The doctrine of the Christian life

1. The Law of God

WE BELIEVE that God has placed Adam and all his descendants under his holy law. By this law man is required both to love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and to love his neighbour as himself.

Following the fall, God elaborated these two principles in ten commandments setting out man’s duty towards God and towards his fellows.

Rom. 2:13-15; Mark 12:28-31; Ex. 20:1-17

This law is binding upon the saved and the unsaved alike, but the motive of its observance by the christian will be love to Christ who has redeemed him from its curse.

Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 2:20.

The christian is not justified by keeping the law, but he strives to do so because it comes to him with the authority of God, whom he loves; the man who dies unsaved is condemned by it. Its requirements are essentially spiritual, and no fallen man can fully comply with the law’s demands. No such man can therefore by endeavouring to keep the law save his own soul.

One man alone, the Lord Jesus Christ, has fulfilled every requirement of the law. This he has done in his own person in the place of his people.

James 2:8-12; Mat. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31; 7:14; Gal. 2:16; Rom. 10:4; Gal. 3:13.

Among the purposes of the law are these:
(a) To restrain the unregenerate from sin and to show what the consequences of their sin must be.

(b) To convince the sinner of the true nature of sin and of his inability to resist it by keeping the law; to strip him of all self-confidence and condemn him, so compelling him to look to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of escape from his predicament.

(c) To show the believer the will of God and his duty to his fellows; also to remind him that, although he has been saved by grace, he still has to contend with a most sinful nature, and therefore daily needs both the aid of the Lord Jesus Christ and the perfection of his obedience.

Rom. 3:20; 7:7; Gal. 3:10-12 and 23-24; Rom. 7:14-25; 8:1-4; Heb. 4:14; James 2:10, 11; 1 John 1:7-10.

It is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit to make the believer able and willing to do that which the law of God requires of him.

In Old Testament times God placed the people of Israel under a ceremonial law which pointed forward to Christ; this ceremonial law, however, ceased to have effect at his coming.

Ezek. 36:25-27; Phil. 2:13; Heb. 10:1-10.

2. The Lord’s Day

We believe that God has set apart one day in seven and its observance is binding upon all men. It is to be kept holy and is designed also for man’s benefit. The Church has a warrant to observe the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day, because it is the day of our Lord’s resurrection. No detailed instructions are given in Scripture as to the way in which this day is to be kept, but ample allowance is made for works of mercy and necessity. The day is to be used for rest from secular labour and worldly recreation, and for the occupation of the whole person in the worship and service of the Lord.

Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Rev 1:10.

3. Christian Behaviour

We believe the Scriptures teach that the christian faith is to be seen in its practical outworking between the believer and his fellow men. His words and deeds are to demonstrate the reality of his new life. He is  justified by faith, and that faith will be seen in his works.

Christian behaviour is the maturing of the fruit of the Spirit as the believer learns more of the ways of God and man. The New Testament requires that due regard be given in public ministry to the exposition of the Gospel. In all his behaviour the christian will be motivated by the glory and fear of God and by loving obedience to the rule of Christ.

The believer’s relationships to governments and men in general and to his fellow christians in particular are to manifest the Spirit of Christ. In his relationship with unbelievers the christian is to set an example of life and character in every respect even at the cost of personal suffering, thus glorifying God and both rebuking and instructing the ungodly.

James 2:14-26; John 15:1-8; 1 Tim. 2; Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-25; Phil. 2:1-16.

4. The Christian Attitude to Material Things

Wealth and all material things justly obtained are to be received as God’s gracious gifts, and to be used for worthy ends with a due sense of responsibility and stewardship.

For this reason and because of a deep desire to be just in all his dealings, the true christian should renounce all forms of gambling, the root of which is covetousness.

Gen. 1 :29, 30; 1 Chron. 29:13, 14; James 1 :17; Luke 12:15, 31; Matt. 25:14, 15; Matt. 7:12.

5. The Christian and the State

We believe that rulers are ordained by God for the orderly conduct of affairs in the world and the good of his Church, and that to this end he sets up rulers and removes them as it pleases him.

It is the duty of christians to obey those who have the rule over them in all matters consistent with the teaching of the Bible and to seek to live quiet, peaceable and honest lives. Christians are under an obligation to pray for their rulers.

A Christian may properly accept public office both in central and local government and play his part in the affairs of the nation in so far as such service may be consistent with his christian profession.

Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-17.

6. The Christian and his Work

We believe that all men physically able to do so are under an obligation to work to support themselves and their families and to give to those in need. That everyone whatever his sphere of responsibility is to perform his daily tasks in accordance with the Scripture “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might”.

We further believe that relationships between staff and management are to be governed by the principles set out in the New Testament. Employees are to work conscientiously and honestly and employers are to be just and fair with their staff, both in the sight of God.

Gen. 3:19; 2 Thess. 3:10-12; Eph. 4:28; 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-25; 4:1; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:18; 2 Cor. 6:14-17.

7. Marriage and Family Life

We believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, sealed by vows which make it life-long.

Marriage within the prohibited degrees as laid down in the Bible is forbidden.

God instituted the marriage relationship for the mutual help and comfort of husband and wife, the procreation of children and the prevention of immorality.

The sexual relationship is sacred and is not to be indulged promiscuously but only within the bonds of marriage. Sexual intercourse outside marriage, whether in contemplation of marriage or otherwise, is forbidden by the Bible, and is sin.

Christians should only marry believers and should seek to teach their children similar standards.

In all relationships the christian should exercise forgiveness and strive for reconciliation. Divorce otherwise than upon the ground of adultery is contrary to the teaching of the Bible.

We further believe that it is the duty and privilege of christian parents to rear their children in a disciplined and loving way; to see that their children acquire a thorough knowledge of the Bible from an early age and so to live that by their faith and example the true nature of the christian religion may become apparent to their children; and that children are to obey their parents in the same spirit.

Gen. 2:24; Mat. 19:5-6; Gen. 2:18; 19:1-28; Lev. 18:6-22; 20:14; Deut. 23:17; Acts 15:29; 1 Cor. 6:13-20; Gal. 5:19; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:3; 1 Cor. 7:2 and 9 and 39; Heb. 13:4; 2 Cor. 6:14; Mat. 19:9; Eph. 6:1-4; Prov. 22:6; 23:13-14; 29:15-17; Col. 3:20-21; 2 Tim. 3:15.

All forms of sexual perversion are forbidden by the Scriptures, and there is for the believer complete deliverance from these things through the power of Christ.

Lev. 18:3, 20-23; Rom. 1:26, 27; 1 Cor. 5:1-9.