Our principles are the fuel that drive our ministry. Our only hope in life and death is the redemption that is offered to us in the Gospel. In short, these four principles help us understand the Gospel and how it applies to our lives.
1. Justification - To be justified means to be made right with God. "We believe justification is a work of God's free grace in which He forgives all of our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight for the sake of the righteousness of Christ alone, which is credited to us and received by faith alone."
- In practical terms - We believe every person in the world has an innate drive to justify their lives and to prove their worth. When we find out we have failed, we either become defensive (to justify our actions) or we work extra hard to overcome the failure. This thinking flies in the face of the Gospel. WIth God, we find that we can't justify ourselves, nor can we work hard enough to prove our worth. It's actually God who has justified us through Christ to make us right with Him.
2. Sanctification - To be sanctified means to be set apart for a noble purpose, to be made holy. "We believe sanctification is the work of God's free grace by which we are renewed throughout in the image of God and are enabled more and more to die to sin and live to righteousness."
- In practical terms - We believe every person in the wold has an innate desire to change; to be a stronger athlete, to be more successful, to be a better student, etc. Our desire for change is rooted in our drive to justify our lives. If being successful justifies my existence, then I will work extra hard, no matter the cost, to find success. Not only is this exhausting, it's ultimately empty. This thinking flies in the face of the Gospel. When we are justified with God, we find freedom! We are no longer slaves to old exhausting patterns of life, because God continues to work in our hearts and lives to renew us in His image. We are no longer pressured to prove our worth because God has proved our worth in Christ on the cross.
3. Glorification - To be glorified means to be perfect. We believe that all of those who God has justified will one day stand glorified and perfect in His presence. This doesn't mean we'll float on clouds playing harps! It does mean that the effects of sin, disease, sickness, and death will one day be finally eradicated. We will live in a world with no cancer, no wars, and no hatred. Glorification is organically connected to our need to justify ourselves and our desire to change.
- In practical terms - We believe every person is ultimately living for some future hope. I work hard (change) to be a professional athlete so that when I finally achieve that status, my life will have meaning (justification), and I will be able to live the dream I have always desired (ultimate hope). There are two problems with this thinking. One, what if you never achieve your goal? Is life then meaningless? Two, history is filled with those who have attained all of their dreams only to remain empty and unfulfilled. Death is the great equalizer that finally crushes all of our dreams and desires. One of the great hopes of the Gospel is that there is life beyond the grave. As the Apostle Paul stated, "If our hope is for this life only, we are to be pitied more than all men."
4. Scripture - We believe that the Bible is God's written word revealed to us. God's Word is true, without error, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and authoritative for all of life. All that we need to live life faithfully in God's presence can be found in His Word.
- In practical terms - We believe every person is basing their life on something they believe to be true. Many may not be able to articulate it, it may just be a feeling, but decisions are made based on a greater reality. We believe there is no greater reality in life than God Himself. Therefore, we believe there is nothing truer in life than the words that He gives.