Confession of Faith (1902) - Article 2
II. Concerning Sin and Redemption.
¶10. Concerning sin we believe and confess, that God created man in His own image, upright and innocent, capable of blessed fellowship with Himself. But man, being tempted of Satan, sinned, fell away from God, and fell into physical and spiritual death with all his descendants, so that man is conceived and born in sin as a child of wrath incapable of and not inclined toward the divine good, but capable of and inclined toward evil. Genesis 1:27, 31; Genesis 2:25; Ecclesiastes 7:30; Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-19; James 1:3-15; John 3:6; John 8:44; Romans 5:12, 18; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:6-7; Psalms 51:7; Psalms 58:4; Ephesians 2:1-3; Genesis 8:21; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:25; Romans 3:10-18; Romans 7:22-23.
¶11. Concerning redemption, we believe, that man can be redeemed from the curse of eternal death, the wages of sin, and the wrath of God, only through the one eternal and sufficient redeeming and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God; and by His grace only are we justified without works, and He only is the ground of our choosing-, renewing, and sanctification. John 1:29; John 14:6; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:14, 26; Isaiah 53; Hebrews 9:11-15; Galatians 3:10-13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7; Romans 3:24; Romans 5:19; Ephesians 1:3-6; 1 Peter 1:3; John 17:19; 1 Corinthians 1:30.
¶12. Concerning divine predestination and man's will we believe, that from eternity it has been the free pleasure and the gracious purpose of God to redeem sinners to the praise of His glory, wherefore also Christ after the premeditated council was selected of God before the foundation of the world, that through His incarnation, life, teaching, death, resurrection and ascension He should be the Redeemer, as our great Prophet, only High Priest and eternal King, that all that obey His Gospel believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
¶13. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestined us unto the adoption of Children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 3:10-12; Colossians 1:13. Compare "Kingdom"; Romans 8:28-39; John 10:28-29; 1 Peter 1:20; Philippians 2:7; Philippians 2:7; John 14:6; John 6:63; Acts 3:22; Hebrews 4:14-16; Psalms 2:6-12; Revelation 17:-14; Romans 1:5, 10, 13, 16; John 3:16-21; Acts 2:23.
¶14. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Strive to enter in at the strait gate. Wherefore, the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. Revelation 22:17; Matthew 11:28; Matthew 23:37-38; Luke 13:24; Philippians 2:12-13; 2 Peter 1:10; Ezekiel 33:11; Isaiah 55:7; Psalms 103:1-8; Psalms 22; Psalms 145:9; Matthew 26:41.
¶15. Concerning conversion, renewal or the new birth we believe, that through the living and powerful Word of God man is awakened from sin. John 1:9.
¶16. If he now is obedient and does not close heart against the working of divine grace, he receives repentance unto life, to see his sin, repent of it, confess and forsake it; and in recognition of the holy and just judgment of God through prayer seeks refuge in Christ as the only Savior from the guilt of sin and the lust thereof and receives through faith in Him forgiveness of sins, justification, and the witness and sealing of the Holy Spirit that he is a child of God and heir of life eternal. Hebrews 4:12; Acts 2:37; Isaiah 55:10-11; Revelation 3:20; Luke 24:47; Acts 11:18; Acts 26:18; Luke 15:18-21; Luke 18:13; 1 John 1:9; Psalms 32:1-5; Psalms 51; 2 Corinthians 7:10; James 5:16; Psalms 34:15; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 55:7; Revelation 16:7; Matthew 11:28; John 14:6 and 13; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:24-28; Romans 8:16-17; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 5:10-11; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 2:20 and 27; Titus 3:5-7.
¶17. This great change in the heart of man is the work of the Holy Spirit who, according to the gracious will of God; accompanies the Word with His powerful working and thus by means of the redemption through Christ worketh the new birth and renewal of the sinner unto a new life of sanctification and a joyous hope of eternal life. Acts 16:14; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 12:3; John 1:12-13; John 3:3, 5, 7; 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18; Galatians 6:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Romans 12:12; Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 10:44-48. Compare also IV.
¶18. Regarding sanctification we believe and confess, that without it no one shall see the Lord. Sanctification is a fruit and result of the saving faith in Jesus Christ, which faith worketh through love; for faith without works is dead. Hebrews 12:14; Galatians 5:6; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Acts 15:9; Romans 6:22; 1 Corinthians 1:13; James 2:14-26; Matthew 7:16-27.
¶19. After the reign of sin has been overcome in the heart of the regenerated person, he will show through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and partaking of the divine nature, all diligence to add to his faith virtue and love, to make his calling and election sure and to offer soul and body as a living sacrifice to God in thankfulness and love, remindful of the words: We love Him because He first loved us. Romans 6:6-12; 1 John 3:3; 2 Peter 1. 3-11; Romans 12:1 ff; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 John 4:19.
¶20. In such a life of sanctification the regenerate person is still capable of sinning, Hebrews 12:1 and Romans 7:7-21, if he be not watchful and remain not in Christ. 1 John 1:8-10; 1 John 2:1-2; