A DECLARATION OF THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE MOST SURELY BELIEVED AMONG US.
When the founding fathers of this nation decided to announce their decision to rebel against the English Crown, they did so by producing a document we call the Declaration of Independence. But before they wrote this document, the early Christians had already produced some declarations of their own. Luke says that many had recorded these assertions of things which they were witnesses to. Yet he too felt compelled to make his own declaration in setting forth the book we now call the Gospel according to Luke, which he did under direct inspiration of GOD.
There have been many fine "Confessions of Faith" written down through the years, along with thousands of books authored by very capable and godly men on practically any subject found in the scriptures. And we certainly do not think that we can exceed them in insight or understanding not to mention scholarship. So why would we undertake to make another declaration when we could just as easily adopt one that was already in existence?
The word of GOD is "quick (living) and powerful" and GOD raises up messengers in every generation to deliver the "sense" (see Neh.8:8) of HIS word to the hearers. The LORD has not sent us into the world just to read the scriptures but to "preach" them. Preaching is proclaiming and declaring and is to be done by living, breathing men. Tapes, books, and memories of bygone blessings all have their place but they are no substitute for the present proclamation of the living gospel. So we begin our "declaration" by answering two very pertinent questions. To be in error on either one is to miss the truth and to be in confusion in the study of other doctrines.
Who is GOD?
"GOD is". HE is boundless, eternal, and without limitation. GOD alone is the possessor of an absolutely free will. HE is set apart from HIS creation and cannot be known by men except as HE is pleased to reveal HIMSELF since HE "only, hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see." (1 Tim 6:16) HE revealed HIMSELF to Moses as "I AM" (Ex.3:14). HE spoke the same words in the garden of Gethsemane when the soldiers came to arrest HIM. (see John 18:6)
HE is the first cause of all events and there is nothing made that was not created by HIM. HE made all things for HIS glory. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Col 1:16-
In all that HE does HE is to be praised. HE is holy and immutable, unchanging in HIS character, and perfect in all HIS ways. HE is right in all that HE does and being totally above any reproach HE cannot be charged nor even questioned by HIS creation. (see Dan.4:35; Rom.9:20) HE transcends the logic of men and can in no wise be defined or limited thereby. HE has revealed HIMSELF as FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT. It is beyond the scope of man's ability to fully comprehend this revelation, but one must deny the plain teaching of the LORD JESUS CHRIST to believe otherwise. (see John 10:30;14:26; 15:26) These THREE are ONE, worthy of all worship. Though these THREE are equal, the SPIRIT manifests the glory of the SON, (see John 15:26); the SON manifests the glory of the FATHER, (see John 6:38) the FATHER reveals HIMSELF in the SON, (see John 14:9) and the SON is revealed by HIS SPIRIT. (see John 14:26) "Blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21)
Who is man?
Man is the creation of GOD formed from the dust of the earth which GOD spoke into existence. GOD endowed him with an understanding and reason which was not given to any other creature over which he was given dominion. (see Gen.1:26) GOD made man, exactly as HE intended him to be and was not in any way surprised by mans subsequent fall nor was HIS original purpose for man thwarted. Our earthly father Adam, was created in innocence, not having the knowledge of good and evil, but in the purpose of GOD he disobeyed the clear commandment of the LORD, eating the forbidden fruit and plunging himself and his posterity into sin and the resultant death he was warned against. The seed of sin was passed from one generation to the next leaving none who are not tainted by its presence. (see Rom.5:19) All of mankind, by nature, are the children of wrath, i.e.; the curse of sin is upon us all. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Man is "dead in trespasses and sins" and is estranged from GOD because of it, both judicially and spiritually. Men have continued in rebellion against GOD at every opportunity and have not only ignored HIS commandments but have actively sought to push the very thought of GOD out of their minds taking delight in their disobedience. (see Rom 1:21-