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One of the most fundamental things that can be said about our Reformed tradition is that it is God-centered. Our salvation, our faith, our life of service and our hope for eternal life all rest on God’s grace as we receive it through faith. God in his gracious love has a plan for us and it is our task to apply that perfect plan in our lives.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his will and pleasure to the preaise of his glorious grace, which he has freely give us in the one he loves.”
The words of the old hymn express our doctrine of God very well:
I sought the Lord, and afterword I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
No, I was found of Thee.
God created us in His own image to have an abundant life. He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey Him, but gave us a will and freedom of choice. We chose to disobey God and go our own willful way. We still make this choice today. This results in seperation from God. The Bible says:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Our salvation is centered in Jesus Christ’s act of redemption on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. It comes to us only by God’s love and grace; nothing we have done could cause Christ to die for us.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
The Bible is the only infallible rule for our salvation, our faith and living the Christian life. The creeds and doctrines and all the teaching of the church are to be judged according to the bible. The Bible is the yardstick by which we live.
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16
We are sinners and all institutions ruled by us are subject to sin and error. Therefore, we cannot accept the idea of an infallible church leader, whether that person be Minister, Elder, Bishop, or Pope. The Church and the sacraments, the Lord’s Supper and Baptism belong to Jesus Christ. The human organization of the Church succeeds or fails on the basis of its faithfulness to Christ as the Lord of Life.
Paul says: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:15
The Protestant Reformers in the 1500’s rejected, on Biblical grounds, the notion that only the clergy (Priest, Nuns, Monks) were the truly religious people. The idea of Priests standing between the people and God was declared false by all of the Reformers. Therefore, Protestants were taught to pray directly to God in Jesus’ name, for they realized that no human being can stand between a person and God. On this basis, they also refused to pray to God through any saint, living or dead. For Protestants, the church is a “redemptive fellowship” in which all people share a concern for one another under the authority of Scripture.
Paul says: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Corinthians 12:27