Accurate, biblical beliefs are undeniably critical to the health and survival of a church. While some secondary or tertiary doctrines can differ from denomination to denomination, there are others which are non-negotiable in the Christian’s life and faith.
Posted below is the in-depth exposition of Greystone’s core beliefs, complete with linked Scripture references for your convenience.
Table Of Contents
- Beliefs About The Scriptures
- Beliefs About The Nature of God
- The One True God
- The Attributes of God
- The Triune God
- God the Father
- God the Son
- God the Holy Spirit
- Beliefs About Mankind
- Creation in God’s Image
- Sinful Nature and Depravity
- Man’s Eternal Soul
- The Gospel Message
- Salvation Available Through Christ to All
- Salvation Through Christ Alone
- The Triune God as the Giver of Salvation
- Man’s Response to the Gospel
- Beliefs About Man’s Life in God
- The Holy Spirit’s Gifts
- Beliefs About The Church And Its Mission
- Community Worship
- Sunday Worship
- The Priesthood of All Believers
- Pastoral Ministry
- The Unity of the Global Church
- The Great Commission
- The Life Of The Believer
- The Ordinances Of The Church (The Sacraments)
- Holy Communion
- Beliefs About The Future
- Uncertainty of Events to Come
- Resurrection of the Dead
- Second Coming of Christ
- Coming Judgement
Beliefs About The Scriptures
We believe that the Bible is the only inspired and authoritative Word of God [2 Tim. 3:16-17]. We believe that the Bible was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, [2 Pet.1:21] and as such the teachings contained within the Scriptures possess no error or untruth. We hold this position on the grounds that an inerrant (meaning “without error”) revelation is coherent with 1) God’s character [Psa. 119:160], 2) the testimony of Christ [Jhn. 17:17], 3) The testimony of the Apostles [ 2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:21], 4) historical and archaeological evidences, and 5) the experience of a great multitude of Christian believers who all agree on the way it has been proven true in their own lives. In this final regard, we find reason to believe the Scriptures outside the Scriptures themselves, lending to their acceptance by those who are critical of Scripture citations. Because we hold the Scriptures in such high regard as the primary means by which man can understand God, we have included references to the Scriptures which support all the things we believe throughout this statement. (These references are included as hyperlinks to provide easy access to the appropriate Scriptures.)
We affirm the 1978 Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy (which can be read here).
Beliefs About The Nature Of God
The One True God
We believe that the God of the Bible is the One True God, and there is no God beside Him [Isa. 43:10,11]. He was revealed to the Jewish believers in ancient times [Det. 6:4] and this revelation was continued in the life of Christ [Mat. 5:17, Heb. 1:1-2]. God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, both visible and invisible. [Gen. 1:1, Col. 1:16, 2 Pet. 3:5] Having made all things, He is rightly understood to be their sovereign Ruler, possessing all authority over them. [Dan. 2:20-21, Jn. 19:11] He is the one who provides for and sustains all life. [Neh. 9:6]
The Attributes of God
The features we know God to possess are infinite, and mere humans simply cannot know them all. We know from the Scriptures what many of them are, but we do not know all there is to God. These attributes include, but are certainly not limited to:
– Having a mysterious nature which mankind can only know in part [Rom. 11:33]
The Triune God
We believe that God is an eternal, invisible Spirit [Jn. 4:24] and exists in Three persons, who are one God. These persons are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit [2 Cor. 13:14]. The three persons are equal in being, and equally eternal [Jhn. 17:5]. They are not three parts of God, but rather each possess all of God. They are not three separate Gods, but one. Though they are all fully God, they are distinct. The unique relationship they possess and the specific ways they interact is best understood as a mystery of faith. For further explanation than we provide below, we recommend reading the Athanasian Creed (which can be read here).
God The Father
God the Father is the first person of the Trinity. He is the person of God to whom we address our prayers [Mat. 6:9] and who receives all glory [Php. 4:20]. He is also properly understood as the Life-giver [1 Tim. 6:13] and the ultimate authority [Rom. 13:1], even among the other persons of the Trinity [Jhn. 5:19].
