Purpose of Grace Covenant Church:
"To equip God's people to delight in His glory
and declare that glory to the nations."
Doctrinal Emphases Espoused to Reach this Purpose:
I. The Nature of God:
God is glorious (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 145:5). God's glory consists in the overwhelming and overflowing beauty that stems from the sum total of all His attributes working together in perfect harmony. God is perfect in His holiness (Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:16). He is perfect in His justice (Psalm 99:4; Luke 19:7-8; Hebrews 6:10). He is perfect in His wisdom (Romans 11:33; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:10). He is perfect in His power (Isaiah 44:24; Job 9:12; Jeremiah 32:17). He is perfect in His grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:6-7; 2:4, 7-9; Romans 3:24). He is perfect in His love (1 John 4:7-8; Romans 5:18; John 3:16).
II. The Purpose of God:
God is not only glorious, but He also loves His glory with infinite intensity (Isaiah 48:9-11) and therein lies our understanding of the foundation of His righteousness (Romans 9:14-15; Exodus 33:18-19). For God to truly be righteous, He must necessarily love what is best. Therefore, His ultimate loyalty must be to the maintenance and manifestation of His own glory. In other words, all that God does, He does for His own name's sake (Isaiah 48:11; Ezekiel 36:20-23). God created humanity for His glory (Isaiah 43:7, 21). God redeems sinners for the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:5-6, 12, 14; Romans 3:26; 15:7). God empowers Christians to live for His glory, both individually (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11) and corporately (Ephesians 3:10). God's ultimate purpose for His people is that they might see and enjoy His glory forever (John 17:24). His ultimate purpose for history is that "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14, cf., Numbers 14:21). God's unswerving love for His own glory, however, does not mean that He is unconcerned about the welfare of humanity. Indeed, God's mercy and grace toward undeserving sinners is the apex of the display of His glory (Romans 9:22-23). The greatest possible good for humanity is to see God face to face, just as He is (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2) and to behold the beauty of the Lord (Psalm 27:4). In fact, God's absolute faithfulness to His own glory manifests itself in His absolute faithfulness to His covenant promises. In this sense, we may say that it is God's glory that is at stake in the keeping of His word. Thus, it becomes the ultimate ground of the believer's assurance (Psalm 143:1, 11; Daniel 9:14-19).
III. The Sovereignty of God:
The God of the Bible is the Creator of the whole visible and invisible universe, and He is the sovereign ruler of it. From all eternity, He freely and unchangeably, in His most holy wisdom, ordained whatsoever comes to pass. The apostle Paul states it this way: God "works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will" (Ephesians 1:11). God exercises sovereign control of all events from the events of rulers and nations (e.g., Daniel 4:25, 32, 34-35) to the least movement of a sparrow (Matthew 10:29). In particular, God's sovereignty is worked out in the salvation of sinners. To ensure that the salvation of sinners abounds to the praise of God's glory, God saves His people by grace alone apart from works, so that no one is able to boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). The sovereignty of God's grace is seen in God's unconditional election of His people for salvation out of the mass of sinful humanity (Romans 8:29; 9:6-23; Ephesians 1:4), the glorious substitutionary death of Christ which actually accomplished the salvation of His chosen people (1 Peter 3:18), the irresistible grace of God's effectual call (Romans 8:30; 1 Peter 2:9), and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:26-28; John 3:4; Titus 3:5) that enables and moves a person to respond to the gospel of Christ in saving faith. The sovereignty of God's grace is also seen in God's persevering in grace with His saints (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1; John 10:28-30; Philippians 1:6) so that His people will, in fact, persevere to the end and be saved. The guarantee of this is their certain glorification (Romans 8:30).
IV. The Priority of the Worship of this Glorious God:
Although the priorities of the church are all crucial and intertwined (i.e., exposition, equipping, and evangelism), nevertheless, worship stands as the apex from which those priorities derive their true motivation and purpose. In other words, the ultimate end for which God created a humanity to redeem was in order that this redeemed humanity might see His glory and worship Him fully. Worship, then, is both the motive and the goal of all our deeds of love done to fellow believers (i.e., equipping/nurturing) and to unbelievers (i.e., evangelism). Beholding and being captivated by the glory of God makes us long to align ourselves with God's purposes. The goal of the body of Christ, then, is to be used to build one another up with greater capacities and desires to praise the glory of God's grace.
V. Genuine Spiritual Affections:
In the Christian life, both emotions and thinking are crucial. God is not honored by either an unfeeling, joyless, loveless intellectualism or by an unthinking, uncritical emotionalism. Instead, both emotions and thinking are needed. Believers need both minds that are gripped by the truth of God acquired through the serious and rigorous study of Scripture, and hearts that are on fire with intense emotions of love for God and His glory, awe of His majestic holiness, gratitude for His mercy, and fear of His wrath. In the final analysis, what God desires most is our hearts. But the way God reaches our hearts is through our minds. It is, therefore, through the truth of Scripture that we become transformed people through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). This truth comes through the discipline of careful reading of the text (Ephesians 3:4) with the purpose of discerning the author's intended meaning. The work of the Holy Spirit is not to add anything to the text of Scripture, but rather to make the heart of the reader humble so that he/she will welcome and embrace the truth (1 Corinthians 2:14).
VI. The Obedience of Faith:
The attitude of the human heart that brings glory to God is that of faith. Faith is the wholehearted turning to God in the heartfelt assurance (Hebrews 11:1) that God will keep His promises to those who set their hope on Him (Romans 4:20-21) and that to seek after God will result in our eternal benefit (Hebrews 11:6). Faith glorifies God because it magnifies His power, wisdom, grace, and faithfulness to work for us the good we cannot do for ourselves. Saving faith is of such a divine quality that it inevitably produces good works to the praise of God's glorious grace (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Galatians 5:6; James 2:14; Romans 2:13). This obedience, however, is never a work that merits or earns God's favor (Romans 3:20; 4:4), but is itself a gift from God (2 Timothy 2:25; Philippians 1:29; Ephesians 2:8-10). To this end, all the glory goes to God alone.
VII. The Purpose of the Christian Life:
The purpose for which humanity was created was to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. Because God's mercy to His people is the apex of His glory, enjoying the benefits of that mercy in faith honors and glorifies God. Therefore, joy in God is essential to honoring God. The Christian is the one who, by the grace of God, has been brought to the discovery that God is the only source of satisfying and enduring joy. Therefore, God is honored by the believer's trust in Him as the only one who can fully meet his/her needs. In the infinite wisdom of God, His glory and the joy and well-being of His people are always in harmony with one another.
VIII. Perseverance of the Savior and Preservation of the Saints:
There are two essential components to the believer's eternal security: (1) God will so work with His people in His grace that they will inevitably persevere to the end and be saved (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1; John 10:28-30; Philippians 1:6). Therefore, no truly regenerate child of God will ever be lost (Romans 8:29-30). True believers are forever secure because God has ordained that they be ultimately glorified, and so will work to bring such to pass (Romans 8:29-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:24). (2) It is equally true, however, that no person will be saved without persevering to the end (Mark 13:13; Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 3:14; 12:14). Future and final perseverance is the ultimate test of genuine participation in Christ. Those who claim some kind of beginning in the Christian faith but do not continue give evidence of the absence of saving faith (1 John 2:19; Hebrews 3:14; 6:4-9).
For a more exhaustive doctrinal statement, details about church governance, membership commitments, and procedures, see our Constitution and Bylaws.