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Spring 1998 · Vol. 27 No. 1 · pp. 63–78 

April 1998 Draft Revision of the MB Confession of Faith

Board of Faith and Life

It is important to note that authors of articles in this issue of Direction were responding to the previous, July 1997, draft of the Confession.
Click here to view the final (1999) version of the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith.

Article 1: GOD

We believe in the one, true, living God, Creator of heaven and earth. God is almighty in power, perfect in wisdom, righteous in judgment, overflowing in steadfast love. God is the Sovereign who reigns over all things visible and invisible, the Shepherd who rescues the lost and helpless. God is a consuming fire, unapproachable in holiness, yet slow to anger and abounding in tender mercy. God is a refuge and fortress for those in need. God comforts like a mother, trains and disciplines like a father, and persists in covenant love like a faithful husband.

God, the Ancient of Days, eternal Spirit, seeks those on earth who will worship him in spirit and in truth. With the New Testament we confess God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God as Father

God the Father, the source of all life, creates a family in heaven and on earth. Through Jesus Christ the Father adopts all who respond in faith to the gospel and enters into a new covenant with them. God hears the prayers of his children and forgives those who repent of their sin. God’s creative and redemptive love sustains this world until the end of the age.

God as Son

God the Son took on human nature to redeem this fallen world. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus revealed the fullness of God through his obedient life and teaching, {64} and triumphed over sin through his death and resurrection. God raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him as Lord of creation and the church. Christ, through whom all things were created and who holds all things together, is the image of the invisible God. The Savior of the world invites all to be reconciled to God, offers peace to those far and near, and calls them to follow his example. Until the Lord Jesus returns in glory, he intercedes for believers, acts as their advocate, and calls them to be his witnesses.

God as Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, the gift of the risen Christ to the church, gives new life in Christ and empowers the people of God. The Counselor leads people to God and glorifies Jesus by convicting them of sin and guiding them into truth. By the Spirit believers are baptized into one body. The Spirit testifies that they are God’s children, gives them spiritual gifts for ministry and mission, and nurtures them into maturity. As Comforter, the Holy Spirit helps God’s children in their weakness and intercedes for them according to God’s will.

Gen. 1; Exod. 34:6-7; Deut. 6:4-6; Pss. 8; 23; 139; Isa. 55:8-9; 66:12-13; Jer. 31:31-34; Hos. 11:1-4; Matt. 1:18-25; 5-7; 28:18-20; John 1:1-18; 15:26; 16:7-15; Acts 2:1-4; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Cor. 12:4-7, 13; 15:3-8; 2 Cor. 5:16-21; 13:14; Eph. 1:15-2:22; 3:14-21; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; 2 Tim. 2:11-13; Heb. 12:7-11.

Article 2: REVELATION OF GOD

God’s Self-Revelation

We believe that God has made himself known to all people. God’s power and nature have always been evident in creation. The Old Testament reveals God as the one who established a covenant relationship with Israel to make known to all humanity the eternal plan of salvation. God revealed himself supremely in Jesus Christ, as recorded in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit continues to make God known to individuals and the church; this revelation is always consistent with the Scriptures.

The Bible as the Word of God

We believe that the entire Bible was inspired by God through the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit guides the community of faith in the {65} interpretation of Scripture. The person, teaching and life of Jesus Christ bring continuity and clarity to both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament bears witness to Christ, and Christ is the One whom the New Testament proclaims. We accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the authoritative guide for faith and practice.

Gen. 9:1-17; 12:1-3; Exod. 6:2-8; Pss. 19:1-11; 119; Matt. 5:17-18; Luke 24:27; 44-47; John 1:16-18; Acts 8:34-35; Rom. 1:18-20; Heb. 1:1-2; Col. 1:15-23; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:16-21.

Article 3: CREATION AND HUMANITY

God and Creation

We believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and they were very good. All of creation expresses God’s sovereign will and design, but remains distinct from the Creator. The universe belongs to God, who takes care and delight in sustaining it. Creation points to God’s wisdom and power calling all to worship the Creator.

God and Humanity

As the crowning achievement of creation, humans were designed to live in relationship with God and to care for creation as a sacred trust. God created them male and female in the image of God and called them to live in mutually helpful relationships with each other. People were dignified by God with the ability to choose between good and evil.

