The Church of God of Prophecy is committed to the whole Bible, rightly interpreted, the New Testament as our rule of faith and practice, government and discipline. In light of this holy mandate, we emphasize the following principles to guide us in our daily lives.
Salvation through God’s Son, Jesus Christ
This first principle is at the very heart of our relationship to God; that is, our salvation (forgiveness of sins) is made possible by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross. This occurs through repentance (Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3). Repentance begins with the heartfelt conviction or recognition that you are a sinner. As you come to accept this fact, believing that Jesus shed His blood for your sins and making confession of those sins to the Lord, He is faithful to forgive you of your sins (I John 1:9, Acts 3:19). This forgiveness is synonymous with justification (being placed in good standing with God) that makes you a new creature; you are now a new person in Christ Jesus (II Corinthians 5:17, Romans 5:1-2, 19). This new life comes from an act of the Holy Spirit that regenerates this condition of new life in your heart and mind (Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:1, 4-5). These spiritual actions while instantaneous produce a conversion in your life that causes you to turn away from your past sins. You are now born again (having become children of God) and have been placed in His family with a desire to serve the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:3, I Peter 1:23).
Holiness through God’s Holy Son
This is the second principle of the grace of God. The Lord has not only forgiven us and placed us in His family but He desires to bring us into His holy image. To as many as believe upon Jesus and are willing to seek the Lord to allow His Holy Spirit to impute (place within them) His holiness, there is a sanctifying process that removes the old desire to return to or live in a lifestyle of sin (Romans 5:2, I Corinthians 1:30, I Thessalonians 4:3, Hebrews 13:12, I John 1:9). This sanctification (death of the old nature of sin) is critical to reaching the holy life that God wants us to live (Luke 1:74-75, Hebrews 12:14). Not only is this an initial and instantaneous cleansing by the blood of Christ, it is an ongoing work of the Spirit to sanctify us by applying the word of God to our hearts (Ephesians 5:25-27). While the work of grace does instantly sanctify (cleanse from sin), we all find it necessary to wrestle with our flesh and seek the Lord to apply His blood to every area of our life. We are blessed to have God’s Word to encourage us that God will perform His Will to produce in us a life of holiness (I Peter 1:13-19).
Outward Evidence of the Inward Change
Every person who has believed in Jesus Christ and has been converted to a new life in Him is ready to follow on in their desire to identify with their Redeemer. While the blood has washed their heart clean, there will be a thirst or holy desire to give open testimony of their inward change. Jesus taught that His disciples (those who believe and follow Him) should be baptized in water (John 3:22-23) as both a form of identification with Him and as a symbol of His death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism by immersion in water (Mark 1:8-10, Acts 8:36-38, 10:47-48, 16:33, 19:3-5) and recognizing the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19) are vital expressions for a new Christian to give open testimony of their salvation and fellowship with the Body of Christ.
It is also the work of the Holy Spirit that prompts a new believer in Jesus Christ with a desire to make “restitution where possible” for their past sins and offences. This was a powerful testimony to unbelievers who came into contact with early Christians. This is a conviction that the individual is willing to make a “wrong” right by asking forgiveness or a willingness to restore something wrongfully taken (Matthew 3:8, Luke 19:8-9, Romans 13:8) While some conditions make restitution impossible, the Holy Spirit leads the believer to know when and how to restore something.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Another principle clearly set forth by Jesus Christ was His desire that every believer be Baptized with the Holy Spirit. From the time of the prophets (Joel 2:28-29), this empowering of new believers by a manifestation of His power and presence was consistently emphasized by the Word of God. This promise was reiterated and made possible by the promise of Jesus who determined that His disciples be baptized (filled or empowered) with the Spirit (John 14:16, 16:13-14). Furthermore, this empowering of believers after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus was clearly designed to help them to be witnesses of His work in their lives to others who had not yet believed (Acts 1:8). Every believer has the great privilege to receive this gift by faith in His promise (Acts 2:38-39).
