WHAT I BELIEVE
Updated: Jun 19
WHAT I BELIEVE
Ron Johnson, Pastor
Grace Reformed Baptist Church
This Edition: September 20, 2017
(First Edition November 25, 2013)
I DO NOT write anything in "What I Believe" to annoy, offend, upset, condemn or criticize unlovingly any other confessing brother or sister in Christ. Is it possible that what I have written might lead someone reading it to think that? Possibly, but that is not my intention or desire! Was Paul critical of what some of the believers in Galatia and Corinth were accepting? Yes, or he would not have written what he did. But he did not write under the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit as an enemy to his his recipients, but out of his loving concern for his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, since I have neither the ability or the authority that Paul had from the Lord, all I can hope for is that what I have written is a right dividing of the Scriptures. For if it isn't, would I not be foolish to write what I have? Moreover, hopefully, what I have written in "What I Believe" has been written in a spirit of loving conviction. I believe it has, which made the writing of it a very soul-searching endeavor! Plus, I know from past painful personal experiences, that going along with something just to get along with other believers, when I am not convinced that it is biblical, is a very spiritually dangerous thing to do. In the words of one who expressed it very well: "To go against conscience is neither right nor safe."
I DO write "What I Believe" so that you all will be "Berean", (Acts 17:11) resulting in you searching the Scriptures for yourself, should you not understand or disagree with something I have written. For, I am not a "Protestant Pope". The Only Word I desire you or me to be in subjection to is the written Word of God, the Holy Bible. Remember Paul had to rebuke the "first Pope" because he was in the wrong. I am neither infallible, nor do I lack the same need of such loving rebuke, if my convictions are not in accordance with the infallible teaching of Scripture. For if after reading "What I Believe" you believe there is an area or areas where I am not being scriptural, I trust you would come to me in a loving Christian spirit and demonstrate exactly where it is in Scripture I am in need of correction.
A quick comment on timing: the time required to pray about these things and think them through, in addition to other responsibilities, are why this document took the time it did to prepare. Plus, I would also be remiss if I did not mention that without the much appreciated and excellent editorial skills and input of Dayle, my wife, for the first and second edition and John Clarke for the second it would have taken much longer.
What I Believe
The Holy Bible
Due to the sovereign regenerating grace and mercy of the One Living, True and Only God, I believe, with my renewed soul, that the Holy Bible, consisting of the 39 books of what is called the Old Testament and the 27 books of what is called the New Testament, is alone the Word of God written. (Psalm 119:160; 2Timothy 3:16-17; 2Peter 1:20-21; Revelation 22:18-19) Since I believe that the Bible alone is the Word of God Written, I believe that it is both infallible and inerrant on all the subjects that it speaks on. (Titus 1:2) By infallible I mean it cannot err on any subject on which it speaks. By inerrant I mean it contains no errors. Therefore, when anyone teaches on anything, on which the Bible infallibly and inerrantly speaks, and what they teach cannot be supported by this One Written Word of God, the Holy Bible, they are in error regardless of who they are, including the author of this document. (Isaiah 8:20) For example, despite the popularity of the falsely called “science of evolution”, what this philosophy teaches about the universe and man is wrong. (Genesis 1; Mark 10:6; 1Timothy 6:20) The importance and necessity of the Holy Bible to come to a correct understanding about God, mankind or anything else cannot be over-emphasized in light of what is declared about it in Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy Name. (Emphasis added) I believe that God has providentially preserved His Holy Bible in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts behind the English translation of the Bible known as the King James Version. (Psalm 12:6-7) I believe that more harm than good has been done in the last 150 years over the disagreement over which manuscripts or Bible should be used. I do not believe it is wrong for preachers or teachers to use other words than those found in the (Authorized) King James Version as long as they are an accurate translation of the above manuscripts that God has been pleased to preserve. (2Timothy 2:15) I do not believe that God's Written Word has been providentially preserved in the Bible translations not based on the above manuscripts. There are both accurate and inaccurate translations, of these non-providentially preserved manuscripts, in use in the church today. If it was not for the above convictions I could not write what follows.
