Man knows God generally in creation, namely His invisible attributes, power, and divinity, leaving him without excuse. It is creaturely knowledge analogues to the Creator. Jesus Christ, the Word, reveals God specifically.
Special revelation, which came by the Spirit’s inspiration, is the rule of faith and life contained in the Old and New Testament canonical books. The church receives and understands them not by reason alone, but by the power of the Holy Spirit working in the church.
God cannot be defined, nonetheless may be described as one in essence, infinite, perfect, a spirit, invisible, without parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; as just rewards them that seek him; as terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty; yet distinguished in three persons who are eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Father is the cause of all things, the Son is the Word, the Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son. They are co-eternal and co-essential persons. There is neither first nor last for they are one in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.
The Cosmic-Builder created out of nothing everything good in the beginning, rested and hallowed the Sabbath day. He still upholds and governs all things by providence that nothing happens by chance.
God entered a Covenant of Works with his special creation, who with immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after God’s own image with the ability to perform and the possibility of transgressing might keep it to enter the everlasting Sabbath.
Tempted by the devil, Adam failed and robbed himself and his descendents of these gifts, poisoning all ordinarily born with his imputed guilt, called original sin, cannot love God nor his neighbor, cannot do any good, and inclined to all evil are burdened with God’s wrath.
Christ the second person of the Trinity, God’s only Son one substance and equal with the Father, took upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities, yet without sin becoming two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood inseparably joined together by the Holy Spirit born of a virgin, without conversion, composition, or confusion.
He agreed with the Father in the Covenant of Redemption to be the mediator between God and man by keeping the Covenant of Works that Adam failed to keep. As a result, He redeemed, justified, sanctified, and glorified the elect by his merit found in his active and passive obedience.
He then ascended to heaven in his flesh to intercede and rule the church. He will return to judge men and angels at the end of the world and bring the church in their flesh into the consummated Sabbath rest.
God relates to his elect freely only in the Covenant of Grace that He inaugurated post lapsum to justify those in Christ. This union results in the pardoning of all guilt and the accepting as righteous the elect not because of their righteousness but because of Jesus Christ’s righteousness imputed to them.
Faith is the only condition of the covenant, an un-meritorious gift that receives and rests on Christ and his benefits. The Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts by the divine gospel freely given apart from the law.
Other saving graces accompany this justification in sanctification so that faith is alive working by love. Sanctification ultimately needs the lift of justification to traverse the dawn of God’s righteous judgment. While still a sinner and inclined toward all evil, the believer finds assurance in Christ, by faith by the fruit thereof as he peacefully awaits his future glorification.
The church is the universal and local eucharistic covenant community. The marks of the true church are the pure preaching of the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, and the exercise of discipline.
Christ rules and teaches the church through his prescribed and described officers: the minister, which is prophetic; the presbyterial, which is kingly; the diaconate, which is priestly. Their power and authority is ministerial, therefore, ecclesiastical courts bind and loose according to God’s Word alone by the Holy Spirit.
In worship, the church only does what is required explicitly or implicitly in God’s Word. The element of preaching is the primary means of Grace.
Sanctification and Sacraments
Sanctification is the result of being buried and raised with Christ unto new life by the Holy Spirit through the Word. Sanctification, an act of gratitude does not count toward justification. It is a continual process unto holiness; nevertheless imperfect as corruption remains in this life.
Sacraments are holy signs and seals of invisible grace that confirm and guarantee the gospel promises to partakes by faith.
Baptism washes away the sin of professor’s and their children, sealing acceptance into the Covenant of Grace. The water itself does not do this, only the blood of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit cleanse away sin
Lord’s Supper spiritually nourishes to eternal life believers with the whole Christ in heaven assuring professors of their union with him and benefits.
At an unknown time, Christ will return bodily from heaven to judge the living and the dead as he burns this world in fire making a new heaven and earth. Then all will appear before the great Judge to give an account of their good or evil. He will convict unbelievers to everlasting torment of fire with Satan and demons. He will comfort and crown believers with glory and honor, as He wipes away every tear rewarding the believer with glory unimaginable in everlasting Sabbath-rest.