The fact that there will be manifestations of special gifts associated with this Baptism of the Holy Spirit is attested to by various passages in the Bible. Speaking in Tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance was the pattern of the New Testament Church. While other manifestations are mentioned (Joel 2:28-29, Acts 9:17-18, I Corinthians 12:7-10), the Scriptures are consistently expressing Speaking in Tongues as the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, 10:44-47, 19:1-7). This great spiritual blessing is given to us subsequent to our cleansing from sin and empowers us to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
The Holy Spirit Baptism has also come to give unto us as believers the full restoration of the Spiritual Gifts that were designed for the children of God. While there are various orders and ministries of these gifts, they are given to edify and strengthen the church wherever He desires to use them (Romans 12:4-8, I Corinthians 12:4-11, and Ephesians 4:7-13). Their operation is to be positive and helpful in unifying believers through bringing our attention to His work of harvesting lost souls to Christ Jesus. In addition to these empowering gifts, the Lord has given unto every believer The Fruit of the Spirit. This is a spiritual presence that fills our life with holy virtues and causes others to witness the attributes of Christ in us. In like manner, it will cause them to desire such strength in their lives (Galatians 5:22-23). Having recognized this blessing that comes upon Spirit-filled believers, we see the prophecy of Christ come true when He promised that Signs would Follow Believers (Mark 16:17-20, Romans 15:18-19, Hebrews 2:4).
One of the signs that would follow believers is the continuation of Divine Healing that began with such force under the ministry of the Son of God. When Jesus departed this world to return to heaven, He gave this same empowerment of Divine Healing through His Atonement to his children. The sons and daughters of God have this same promise of divine healing because Jesus secured this healing virtue by His stripes that He bore at Calvary. God is continuing to give divine healing to those who believe upon the sacrifice of His Son. While God uses wonderful doctors to perform many great surgeries and healings, miracles are still promised without the aid of doctors or medicine to those who believe upon the Lord (Psalm 103:3, Isaiah 53:4-5, Matthew 8:17, James 5:14-16, and I Peter 2:24).
The Holy Ordinances and the Sabbath
The giving of the ordinances on the Eve of Jesus’ betrayal was purposely designed by the Lord as a special time of remembering His atonement and to keep us looking expectantly toward His Second Coming. The Lord’s Supper, commonly referred to as Holy Communion, was not to be a continuation of the Passover Feast. Unlike Passover, the price of this atonement would be the precious life of Jesus, the Son of God. This ordinance was set in the church primarily for the purpose of causing every believer to regularly meditate on the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their salvation (Luke 22:17-20, I Corinthians 11:23-33). It was also in the wisdom of God that it should point toward His Coming to complete their salvation. Until our final deliverance at His Coming, the work of His atonement is able to keep us in His hands. The ordinance of Feetwashing was not a momentary emotional exercise with His Twelve Disciples, but a far-reaching lesson to them and all who believe that Jesus was primarily a servant to others. It is this act of humility that set Him apart as a true servant of the Gospel. It was His purpose that we follow His example (John 13:4-17, I Timothy 5:10).
The Sabbath was set apart by God for two reasons; both are blessings to us today. The first was to demonstrate God’s creative pattern to have a Savior who would come to give us the rest (cessation) to our labors. The Sabbath given to Israel was a type of that perfect rest that was to come through the Son of God. (Hebrews 4) Secondly, the Sabbath was given as a reminder that our bodies require a proper balance between work and rest. Although the Sabbath was fulfilled in the coming of the true and complete Sabbath, it is important that we do not neglect the created principle of rest and proper attention to the worship of the Lord (Romans 14:5-6, Colossians 2:16-17).
The Blessings of Biblical Stewardship
The principle of tithing was set in order before the Law was ever given at Mt. Sinai. The voluntary response of men like Abraham and Jacob reveals their desire to set apart a tenth of their goods to demonstrate a heart of worship to God (Genesis 14:18-20, 28:20-22). It was also commanded under the Law and viewed as essential to the recognition of our Creator (Malachi 3:10). The New Testament continued this principle that was kept under the Law and enhanced it with stewardship practice that acknowledges God as our provider (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Hebrews 7:1-21). The giving of offerings is also endorsed by the apostles and the examples of the early believers (I Corinthians 16:2, II Corinthians 9:6-9). Both among the Children of Israel and the New Testament disciples, there was a corresponding spirit of rejoicing and a cheerful heart when they gave their offerings to the Lord.
