Before getting into the deep details I first want to state my basic theological beliefs and hermeneutical methods for interpreting Scripture. I hold to Free Grace traditional Dispensational theology, the Pre-tribulation rapture, and Premillennial return of Christ. As such I believe that Jesus will return to reign for a literal 1,000 years. Along with these beliefs I hold to the historical-grammatical hermeneutic where I take the plain reading of Scripture as what it is saying. Naturally, I take into consideration the genre and apply that to the reading. But I believe that Scripture, even in literary devices, teaches us a literal truth and is not to be spiritualized. I also believe that Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture.
There is one condition for receiving everlasting life. This condition is faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man’s sin and rose bodily from the dead (John 3:16-18; 6:47; Acts 16:31).
Faith is the total conviction that something is true. Believing in Jesus is being convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who believe in Him for it (John 4:14; 5:24; 6:47; 11:26; 1 Tim 1:16).
No action on our part, i.e., obedience, before or after faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, including commitment to obey, sorrow for sin, turning from one’s sin, baptism or submission to the Lordship of Christ, may be added to, or considered part of, faith as a condition for receiving everlasting life (Rom 4:5; Gal 2:16; Titus 3:5). This saving transaction is simply the giving and receiving of a free gift from God to the sinner (Eph 2:8-9; John 4:10 ; Rev 22:17 ).
The Holy Spirit’s work in the believer’s life is to produce spiritual maturity reflected in consistent Christlike behavior and attitudes (Gal 5:22-25; Luke 14:25-33; Col 1:23-29). Therefore, obedience to the Word of God, for this growth and not as part of salvation, is the essential responsibility of each Christian (Rom 6:12-23; Heb 5:13-14; 1 Cor 2:14–3:4). Although this is the goal and responsibility, the Bible does not teach that this obedience will be manifested in all believers. If a believer does not yield to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in his experience, failure will result, evidenced by sinful acts or even prolonged disobedience (1 Cor 10:1-13; Gal 5:16-21).
We do not keep or gain our salvation by godly living. This is not a consistent teaching in Scripture. The Scriptures, however, do present several motivations for obedience in the Christian life.
One motivation is gratitude to God for saving us by His grace (Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor 5:14 -15; Gal 2:20 ). We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Another motivation is the knowledge that our heavenly Father blesses obedience and disciplines disobedience in His children (Gal 6:7; Heb 12:3-11; Lev 26:1-45).
The last motivation is that each believer must stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is not a determination of our eternal destiny, as that has already been determined upon our belief, but to assess the quality of his Christian life on earth (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 22:12). Knowing we will either receive rewards or lose rewards at the Judgment Seat is another motivation for believers to persevere and to remain faithful to God’s revealed will (1 Cor 3:10 -17, 9:24 -27; Jas 5:8-9; 1 John 2:28 ).
I believe that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” I understand this to mean that the whole Bible is inspired in the sense that holy men of God “were moved by the Holy Spirit” to write the very words of Scripture. I believe that this divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of the writings—historical, poetical, doctrinal, and prophetical. I believe that the whole Bible is without error and has been preserved throughout the centuries in the many manuscripts we have. I believe that because of this we can know with certainty that our Bibles today are the Word of God. I believe that all of Scripture describes the complete and total work of God and that they center about the Lord Jesus Christ in His person and work in His first and second coming. I also believe that all the Scriptures were designed for our practical instruction (Mark 12:26, 36; 13:11; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 1:16; 17:2–3; 18:28; 26:22–23; 28:23; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 2:13; 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21).
I believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and worthy of precisely the same worship, admiration, confidence, and obedience (Matt. 28:18–19; Mark 12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3–4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1–3; Rev. 1:4–6).
Man, Created and Fallen
I believe that man was created in the image and after the likeness of God, and that he fell through sin, and, as a consequence of his sin, lost his spiritual life, and became subject to the power of the devil. I also believe that this has been transmitted to the entire human race of man, the Man Christ Jesus alone being excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the world with a nature which not only possesses no spark of divine life, and is unable to save themselves apart from divine grace (Gen. 1:26; 2:17; 6:5; Pss. 14:1–3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; John 3:6; 5:40; 6:35; Rom. 3:10–19; 8:6–7; Eph. 2:1–3; 1 Tim. 5:6; 1 John 3:8).
