Confession Of Faith Of The Cumberland Presbyterian Churches

  
Copyright 1984 by the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


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4.00 GOD ACTS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Call and Work of the Holy Spirit

4.01 God acted redemptively in Jesus Christ because of the sins of the world and continues with the same intent in the Holy Spirit to call every person to repentance and faith.

4.02 The Holy Spirit works through the scriptures, the sacraments, the corporate worship of the covenant community, the witness of believers in word and deed, and in ways beyond human understanding. The spirit moves on the hearts of sinners, convincing them of their sins and their need for salvation, and inclining them to repentance and faith toward God.

4.03 The call and work of the Holy Spirit is solely of God's grace and is not a response to human merit. The call precedes all desire, purpose, and intention of the sinner to come to Christ. While it is possible for all to be saved with it, none can be saved without it. Whoever will, therefore, may be saved, but not apart from the illuminating influence of the Holy Spirit.

4.04 Persons may resist and reject this call of the Holy Spirit, but for all who respond with repentance and trustful acceptance of God's love in Christ, there is salvation and life.

Repentance and Confession

4.05 Repentance is that attitude toward God wherein sinners firmly resolve to forsake sin, trust in Christ, and live in grateful obedience to God.

4.06 Persons do not merit salvation because of repentance or any other human exercise. Yet repentance is necessary to partake of the saving grace and forgiveness of God in Christ.

4.07 In response to God's initiative to restore relationships, persons make honest confession of sin against God, their brothers and sisters, and all of creation, and amend the past so far as is in their power.

Saving Faith

4.08 Saving faith is response to God, prompted by the Holy Spirit, wherein persons rely solely upon God's grace in Jesus Christ for salvation. Such faith includes trust in the truthfulness of God's promises in the scriptures, sorrow for sin, and determination to serve God and neighbor.

4.09 Persons do not merit salvation because of faith, nor is faith a good work. Faith is a gift made possible through God's love and initiative. Yet God requires the response of faith by all who receive salvation and reconciliation.

4.10 When persons repent of sin and in faith embrace God's salvation, they receive forgiveness for their sin and experience acceptance as God's children.

4.11 In the life of faith, believers are tested and suffer many struggles, but the promise of ultimate victory through Christ is assured by God's faithfulness. Both the scriptures and the experiences of the covenant people throughout the centuries witness to this promise.

Justification

4.12 Justification is God's act of loving acceptance of believers whereby persons are reconciled to him by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When they in repentance and faith trust Christ, who is their righteousness, God gives them peace and restores their relationship with him.

4.13 In this relationship God continues to forgive sin. Although believers sometimes disrupt their peace with God through sin and experience separation from God, yet they are assured that it is by God's grace that they are accepted and the relationship is sustained. Only by growth in grace can the believer experience the fullness of relationship with God.

4.14 Those who are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ continue to know a sinful nature. They continue to experience within themselves the conflict between their old selves and their new selves, between good and evil, between their wills and God's will, between life and death.

Regeneration and Adoption

4.15 Regeneration is God's renewal of believers and is solely of God's grace. Those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ are recreated, or born again, renewed in spirit, and made new persons in Christ.

4.16 Regeneration is necessary because all persons who are separated from Christ are spiritually dead and unable of themselves to love and glorify God.

4.17 Regeneration is accomplished by the Holy Spirit showing sinners the truth of Christ, enabling them to repent and believe God in the light of that truth and to receive the saving grace and forgiveness given in Jesus Christ.

4.18 When empowered by the illuminating influence of the Holy Spirit, believers are able to love and glorify God and to love and serve their neighbors.

4.19 All persons dying in infancy and all who have never had the ability to respond to Christ are regenerated and saved by God's grace.

4.20 Adoption is the action of God to include in the covenant family all who are regenerated and made new persons in Christ. This action assures community with God and one's brothers and sisters in Christ, both now and in the full redemption of the family of God.

Sanctification and Growth in Grace

4.21 Sanctification is God's setting apart of believers as servants in the world.

4.22 As believers continue to partake of God's covenant of grace, to live in the covenant community, and to serve God in the world, they are able to grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord. Believers never achieve sinless perfection in this life, but through the ministry of the Holy Spirit they can be progressively conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, thereby growing in faith, hope, love, and other gifts of the Spirit.

4.23 The struggle with sin continues, for believers are still imperfect in knowledge and the power to do God's will. Their freedom to trust, love, and serve God and neighbors is compromised sometimes by distrust, hate and selfishness. This inner struggle drives them again and again to rely on God's power to conform them to the image of the new person in Jesus Christ.

Preservation of Believers

4.24 The transformation of believers begun in regeneration and justification will be brought to completion. Although believers sin and thereby displease God, the covenant relationship is maintained by God, who will preserve them in eternal life.

4.25 The preservation of believers depends upon the nature of the covenant of grace, the unchangeable love and power of God, the merits, advocacy, and intercession of Jesus Christ, and the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit who renews God's image in believers.

4.26 As a consequence of temptation and the neglect of the means of grace, believers sin, incur God's displeasure, and deprive themselves of some of the graces and comforts promised to them. But believers will never rest satisfied until they confess their sin and are renewed in their consecration to God.

Christian Assurance

4.27 Believers who seek to know and to do the will of God, and who live in him as he lives in them, may in this life be assured of salvation and thus rejoice in the hope of fully sharing the glory God.

4.28 This comforting assurance is founded upon the divine promises, the consciousness of peace with God through Christ, the witness of the Holy Spirit with the believers' spirits that they truly are God's children. Assurance is the promise of the believers' full inheritance.

4.29 This assurance may not immediately accompany initial trust in Christ. It will increase, however, as the believer faithfully participates in the worship, sacraments, ministry, witness, and life of the covenant community, through which God confirms to believers the promise never to leave or forsake them.


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