The Culmination of the Last Days
While all the details of Christ’s Coming and the order of events may not be known fully by us, we are thankful that God has assured us of some very important features of His Return. There will be a Premillennial Second Coming of Jesus. First, to resurrect the dead saints and to catch away (rapture) the living saints to meet him in the air (Matthew 24:27, I Corinthians 15:51-52, I Thessalonians 4:15-17). Secondly, to return to the earth for a 1,000 year reign (Zechariah 14:4-5, Luke 1:32, I Thessalonians 4:14, II Thessalonians 1:7-10, Jude 14-15, Revelation 5:10, 19:11-21, 20:4-6).
We believe in the Resurrection of all the dead; first, the resurrection of the dead in Christ prior to the Millennial Reign, and after the millennium, the resurrection of those who had rejected Christ who will stand before the Great White Throne Judgment (Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29, Acts 24:15, and Revelation 20:5-6).
We believe in Eternal Life for the Righteous (Heaven- Matthew 25:46, Luke 18:30, John 10:28, Romans 6:22, I John 5:11-13) and Eternal Punishment for the Wicked (eternal separation from God), where there is no liberation or annihilation (Lake of Fire- Matthew 25:46, II Thessalonians 1:8-9, Revelation 20:10-15, 21:8). This reward and judgment is our consolation, impetus and hope.
The Glorious Liberty of Believers
The great freedom and healing that Jesus Christ has brought into our lives by His atonement and our acceptance of His glorious liberty brings with it the full realization that we can be freed from all addictions of mind and body. Through the power of Christ’s blood we are cleansed from “the works of the flesh” and empowered to put aside the use of alcohol or strong drinks (Proverbs 20:1, 23:29-32, Isaiah 28:7, I Corinthians 5:11, 6:10, Galatians 5:21). This cleansing power of the blood of Christ gives us the liberty that delivers us from illicit drugs, tobacco addiction (Isaiah 55:2, I Corinthians 10:31-32, II Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 5:3-8), and the fleshly habit of swearing (taking oaths) and using profanity (Matthew 5:34, James 5:12, Colossians 3:8).
While all food (Meats and Drinks) is to be consumed in moderation and thanksgiving, the New Testament has taught us that adherence to any strict dietary controls will not earn us a greater opportunity to enter His kingdom (Romans 14:2-3, 17, I Corinthians 8:8, and I Timothy 4:1-5). This blessing comes only through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This glorious liberty has also given Christians the guiding principles of the Bible concerning Adornment. This wisdom guides us to use moderation, modesty, submission, and self-discipline in the adornment of our bodies (Matthew 16:24, I Timothy 2:1-10, I Peter 3:17, I John 2:16). Scriptures wisely instruct us that the use of adornment for occultic, immoral, and idolatrous practices is prohibited (Acts 8:9, 13:6, 19:19, I Corinthians 5:10, 6:9, Galatians 5:19-21). This same Holy Spirit will guide us to free ourselves from any ungodly relationships or lodge associations that would hinder our witness to the new fellowship we have in Christ Jesus. We are now children of God and free from unrighteous lifestyles that might hold us in bondage to secret oaths, etc. (Matthew 5:34, John 18:20 and II Corinthians 6:14-17). We are blessed to have this biblical knowledge and the Holy Spirit of grace to guide us into His holiness.
The Created Gift of Marriage and Family
We believe in lifetime monogamous (one man-one woman) marriages that exhibit the created order of the Lord. Such marriages strengthen homes, churches, communities and nations. This blessing afforded us through understanding God’s Word should provoke us to avoid the pitfalls of today’s culture that is rampant with premarital sex, adultery, divorce and remarriage. Marriage is the foundation of families and the cornerstone of promoting good morals that preserve the high value of children, the elderly, and the disabled. We embrace strong marriages and loving families that serve as a buffer to prevent societal problems such as abortion, homosexuality, abuse, and euthanasia. While there are many broken and blended families among us today that must be loved and accepted, the Bible remains the most effective tool for building and developing our marriages and homes after God’s perfect design (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18-25, Deuteronomy 6:7, Matthew 5:32; 14:3-4, 19:3-12, Mark 10:12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7;2-3, I Corinthians 5:1-5, 6:9-18, 7:2-11, Colossians 3:18-21).
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