells us how sin entered the world, and death as a result of sin. It emphasizes the gravity of sin as a revolt against the authority of God our Creator and Lord and the justice of his judgment upon it. The Bible's central message is that God loves the very rebels who deserve nothing at his hand but judgment, and it records the way in which God continues his purpose after and in spite of humanity's fall into sin, to form for himself a people to whom he is pleased to give himself and the enjoyment of his abiding presence as their God. Genesis 1-3; Romans 3:8-20, 23; 5:12, 18; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3; Jeremiah 31:3 Before time began God's plan of salvation took place. It originated in his grace, his free and unmerited mercy. He made a covenant of grace with Abraham, promising that through his descendants he would bless all the families and peoples of the world. The Old Testament is devoted to an account of his gracious dealings with Abraham's descendants, the people of Israel. Through the prophet Moses God gave to Israel his law which spelled out what he required of his people and was meant to serve as a tutor to reveal to them their sinful condition, their need for righteousness and point them to their need of grace. In spite of their obstinate rejection of his Word as it came to them in the laws of Moses and the words of the prophets, he never cast them off, but continued to give them promises of a coming Redeemer who would save them and all the peoples of the world. Ephesians 1:4-5; Titus 1:2; Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-19; Exodus 20:1-21; Galatians 3:19,24; Romans 7:7-8; Deuteronomy 18:15; 1 Chronicles 17:10-14; Isaiah 9:1-2,6; 11:1-9; 52:13-53:12; 60:1-3; Daniel 9:13-14; Psalm 2:7-8 The incarnation or coming of Jesus Christ into the world was in fulfillment of God's covenant with Israel. By his perfect, sinless life he fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law for his people. His work on earth, especially his crucifixion and resurrection is the climax of history. It is the great turning point at which God accomplished the salvation toward which history had been moving throughout the Old Testament. Luke 1:68-79; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 7:26; Romans 5:19; Hebrews 2:11-18; 10:6-7; Matthew 16:21; Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Peter 1:10 The New Testament concentrates on the outworking of this salvation through Jesus Christ's death, resurrection and the gift of the life-giving Spirit. It emphasizes that salvation is possible only through the sin-bearing death of Christ and a new birth leading to a new life only through the Spirit of Christ. The New Testament portrays Christ's Church as the community of the saved, "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,” who are called to a life of holiness, sacrificial service and witness to bless the world. Matthew 1:21; Galatians 4:4-7; Acts 2:32-33, 38; Acts 4:12; John 1:29; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; John 3:3-8; Acts 2:41-47; 1 Peter 2:9-12 Finally, the New Testament points to the consummation of God's purpose and plan when his saved people will experience the redemption of their bodies and will enter a renewed creation, a new heaven and a new earth pervaded by righteousness alone. Then and only then, with no sin either in our nature or in our society, will God's purpose and plan of salvation be complete. 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Philippians 3:20; Romans 8:19-23; 2 Peter 3:13; 1 John 3:2-3; Revelation 22:3 We believe that this is the comprehensive salvation set forth in the Bible. Conceived in a past eternity, achieved at a distinct point in time and worked out in history and human experience, it will reach its consummation in the eternity of the future. The Bible is unique in its claim to instruct us about "such a great salvation.” Ephesians 1:11-14; 1 Peter 1:4-5; Romans 8:30; Hebrews 2:3 2. The Triune God We believe in one living and true God, who is eternal, infinite, and perfect in glory and beauty, and in holiness, righteousness and truth, and in goodness and love. This one God is the sovereign creator and sustainer of all that exists. In the unity of God, there are three co-equal and co-eternal persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – each of whom is worthy of our highest reverence, adoration and obedience. From all eternity between the three persons of the Godhead there has been a perfect mutual love, unity of purpose, and indwelling. While this tri-unity of God is clearly affirmed in Scripture it surpasses our full understanding and inspires our awe. Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 40:28; Revelation 1:8; Psalm 27:5; Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah 6:1-3; Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 11:7; Psalm 103:6; Romans 1:23-26; Psalm 107:1, 8; 1 John 4:8, 16; Revelation 4:11; Psalm 104:24-29; Acts 17:24-28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3; Luke 1:35; Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:16-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1: 6-12; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:12-13; Galatians 5:16-18; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; John 17:21, 25; John 14:10-11; Psalm 145:3; Psalm 147:5 a. The Father We believe in God the Father Almighty, who reigns with providential care over all of his creation and over the entirety of history. He is all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, and a relational God who hears and answers prayer. While he is fatherly in his attitude toward all humanity, he is a true Father to all who become his children through faith in Christ. His sovereign and loving purpose in redemption is realized through the sending of his Son and his Spirit for the salvation of the world. Matthew 6:9; Exodus 6:3; Psalm 121:4; Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6; Acts 17:26; Exodus 34:6-7; Job 37:16; 1 John 3:20; Psalm 66:19-20; Matthew 6:6-8; Matthew 5:45; Luke 12:32; John 1:12; John 3:16; Galatians 4:4-6; Romans 5:5 b. The Lord Jesus Christ We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the eternally-begotten Son of God and who took on a full humanity so that he is fully God and fully man. As a human being he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, fulfilled the law of God in its entirety, suffered and died a vicarious and propitiatory death on the cross, and rose from the dead on the third day. In his glorified humanity he ascended into heaven to the right hand of the Father, where he now reigns with the Father over all and intercedes for his people as their High Priest. From heaven he will return to judge the living and the dead and establish the new creation over which he will reign forever as its undisputed Sovereign. Romans 10:9; John 1:18; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9; Philippians 2:7-9; Hebrews 1:1-14; Hebrews 2:9-18; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:26-38; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22-24; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; Matthew 16:21; 1 Corinthians 15:4 c. The Holy Spirit We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord and giver of life, and the Spirit of Christ whose pre-eminent ministry in the new covenant is to glorify the Lord Jesus. He has inspired the Scriptures and it is through them that he primarily addresses humanity today. He convicts human beings of sin and opens the Scriptures to their understanding. He draws them to Christ, regenerates and indwells them, and seals them as God's possession to the day of resurrection. He continues to sanctify believers by cultivating his fruit, Christ-like character and holiness within their lives, and he empowers them to serve God in his church and in the world through various gifts that he gives them. Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-9; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; John 3:5-8; Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11; John 15:26; 16:14; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; Hebrews 3:7; 10:15; John 16:8-11; John 14:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-14; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:9-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 3:16-19; 5:18; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-13 3. Revelation We believe that 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, we believe that the Bible alone and the Bible in its entirety is the written Word of God. The Bible consists of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, and only these books. It is God's revelation of himself to humanity and the sure source of knowledge about God. The Bible was composed by people who were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the Bible, as originally written, is true, infallible, and entirely free from error. God, in his providence, has superintended the transmission of Scripture through the ages so that the Bible we possess today is essentially faithful to the original texts written by the apostles and prophets. We believe that the Bible, as the written Word of God, is of divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises. While the Bible touches on diverse matters, its ultimate focus is the person and work of Jesus Christ in his first and second coming, and, hence, no portion of the Bible, even the Old Testament, is fully understood until it leads to him. The Bible is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions are to be measured. It is the rule for Christian faith and life. Submission to the teachings and authority of the Bible is the basis for Christian union. By hearing, believing, and obeying the Word of God, believers are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel. Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:19-20; John 1:1,18; Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-20; John 17:17; Titus 1:2-3; Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:21-25; Psalm 119:140; 2 Peter 1:4; Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; John 5:39; Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 1:25-29 4. Creation and Fall a. The Physical World We believe that God created all things for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness. As a benevolent and perfect creator, God providentially sustains, directs, and governs all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least, to the end for which they were created. While God created humanity and the universe in a state of goodness and perfection, death and corruption entered into God's creation through the sin of Adam and Eve; as a result, the whole creation is cursed and awaits the day of its redemption. We believe that God created the human race to have authority and stewardship