God and the New Creation

Through willful human disobedience, sin entered the world. It distorted human nature and alienated people from God and creation. Sin, guilt, and death, however, will not prevail. God will create a new heaven and a new earth from which evil, suffering, and death will be forever banished. The first signs of this new creation are already present in those who accept God’s forgiveness through Christ. In Christ all things are being reconciled and created anew.

Gen. 1-3; Pss. 8:6; 24:1-2; 89:11; 95:5; 104; Prov. 8:22-31; Isa. 40:12-31, 44:24; John 1:1-4, 10; 17:5; Rom. 1:19-20; 5:17, 21; 6:4; 8:19-23; 1 Cor. 8:6; 15:20-27; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:6; 5:16-19; Gal. 3:28; 6:15; Eph. 1:4, 9-10; 2:11-22; 4:24; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 11:3; Rev. 4:8-11; 21:1-5; 22:13. {66}

Article 4: SIN AND EVIL

Sin and Its Consequences

We believe that just as the first humans yielded to the tempter, all people disobey God and choose to sin. As a result, evil has gained a hold in the world, disrupting God’s purposes for the created order and alienating humans from God, creation, each other, and themselves. Sin produced physical and spiritual death. Because all have sinned, all face eternal separation from God.

Principalities and Powers

Sin is a powerful force that seeks to rule creation and enslave humanity. Satan, the adversary, uses sin to corrupt human nature with pride and selfishness. In sin people turn from God, exchanging the truth about God for a lie, worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator. Sin opens individuals and groups to the bondage of demonic powers. These principalities and powers can hold people captive. The powers also work through political, economic, social, and even religious systems to turn people away from justice and righteousness. Whether in word, deed, thought, or attitude, all humans submit to sin’s domination, and on their own are unable to overcome its power.

Christ’s Triumph

Though Jesus entered a world ruled by sin, he chose not to submit to its allure and broke its domination. In obedience Christ triumphed over the powers of sin and death, demonstrating God’s saving grace.

Gen. 3; 6:11-12; Pss. 14:1-3, 36:1-4, 52:1-7, 58:1-5, 82; Isa. 53:6; Amos 2:4-8; Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 7:20-23; John 8:44; Rom. 1:21-32, 3:9-18, 23, 5:12-14, 18-19, 6:23; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 2:1-3, 6:12; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14-18, 5:7-9.

Article 5: SALVATION

God’s Initiative

We believe that God is at work in people’s hearts and the world to accomplish deliverance and healing, redemption and restoration. Alienated from God by sin and corrupted by evil, humanity and creation are without hope of salvation except through God’s saving love. God’s love is fully demonstrated in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. {67}

God’s Plan

God acted mightily in the Old Testament to deliver people from bondage and draw them into covenant relationship. In Christ God has reconciled the world to himself. As individuals place their trust in the atoning blood of Jesus they are born again. God delivers them from sin’s bondage, makes them new creatures in Christ, and empowers them by the Holy Spirit. When sin, evil, and death are finally abolished, and the redeemed are gathered in the new heaven and the new earth, God will have completed the plan of salvation.

Humanity’s Response

God’s initiative results in salvation for all who respond in faith to God’s grace. When convicted by the Holy Spirit, people turn from sin, entrust their lives to God, confess Jesus Christ as Lord and join the family of God. Those whom God is saving no longer live for themselves for they have been set free from sin and evil and called to newness of life.

Exod. 6:1-8; 15:2; 20:2; Ps. 68:19-20; Isa. 43:1; Mark 10:45; John 1:12; 3:1-21; 16:8-11; Rom. 3:24-26; 5:8, 12-21; 10:9-10; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; Eph. 1:5-10; 2:8-9; Col. 1:13-14; Heb. 4:12; 9:15-28; 1 John 4:7-11; Rev. 5:9-10; 21:1-2.

Article 6: NATURE OF THE CHURCH

Called by God

We believe the church is the people called by God through Jesus Christ. People who respond in faith are united with the local congregation by the public confession of baptism. Church members commit themselves to follow Christ in a life of discipleship and witness as empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Body of Christ

The church is one body of believers, male and female, from every nation, race, and class. The head of this body is Christ. The church, united by the one Spirit, makes Christ visible in the world. The church exists as local bodies of believers and as a worldwide community of faith.

