We believe sin has separated each of us from God and His purpose for our lives. In order to receive forgiveness we must repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ and submit to His will for our lives. God wants to heal and transform us so that we can live healthy and powerful lives in order to help others more effectively. In order to live the holy, fruitful, and power-filled lives God intends for us, we need to be baptized in water, set our mind on Him and His purpose, and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Fall of Mankind
Mankind was created good and upright; for God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” However, mankind by willful choice, ignored God’s instructions …choosing to engage in what they knew was wrong and evil. As a result, mankind fell from innocence and goodness and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:17, 3:6; Romans 5:12-19).
The Salvation of Mankind
Salvation is deliverance from spiritual death and enslavement by sin. God provides salvation for all who believe and accept His free offer of forgiveness. Mankind’s only hope of redemption from the fallen sinful state is through the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son – blood that was shed as Jesus died on the cross. [The account of the crucifixion of Jesus is recounted by four of His contemporaries: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.]
The Experience of Salvation: Salvation is received as a person (1) repents before God for his sins and sinful nature or inclinations, and (2) believes or has faith in the fact that the death and resurrection (supernatural restoration to life) of Jesus Christ removes and brings forgiveness for his sin. In response to placing faith in God’s love and freely given salvation, one experiences the washing of regeneration (or spiritual rebirth), the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, and is declared righteous (right with God). Regeneration, renewal, and justification (justified, or made right with God) are words describing what happens at salvation. At the moment of salvation, a person becomes heir to God’s promised hope for eternal or everlasting life (Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11, 3:5-7).
The Evidences of Salvation: The inner evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Holy Spirit giving one the assurance that God has accepted him (Romans 8:16). The outward evidence, visible to others, is a life of righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12). In other words it is living a life totally committed and pleasing to God.
Sanctification is an act of separating ourselves from evil and identifying with things that are good, upright, and morally pure. It is a process that takes place as Christians devote themselves to God (Romans 12:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12). Scriptures teach that we are to be holy because God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). For “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Living in holiness is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.
A Christian is sanctified as he identifies with Christ, and accepts in faith His sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. Sanctification is a daily acknowledgement of our union with God through His Son Jesus. As this identification occurs it is only natural for the Christian to offer every portion of his life to the control of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:1-11, 13, 8:1,2,13; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12,13; 1 Peter 1:5).
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The word ghost in the 16th-century King James Version of the Bible meant only what we today understand by the word ‘spirit’.
All believers are entitled to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and therefore should expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Some references in the Bible speak of “the Holy Ghost and fire.” Fire, an image commonly associated with the Holy Spirit, suggests the purging, cleansing action, and zeal of the Holy Spirit which continues the work of spiritual growth begun at salvation.]
The baptism in the Holy Spirit was the normal experience of all believers in the early Christian church. With the experience comes the provision of power for victorious Christian living and productive service. It also provides believers with specific spiritual gifts for more effective ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31).
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is separate from salvation, and follows the new birth experience (Acts 8:12-17,10:44-46,11:14-16,15:7-9). With this baptism come such experiences as an overflowing of the Spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 4:8), a deepended reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Hebrews 12:28), an intensified commitment to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42), and a more active love for Christ, for His Word, and for those who have not yet become believers (Mark 16:20).
The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The baptism of Christians in the Holy Spirit is accompanied by the initial physical sign of speaking in other tongues (unlearned languages) as the Spirit of God gives them audible expression (Acts 2:4).
This form of speaking in tongues is basically the same as the gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-10, 28). The difference is the purpose and use. The manifestation of tongues can be observed in the life of every Spirit-filled believer at the initial infilling. The audible expression of tongues should also continue to function in the Spirit-filled believer’s personal prayer life. However, the gift of tongues (sometimes called “messages in tongues”) operates publicly, usually in congregational worship settings. This gift is followed by the gift of interpreting the tongues. Both are given to individuals within the church. Their purpose is for the spiritual benefit of the individual and the congregation.
Divine healing from God is an integral part of the Gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided in the Atonement (Christ’s suffering and death for our reconciliation with God). Healing is a privilege of all believers (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:16-17; James 5:14-16).