God The Son
God the Son is the second person of the Trinity. He is identified as the man Jesus Christ, who was fully man [Heb. 4:15] with a human ancestry and birth [Mt. 1:1-25, Lk. 2:1-20] as well as a natural upbringing and life [Luk. 2:40]. While He was fully man, He was also fully God [Jhn.14:9]. Much like the doctrine of the Trinity, this dual-nature (officially referred to as “hypostatic union”) is difficult to understand and is best understood as a mystery of faith. Though equal to the Father, he chose to submit to the Father’s authority [Phl. 2:5-7]. He was born of the virgin Mary [Luk.1:30-37], suffered under Pontius Pilate [Act. 13:28], was crucified [Mrk. 15:24-26], died [Luk. 23:46] was raised from the dead after three days [1 Cor. 15:4], and after forty days he ascended into heaven [Act. 1:3-11], where he now locally remains. Despite His local presence with the Father in heaven, his divine nature is still omnipresent. By becoming a man, and by dying the death of a sinner even though He Himself had never sinned, He bore the punishment for all sin so that man might be forgiven by the justice of God the Father [2 Cor. 5:21]. For more information on this, and why it is important, see the heading “The Gospel” below.
God The Holy Spirit
God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is the person of God by which God reveals Himself and His wisdom to mankind [Eph. 1:16-17]. His roles are many, but they include displaying God’s love and comfort to the believer [Jhn. 14:21]; teaching the believer and explaining the teachings of Christ [Jhn. 14:26, Jhn. 16:13]; convicting the world of sins against God, teaching of righteousness in God, and of the coming judgement [Jhn. 16:8-11]; training the believer to walk in God’s righteousness instead of in worldly sin [Rom. 8:4-5, Gal. 5:16-25]; granting supernatural power to the believer [Act. 1:8]; and reassuring the believer of God’s promised eternal life [Rom. 8:12].
Unlike some churches, we do not believe that the supernatural powers given by the Holy Spirit to the Church during the days of the Apostles [for reference, see 1 Cor.12:1-11] are no longer available to the believer today. Because we believe that God is all-powerful, and unchanging (see above) we see no reason that he should cease to give these abilities to the faithful believer for as long as there is a church to benefit from it, and a world in which He must be glorified. We do, however, affirm that the spiritual offices of prophet, healer, etc. are abolished, and the gifts are delivered at the discretion of God alone in His timing.
Beliefs About Mankind
Created in God’s Image
We believe that Mankind is created especially by God in His image [Gen. 1:27]. This separates man from the rest of creation because it indicates special attention and purpose by the Creator. Man is created, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” [Isa. 60:21]. This is the purpose of His creation, and thus Mankind is fulfilled most when he glorifies God [Rev. 4:11].
Mankind’s Fall and Radical Corruption
In the Garden of Eden, Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin [Gen. 3:1-7]. When they fell into this trap, they incurred the punishment for their disobedience to God. This punishment came in the form of a curse: that since they had chosen to know sin, they would know pain and toil, and their bodies will eventually die [Gen. 3:16]. This curse is now passed on to all mankind because we are Adam’s offspring [Rom. 5:12]. Because of this curse, all mankind now has a nature which is inherently sinful and subject to sinful desires and impulses [Eph. 2:3]. The end result is that all mankind is in a natural state of sin and opposition to God [Rom. 3:23], and none of us are considered righteous by God [Rom 3:10]. This sinful nature also means that our understanding of God is limited, and we would be unable and unwilling to choose Him unless He is first revealed to us by the Holy Spirit [Eph. 1:17-19].
Man’s Eternal Soul
While mankind possesses mortal bodies, we possess immortal souls [Ecc. 12:3]. While the body is destined to eventually die, the soul persists beyond death in an immortal state. This eternal life takes place in one of two ways: for those who are counted as sinful before God, this is a tortuous existence and eternal death [Mat. 8:12], but for those who God calls righteous, this will be an eternal life [Mat. 25:46].
The Gospel Message
Salvation Available Through Christ To All
Understanding that which is written above, the logical question to ask is: “If all are accounted as sinful, then how can anyone be considered righteous by God?” God is just, and requires sin to be punished. However, he is also merciful, and provided a way for sinners to receive the necessary forgiveness that they could not bring about on their own [Mat. 19:25-26]. Jesus Christ, when He died on the cross, had not committed a single sin, and so did not even deserve the punishment of mortal death [1 Pet. 2:22]. Because Christ, who did not need to pay the debt of sin, has paid it freely, we no longer need to pay that price if we accept Christ’s payment as our own [2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 4:25]. Belief in Christ’s atoning sacrifice is all that is necessary to be considered righteous by God, and to receive eternal life; our own performance as “good” or “bad” people does not factor into it [Eph. 2:4-9]. This righteousness is available to any and all who hold such belief [Jhn. 3:16].