Worship

The church is nourished and renewed as God’s people gather {68} regularly to glorify God. The early church gathered on the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The worshiping community celebrates God’s faithfulness and grace, reaffirms its faithfulness to God, builds up the members of the body, and seeks God’s will for its life and mission. As the church observes baptism and the Lord’s Supper, it proclaims the good news of salvation.*

Fellowship and Accountability

The church is a covenant community in which members are mutually accountable in matters of faith and life. They love, care, and pray for each other, share each other’s joys and burdens, admonish and correct one another. They share material resources as there is need. Local congregations follow the New Testament example by seeking the counsel of the wider church on matters that affect its common witness and mission. Congregations work together in a spirit of love, mutual submission, and interdependence.

The New Testament guides the practice of redemptive church discipline. The church is responsible to correct members who continue to sin. Congregations forgive and restore those who repent, but formally exclude those who disregard discipline.

Gifts for Ministry

Through the Holy Spirit, God gives gifts to each member for the well-being of the whole body. These gifts are to be exercised in God’s service to build up the church and to minister in the world.

God calls people to equip the church for ministry. Leaders are to model Christ in their personal, family, and church life. The church is to discern leaders prayerfully, and to affirm, support, and correct them in a spirit of love.

Matt. 16:13-20; 18:15-20; John 13:1-20; 17:1-26; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 37-47; 11:1-18; 15:1-35; Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 5:1-8, 12-14; 2 Cor. 2:5-11; Gal. 3:26-28; 6:1-5; Eph. 1:18-23; 2:11-22; 4:4-6, 11-16; 1 Thess. 5:22-23; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:7-9; 1 Pet. 2:9-12; 5:1-4.

* One form of the church’s worship is the practice of footwashing, which can be a meaningful reminder of the humility, loving service, and personal cleansing that is to characterize the relationship of members within the church. {69}

Article 7: MISSION OF THE CHURCH

The Great Commission and the Great Commandment

We believe the good news of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ is for all people. Christ commands the church to make disciples of all nations by calling people to repent, and by baptizing and teaching them to obey Jesus. Jesus teaches that disciples are to love God and neighbor by telling the good news and by doing acts of love and compassion.

The Witness

The Holy Spirit empowers every Christian to witness to God’s salvation. The church as a body witnesses to God’s reign in the world. By its life as a redeemed and separated community the church reveals God’s saving purposes to the world.

Matt. 5:13-16; 22:34-40; 28:18-20; Mark 1:15; 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37; 24:45-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:16-18; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Eph. 3:10-11.

Article 8: CHRISTIAN BAPTISM

Confession

We believe that when people receive God’s gift of salvation, they are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign of having been cleansed from sin. It is a covenant with the church to walk in the way of Christ through the power of the Spirit.

Meaning

Baptism by water is a public sign that a person has repented of sins, received forgiveness of sins, died with Christ to sin, been raised to newness of life, and received the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign of the believer’s incorporation into the body of Christ as expressed in the local church. Baptism is also a pledge to serve Christ according to the gifts given to each person.

Eligibility

Baptism is for those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and commit themselves to follow Christ in obedience as members of the local church. Baptism is for those who understand its meaning, are able {70} to be accountable to Christ and the church, and voluntarily request it on the basis of their faith response to Jesus Christ.

Practice

We practice water baptism by immersion administered by the local church. Local congregations may receive into membership those who have been baptized by another mode on their confession of faith. Persons who claim baptism as infants and wish to become members of a Mennonite Brethren congregation are to receive baptism on their confession of faith.

Matt. 3:13-17; 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:2-6; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:12-13; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 4:4-6.

Article 9: LORD’S SUPPER

Meaning

The church observes the Lord’s Supper, as instituted by Christ. The Supper points to Christ, whose body was broken for us and whose blood was shed to assure salvation for believers and to establish the new covenant.

In the Supper the church identifies with the life of Christ given for the redemption of humanity and proclaims the Lord’s death until he comes. The Supper expresses the fellowship and unity of all believers with Christ. It is a supper of remembrance, celebration, and praise which strengthens believers for true discipleship and service.

Practice

In preparation for the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper, all believers examine themselves. All those who understand its meaning, confess Jesus Christ as Lord in word and life, are accountable to their congregation, and are living in right relationship with God and others are invited to participate in the Lord’s Supper.*

Matt. 26:26-30; Acts 2:41-42; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-32. {71}

* The normal pattern in the New Testament was that baptism preceded participation in the Lord’s Supper.

Article 10: DISCIPLESHIP

Following Jesus

We believe that Jesus calls people who have experienced the new birth to follow him. Christ transforms disciples so that they reject the godless values of the world and offer themselves to God in a life of service. [By calling his followers to take up the cross, Jesus warns that discipleship is the way of suffering self-denial.] The Holy Spirit, who lives in every Christian, empowers believers to rid themselves of the acts and attitudes of the sinful nature and to obey God.

United in a Distinct Community

People of the Christian way enjoy fellowship with God and other believers. At baptism believers are joined to the local church, commit themselves to build up the body of Christ, and witness to the good news of the Christian hope. In community members grow in maturity as they use their spiritual gifts and practice mutual accountability in the disciplines of the Christian life, such as worship, Scripture reading, study, prayer, and fasting. Christians confess sin, repent and experience God’s grace in the life of the Christian community.

Demonstrating True Faith

When people become friends of God, it sets them against the godless values of contemporary society. Disciples give generously and reject materialism which makes a god out of wealth. Disciples treat others with compassion and gentleness and reject violence as a response to injustice. Disciples speak honestly to build others up and reject dishonest, vulgar, and careless talk; they avoid lawsuits to resolve personal grievances, especially with other believers. Disciples maintain sexual chastity and marital faithfulness, and reject illicit premarital, extramarital, and homosexual behavior. Followers of Christ demonstrate true faith in everyday life.

Ps. 1; 119; Amos 5:24; Matt. 8:15-20; Mark 8:34-38; John 15:14-15; Acts 2:41; Rom. 8:1-30; 12; 1 Cor. 11:1, 12:1-13; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 2:20; 5:16-26; 6:1-2; Eph. 4:11-12, 15-16; 5:1, 18; Phil. 2:6-8; Col. 3:1-17; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:1-8; 4:6-8; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; James 1:22-27; 1 Pet. 2:20-25; 3:15; 1 John 1:3, 6-9; 2:15-172:21-25; 1 John 2:2; Rev. 5:5-6, 9-10. {72}

Article 11: MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

We believe that the Bible’s description of the church as the family of God provides the context in which marriage and family relationships are to be understood. The relationship between Christ and the church provides a model for the relationship between a husband and wife. As children of God, members of the church live as brothers and sisters. God calls all people, single and married, to live chaste lives.

Singleness

Singleness is honored equally with marriage, sometimes even preferred. Those who choose it or accept it as a way of life are to be respected and included in the life of the church. Those who remain single in order to advance the purposes of God will be uniquely blessed.

Marriage

At creation God instituted marriage, a covenant relationship intended to unite a man and a woman for life. Marriage is designed for companionship, sexual intimacy, and the birth of children. Sexual union rightfully takes place only within marriage. Marriage is to be characterized by mutual love, faithfulness, and submission. The New Testament teaches that a believer should not marry an unbeliever.

The community of faith blesses and nurtures marriage relationships and makes every effort to bring reconciliation to troubled marriages. Sin, however, will sometimes lead to divorce, a violation of God’s intention for marriage. With truth and compassion the family of God offers hope and healing to all its members.

Family

Children are a gift from God. Parents should instruct children in the faith and nurture them in the ways of God. Parents are to discipline children kindly and gently, not provoking them to anger. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Gen. 1:26-31; 2:18-24; 5:1-2; 12:1-3; Exod. 22:16-17; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 6:4; 24:1-4; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 31; Matt. 5:32; 19:3-12; 22:23-33; Mark 3:31-35; 10:6-11; Luke 16:18; Rom. 7:2-3; 14:12; 1 Cor. 7:8-40; 2 Cor. 6:14-15; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:3-16; Heb. 13:4; 1 Pet. 3:1-7. {73}

Article 12: SOCIETY AND STATE

The State as Instituted by God

We believe that God instituted the state to promote the well-being of all people. Christians cooperate with others in society to promote justice, righteousness, and truth. Believers exercise social responsibility, pay taxes, obey all laws that do not conflict with the Word of God, and witness against corruption, discrimination, and injustice.

God has given governing authorities the power to maintain law and order and to punish evil. Followers of Christ respect and pray for those in leadership so that peaceful order may prevail. We deplore the loss of life in the exercise of state-sanctioned violence against enemies and lawbreakers.

Christian Allegiance in Society

The primary allegiance of all Christians is to Christ’s kingdom, not the state. Because their citizenship is in heaven, Christians are called to resist the idolatrous temptation to give the devotion owed [due] God to the state. As ambassadors for Christ, Christians act as agents of reconciliation, seeking the welfare of the nations in which they live.

Because Christ forbids the swearing of oaths, we simply affirm the truth in legal transactions. Since secret societies demand the swearing of oaths and [challenge our ultimate allegiance to God] conflict with their members’ allegience to Christ, believers do not participate in secret societies. At all times believers are called to live as faithful witnesses in the world, rejecting pressures which threaten to compromise Christian integrity.

Exod. 20:16; Lev. 19:11; Jer. 29:7; Dan. 2:21; 3:17-18; 4:17; Matt. 5:13-16, 33-37; 6:33; 17:24-27; 22:17-21; John 15:19; 17:14-18; Acts 5:29; Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Eph. 5:6-13; Phil. 1:27; 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Titus 3:1-2; James 5:12; 1 Pet. 2:13-17.

Article 13: LOVE AND NONRESISTANCE

God’s Community of Peace

We believe that God in Christ reconciles people to himself and to one another, making peace through the cross. The church is a fellowship of redeemed people living by love. Our bond with other believers of Jesus transcends all racial, social, and national barriers. {74}

Christian Peacemaking

We seek to be agents of reconciliation in all relationships, to practice love of enemies as taught by Christ, to be peacemakers in all situations. We view violence in its many different forms as contradictory to the new nature of the Christian. We believe that the evil and inhumane nature of violence is contrary to the gospel of love and peace. In times of national conscription or war, we believe we are called to give alternative service where possible. Alleviating suffering, reducing strife, and promoting justice are ways of demonstrating Christ’s love.

Exod. 20:1-17; Matt. 5:17-28, 38-48; Rom. 12:9-21; 13:8-10; 1 Pet. 2:19-23.

Article 14: THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE

We believe that all human life belongs to God. Each person is created in the image of God. Because God is Creator, the author and giver of life, we oppose all actions and attitudes which devalue human life. The unborn, disabled, starving, aging, and dying are particularly vulnerable to reckless acts of injustice. Christ calls the people of all nations to care for the defenseless.

God values human life highly. Therefore, we hold that procedures designed to take life, including abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide, are an affront to God’s sovereignty. We value the life-sustaining findings of medical science, but recognize that ultimate decisions regarding life and death belong to God. In all complex ethical decisions regarding life and death, we seek to offer hope and healing, support and counsel.

Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7; Exod. 20:13; Job 31:15; Ps. 139:13-16; Matt. 6:25-27; 25:31-46; John 10:11. {75}

Article 15: STEWARDSHIP

God’s Creation Mandate

We believe the universe and everything in it belong to God the Creator. God has entrusted the care of the earth to people, who are responsible for managing its resources. Good stewardship uses the earth’s abundance to meet human need, but resists the unjust exploitation of creation. All God’s gifts are to be received with thanksgiving and used responsibly.

Generous Living

To confess Jesus as Lord realigns values. Jesus warns that we cannot serve both God and wealth. Preoccupation with money and possessions, self-indulgent living, and eagerness to accumulate wealth for personal advantage are not in keeping with the teaching of Scripture. The Scriptures teach cheerful, systematic, and proportional giving in grateful response to God’s goodness. Christians are called to give back to God the first and best of their resources and to manage the rest in generous ways that give glory to God. God’s people seek to embrace a lifestyle of simplicity and contentment.

Gen. 1:28; Lev. 25; Deut. 15:7-11; Ps. 24:1; Prov. 14:31; Amos 6:4-7; Mal. 3:6-10; Matt. 6:19-21, 24-34; 25:14-30; Luke 6:38; 12:13-21; 1 Cor. 4:7; 16:2; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 6:7; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 6:6-10, 17-19; James 2:1-7, 5:1-6; Jude 11.

Article 16: WORK AND REST

AND THE LORD’S DAY

We believe that God’s act of creation is the model for human activity. While sin has corrupted work and rest, redeemed people are called to restore labor and rest to their proper place.

