What We Believe
God, the Father
There is but one God, the eternal Father, the Creator; a personal, spiritual Being, infinite in love and wisdom, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immortal.
References: Exodus 20:2, 3; Isaiah 45:5-12, 18, 20-22; John 4:24; Psalm 139:1-12.
Jesus Christ, the Son
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, one in nature with the eternal Father. Through Christ all things were created. Retaining His divine nature, Christ took upon Himself human nature, was made flesh, and lived on earth as a man but without sin, being an example for us. He died for our sins on the cross, rose again from the dead, and ascended to the Father where He lives to make intercession for us.
References: Hebrews 1:1-3, 5; Colossians 1:15-17; Matthew 1:18-23; John 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:5; 3:16; Hebrews 7:25; John 14:6; Acts 4:12.
The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative upon earth, and is one in purpose with the Father and the Son. He is the Regenerator in the work of redemption. These three persons, God (the Father), Jesus Christ (the Son), and the Holy Spirit are the Godhead.
References: John 3:5-8; 14:16, 26; 16:7-13; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 28:19.
The Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the word of God. They were given by inspiration of God, contain the all-sufficient revelation of God's will to man, and are the only unerring rule of faith and practice.
References: John 5:39; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Luke 11:28; 16:29, 31; Matthew 22:29; John 10:35.
The Ten Commandments
The moral law, the ten commandments of Exodus 20:1-17, is an expression of God's will, covering the duty of man to God and to his fellowmen. The law is unchangeable, binding upon all men in every age, and overrules all human laws. Transgression of any commandment is sin, and the wages of sin is death. We are not saved by obedience to the law but through Christ, that through His strength we may render obedience and escape condemnation.
References: Matthew 5:17-20; 7:21; 19:17; 22:36-40; 1 John 2:3-6; 5:1-3; Romans 2:13; John 8:11; Hebrews 10:26.
Extra Readings: Patriarch and Prophets, pp. 305-309.
The fourth commandment of God's moral law requires the observance of the seventh day Sabbath. It is a sacred day of rest, a memorial of creation and a sign of re-creation and redemption as well as sanctification. It is a spiritual institution dedicated to religious worship and study. Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:1-17; Ezekiel 20:12, 20; Isaiah 58:13, 14; Mark 2:28; Hebrews 4:1-10. True Sabbath observance requires cessation of all secular work at sunset Friday until sunset Saturday. Preparation for the Sabbath is to be completed on Friday before the Sabbath begins. Leviticus 23:32; Exodus 16:22, 23; Luke 23:54; Mark 16:1. Since Christ and the apostles always, both before and after the crucifixion and resurrection, observed the Sabbath, it is and remains the true day of rest. (Ananias and Paul could not have been guiltless before the Jews if they were not faithful Sabbathkeepers.)
References: Luke 23:56; Acts 13:42, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4; 22:12; 25:7, 8.
The first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, was dedicated anciently to the worship of the sun. As the Christian church fell away from the true doctrine of the apostolic days, the seventh-day Sabbath was gradually displaced by the first day. Sunday, with other pagan institutions, was eventually adopted by the Christian church. Sunday observance is not found in the Bible.
References: Matthew 15:9, 13.
The Ceremonial Law
The ceremonial law of the Old Testament enjoined upon the Jewish people pointed forward to the Messiah. It typified the work of Christ, and its requirements ceased at the cross. The ceremonial law, which includes the ceremonial sabbaths and Jewish holidays, should not be confused with the moral law and the Sabbath day of the fourth commandment.
References: Hebrews 10:1, 9, 10; Colossians 2:14, 16; Galatians 4:10, 11.
Grace and the Means of Grace
Grace means "unmerited favor." Because of sin, mankind must suffer the consequences of death. God manifests His love by extending salvation from death through Jesus Christ to undeserving sinful man. Salvation is accomplished when sinners are drawn to Christ through: (a) the word of God, (b) the Holy Spirit, and (c) the ministry of the gospel.
References: Romans 10:13-18; John 14:26; 16:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Acts 2:38-42.
The New Birth
In order to be saved from sin and its consequences, man must experience a new birth, a transformation of life. As an individual repents of his sins and as he yields to the work of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, he experiences a desire to live in obedience to God's will. The Bible calls this experience "the new birth." The new life thereafter is maintained by our faith in Jesus Christ.
References: Matthew 1:21; John 3:3; Romans 2:4; John 16:8; Acts 2:37, 38; 1 John 2:3, 6; John 16:13; 1 Peter 1:22; Psalm 119:142; John 17:17; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 12:2; Romans 1:17; Philippians 4:13.
Those who have reached an age of accountability and have been "born again" should be baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the death of the "old man" and the resurrection of the "new man" to a new life in Christ.
References: Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Romans 6:3-9; Colossians 2:12.
The Ordinance of Humility
The washing of feet is an ordinance of humility which precedes the communion service. It was instituted by Christ, and enjoined upon the Christian church to teach humility, equality, brotherly love, and unity in Christ. Reconciliation between brethren should precede the ordinance.
References: John 13:1-17; Matthew 5:23, 24.
The Holy Communion
By partaking of the unleavened bread and the unfermented wine which represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the believer commemorates His suffering and death. The significance of this ordinance implies that it be shared only by members in good and regular standing in the body of Christ.
References: Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17; 12:20; Luke 22:11; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29.