Salvation through Christ Alone
While there are many various religions in the world today, none of them provide an accurate picture of God as He is apart from faith in Jesus Christ. [Jn. 14:6] This means that there are not, as many believe, many gods or many ways to God. No other deity can excuse man of sin. Likewise, man can not excuse other men of sin [Mrk. 2:7] and man can certainly not excuse himself. [Jhn. 15:22, Rom. 1:18-20]
The Triune God As The Giver Of Salvation
While it is commonly thought that Jesus alone is the loving, forgiving person of the Trinity, the fact is that each person of the Triune Godhead is active in this gift of Salvation. The reason that Salvation is available to us in the first place is because God the Father has shown us Grace [Eph. 2:4-5]. Because of the Father’s Grace, Jesus Christ the Son sends the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to our need for a savior, [Jhn. 16:7-11] and to grant us the ability to put faith in Christ [Eph. 3:16-17a], who in turns shows us the salvation of God. Therefore Christ is not God of the New Testament only, and the Father is not God of the Old Testament only, but rather God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. [Heb.13:8]
Man’s Response To The Gospel
We believe that the salvation which Christ offers to mankind is universal, and available to everyone [Jhn. 3:16]. So why don’t we believe that everyone is saved? The answer is because the Gospel message requires a response from the one who receives it. Hearing the Gospel provides an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to show us the truth of God [Eph. 1:17-18]. We cannot bring about our own salvation, but rather we require God to show us grace through His Holy Spirit, and in turn we are able to put faith in Him [Eph. 12:8-9]. This faith manifests as belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior [Act. 16:31], in Jesus’s ability to forgive sins [1 Jhn. 1:9], His ability to change lives [1 Cor. 6:9-11], and a willingness to submit to His authority [Col. 1:18]. When we have such a faith, it follows naturally that those who recognize Christ’s authority also submit to His teachings, which are recorded in the Scriptures [Jhn. 8:31-32]. Finally, when this faith in Christ is achieved through the Spirit, sinners turn from their sin (repent) [1 Cor. 7:9-10] and learn to live their lives in a manner which pleases God [Mat. 3:8, Eph. 4:1-3]. This last step is critically important; the Scriptures make it clear that both belief (faith) and action (repentance) are necessary for Salvation [Rom. 10:9-10].
Beliefs About Man’s Life With God
We believe that those who have responded to the Gospel message in faith receive from Christ forgiveness for any and all sins they have committed, as well as any they might yet commit in the future [1 Jhn 1:7]. Because Jesus was completely sinless, His sacrifice is enough to cover every sin, past, present, and future: once and for all [Heb. 9:26]. This forgiveness is a gift, graciously given by God to those who put their faith in Him. It can not be achieved by the works of man (“good deeds”), but is only possible as a gift of God. [Eph. 2:7-9]. The only sin which cannot be forgiven is sin against the Holy Spirit [Mat. 12:31, Mrk. 3:29] which is defined as final and persistent unbelief of the Gospel.
As stated above, mankind’s original status of righteousness before God was corrupted by the curse of sin. However, because of our faith in Christ’s sacrifice, our hearts and minds are made new [Rom. 5:18]. This is commonly referred to as the believer receiving “new life” in Christ [1 Cor. 15:22], or being “born again” [Jhn. 3:3, 1 Pet. 1:3]. While some groups of Christians have claimed these titles as exclusively their own, any and all believers who put their faith in Christ receive this regeneration [2 Cor. 5:17]. The process of regeneration is not instant, but happens over time as the believer learns to imitate Christ as the perfect standard for human behavior [Eph. 4:13].
While our forgiveness means we are washed clean from the guilt of sin, our sanctification means we are washed clean from the effects sin has on our minds and hearts because of Jesus’s sacrifice [Heb. 10:10]. Sanctification is a process undergone by all believers, in which the Holy Spirit sets them apart from the taint of sin [1 Pet. 1:2]. This process is evidenced by a change in character which is reflective of our response to God [Eph. 20-24, Gal. 5:22-23]. While desirable by all, this character often contends against the character the world typically promotes or understands [1 Cor. 2:14].
The Holy Spirit’s Gifts
In addition to the process of Sanctification, the Spirit provides a number of gifts to those who pursue God diligently. These gifts range from the mundane, such as special abilities to teach and lead in order that the Church may be edified [Eph. 4:11-12], to more extraordinary things, like prophecy, divine healing, and miracles [1 Cor. 12:8-11]. Paul encourages the Church to eagerly desire these gifts [1 Cor. 14:1]. There are many Christians who believe that these latter, more remarkable gifts are no longer available to the Church today. We however, see no reason why a God who does not change [Heb. 13:8] would remove such a potent aid so long as the Church still has need of it [Phl. 4:19].