I believe there is only One Living and True God. (Isaiah 45:22, 46:9) This One Living True and Only God has revealed Himself to mankind through His written Word, the Holy Bible, (Psalm 138:2) through the creation that He made and sustains, (Psalm 19:1-6) through the conscience that He has given to all mankind made in His image, (Romans 2:14-15) and pre-eminently and savingly through the Lord Jesus Christ - God incarnate. (John 10:30, 14:9) But due to man being spiritually dead, all these ongoing revelations of God to man are suppressed and denied by him unless he is sovereignly regenerated by God. (Psalm 14:1; Romans 1:18-20; John 10:33) God is absolutely sovereign over all that He has made and sustains which is everything, seen and unseen. (Isaiah 45:7; Daniel 4:34-35) This One True and only God owes His existence to no one since He is eternally self-existent. (Psalm 90:1-2) This eternal self-existence is one of the truths about God that separates Him from all that He has made and sustains, in addition to many other truths that God has been pleased to reveal about Himself through His written Word, the Holy Bible, such as:
His omniscience: There is nothing knowable that God does not know perfectly without having to learn it. All that is possible to be known, God knows, and there is nothing that He needs to learn or be informed about. (Psalm 147:5)
His omnipresence: There is nowhere where God is not present with His perfect knowledge and power. (Jeremiah 23:24)
His omnipotence: God's power sustains all that He has been pleased to create and maintain in existence for His Glory. His omnipotence never diminishes or wears out. God's omnipotence has not decreased and is not decreased by His creating and maintaining the universe and all that is in it. His power is as eternal and unchanging as His existence. (1Timothy 6:16) All that has been, is, or ever will be owes its existence and continued existence to this One Eternally-Existent God. (Romans 11:36)
His omnitemporality: God is not only present everywhere, He has been, and is present throughout time, although not bound by it. God is not bound by time. Time was brought into being and is sustained by Him for the accomplishing of His eternal decree. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
All of the above truths are unique to God alone. Therefore to give any of these uniqueness's about God to anything or anyone else is a display of man's sinful idolatry and ignorance. An accepted yearly example of this error and idolatry is seen in the idol Santa Claus who is given attributes that only God has, to scare children into being good! Because this One True and Only God is eternally self-existent He is accountable to no one but Himself and can do what He wants, when He wants for however long He wants on, or with, whatever He has made and sustains, which is everything. (Job 38-41)
Since all that God has made and sustains, which is everything, is made and sustained for His own Glory, mankind's true sinfulness is displayed in not perfectly, persistently and permanently seeking to do all that is done to His Glory. (Romans 3:23) This natural sinfulness of man makes the sovereign, regenerating mercy of God in Christ absolutely essential for anyone is to be restored to the ability to worship God and enjoy His Holy presence. (John 3:3-5) To deny or reject any of the truths that God has been pleased to reveal about Himself is to have idolatrous thinking that needs to be repented of and forsaken. (Psalm 50:21) It is mankind's demonically deceived and darkened minds that are the reason behind all the unbiblical and therefore false conceptions of God believed on and propagated in the World. (1Corinthians 10:20) God alone has the power and ability to deliver anyone from this natural idolatry and atheism according to the good pleasure of His sovereign will. (Romans 9:11-18) The amazing mercy, grace and love of God is seen in His revealing and commanding that the only message that He has given to free man from His true slavery to idolatry is the preaching of His saving gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15; Revelation 14:6)
The Holy Trinity
Although the Bible clearly and repeatedly declares that there is only One True and Living God (Isaiah 45:22) it also reveals that there is within this One True and Living God a relational dimension that has been defined as Triune, in divers times called The Godhead. (Genesis 1:26; Romans 1:20) This One True and Living God relates within Himself and with the universe that He has made and sustains as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost). (2Corinthians 13:14; 1John 5:7) All the truths that the Bible reveals and declares about what makes the One Living True and Holy God, God are true about the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit. All that has been written about God in the previous section can and should be said about the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. This relational reality about the One Living and Eternal God is clearly seen in the work of God in the saving of His elect. (John 3:16) The Father sends the Son to die, Who obediently dies for those given to Him by the Father, and the Holy Spirit regenerates those the Son died for to enable them to see and understand the truth about God, themselves and everything else, that they were both unable to and refused to see until regenerated. (Romans 11:36) The rejection of this revelation about the nature of the One Living, True and Only God has led to, and continues to be seen in numerous false and incorrect teachings about God such as, but not limited to, groups such as the Mormons and Jehovah's (false) Witnesses. This revealed truth about God is also marred, if not rejected, by referring to the saving revelation of God in the Holy Bible as the Judeo-Christian religion. Not only is the saving revelation of God in the biblical gospel not a religion but Judaism rejects the truth that the One Living, True and Only God is One in essence but three in Persons as explained above.