over the earth. Consequently, humanity is responsible for protecting and tending the earth with the same love and care that God shows for all that he has made. Genesis 1:1-31; Colossians 1:16; Romans 1:20; Genesis 1:31; Genesis 3:17-18; Romans 8:18-25; Revelation 22:3; Genesis 1:28; 2:15; Psalm 8:6-8 b. Angels, Satan and Demons We believe that, in addition to the created, material universe, there exists a spiritual realm in which dwells an innumerable company of angels – spiritual beings who were created by God. These angels minister before God and they are sent forth as messengers to aid the righteous and to administer God's judgment upon the wicked. Certain angels, called demons, Satan being their chief, through deliberate choice revolted against God and fell from their exalted position. Satan is the god of this age, and his kingdom is opposed in every way to the kingdom of God, yet he is not equal to God in nature or power. Throughout history Satan and his demonic forces have engaged in a cosmic war against God, his people, and the remaining faithful angels. Satan is the originator of sin. Under the sanction of God, he led our first parents Adam and Eve into transgression, thereby accomplishing their moral fall and subjecting them and their posterity to his own power. Jesus defeated Satan at the cross; yet there awaits a future day when Christ will finally banish Satan and his minions to the lake of fire. Revelation 5:11-12; Hebrews 1:14; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Daniel 10:2-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:10-13; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:7-12; Genesis 3:1-19; Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 20:10 c. Humanity We believe that God created each person, male and female, in his image and, as a result, each person has inherent dignity and worth. While God created men and women with equality in their dignity and personhood, he intended for them to have different roles and to complement each other in mutually enriching ways. We believe that every human life, from conception to death, has immeasurable value and significance and ought to be vigorously protected and ardently cherished. We believe that God created humanity to enjoy intimate fellowship with him. This fellowship was broken when the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were tempted by Satan and sinned against their creator in an act of rebellion and disobedience. As a result of their transgression, humanity became alienated from God and all creation was cursed. Adam's sin and guilt passed to all of his descendants bringing a punishment of spiritual and physical death to all of humanity. In their present state, all people are born with a sinful nature. They are entirely tainted by sin in the whole of their being, and they are only worthy of God's condemnation and wrath. Due to their sinful nature, humans exist in a state of enmity with God and they are utterly incapable of reconciling themselves to him. Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1-2; Genesis 9:6; Psalm 8:3-8; 139:13-17; Genesis 3:1-9; Revelation 12:9; Genesis 3:24; Genesis 3:14-19; Romans 8:19-23; Romans 3:10-18, 23; 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:13-25; Ephesians 2;1-3; Romans 1:19-32; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 5:10; 8:6-7; Colossians 1:21; Romans 5:6 5. Salvation We believe that salvation is by the unconditional electing grace of God the Father, given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. The Father sent his Son to suffer voluntarily and die on the cross in our place as a substitutionary sacrifice in order to make atonement for our sins. Jesus' all sufficient self sacrifice was expiatory in that it satisfied the justice of God. His death was also propitiatory in that it appeased the divine wrath that was directed against humanity. On the cross, Jesus canceled the record of our debt to God, he triumphed over Satan and death, and he secured our peace with God. Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; Galatians 4:4; Romans 5:8; 8:32; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 9:24-28; Romans 3:21-26; 1 John 2:2; Colossians 2:13-15; Romans 5:1-2 The Scriptures depict our salvation in three aspects: a. The Conversion Moment We believe conversion is our willing response to the gospel call, in which we sincerely repent of our sins and place our trust in Christ for salvation. When people come to Christ and embrace him by faith they are brought into union with him and receive justification from God whereby he forgives their sins, imputes to them the righteousness of Christ and declares them to be righteous in his sight. This act of justification reconciles us to God, adopts us as his children and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who regenerates us with new life in Christ, making us alive to God. Acts 2: 38-41, 3:19; 16:31; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 2:15-16, 3:6, 11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:10-11; Ephesians 1:5, 13-14, 2:4; Romans 6:11 b. The Sanctification Process We believe that God's saving work which began at conversion continues throughout life as believers yield themselves to the indwelling Holy Spirit, resulting in a gradual growth in holiness, increasing love and devotion to God, progress toward moral and spiritual maturity, and conformity to the image of Christ and the beauty of his