Beliefs About The Church And Its Mission
Community worship has always been a part of biblical faith. It began in the Old Testament. Community worship took place at the Tabernacle when Israel wandered in the wilderness, with God residing in the inner sanctum (which was called the “Holy of Holies” or “The Most Holy Place”). [Exd. 25:8-9, Exd. 26:33-34] As Israel settled in the land of Israel, they built a more established Temple in Jerusalem, modeled after the same pattern the Tabernacle had used [1 Kng. 6]. When the Jewish people went into exile in Babylon, they were scattered and could not come together to the Temple any longer, so instead they gathered at local assemblies called “synagogues,” which Jewish adherents still do to this day.
Through this Old Testament pattern, the Church emerged with a proper understanding of the importance of corporate worship. In fact, the first recorded instances of Christian worship and instruction took place in the rebuilt Jewish Temple [Act. 5:21a] and many local churches began in synagogues. [Act. 9:20] Because of this long-standing tradition of community worship, we believe that worshiping together at church, and not simply alone or with our families at home, is an indispensable privilege which should be eagerly utilized whenever possible [Heb. 10:24-25].
Some adherents to Christianity believe that corporate worship and the Sabbath “day of rest” must be practiced on a specific day. Some say that Saturday is the holy day, after the tradition of Judaism. Others say that Sunday is the holy day, after the tradition of Christianity. Still others, who can not gather on either day come together at a different time. According to clear teaching from the Scriptures, the manner and time in which we gather and rest are a matter of freedom, and honor God so long as they keep Him at the center [Col. 2:16-17, Rom. 14:5-6]. Our community gathers to worship together on Sunday mornings.
The Priesthood of All Believers
In the Old Testament, the Scriptures were very clear that not just anyone could approach God. An elaborate system was set in place by which priests who were descended from the family of Aaron (the prophet Moses’s brother, who served as the first Israelite High-Priest) [Exd. 28:1, cf. Exd 28:43] and could intercede between God and the people. These priests were responsible for accepting sacrifices and offering prayers from the people to God, as well as delivering instructions from God to the people. After the coming of Christ, however, this is no longer necessary. 1 Peter 2:9 calls all Christians “…a royal priesthood, a holy nation”. God’s intention from the very beginning was that by setting Israel apart, the whole world would be able to come to Him through them in faith. [Gen. 12:3, Ex. 19:5,6] This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ who became the High-Priest for all men, so that any who identify in Him are themselves priests to their fellow man. [1 Pet. 2:4-6, Rev. 1:4-6] This means that Christians do not need other priests to go between themselves and God. Mediation between God and man is now accomplished by Christ alone [1 Tim.2:5]. Each Christian is capable of approaching God directly by way of Jesus Christ, whom Hebrews calls “Our High-Priest” [Heb. 4:14-16].
Instead of priests, the Christian Church is given the pastoral ministry which teaches and guides God’s people. Unlike priests, though, these ministers are given to equip the Christian people to serve God and build the Church [Eph. 4:11,12]. They do not form an intermediate by which prayers must be offered, thanks given, or praise rendered. Instead, they are often likened to shepherds: teaching the word of God to His people and guiding them in a way pleasing to God [Act. 20:26-28]. As such, these ministers are expected to hold themselves to a high standard which reflects Christ’s example strongly [1 Tim. 3:1-7, Tit. 1:7-8]. While pastors are leaders of the local church, the only head of the universal Church is Christ Himself. [Eph. 4:15, Col. 1:13-18]
The Unity of the Global Church
A key defining feature of the Christian Church is the heavenly love with which they care for one another. [Jhn. 13:35]. As such, this unconditional or “agape” (This Greek word ἀγάπη, which is used by Jesus in John 13:35, means “charity or benevolence” and is considered by Christians to be the ideal form of love) exists between any and all who truly claim Jesus Christ as their Savior. This extends beyond the boundaries of language or location, as all will one day praise the name of Jesus Christ [Phi. 2:10-11]. Along these lines, we believe that while splitting into like-minded groups (ie. “denominations”) has benefited the church in many ways, we should not see these distinctions as divisions, since we all serve the same Lord [1 Cor. 1:12-13]. As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Since we all, then, form the unified body of Christ, we all share in the responsibility to carry out His mission together by working together for a common purpose [1 Cor. 12:12-20]. While this does not mean abandoning our distinctives, it should mean that the unity of the body of Christ should be considered more important than them all [Eph. 1:22-23]. Because of our distinctive love and unity, the church is often referred to as “the family of God.” [Rom. 8:16, Gal. 3:26, 1 Jhn. 3:10]. This family nature is reflective of the fact that somebody can not just “join” Christianity because they feel like it, but rather it requires spiritual rebirth [Jhn. 3:3]. All those whose faith is in and whose submission is to Christ alone are part of this united family.
