At Grace Baptist Church of Essex, we believe the historic Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. The following statements are a brief summary of these beliefs:
1. The Scriptures
The Scriptures are the very Word of God, written by men divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, and are therefore without error. The Scriptures are a treasure of heavenly instruction in the knowledge of God, and the supreme standard by which all human creeds, conduct, and opinions should be measured.
God created the world, and all things in it, in six days.
3. The Trinity
The one, eternal God is a triune God; He exist in three Persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each Person of the Trinity possesses distinct personal attributes without division of nature, essence, or being.
4. Deity of Christ
Jesus Christ is God incarnate; God manifested in flesh. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Jesus took upon Himself human nature and identified Himself completely with mankind, yet was without sin. He became the sinner’s substitute. He took upon himself the guilt of our sins, and willingly suffered the penalty of sin in the place of all who would turn from sin and receive Him by faith. On the cross, Christ Jesus was forsaken, so sinners could be forgiven.
Christ rose from the grave with a glorified body, ascended into Heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of the Father, where He reigns and intercedes for all who come to God through Him. One day, He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission.
5. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the fully-divine third Person of the Trinity. He convicts men of sin, revealing to them God’s standard of righteousness and convincing them of the reality of judgment. He calls sinners to the Saviour and effects a change of heart and life within them, which is called regeneration. He cultivates Christian character within believers, and comforts, enlightens and empowers them. The Holy Spirit fills the Christian’s heart with love and adoration for Christ, which is expressed in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man is the special creation of God, made in God’s own image. In the beginning, man was innocent of sin and enjoyed communion with God. Through the temptation of Satan, man transgressed the command of God and fell from his original state of innocence. All his posterity are now born with a fallen, sinful nature. Due to his sinful nature, man will not and cannot have communion with God.
No one will go to heaven by trying to be good or by being religious. We have all sinned against God; sin separates us from God and bars us from entering heaven. God has provided a way for sinful man to be at peace with Himself. When Jesus died upon the cross, He suffered the just penalty for sin, by sacrificing his life in the place of the guilty. Forgiveness of sin and acceptance with God is offered freely to all who will turn from sin and trust in Christ alone as their Saviour and Lord. When a sinner turns to Christ in repentance and faith, God declares that sinner righteous, and he is brought into a relationship of peace and favor with God. Christ is the only Mediator between God and man; there is no salvation apart from personal faith in Christ.
For the rest of the Christian’s life, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwells within him and enables him to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity. The Christian no longer fears death, but rejoices in the promise that he will spend all eternity in Heaven with the Lord.
8. Election and Regeneration
God freely offers forgiveness of sin and eternal life to all who will receive Christ by faith. Yet, because of human sinful nature, no one will turn to Christ to be saved. God must take the initiative. Before the creation of the world, God chose a people from amongst all humanity (a people so vast in number, no one can count) to be His own. To these God sends the Holy Spirit, who convicts them of sin and irresistibly draws them to Christ. Whereas they had once been “dead in sin,” the Holy Spirit gives them spiritual life.
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. It is an act of obedience to God’s command to “believe and be baptized.” Baptism identified us with the death and resurrection of Christ on our behalf. It testifies to our personal relationship to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Baptism pictures our death to the old life lived for self and sin, and being raised to a new life dedicated to living for our Saviour.
10. The Lord's Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a memorial celebration of Christ’s atonement at Calvary. By partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, believers remember the sacrificial death of their Redeemer and rejoice in the salvation He purchased for them.
11. The Church
The church consist of those who have believed in Christ as their Savior and Lord, and have identified with Christ in baptism. The church is governed by God’s Word. Each member of the church is to love the Lord supremely, and love the brethren sincerely. The church is entrusted with the gospel, and commissioned by Christ to take the gospel to the very ends of the earth.
12. The Ten Commandments
Although believers are not under the law as a covenant of works to be justified or condemned by it, yet obedience to the ten commandments remains forever binding on all. Christ did not nullify God’s moral law in the Gospel, on the contrary, he strengthens our obligation to obey it. God’s law informs Christians of the will of God and their duty to walk accordingly.
13. The Lord's Day
Sunday, the first day of the week, is the “Lord’s Day.” It is a day for physical rest and spiritual refreshment, by means of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be in keeping with the Christian’s conscience under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
14. The Resurrection
Jesus Christ will return in glory , personally and visibly, to the earth on the last day. The dead will be raised, and Christ will judge all men with perfect justice. All who have believed in Christ Jesus will be resurrected with glorified bodies, to be forever with the Lord. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell – the place of everlasting punishment and torment, forever separated from God.