Using the Bible and the constitutional Doctrinal Position of Living Word Fellowship, the Elders have come to conviction regarding the major truths of God’s Word. Those who attend LWF come from many backgrounds and denominations. Presenting “We Teach” along with the constitution of Living Word gives clarity and unity in our commitment to impart biblical truth to the body that they may be equipped to serve Him in worship, ministry, and evangelism.
The Holy Scriptures
We teach that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man. These 66 books of the Bible are given to us by the Holy Spirit who equally inspired all parts and together they constitute the inspired, Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We teach that the Word of God is an objective revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13: 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. We teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture.
We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Timothy 3:15-17: Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so gave insight to the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2 Peter 1:20-21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16).
We teach that there is but one true interpretation of any given passage of Scripture. However there may be several applications. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to discern carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14) - each equally deserving worship and obedience.
God the Father
We teach that God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty He does not initiate sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He interfere with the accountability of man (1 Peter 1:17 & Matthew 16:27). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).
We teach that God is truly sovereign, and He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His Character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11: 25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
God the Son.
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, actual presence of, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9).
We teach that God the Father created according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2).
We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the special rights and full powers of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-Man (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9).
We teach the Jesus Christ represents humanity and God in oneness (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1; 14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that, in the incarnation, the second Person of the Trinity laid aside His right to the full powers and special rights of coexistence with God and took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:5-8).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross. His death was voluntary, propitiatory, substitutionary and acceptable to God as fully satisfying our debt for all sin. (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24).
We teach that on the basis of the effectiveness of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
We teach that our justification is made sure by His physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where he now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4;25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
We teach that the personal, visible coming of our Lord is first to receive His own to Himself and later to set up His earthly kingdom and to reign over redeemed Israel and all nations of the world, bringing peace and blessing to the whole world. We teach that this blessed hope has a vital bearing on our personal life and service (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:30-58; Revelation 20: 4-6).
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God will judge (John 5:22-23).
As the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 1:5), the head of His Body the church (Ephesians 1:22: 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King, who will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31).
God the Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person (2 Corinthians 3:18), eternal, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14); omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and the same in nature and substance with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17).
We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the written revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-8).
We teach that the work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost, when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural sovereign Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believes into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher, who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation, the Bible (2 Peter 1:19-21). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church (1 Corinthians 12: 4-11). The Holy Spirit does the will of the Father (John 16:13-14).
We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today, and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were not intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).
We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, the power of choosing, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7; 15-25; James 3:9).
We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
We teach that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence, incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God, and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).
We teach that, because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12)
We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-37; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24) when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works are the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:21; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 5:14). Such conformity is completed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2). “All whom the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).
We teach that election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23; 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17).
We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to sinners is not related to any initiative of man’s part or to God’s anticipation of what man might do by his/her own will, but is solely of His grace and mercy (Romans 9:10-12; Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God’s power and are secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; I Corinthians 1: 4-9; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; I Peter 1: 4-5; Jude 24). We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation and that the Word of God clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an excuse for sinful carnal living (Romans 6:15-22, 39, 40, 44, 65; 10:9, 14, 28-29; 13:13, 14; Galatians 5: 13, 16, 17, 25, 26; Titus 2:11-14).
We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the placing of our sins on Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the crediting of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is the just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).
We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the likeness of Christ. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing humility in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23; Philippians 2:3-4).
We teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict (the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh) but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness will increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).
We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18).
We teach that the formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21; 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We teach that the church is a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present time (Ephesians 2:11-3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this time (Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32).
We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23; 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) and the members of the one spiritual Body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:24-25).
We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed by God as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5).
We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The body is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the body according to the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).
We teach the mandate of using God’s Word alone for counseling (Romans 16:17; Colossians 2:8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We teach the autonomy of the Living Word Fellowship, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). Each local church through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation with other churches. The elders should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
We teach that believers are to be generous and cheerful in their giving. Believers are to set aside regularly a sum of money in keeping with their income to give in support of the work of ministry in the local church (Luke 16:10-19; I Corinthians 16:1-4; II Corinthians 9: 6-8).
We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
We teach that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).
We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that, whereas the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ, who indwells every believer, and so is present, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
We teach that marriage has been ordained (or established) by God. LWF recognizes marriage as exclusively the legal union of one man and one woman in which such union is a lifetime commitment (Genesis 2:18-25; Ephesians 5:23, 25, 31-32; II Corinthians 6:14-16; Malachi 2:16).
We teach that legitimate sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage. Hence, sexual activities, such as, but not limited to adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, pedophilia and bestiality are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the Church. Further, lascivious behavior, the creation and/or distribution and/or viewing of pornography and efforts to alter one’s gender are incompatible with the biblical witness (Leviticus 18:23; Romans 1:26-27; Hebrews 13:4; Colossians 3:5-7).
We teach that angels are created beings and are not to be worshiped. They are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9).
We teach that Satan is a created angel and the initiator of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15)
We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10); that he is the prince of this world, who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20); and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
We teach that the believer is under the divine control of Christ. Christ’s death, resurrection and shed blood has conquered Satan and his army. Satan has no hold on the believer except as God allows, and that will be used for the purpose of sanctification (Job1:8-12; 23:6; 42:1-6; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Romans 5:1, 5; 8:1-4).
We teach that Satan blinds unbelievers to the truth of the Gospel and seeks to devour whomever he may. His mission is to destroy the testimony and purpose of believers (I Corinthians 7:5; II Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 4:26; I Peter 5:8).
We teach concerning Satan and spiritual powers in the believer’s life; resist Satan, stand firm in the faith, live a life of righteousness in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit with a clear conscience before God (Ephesians 6:10-17; Hebrews 9:11-15; James 4:7-8).
We teach that God purposes to use everything in the believer’s life for His good purposes and His glory (Psalm 119:75; Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5). This includes past events of the believer’s life (Hebrews 10:32-34; 11; 12:3; James 5:10-11).
We teach that the souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation do, at death, immediately pass into His presence and there remain until the resurrection of the body at His coming for the church when the soul and body, reunited, will be associated with Him forever in glory. We believe that unbelievers will be punished with everlasting separation from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power because they have chosen to be opposed to God (Philippians 1:23; I Corinthians15:50-58; Revelation 20: 11-15). (Direct quote from LWF Constitution.)
What It Means To Be A Christian
Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian means you have embraced what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in Scripture.
God is Sovereign Creator
The Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, he also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience and worship.
God Is Holy
God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Mankind Is Sinful
According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin.” (1 Kings 8:46). That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving or pleasing God on our own. (Romans 3:10-12).
Sin Demands a Penalty
God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: (Ezekiel 18:4; 19-22). That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.
Jesus Is Lord and Savior
The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (Colossians 1:16). Therefore He owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the penalty and died for sinners (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice and Christ’s perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26; 8:30-32; I Peter 1:3-5; John 14:6).
The Character of Saving Faith
True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9) and pursue Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 17:3) and obedience to Him (1 John 2:3). It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith is characterized by obedience (Ephesians 2:10).