I believe that the dispensations are stewardships by which God administers His purpose on the earth through man under varying responsibilities. I believe that the changes in the dispensational dealings of God with man depend on changed conditions or situations in which man is successively found with relation to God, and that these changes are the result of the failures of man and the judgments of God. I believe that different administrative responsibilities of this character are manifest in the biblical record, that they span the entire history of mankind, and that each ends in the failure of man under the respective test and in an ensuing judgment from God. I believe that three of these dispensations or rules of life are the subject of extended revelation in the Scriptures, the dispensation of the Mosaic Law, the present dispensation of grace, and the future dispensation of the millennial kingdom. I believe that these are distinct and are not to be mixed or confused, as they are chronologically successive.
I believe that the dispensations are not ways of salvation nor different methods of administering the so-called Covenant of Grace. They are not in themselves dependent on covenant relationships but are ways of life and responsibility to God which test the submission of man to His revealed will during a particular time. I believe that if man trusts in his own efforts to gain the favor of God or salvation under any dispensational test, because of inherent sin his failure to satisfy fully the just requirements of God is inevitable and his condemnation sure.
I believe that according to the “eternal purpose” of God (Eph. 3:11) salvation in the divine reckoning is always “by grace through faith,” and rests upon the basis of the shed blood of Christ. I believe that God has always been gracious, regardless of the ruling dispensation, but that man has not at all times been under an administration or stewardship of grace as is true in the present dispensation (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 3:2; 3:9, asv; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4, asv).
I believe that it has always been true that “without faith it is impossible to please” God (Heb. 11:6), and that the principle of faith was prevalent in the lives of all the Old Testament saints. However, I believe that it was historically impossible that they should have had as the conscious object of their faith the incarnate, crucified Son, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and that it is evident that they did not comprehend as we do that the sacrifices depicted the person and work of Christ. I believe that they did not understand the redemptive significance of the prophecies or types concerning the sufferings of Christ (1 Pet. 1:10–12); therefore, I believe that their faith toward God was manifested in other ways as is shown by the long record in Hebrews 11:1–40. I believe further that their faith thus manifested was counted unto them for righteousness (cf. Rom. 4:3 with Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:5–8; Heb. 11:7).
Christ’s Incarnation and Virgin Birth
I believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. I believe that this birth was foretold in the Old Testament and is shown in the New Testament in the man Jesus Christ. I believe that this birth happened by the power of the Holy Spirit. That the Holy Spirit brought forth this miracle birth in the Virgin Mary. That He overshadowed Mary and wrought in her the Son of God. As a woman Mary could not impregnate herself and since she could not, she was the chosen vessel of God to make this miracle happen. Being born of a virgin demonstrates the miraculous birth of the savior and it fulfills prophecy that said as much. His virginal human birth also demonstrates that He is truly human as well as truly God. The physical birth demonstrates how He has a physical body and being born of a virgin shows how He is divine (Ps. 2; Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Matt. 1:18-20; 23; Luke 1:27, 34-35).
The Person of the Incarnated Christ
I believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man. That in the act of becoming incarnate man Jesus lost no divine attribute. I believe that He did limit Himself on occasion, but in the act of doing He did not lose any divine attribute and remained truly God. I believe that as such He became flesh as one person with two distinct natures. He is the preexistent uncreated Son of God who took on flesh and became man so He could be the perfect sacrifice for man and be our perfect mediator before God the Father. As a man and being the perfect sacrifice for man, Christ was able to crush the head of the serpent and made the way for man and God to be brought back into union (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1; Heb. 2:9, 14-17; 9:26; 10:12).
I believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the linchpin of Christianity. I believe that if the resurrection did not happen and that if it was not a bodily resurrection, then all believers are not saved but still in their sins. I believe that the resurrection proves that Jesus Christ was the messiah to come because it fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. I believe that because of the resurrection Christ is proven to be a true prophet because He stated that He would rise again. I believe that the resurrection demonstrates that Jesus has conquered death and is the life-giver who is bestowing eternal life on those who are spiritually dead. I believe that in the resurrection Christ is the prototype of the resurrection of believers. That because of the resurrection He rose with an eternal body that believers will also have and therefore we will be like Him. I believe that the resurrection proves in the clearest way possible that Jesus is the living Lord that will return (Ps. 16:8-11; Isa. 53:10-12; Jonah 1:17; Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:18-19; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:32-34; Luke 9:22; 18:31-33; John 2:19-22; 10:17-18; Acts 1:11; 2:24, 32-33, 36; 3:15; 4:10; 17:31; 1 Cor. 15:12-19; 16:22; Col. 1:18; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 1:5).