Work

As creatures made in the image of God, humans imitate their Creator by working faithfully. They are to use their abilities and resources to glorify God and to serve others. Believers are called to treat all workers with respect and dignity, to work honestly and diligently because they bear the name of Christ. {76}

Rest

God calls people to observe regular times of rest. Rest is an act of thankfulness for what God has provided. It is an act of trust, reminding humans that it is not their work but God who sustains them. Rest is an act of hope, anticipating the future rest assured by the resurrection of Jesus. Rest provides unique occasions for individual and corporate worship.

The Lord’s Day

Following the New Testament example believers commemorate the resurrection of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first day of the week. On the Lord’s Day, believers devote themselves with worship, instruction in the Word, fellowship, and service.

Gen. 1:26-31; 2:15; 3:14-19; Exod. 20:8-11; Lev. 25:1-7; Deut. 5:12-15; Pss. 46:10; 95:6-11; Mark 2:23-3:6; Luke 24:1-36; Acts 2:1; 20:7; Rom. 14:5-10; Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-4:1; Heb. 4:1-10; 10:23-25.

Article 17: CHRISTIANITY AND OTHER FAITHS

Jesus Is the Only Way

We believe that the atoning work of Jesus is the only means of reconciliation of humanity with God. Although salvation is available to all, only those who put their faith in Jesus Christ have the promise of eternal life.

God’s Universal Witness

God has not left anyone without a witness to the Creator’s goodness. Due to human rebellion, people chose to suppress the truth. Nevertheless, elements of truth can be found in other religions. Christians treat people of other faiths and philosophies with respect, but lovingly and urgently proclaim Christ as the only way of salvation for all peoples.

Sovereignty of God

In sovereign grace God is free to communicate with people in ways that are beyond human comprehension. The Bible teaches that those who reject the gospel are under divine judgment; the fate of those who have never heard the gospel is in God’s hands. Our task is to proclaim Christ as the only way of salvation to all people in all cultures. The Judge of all the earth will do what is just. {77}

Gen. 18:25; Jonah 1-4; Matt. 8:5-13; 28:18-20; Mark 7:24-30; Luke 9:51-56; John 1:12; 3:16; 4:8-42; 12:12-26; 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:1-8, 34-36; 14:16-17; 17:22-31; Rom. 1:18-24; 2:1-16; 10:9-10; 11:33-35; 1 Cor. 3:11; 1 Tim. 2:5.

Article 18: CHRIST’S ULTIMATE VICTORY

We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ will return triumphantly at the end of this present age. The church must always be prepared to meet the Lord because the time of Christ’s coming is not known.

The Last Days

In these last days, the interim between the first and the second coming of Christ, the church carries out its mission in the world. Believers often endure tribulation because of their witness to Christ. In spite of opposition by evil powers, the church lives within the reign of God and is assured that Christ’s kingdom will be victorious in the end. The last days come to an end with Christ’s return.

Death

Since Christ broke the power of death by his resurrection, believers need not fear death. In contrast to unbelievers, Christ’s followers go to be with the Lord when they die, awaiting the resurrection of the body. Believers who are alive at Christ’s coming will be transformed and, like those raised from the dead, will receive new and glorious bodies, fit for their heavenly existence.

Judgment

When Christ returns, he will destroy all evil powers, including the antichrist, who appears at the end of history. Satan and all those who have rejected Christ will be condemned to eternal punishment in hell, away from the presence of God. Believers, too, must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to have their lives evaluated, but they will experience God’s mercy, grace, and love and enter the fullness of God’s eternal reign.

The New Creation

All God’s children will be united with Christ when he appears and will reign with him in glory, justice, and peace. When pain, sorrow, and {78} death are finally abolished, the redeemed will be gathered into the new heaven and new earth. God will make all things new, and God will be all in all. Amen.

Matt. 24:29-31; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 16:9; 23:43; John 14:1-3; Acts 2:17; Rom. 8:18-22; 1 Cor. 3:13-15; 15:26; 2 Cor. 5:10; Phil. 1:23; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-11; 2 Thess. 1:5-12; 2:1-12; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:2; 9:26-28; 1 Pet. 1:20; 4:7; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 19:17-21; 20:7-15; 21-22.

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