The Lord Jesus Christ
I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man. (John 8:58; 19:5) If anyone teaches otherwise they are teaching false anti-Christian doctrine. (1John 4:3) One of the ways this glorious truth is almost universally rejected and denied, even in the church, is in the innumerable pictorial misrepresentations of the sinless humanity of Christ. It is impossible for any pictorial misrepresentations of Christ to depict His deity. (Exodus 20:4-6; 1John 5:20-21) Before taking sinless humanity into union with His eternal deity, the Lord Jesus Christ was in perfect relational union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. (Colossians 1:15-17) He did not lose or mingle any of His attributes of deity when He took sinless humanity into union with His deity in the womb of Mary the virgin. (Luke 1:35) Anyone who denies the virgin conception of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is denying truth and teaching error. (Galatians 4:4) One of the many wonders of the incarnation is that the deity and humanity of Christ interacted with one another, but each retained the characteristics that make God, God and man, man. The eternal deity of Christ did not become human and the sinlessly created humanity of Christ did not become divine. Although the biblical gospels infallibly record the difficulty that the apostles had comprehending the truth of Who they were following, these same gospels repeatedly show Jesus displaying characteristics appropriate to His deity and characteristics appropriate to His sinless humanity. (Mark 4:38-39) In His sinless humanity He was tempted in all ways that man can be tempted, never succumbing to or desiring to succumb to any sin. (Hebrews 4:15) As the unique God-man the Lord Jesus Christ is the Only Mediator between His sinful people and the thrice Holy God. (1Timothy 2:5) As the unique God-man the Lord Jesus Christ is the Only way of acceptance with God. (John 14:4; Acts 4:12) Anyone who denies that the Lord Jesus Christ alone is the only way of salvation and the only Savior of the world, regardless of a person's ethnicity, is believing, or worse teaching, soul-destroying heresy. (Mark 8:36-38) On His cross the Lord Jesus Christ was the penal substitute for His sinful people from every tribe and language and people and tongue, and for no others. (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; John 10:15-16) By penal is meant that the Lord Jesus Christ took the punishment that all the sins of those He died for should have received. By substitute is meant that He bore that punishment for the specific and definite sinners that His Father had sent Him into this world to die for and no others. The teaching of a universal atonement is a denial of the definite purpose of the the Lord Jesus Christ's finished work of penal substitution for His sinful people, and is false. (Isaiah 53:11; John 6:39) The Lord Jesus Christ is the Prophet, the Priest and the King of His elect church. As the Prophet of His people the Lord Jesus Christ is not only the fulfillment of all prophecies concerning the Messiah or Christ, the Only Savior of the world, but since He is the Light of the World and the Word made flesh, He is the only One capable of giving anyone, believer or non-believer, a correct understanding of anything. Jesus is the light that enlightens all men to a correct understanding of anything even if they refuse and reject that He is. This is why believers are commanded to seek to bring every thought into captivity to Christ. (2Corinthians 10:5) As the Priest of His people the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of access to, and acceptance by God. (1Timothy 2:5) As the King of His people the Lord Jesus Christ is the only One His people owe and should give absolute and total obedience to. (Philippians 2:9-11) Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!
I believe that man is a unique creation of God. (Genesis 1:26) He has no relationship to the animal kingdom other than sharing the same Creator. The teaching of evolution that teaches a physical relationship to the animal kingdom through monkeys is gross heresy and anyone who teaches it is unfit to teach others, especially in the church. Man, as a unique creation of God, was made with a physical body and a rational, non-material soul. (Genesis 2:7) The non-material soul of man is the image of God in man. It is through the soul that man is able to know and worship God. (Matthew 22:37) However, since the historical fall or rebellion of the historical first man, Adam, in the geographical Eden, no man is able to know and worship God correctly or personally unless regenerated or reborn by the Holy Spirit of God. Unless reborn, all mankind worship and serve something or someone, even themselves, rather than God to whom all worship praise and obedience are due perfectly and perpetually. (Ephesians 2:1-3) In his fallen and rebellious natural condition man is both unable and unwilling to give God the worship praise and obedience that He alone is due perfectly and perpetually. (Romans 8:7-8) Mankind's universal unwillingness and inability to render this worship praise and obedience to God makes the preaching of the saving gospel of Christ throughout all time and in all places absolutely necessary if anyone is to be saved from his willful and constant rebellion and rejection of God. For the death of God's only begotten Son for His sinful people is the only solution that God has provided for mankind's rebellion and rejection of Him. (Mark 16:15; John 3:16, 14:6; Acts 4:12) Man, as male and female, are both image bearers of God although the historical first man, Adam, was created first and the historical first woman, Eve, was formed out of Adam's side. (Genesis 2:15-25) This creational order difference between men and women, is to be displayed in varying ways in both society and the church until the Lord returns. However men and women due to their natural falleness and rebellion through their first parents, will struggle to display these ways, even rebelling and rejecting them in both the world and, sadly, the church. (Genesis 3:16) The ways that God has ordained for this creational order difference between men and women to be seen are in:
A wife being submissive to her husband in marriage. (Ephesians 5:22-24)
A husband loving his wife as Christ loved the church. (Ephesians 5:25)
A woman not teaching men publicly in the church or speaking with a voice of one during the public worship and teaching times of the church. (1Corinthians 14:34-35; 1Timothy 2:12-13)
A man not physically covering his short hair during the public worship and teaching times of the church and a woman physically covering her long hair, which is her glory, during the public worship and teaching times of the church. (1Corinthians 11:1-16; Revelation 9:8)
Regeneration, Repentance and Faith
Due to all mankind, including those for whom Christ died, being born into this fallen world in a state of spiritual deadness and depravity, it is absolutely necessary for the Holy Spirit of God to regenerate those for whom Christ died if they are to see their absolute need to repent and believe the biblical gospel, if they are to be saved. (Ephesians 2:1-4) Regeneration, or being born again, repentance and saving faith or belief are all sovereign gifts of almighty God to those for whom Christ died. (John 3:5-8) The sovereign work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit of God upon someone for whom Christ died is not due to any foreseen faith in the one reborn, for even God cannot see something that is not there. For, God's sovereign gifts of repentance and faith are gifts given to someone for whom Christ died, before they become actions of the regenerated believer. (Ephesians 2:8-9) After the Holy Spirit regenerates someone for whom Christ died, the reborn sinner uses the gifts of repentance and faith to embrace and confess the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ alone can save him from his sins. The gift of repentance enables a believer to express true personal conviction and regret for his sins being committed in thought, word and deed against God. The believer turns away from them with regret and sorrow wishing that he had never committed them. (Psalm 51)
This gift of saving faith in Christ enables the repentant believer to rejoice in the truth that Christ came into the world to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21) The repentant believer embraces the truth that the LORD laid on His sinless Son the punishment the sins of all His believing people justly deserved. (Isaiah 53:6,11) The reborn believer embraces by faith alone the truth that Christ's work on His cross is the sole ground, the all sufficient ground for his acceptance with God. (Luke 23:40-42; Ephesians 1:6) "Amazing Love How Can it Be That Thou My God Should Die For Me".
I believe that justification is God's free and sovereign declaration by which He declares the sinners for whom Christ died not guilty for any of their sins. (Romans 5:1) This declaration is holy and perfectly righteous because Christ, as the sin-bearer for His guilty people, bore the punishment that His sinful people should have borne for their sins. (Isaiah 53:6) God views the sinners for whom Christ died, and those alone, as righteous in His Holy sight because He views them through, or clothed in the perfect righteousness of His Sinless Son who died for them. This declaration of justification is a gift of God's free and sovereign grace and is not based on foreseen faith or any supposed good works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The supposed "good works" of the non-believer are all marred by sin therefore are impossible as a the means of acceptance by the thrice Holy God. (Proverbs 21:4) A believer lays hold of the truth of justification by God alone by God's gift of saving faith alone. Saving faith, is not an act that God rewards with salvation, but the gift from God that the reborn believer uses to lay hold of, and confess that Christ alone can save him from his sins and make him right in the sight of God. Justification is by saving faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone. (John 19:30)
Whereas in justification the regenerated believer embraces and confesses by God's gift of saving faith that he is declared righteous by God due to the Lord's finished work for him on His cross, sanctification is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit of God in the regenerated and justified believer, progressively conforming him into the perfect image of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for him. (Ephesians 2:10) This progressive growth in holiness, or sanctification, varies as to degree and extent in all true believers and is never fully accomplished in this life. This reality is the reason for Paul instructing believers to work out their salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in them to both will and do His perfect and holy will. (Philippians 2:12) Because the justified believer has remaining, but not reigning, sin in his life, his striving after holiness or sanctification will be met with internal opposition. (Romans 7) This internal opposition is aided by the unbelieving world and the adversary and destroyer of souls, the devil. (Ephesians 6:12; 1John 2:15-16) The truth of this is captured in Paul's words to Timothy to "fight the good fight of faith". (1Timothy 6:12) Gifts that the Lord has given for the believer to use to grow more fully into the perfect image of the Lord Jesus Christ who saved him are: personal prayer and Bible study, the fellowship of like-minded believers, and seeking to be salt and light in the world. (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Psalm 119:9; Hebrews 10:24-25; Matthew 5:13-14) These are done while laboring to keeping themselves undefiled and uninfluenced by the world which needs the gospel the believer confesses and testifies to. (Romans 12:1-2; 1Peter 3:15) I believe that one of the most difficult areas of sanctification is the right response and attitude when those who confess Christ come to sincerely held, but different convictions, on what the Scriptures teach. For the work of sanctification in a believer has, and will result in the believer, where necessary, changing his convictions or beliefs when he believes that they are in conflict with the teachings of the Bible. (John 17:17; 2Corinthains 10:5) One example of this is seen in the Ana-baptists who came to see that believer's and not infant baptism is taught in the Scriptures, causing them to be seperated and to suffer because of this biblical convictin. Areas in which this truth has resulted in NO small amount of mental anguish, struggle and prayer, and has resulted in doors of ministry and fellowship closing have been:
The order that God has ordained for men and women in the home, church and society as previously mentioned;
The bringing of all church or denominational practices under the clear teaching of Christ, as in the dishonor that is shown towards Christ when believers charge and receive usury or interest from one another despite what Christ teaches believers are to do, and what this practice displays. (Psalm 15:5; Luke 6:34-35; Luke 19:20-23);
The teaching of Jesus on the permanence of the covenantal marriage bond that God alone can make, and does make between only one man and only one woman, and only at one time, which can only be broken by the physical death of either the man or the woman. The fact that this teaching has been, and is being, rejected is seen in the Westminster Confession of Faith in its section on marriage. It is also seen by the number of men and women who have divorced and then remarried someone else while the husband or wife that the Lord has joined him or her to is still living, resulting in adultery. I do not think that there is a greater area of struggle and difficulty with respect to personal sanctification and church sanctification than in the application of Christ's teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage in light of the almost universal rejection and application of it in the church and world today. (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 5:31-32, 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16:17-18; Romans 7:1-3; 1Corinthians 7:10-16,39);
The almost universal acceptance today that the wars authorized by unbelieving rulers are just and legitimate for believers to participate in and support despite: The Lord Jesus Christ teaching that believers are to love their enemies, pray for those who persecute them and return good for evil. How the proclamation and reception of the gospel, especially in Islamic-dominated countries, is hindered due to the support given to these unjust wars of aggression by those who profess to be followers of Christ, as well as the increased difficulties and even deaths of Christians in these Islamic-dominated countries that such wars of aggression result in, is seen every day. The dishonoring and denial done to the gospel by "Christians" in supposedly "Christian" countries actively engaged in the killing of other "Christians" from other supposedly "Christian" countries is not condoned by Scripture. (Matthew 5:43-45; Romans 12:19-21; 1John 3:14-15)
I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the sole head and final authority in the body of believers, the true church, that He purchased through His finished substitutionary and sacrificial death on His Cross. (Colossians 1:18) This true, but yet to be glorified church is made up of all those He has redeemed and saved throughout time. (Revelation 5:9) I reject the idea that any living or dead man, or system created by man, can be or should be considered the final authority in the church, since all of these have or can usurp and contradict the final authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that one of the clearest examples, but not only example, of this is seen in the Roman Catholic system headed by an anti-Christ, if not the anti-Christ, the pope. (2Thessalonians 2:3-10) I believe that a manifestation of the true church is seen in time in a local church made up of those who profess personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through His gifts of saving repentance and faith and testify to having received these gifts and new life in being baptized by being completely immersed in water. (Acts 2:38-41) I believe it is possible for people who initially give a credible profession of faith to demonstrate, by their ideas and actions, that they are not a part of the true church, or if a true regenerate believer falls into sin for a season. This makes church discipline and restoration upon credible repentance and belief a necessary, but difficult, responsibility of the local church until the Lord returns. (Matthew 18:15-20) I do not believe that infants or those unable to make a credible profession of repentance and faith should be baptized. (Acts 8:36-38) The Bible is clear that baptism under the New Covenant is for believers and the only clear record of those baptized in the New Testament is that of believers. (1Corinthains 16:15) I do not believe in baptismal regeneration or that baptism is essential to salvation but is something the regenerated believer willing does, and desires to do, to testify to being a new creation in Christ Jesus. (Luke 23:43) I believe that in addition to baptism the Lord has given to His church the visible ordinance or practice of the Lord's Supper or Communion to be observed by the gathered church until His return. (1Corinthains 11:26) I do not believe that either baptism or the Lord's Supper are sacraments or part of a sacramental system made up by man. I believe they are simple but profound simple gifts that the Lord has given to His redeemed people to testify to their initial and ongoing need of His finished work on the cross for their salvation. I believe that these simple but profound gifts are to be exercised by those that have been given God's gift of saving faith and if they are not exercised by such, they are of no benefit to the person exercising them. (1Corinthians 11:28-29) I believe that the symbols of His broken body and shed blood that the Lord has given to His church to use in its observance of the Lord's Supper are the fruit of the vine, and if possible, unleavened bread. I do not believe there is any change in either the fruit of the vine or the bread at any time, before, during or after the observance of the Lord's Supper. I believe that the Roman Catholic teaching called transubstantiation is repugnant to revelation, reason and the real humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 6:51-63) I believe that when the local church gathers for public worship it should seek and desires to engage in three things: the public praise of the Lord through Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, public audible prayer to God and the public preaching of the written Word of God, the Holy Bible. I do not believe that the singing of Psalms only is required or that appropriate use of musical accompaniment to aid in the public praise of the Lord is inappropriate. (1 Corinthians 14:40; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 2Timothy 4:1-4; Hebrews 13:15) I believe that when the local church gathers for the above described public worship that only men should speak with a voice of one and that the women should be covered. (1Corinthians 11:1-16, 14:33-35) I believe that the public teaching ministry of the church is for believing men only, when men and women are present. (1Timothy 2:11-13) I believe that the only two defined offices that the Lord has given to His church are elder and deacon. I believe that these two offices are for qualified believing men only. (1Timothy 3)
I believe in a final, visible and personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the living and the dead. (Acts 1:9-11,17:31; 2Thessalonians 2:8) I do not believe in the system of teaching known as dispensationalism which wrongly divides both prophecy and the people of God. I believe that what is commonly referred to as the 70 week prophecy of Daniel points to, and has been fully fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 24:44-45) I believe there is only one people of God made of believing Jew and believing Gentile. (Ephesians 2:11-22) I do not believe in the system known as hyper-preterism which teaches that all prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. I believe that the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ by the unbelieving nation of Israel pictures the final rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ by the unbelieving world at His glorious history-ending return. (Matthew 24) I believe that at physical death man's body returns to the dust but his never-dying soul returns to the God who made it and sustains it. Believers enter into the exalted presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and wait in this condition of blessedness for the receiving of their glorious new resurrection bodies at the history-ending return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His glorified bride. (Psalm 116:15; 2Corinthians 5:8; 1Thessalonians 4:13-18) Unbelievers who have willfully and persistently rejected whatever forms of God's revelation in creation, conscience or finally, in the Lord Jesus Christ are reserved in darkness until the day of final judgment. (Jude 1:13) On this day of final judgment the reprobate will receive their just and eternal punishment for all their sins willfully and continually engaged in. The elect, solely due to the sovereign grace of God, will also be judged according to their works, but all their sinful works prior and subsequent to being reborn, having been atoned for in the blood of the Lamb, will be forgiven when received by the Lord. They will receive gifts of His grace for works done to His glory, and solely by His grace, after being redeemed. (1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:12) These gifts of His sovereign grace will be increasingly enjoyed with the Lord and all His redeemed and glorified church in the New Heavens and New Earth forever. (Matthew 25:31-46)