I believe that the ascension of Christ signified the success of His work on earth. I believe that in His ascension He was exalted by the Father to His place of authority, as He predicted in His ministry He would go to the Father. I believe that the ascension is the linchpin of Christ’s saving work. It bridges his work on the earth and in heaven. It is an essential part of his sacrificial work in that he presents his perfect sacrifice before the Father. I believe that in His ascension He began His work as our High Priest, and is preparing a place for us. I believe that the ascension set the pattern for His return. I believe that His ascension was a bodily ascension and that it being so it shows that He will return bodily and receive all believers who have died or are alive bodily to Him (Ps. 68:1, 4-7, 11-14, 15-18, 20-22, 24, 30; 110:1; Dan. 7:13-14; John 6:62; 7:33; 14:2, 12, 28; 16:5, 10, 28; 20:17; Acts 1:6-11; 7:56; Eph. 4:10; Col. 3:1; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:14; 1 Pet. 3:22).
I believe that Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father ruling alongside Him. I believe that in His being seated that He shows that His work of purification is complete. That He sits at the right hand of God. This is the place of greatest honor and power in the universe. One that is fitting for the Son of God our Savior, who humbled himself to die by crucifixion. He is now exalted to the highest place. I believe that Christ’s session demonstrates that He is our eternal priest, prophet, and king. I believe that it shows Him as our perfect mediator because He is at the right hand of the Father. I believe He is at the right hand of the Father ruling until the day when He will return on the clouds and rule the nations with a rod of iron. I believe because of the session of Christ all believers will be brought fully home to Him eternally (Ps. 2:9; 110:1-7; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 22:41-46; 26:64; Acts 2:24-36; 5:27-32; 7:54-60; Rom. 8:33-34; Eph. 1:19-23; 2:4-7; Col. 3:1-4; Heb. 1:3-14; 7:21, 23-25; Rev. 2:27; 3:21; 5:5).
Our Blessed Hope
I believe that, according to the Word of God, the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself into heaven both His own who are alive and remain unto His coming, and also all who have fallen asleep in Jesus, and that this event is the blessed hope set before us in the Scripture, and for this we should be constantly looking (John 14:1–3; 1 Cor. 15:51–52; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; Titus 2:11–14).
I believe that the translation of the church will be followed by the fulfillment of Israel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 6:1–19:21) during which the church, the body of Christ, will be in heaven. The whole period of Israel’s seventieth week will be a time of judgment on the whole earth, at the end of which the times of the Gentiles will be brought to a close. The latter half of this period will be the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), which our Lord called the great tribulation (Matt. 24:15–21). I believe that universal righteousness will not be realized previous to the second coming of Christ, but that the world is day by day ripening for judgment and that the age will end with a fearful apostasy.
The Second Coming of Christ
I believe that the period of great tribulation in the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth as He went, in person on the clouds of heaven, and with power and great glory to introduce the millennial age, to bind Satan and place him in the abyss, to lift the curse which now rests upon the whole creation, to restore Israel to her own land and to give her the realization of God’s covenant promises, and to bring the whole world to the knowledge of God (Deut. 30:1–10; Isa. 11:9; Ezek. 37:21–28; Matt. 24:15–25:46; Acts 15:16–17; Rom. 8:19–23; 11:25–27; 1 Tim. 4:1–3; 2 Tim. 3:1–5; Rev. 20:1–3).
The Eternal State
Believers will spend eternity with the Lord on the New Earth in His glorious kingdom (1 Thess 5:10; Rev 21:1-3ff.). Unbelievers will spend eternity in eternal conscious torment (ECT) in the lake of fire (Isa 66:22-24; Dan 12:1-2; Matt 25:46; Gal 6:8; 2 Thess 1:5-10; Jude 13; Rev 14:9-11; 20:10-15).
All beliefs listed are my own. I am indebted to the Grace Evangelical Society and Dallas Theological Seminary for their clear explanations of these beliefs. I relied heavily upon them to clearly state many of the above beliefs. The beliefs that rest heavily on GES and DTS are in a larger and bolder font.