The Great Commission
Christ issued many instructions on the proper way for a servant of God to live and interact with the world. These are recorded throughout the Gospels (the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and are expounded upon in the rest of the New Testament. However, His final command before leaving Earth is considered by most to be the most important: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Mat. 28:18-20] This directive, delivered by Jesus Himself, stands for all Christians to follow, regardless of age, gender, status, or race [Col. 3:11]. The Church of God stands united in this singular purpose: to carry the good news of Jesus Christ and salvation through His Name to all people, training them in the way they should follow Him and equipping them to in turn, go and instruct others.
The Life Of The Believer
Those who profess faith in Christ as Savior and have accepted His sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sins must have repented of the sin of their past. This means that the way a person behaves and speaks displays if they are genuinely a follower of Christ, or merely an imposter [Mat. 7:15-20, 1 Jhn. 2:19]. A True Christian is marked by a sincere desire to worship God [Luk. 24:52-53] and serve Christ [2 Tim. 2:3-4, Eph. 6:5-6]. They should demonstrate a character which reflects things pleasing to God and exclude the things which displease Him [Gal. 5:18-24]. They should also willingly and gratefully contribute to the support of the Church and its work as the people of God fulfill the Great Commission according to the means available to them [Mal. 3:8, Mt. 22:21, 1 Cor. 16:1-3, 2 Cor. 8:12-15].
The Ordinances Of The Church (The Sacraments)
While all denominations of Christianity have some version of the sacraments, the usage of words tends to indicate in what way in which they view them. More traditional denominations tend to view these special rites as means through which Grace is dispensed to the Christian who is receiving them, and thus as essential for receiving Salvation. Those who hold this view tend to use the term “sacrament.” Most Protestant and Evangelical denominations (including Greystone) disagree that grace is actually dispensed along with the ritual, so we call it an “ordinance”. We view these rites as a mixture of traditional symbolism and personal resolution, without which Salvation may be achieved, but which should be anxiously sought nonetheless as symbols of sincere devotion and dedication. We view these rituals as signs which affirm our relationship with Christ, and seals which ensure our ongoing growth in His Spirit.
The act of Baptism is a holy practice which predates Christianity. It goes back all the way to the time of the ancient Jews, who would use water to ritually purify unclean objects and people [Num. 19]. By the time of Jesus, this practice had been adopted as a symbolic gesture of the washing away of sins [Mrk. 1:4]. However, the ordinance of Baptism is more complex than it first appears. Jesus Himself was baptized, even though He was sinless. [Mat. 3:13-17] In this it is clear that there is more to baptism than a gesture of washing away one’s own sins. Similar to how the practice of water purification in the Old Testament washed away the uncleanness made through contact with something else unclean, it is also symbolic of the rejection of sinful life in the world around us. This is why John’s baptism was one of “repentance and forgiveness of sins” (emphasis added). [Mrk. 1:4] We therefore believe that the act of Baptism represents a public declaration of devotion to God, to renounce the world, and to pursue fellowship with Christ. It is symbolic of the spiritual cleansing and subsequent regeneration which accompanies such an appeal for forgiveness [1 Pet. 3:21]. This confession is made publicly before the assembled church body, including the church as responsible to guide and instruct the new believer in the life of Christ. It transcends mere symbolism, though, and is a holy act in which the Holy Spirit is present and active in His mysterious way. Baptism, while not necessary for Salvation, is expected by Christ to take place as a part of Christian obedience to His commission [Mat. 28:18-20]. Therefore, anyone who truly believes in Christ will desire this Baptism. It is this initial presence of faith which determines one’s salvation or condemnation, not the act of Baptism [Mrk. 16:16].The result of this Baptism, rather, is an abiding presence of the Holy Spirit [Act. 2:38, 1 Cor. 12:13] which in turn leads to receiving a new life in Christ [Rom. 6:1-4, Col. 2:12]. We affirm that Baptism can take many forms, including sprinkling, pouring, or full immersion into water. We also affirm the baptism of people at any age, from infant children to adults [Act.2:38-39, 1 Cor. 7:14]. In the case of infant Baptism, the rite is not a confession made by the infant, but a dedication made by the parents.
