We are continuing this series on “Doctrine Matters.”  I am convinced that most people do not know what their church believes.  They may have been a member of a church for years but they don’t realize that each church has a statement of belief or a confessional statement that lays out the beliefs of their church.

In this series, I am sharing the beliefs of Grace Life Church of Senatobia.  Our beliefs could be accurately described as historically baptist.  We believe what baptist churches have preached and taught throughout history.  The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message describes how we interpret the Bible.

Today, we come to the section on Salvation.  What do we believe about Salvation is so important.   Article 4 says this

“Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.”

This statement is the crux of Christianity.  We believe that Jesus in His death on the cross purchased salvation, by His shed blood to all who would believe.  Because God is Holy, sin had to be atoned for.  Jesus was the sinless sacrifice that willingly gave His life in our place.  He satisfied God’s wrath on the cross, paying the penalty that we deserve.  Now how do we receive this gift?  It is through repentance and faith.  The Bible clearly teaches that this doesn’t happen apart from the Holy Spirit.  This why the next part says,

“A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So do we repent and then receive the Holy Spirit or does the Holy Spirit cause repentance?   This statement makes it clear that Baptists believe that regeneration comes first.  Regeneration is the “new birth” and it is a work of God’s grace.  Only God can do this,     The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and this change of heart causes the sinner to respond in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am convinced that there are so many people who think they are Christians because they walked an aisle or prayed a prayer or were baptized but the Holy Spirit did not do a work of regeneration.  They went through religious motions but were not truly saved. (Matthew 7:21-23)

This was me at age 9, regeneration didn’t happen in my life until age 18.  This is when God saved me.  The Holy Spirit got a hold of my heart and I have never been the same. I had made a profession but conversion happened at 18 because this is when I began to have a hatred of sin in my life and at the same time had a faith in Christ that we real and abiding.

Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

True repentance is a hatred of sin.  It is when a person not only admits they are a sinner but they have Godly sorrow in their hearts towards their sin.  At the same time, they have faith in Jesus Christ.  Faith is complete trust and complete commitment.   A person cannot have Jesus as Savior and not have Him as Lord because this is who He is:  Saviour and Lord.  If someone says, “I got saved when I was this age but later I made Jesus my Lord” don’t believe them.  You cannot be saved if Jesus is not your Lord.  This is why the statement says “Faith is the acceptance of the Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour” .

Repentance and Faith only happen by God’s grace, this is why the confession says they are “inseparable experiences of grace” . You cannot have one without the other.

Next time we will look at “Justification” .

Chris Twilley,

Church planting pastor

Here are all of the Scriptures that support this statement:

Genesis 3:15Exodus 3:14-176:2-8Matthew 1:214:1716:21-2627:22-28:6Luke 1:68-692:28-32John 1:11-14,293:3-21,365:2410:9,28-2915:1-1617:17Acts 2:214:1215:1116:30-3117:30-3120:32Romans 1:16-182:43:23-254:3ff.; 5:8-106:1-238:1-18,29-3910:9-10,1313:11-141 Corinthians 1:18,306:19-2015:102 Corinthians 5:17-20Galatians 2:203:135:22-256:15Ephesians 1:72:8-224:11-16Philippians 2:12-13Colossians 1:9-223:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-242 Timothy 1:12Titus 2:11-14Hebrews 2:1-35:8-99:24-2811:1-12:8,14James 2:14-261 Peter 1:2-231 John 1:6-2:11Revelation 3:2021:1-22:5.