character. By this process believers grow together into a holy temple in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13; Romans 6:11-19, 12:1-2; Colossians 1:28; 1 Corinthians 6:14-20; Ephesians 4:11-5:21; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:21-22 c. The Glorious Destiny We believe that Jesus, as an everlasting high priest, continually makes intercession to the Father on behalf of those who believe that they may be assured of being kept secure by God's power for the glorious salvation that will be manifested with the return of Christ. Those whom the Father has given and drawn to Jesus will be divinely preserved and finally perfected in the image of the Lord at the time of their bodily resurrection. Hebrews 4:14; 7:24-25; 1 Peter 1:3-5; John 6:37-39, 44; Acts 13:48; 1 Corinthians 1:9; John 10:28-29, 17:6-9; Romans 8:29-30; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2-3 6. The Church a. The Universal Church We believe that the totality of believers, without difference of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality or social class, from all times, in heaven and on earth, form one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. This universal Church is an invisible, living, spiritual body of all people who are in union with Jesus Christ, who is the great and only head of the Church. Matthew 16: 18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:14-21; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 12:22-23; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Revelation 7:9-10, 13-17 b. The Local Church We believe that a local church is a community of born again believers who have been baptized on the basis of their own personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ and who commit to unite together in a given location for the purposes of worshipping God, proclaiming the gospel, and building each other up in their faith through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, the practice of the ordinances, the offering of prayer, the use of their gifts, and the exercise of discipline. In association with other churches of like faith the local church functions independently from any outside church hierarchy, but under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the great head of the Church and the oversight of biblically qualified elders (pastors, overseers, bishops) who are called to lead the church by shepherding, governing, teaching and preaching the Scriptures, and equipping the members of the church to serve. Elders are assisted in their ministry by deacons who are called to give supportive leadership to other church ministries. Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Revelation 2-3; Acts 20:17; I Timothy 4:13; 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26; 12:4-7; 14:12; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; Acts 11:22-26; 13:1-3; 14:21-28; 20:17,28; Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1: 5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 6:1-6; Romans 16:1-2; Philippians 1:1 c. Members of the Church We believe that all members of a local church form a spiritual priesthood and are equal in rights and responsibilities regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or social class. As priests, members are to serve the household of faith and this involves a commitment to private and corporate prayer, a stewardship of time, spiritual gifts and financial resources to support the work of the gospel. 1 Peter 2:5, 9-10; Galatians 3:28; John 13:14-17; Galatians 5:13; Acts 2:42; 1 Peter 4:10-11; 1 Corinthians 9:14; 16: 1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:7-11; 9:6-11; Philippians 4:14-19 d. Ordinances of the Church We believe that there are only two ordinances of the church, which are normally observed in the new covenant in the following order: Baptism, which is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience by which believers signify that they have faith in the crucified and risen Christ, are putting away or burying the old life, and are determined to walk in the new life that is in Christ. The Lord's Supper, which consists of bread and wine, and is a means by which believers thankfully remember the death of Christ for their sins, rededicate their lives to him, receive spiritual nourishment, declare their unity, and proclaim Christ's second coming. Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41; 10:47-48; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:17-32 e. The Discipline of Church Members We believe that the local church has the responsibility to exercise loving and redemptive discipline of her members who have strayed from the teaching of the Scriptures through their attitude, beliefs, or through the actions of their lives. If loving admonishment to restore an offending member to spiritual health has failed, discipline may involve the loss of membership rights and exclusion from the membership of the church until the disciplined person will be joyfully received back into the church on the basis of confession and repentance of sin. Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; Galatians 6:1; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; 5:19-20; Titus 3:10-11; 3 John 8-10 f. The Worship of the Church We believe that, while Christians can and should worship God at all times and in all aspects of their lives, the first day of the week should be observed as the Lord's Day and that it is the divinely appointed day for corporate worship, instruction and community. Worship acceptable to God is worship in spirit and truth. Scripture is to be studied by each believer, but it is best understood within the collective wisdom of the Christian community both past and present. We believe that our corporate worship is always a part of the larger worship of the church universal and therefore we affirm the importance of cooperation with likeminded Christians in other churches. Psalm 95:1-7; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Hebrews 10:25; Matthew 12:1-8; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; John 4:23-24; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17; 4:2; Ephesians 2:20; 4:11-13 g. The Mission of the Church We believe that it is the duty and privilege of every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ in the new covenant and of every local church of Christ to be involved in the Great Commission by making Christian disciples of the nations, both locally and globally. This is done through Spirit-empowered verbal witness and preaching, prayer and financial support, and is undergirded by a lifestyle of holiness, good deeds, and the pursuit of justice. Matthew 4:19; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 8:1,4; 11:19-24; 13:1-4; Acts 1:8; 4:31; Colossians 4:2-6; 1 Corinthians 9:7-14; Philippians 2:14-16; Matthew 5:13-16 h. The Cooperation of Churches We believe that, just as it is essential for every believer to be joined to a local church, so it is vital for every local church to fellowship with other churches of like precious faith. Such a fellowship is vital for it enables local churches to work together in evangelism at home and abroad, in mentoring and teaching future church leaders, and in providing counsel and help to one another. By such a fellowship, there is visibly seen the unity of these local churches as one body with a common faith under Christ their only Lord and head. Acts 15:1-35; Romans 16:1-2, 16; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:16; Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 1:22-23 7. Marriage and Singleness We believe that marriage is an exclusive heterosexual covenant between one man and one woman, ordained and sealed by God, preceded by a public leaving of parents, consummated in sexual union, issuing in a permanent mutually supportive partnership, and usually crowned with the gift of children. It is God's unique gift to provide the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression, and the means for procreation of the human race. In marriage God ordains that the husband and the wife assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the Church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. Christian marriage, like the church, transcends ethnic and racial boundaries. Christians should marry according to the standards laid out in Scripture and only to those who are believers. While married life is a blessed life we recognize that for some believers the call to singleness is God's blessed will for their lives so that they may serve God wholeheartedly. Genesis 2:18-24; Malachi 2:15-16; Matthew 19:4-6; Psalms 127; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5; Genesis 1:26-28; Ephesians 5:22-33; Ruth 1:1-17; 4:9-13; Leviticus 18; Nehemiah 11:25-27; Mark 6:18; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15; Matthew 19:21; 1 Corinthians 7:7,32-34 8. Civil Government and Religious Freedom We believe that both the State and Church are divinely ordained institutions with distinctive concerns and responsibilities. Christians are to honor, pray for and submit to their political leaders so that they rule wisely and justly. Christians are called to obey the law, although civil disobedience is a legitimate response to demands that oppose the will of our Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture, for he is the only Lord of the conscience and over all the kings of the earth. The responsibility of the State is to guarantee the religious liberty of all persons of any religion. The Church neither expects nor requires the State to enforce religious orthodoxy. Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Daniel 3:17-18; Acts 4:19-20 9. The Restoration of All Things We believe that at the end of this age, at a time only known to God the Father, Jesus will return personally and visibly to the earth with his angels; he will exercise his role as judge and his kingdom will be consummated. At that time, the present fallen creation will pass away, and God will create a new heaven and a new earth – the home of righteousness. There will be a personal, bodily resurrection of all people, the righteous and the wicked. They will be judged according to their deeds. Those who have not been saved by faith in Christ will be consigned to eternal conscious punishment in hell with the devil and his angels, while the righteous will be rewarded with a blessed everlasting life together in the presence of the triune God. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace. This is our hope and thus we say, "Come Lord Jesus!” Mark 13:32; Matthew 24:30-31; Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15; John 5:28-29; Philippians 3:20-21; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12-13; Matthew 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20; 15; 21:22-22:5, 20
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