The second sacrament we keep at Greystone is the act of Holy Communion (sometimes called “The Lord’s Supper” or “The Lord’s Table”). This ordinance (like Baptism) was also instituted by Jesus Himself, shortly before His execution [Luk. 22:14-20]. This ordinance involves eating a wafer of bread to remind us of Christ’s broken body, and a cup of wine or grape juice to remind us of His spilled blood. Since we believe that our salvation could not be achieved without Jesus as our perfect sacrifice [Isa. 53:5], these reminders are especially important. As we take communion, we are celebrating the great price that was paid on our behalf by Christ [1 Pet. 3:18], as well as the resurrection of Christ in which we will one day share [1 Cor. 15:20-23]. Similar to Baptism, communion is not necessary for Salvation. However, since it is expected by Christ, the true believer will greatly desire to partake in communion as a sign that they share in fellowship with Christ [Jhn. 6:51-59]. Unlike some, we do not believe that the bread and the cup literally become the body and blood of Christ [transubstantiation]. However, we do believe that Christ’s divine nature is present in the symbols (as it is omnipresent), which means the symbols are sacred and should not be treated lightly. For that matter, while any who have joined in the fellowship of Christ through Confession of faith and Baptism may join in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, any who have not are strictly warned against taking it “unworthily” [1 Cor. 11:27-32].
Beliefs About The Future
Uncertainty Of Events To Come
When it comes to discussing the future, it is often true that the only certainty is that the future is uncertain. Nobody can predict what will happen with accuracy without being instructed by God the Father Himself (who, knowing all things, also knows the future). Even the human nature of Jesus, who Himself was God the Son, does not have full knowledge of what God the Father plans for the future [Mat. 24:36, Mrk. 13:32]. In fact, Jesus warned sternly about assuming knowledge of the future [Mat. 24:42-44, Luk. 16:20, ]Yet there are many authors of Scripture who do have such inspiration into future events and who have shared these insights with us in their writing. Since they have not happened yet, these things cannot be spoken of surely, and this has led to many various interpretations of these prophetic texts. Here at Greystone, we do not take firm stances on many of these beliefs, so long as the believer acknowledges three things:
1) Regardless of how the future plays out, God is always in Sovereign control of it. [Isa. 46:9-10]
2) The Bible speaks clearly of the return of Christ to be joined to His Church in eternal life. [1 Ths. 4:13-16]
3) Christians have a responsibility to live their lives in a way which expects this return daily. [1 Ths. 5:4-11]
With that said, there are a number of teachings from the Scriptures which speak clearly about the future, and upon which we do take a firm stance through the aforementioned three criteria.
Resurrection Of The Dead
It is well established doctrine that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. [1 Cor. 15:4]. However, equally important to the Christian Church is the understanding that we too will be resurrected upon His return [1 Cor. 15:19,20]. It was clearly understood by the early Church that all mankind will bear a similar resurrection to that of the saints; even the wicked [Act. 24:15]. Unlike the first life we lived on earth which resulted in our death, this second life will not end [Mat. 25:46, 1 The. 4:14, etc.]. While there is some dispute as to whether this life come to the faithful immediately after death [Luk. 23:43] or at some point in the future [Rev. 21:12-13], the point to be gained is that the Scriptures are clear that there will certainly be a resurrection of the dead.
Second Coming Of Christ In Power And Glory
Another thing on which the Scriptures are clear is that the risen Christ will return to earth, clothed in the glory of God [Mat. 24:30]. This return is understood to, in some way, be tied to His claiming of those who have faithfully accepted Him [1 Cor. 15:23] as well as being a sign of the end of the world as we know it [1 Pet. 3:10]. What is without dispute is that this coming will be swift and unexpected, and it will usher in the judgement of God [1 The. 5:1-3].
After the resurrection of the dead and the return of Christ (whenever those might be) the Scriptures are similarly clear that those who have been raised will be judged before God Himself according to what they did in their earthly life [Rev. 21:12-13]. To those who are found to be guilty of sin in the eyes of God, punishment will be delivered [Isa. 13:11]. This punishment will be that their eternal lives will be spent suffering in separation from God [Luk.16:25-26, 2 The. 1:9, Rev. 20:15]. On the contrary, those who are deemed righteous by God, who accepted Christ’s sacrifice, are rewarded with eternal life in God’s own presence [Rev. 21].