The Investigative Judgment
The prophecy of the 2300 days (years, as per Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6) of Daniel 8:14 ended in 1844, when the "cleansing of the sanctuary," or the investigative judgment began. This refers to the pre-Advent examination of the heavenly records of the lives of the professed children of God through the ages. The result of this investigation determines the destiny of each soul, either for eternal life or eternal death.
References: Ecclesiastes 12:14; Daniel 7:9, 10; Luke 20:35; Revelation 14:6, 7; 22:12.
This judgment is illustrated in Matthew 22:11-14.
The three angels' messages of Revelation 14:6-12, together with the message of the other angel of Revelation 18:1-4, are present truth. These messages are to prepare a special group of people, 144,000 in number, for the second coming of Christ.
References: Ezekiel 9:1-7; Revelation 7:1-4; 14:1-12; 18:1-4.
The Gift of Prophecy
In keeping with the promise of God in Acts 2:17-21, the gift of prophecy was restored to Christ's church in these last days, not as a replacement of or an addition to the Bible but as a guide and a mark of distinction to the remnant people of God. Inspired writings turn our attention to the principles of the Bible as our rule of faith and practice and help to safeguard us from misinterpreting the Word of God.
References: Numbers 12:6; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Proverbs 29:18; Hosea 12:13; Amos 3:7; Ephesians 4:8-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21.
Marriage was ordained by God and honored by Christ to bind both parties for life. Neither divorce for the purpose of remarriage, nor common-law marriage, nor marriage with unbelievers is within the divine principle of marriage.
References: Luke 16:18; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:11, 39; 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Health and Dress Reform
Because a Christian's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the believer will want to safeguard their health by following natural law, discarding health-destroying articles of food and unnatural habits of life, and being moderate in the use of those things which are good. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; Philippians 4:5. Habits of dress are an index of the character. Christian modesty and self-respect require us to abstain from the extravagant fashions of the world.
References: 1 Peter 3:1-5; Isaiah 3:16-24; 1 Corinthians 11:15; 1 Timothy 2:9.
Our Attitude Toward Earthly Governments
The Christian is obliged to respect divine and human authority. He obeys all righteous laws of earthly governments from a good conscience. If the requirements of human laws are in conflict with the law of God, then the Christian must decide for himself or herself: Shall I obey God or man? Our Christian conscience forbids us to have any part in political activities.
References: Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:3-7; 1 Peter 2:17; Acts 5:29; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Isaiah 8:12.
The Body of Christ, His Church
The church of Christ is a visible and organized body, not scattered individuals. The church delegates a portion of its authority to elected officers, not to lord it over the church, but to serve the church and edify the body of Christ. The church has the authority to accept members by baptism and profession of faith and to disconnect members for cause.
References: John 10:16; 11:52; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 12:12-27; 1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 4:15, 16; Colossians 2:18, 19; Revelation 1:20; Song of Solomon 6:10; Ephesians 4:11-13; Acts 6:1-6; 13:3; 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Matthew 16:19; 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:11, 13.
Tithes and Offerings
The giving of tithes and offerings for the support of the ministry and the preaching of the Gospel is a Christian duty.
References: Malachi 3:7-10; Matthew 23:23; 1 Corinthians 9:14; 2 Corinthians 9:6, 7; Hebrews 7:8.
Human probation closes shortly before the second coming of Christ, which will be literal, personal, visible, audible, and universal.The Second Coming of Christ
References: Luke 13:23-25; 17:29, 30; Isaiah 11:4; 66:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Matthew 24:27, 31; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 1:7.
The Nature of Man and the State of the Dead
Man was created by the hand of God as a living soul. Through disobedience he was separated from the source of life. Therefore, he is mortal by nature; but he may obtain immortality through Christ: in promise, immediately; and in actuality at His second coming. Genesis 2:7; 3:22-24; Job 4:17; 1 John 2:25; John 11:25, 26; Romans 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 15:53, 54. At death, whether he be good or evil, man enters into a "sleep," a state of unconsciousness, silence, and inactivity. The dead remain in the grave until the resurrection of the just and of the unjust. The unjust are not in a place of torment, but are "reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished." And the righteous are not in heaven, but remain in the grave till the resurrection at the coming of Christ.
References: Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10; Psalms 6:5; 146:4; 89:48; Revelation 20:13; 2 Peter 2:9; John 5:28, 29; Daniel 12:13; Acts 2:29, 34; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.
After the second coming of Christ there will be a one-thousand-year period, commonly called the millennium. During this time, while the righteous are in heaven with Christ, the wicked remain in the dust of the desolated earth. While the earth is desolate, the righteous ones will judge the wicked. At the end of the millennium, the wicked are resurrected to be destroyed by fire.
References: John 14:3; Revelation 7:9; 14:1; 20:4, 5; Psalm 46:2, 8; Isaiah 24:1-6; Jeremiah 4:23-27; 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3; Revelation 20:4; John 5:29; Revelation 20:5, 9, 14; Malachi 4:1, 3; Matthew 10:28; 2 Peter 3:7-10; Psalm 37:10.
The New Earth
After the cleansing of the earth from sin by fire, God will make "all things new," restoring the earth to its Edenic beauty. This new earth will then become the eternal home of the redeemed, with God reigning as supreme throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.
References: 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-7; Matthew 5:5; 1 Corinthians 2:9.
"This We Believe" is published by the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference.