For the next couple of weeks I want to take a few moments to reiterate some very important principles by which we want to live and minister at Calvary Chapel. One might even call these things core principles and values that we hold.
This first of these core values we have is that we believe that there is only one way for sin to be forgiven - and that is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures state this fact numerous times.
Jesus *said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6 (NASB)
"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 (NASB)
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36 (NASB)
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NASB)
Therefore we hold as one of our core values that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only means by which anyone can have their sins forgiven and be made righteous in the sight of God. We also hold that this salvation is through Jesus Christ alone, through faith alone, by grace alone. It is not Jesus Christ and baptism (which is the error of baptismal regeneration). It is not Jesus Christ and the church (and by that I mean ANY church - even ours).
Permit me to unpack the rest of that previous statement. We believe that salvation is by faith alone. There are no works that we can do to merit or earn our salvation. Salvation is by faith alone - faith in what Jesus did through His perfect, sinless life - His substitutionary death (meaning He was our substitute on the cross - we deserved what happened there - yet He paid it for us) - and His glorious resurrection, by which God declared that He accepted what Jesus did to pay for sin and make sinners righteous in His sight. Faith is not just mental assent to these facts, but rather is a total commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is a surrender on our part, where we lay down our own works as dead works - and our righteousness as filthy rags. We no longer trust in anything from ourselves - no religious standing or good works can make us righteous in God’s sight. The only thing God will accept for that work is what Jesus Christ did for us.
Finally, let me explain what we mean when we use the phrase, “by grace alone.” This phrase has to do with whether we ourselves can do anything for our salvation. The answer to that is a resounding NO! We cannot do anything for our salvation. It was God alone who chose to save us - we had nothing to do with our salvation. Romans 5 describes God’s grace this way,
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. “ Romans 5:6-8 (NASB)
The Word of God makes it clear that our state before God was that we were, “helpless.” There was nothing we could ever do - no amount of obedience to the Law - no amount of religious works - no amount of religious payments we could make that would ever bring us one millimeter closer to God. We had not just “messed up a little” with our sin. We had, “. . . fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (NASB) Therefore as Ephesians chapter 2 puts it, after painting the bleakest picture possible in verses 1-3 about our condition before God, “but God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions - made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). We believe that we are saved solely because of the grace and infinite mercy of God. Therefore no one may boast of having done anything whatsoever to deserve their salvation. We are infinite debtors to God for His indescribable gift - His marvelous, matchless, incredible grace.
This core value also comes with a core responsibility. We believe because there is salvation in no one else by Jesus Christ, we are responsible to take the gospel of His salvation to the ends of the earth. Our amazing salvation comes with a very real responsibility. If there is only one way of salvation - then all other religious views that do not come to God through Jesus Christ alone, by faith alone, through grace alone - are false. In the end all their religious fervor will amount to nothing - and they will face the wrath and judgment of God. This places on us a very serious task of proclaiming the gospel to every nation, tribe, people, and tongue (which by the way is Scripture). If our core value of belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ for salvation, does not lead to a core practice of taking the gospel across the street, across the city, across the state, nation, and world - then we are being very disobedient to the gospel, as well as very selfish toward the rest of the world who desperately need to hear of it.
Saints - we at Calvary Chapel of Jonesboro are very, very serious about the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications. We know that this Core Value is at the heart of all that we do - and indeed is at the heart of who we are as a church. I urge you to consider what has been said here. Think about it and meditate on what is means - for you - for our fellowship - and for the world around us. If we will not just adopt such a Core Value as a statement of faith - but rather as the “reactor core” of our faith - I believe that God will revive us and begin to move among us in powerful ways. I believe those ways will include a reviving of our own hearts as we embrace the truths of the gospel - and a reviving of our passion for the world around us as we grasp the ramifications of the gospel.
Most of these articles are taken from the Calvary Courier, a weekly newsletter that is sent to the folks who attend Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. Due to the response to these articles, we've decided to print some of them which proved to be very helpful to God's people at the fellowship.
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