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    Design demands a Designer

    As we consider the boundless universe, the ecosystem of our planet, and the marvelous design of the human body, it is clear that there is an intelligent designer (i.e., God) behind it all. All of creation demonstrates God's awesome power and amazing intelligence.

    God is Good

    God could have created everything in black and white, but in His kindness and goodness, He created colors for us to enjoy. He could have created all foods to taste the same, but He has lovingly and graciously provided us with a variety of delicious flavors.

    He has spoken

    We are not an accident. Intelligent and reasonable, God had a purpose in creating us. Yet, without some communication from God, how would we understand who He is, who we are, why we are here, and where we are going? If this life on earth, a few short years, was all there was, what a pathetic life that would be. But God is eternal and He has created us as eternal beings. And He has communicated to us.

    The Bible is God's communication to us

    God, over a period of 1400 years, using some 40 different men, has superintended their writing in such a way as to communicate His message through the Bible. The Bible is God's inspired message to us. In it we find the answers to the important questions of life.

    Man has sinned

    God is holy, righteous, loving, and good. But man, starting with Adam, has sinned, disobeying God and choosing to go his own way. As descendants of Adam, we are all sinners and we all sin.

    We deserve eternal punishment

    As sinners, we cannot have fellowship with a holy and righteous God. In fact, as sinners we deserve eternal punishment, eternal separation from God.

    God has provided a Saviour

    God, in His great love and grace, has sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. The Lord Jesus came to earth by virgin birth, becoming a man and living among us. He lived a perfect, sinless life, then died on a cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. He paid for our sins by His death. His resurrection from the dead shows that God accepted His death as payment for our sins.

    God offers forgiveness as a free gift by grace

    Grace is unmerited favor. We don't deserve God's forgiveness. What we deserve is God's eternal wrath. But God, in His love and grace, has chosen to offer forgiveness as a free gift.

    Salvation is through simple faith in Christ

    Christ has died for all and salvation is available to all, but only those who believe (trust) in Christ will be saved and forgiven. And ALL those who believe in Christ will be saved. John 3:16 sums it up: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life."

    Note that faith is not the saviour; faith is not a way to earn or deserve salvation. Faith simply looks to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has already done it all.

    In Numbers 21, when the nation of Israel had sinned against God and then cried out for salvation from the deadly snake bites, God had Moses fashion a serpent and set it on a pole. Then, when someone received the sentence of death from a slithering creature, he had to simply look at the serpent on the pole to be saved from the deadly bite.

    John 3:14-15 draws a parallel between the serpent on the pole and Christ on the cross: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." We have all received the sentence of death and need simply to look to Christ in faith to save us.

    Faith is the sole condition of salvation

    Romans 3:9-10 declare that all are under sin; there is none righteous, no, not one.

    Romans 3:22 explains that God's righteousness is given by means of faith unto ALL and upon ALL them that believe; for there is no difference. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

    Romans 3:24 declares that believers are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

    What more shall we do to try to earn or deserve salvation? We cannot merit salvation by repentance, sorrow, turning from sin, purposing to do better, committing our life, giving God control, or putting Christ on the throne. We need not try to impress God or convince Him to save us through prayer, confession, or baptism. It is good to thank God for His great salvation, confess our faith in Christ, and be immersed in believer's baptism, but let us not deny the truth of Romans 3 that salvation is "unto all and upon all them that believe". Christ has done the work already and salvation is freely offered; we need simply to accept it by faith, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour.

    In Genesis 15, God brought Abraham, now old in years, outside and showed him the stars. He said to look to the sky and count the stars; as numerous as the stars, so would Abraham's descendants be. Genesis 15:6 says: "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."

    Christians are not under law, but under grace

    Through history, God has dealt with man in different ways in different dispensations. For example, God instructed Adam & Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But Adam & Eve disobeyed.

    God gave the Law (the 10 commandments and the hundreds of lesser-known commandments) to the nation of Israel. The people said, "All that the LORD hath said will we do." But they did not. The law is righteous and good, but man is not able to keep the law, either to be justified before God or to live pleasing to God.

    As Christians, in this dispensation, we are not under the law, but under grace. We are not under the ten commandments nor any other portion of the Mosaic law; neither are we under the law principle. The law said "Do or die!"; grace says "Done!"

    Under the dispensation of law, the Israelites were encouraged to obey to earn God's blessings; disobedience would bring a curse. As Christians, God has already blessed us with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). We are now in Christ and in that position have been crucified with Him and raised with Him to new life. Rom 6:11 encourages us to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Under grace, God has done for us what we could not do, given us what we do not deserve, and now lovingly and graciously exhorts us to walk worthy of the calling with which we were called (Ephesians 4:1).

    All the Bible is for us, but not all of it is to us

    2 Timothy 3:16 declares that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." We have the Bible, God's Word, as our authority for all matters relating to this life and the life to come. We can learn about God, man, salvation, history (His story), and glean lessons from the way God has worked through men's lives.

    It is also important, however, that we also heed 2 Timothy 2:15 and rightly divide the word of truth. As we study God's word, we need to consider the context of the various books, chapters, and paragraphs - who they were written to and under which dispensation. Although we can learn much and find many applications throughout the Bible, in this dispensation of grace, our direct instruction comes primarily from the church epistles in the New Testament. These New Testament books were letters written to folks like us, believers in New Testament churches who were learning to walk by faith in this dispensation of grace.

    The gift of other languages was a sign for unbelievers

    The book of Acts lists several occasions where the Holy Spirit gave believers the ability the speak in other languages the mighty works of God. 1 Cor. 14:22 indicates that "other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving".

    We believe that the current charismatic movement is not a genuine manifestation of the New Testament gift of other languages (tongues), indeed, that the gift of other languages is no longer being given out by the Holy Spirit.

    Love covers a multitude of sins and differences

    Let's keep in mind that the important things are the important things. We are all growing in our understanding of God, His Word, salvation, law and grace, our position in Christ, and many other facets of Christianity. It is unlikely that any two Christians will agree completely on everything, until we all get to Heaven. And we will most likely find then that none of us were completely right on everything. In the meantime, let us agree on the important things and walk in love.