Cloverdale URC Statement of Faith
We believe that there is one true and living God that has revealed Himself in Scripture as eternal, sovereign, invisible, unchanging, infinite, ever-present, independent, all-knowing, indivisible, almighty, perfectly wise, loving, just, gracious, holy and good. While God is one, He exists in three persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance, and equal in power, glory, and honor. All three are uncreated, co-eternal, and co-essential and are rightly worshipped as the one true God – three in one and one in three.
2. Holy Scriptures
We believe that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and holy, complete, and entirely without error in its original manuscripts. The Holy Scriptures contain the will of God and teach what we are to believe about God, ourselves, and our duty towards God. The Bible is therefore, the rule of our faith and practice in life, doctrine, and godliness.
We believe that God created all things from nothing by the word of His power in the space of six days. At creation God made all creatures according to their kind, thus ruling out the notion that the various species evolved from one form or life. The creation was perfect and God Himself declared that it was ‘very good’. God’s creation culminated in His immediate creation of the first man, Adam from the dust and the first woman, Eve from Adam. God created them perfect and upright, and after His own image in true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.
4. Sin (Fall)
We believe that sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They sinned by willingly listening to the lies of the Devil instead of submitting to and trusting the clear commands of God. Since Adam was the representative and covenant head of all people His disobedience plunged him and the entire human race into ruin. We are now born with a wholly corrupt nature which is the source of sin and the cause of us all being under the wrath and curse of God. Not only are we born in sin, we will die in sin unless God, by His Spirit, makes us alive in Christ.
5. Jesus Christ the Mediator
We believe that salvation can only be found in the one Mediator, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took to Himself body and soul, and became a human when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. At the incarnation, the divine and human natures were mysteriously united so that Jesus was, and continues to be, both truly human and truly divine, but one person. Jesus became a man in order to be the representative and substitute of His people. By Christ’s perfect life of obedience we are counted righteous; by Christ’s perfect substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary, God’s justice and wrath are satisfied, and our sins are discovered, forgiven and removed.
We believe that justification is an act of God’s free grace in which God pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone. Our faith is the means by which Christ and His righteousness are received and applied to us, and by which we are united to Him. Our faith does not merit God’s favor, nor does the repentance that accompanies it, or the good works that flow from it; faith is simply the instrument by which we are united to Christ. Our faith is itself a gracious gift of God worked in us by the Spirit.
We believe that sanctification is the work of God’s free grace by which we are renewed in our whole being after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die to sin and to live unto righteousness. Sanctification is inseparably joined to our justification; those that God regenerates and makes a new person He will also cause to live a new life. As Christians, we will grow in grace and will delight in the pursuit of holiness according to God’s Word. We will pursue good works out of love for God and in new obedience to His commandments. A life of sanctification is done in thankfulness for God’s free and fully sufficient grace we have experienced in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The catholic (or universal) Church, which is invisible, consists of all the elect whom God has saved and gathered from every tribe, language, people, and nation. This invisible ‘church’ is the bride and body of Christ that He defends and preserves by His Spirit and Word. The ‘visible church’ is made up of all those that profess the true religion and their children. Each local congregation is part of the visible church. Each church is called to practice the right preaching of God’s Word, the faithful declaration of the Gospel, the right administration of the sacraments, the discipline of her members, and submission to Christ as her only true and rightful head. Jesus Christ instituted two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The sacraments are signs and seals of God’s grace, given to strengthen and nourish our faith.
9. Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit, working through the Word, causes sinners to be ‘born again’ (regenerated) by making alive what was spiritually dead. The Spirit indwells believers and convicts us of sin, leads us to repentance, causes us to grow in holiness, assures us of our salvation, and seals us for the day of redemption. In addition, the Spirit empowers us for service and equips us with spiritual gifts for building up the body of Christ.
10. Last Things
We believe that Jesus Christ will return to earth personally, visibly, and bodily as King and Judge. When He returns the dead will be raised and will be judged with those that were alive at His returning. The judgment will result in the eternal punishment of the wicked and unbelieving and eternal life for those belonging to Jesus. The redeemed will enter into an eternity in the new heavens and the new earth consisting of worship, fellowship, communion, and ever-increasing joy all to the glory of God.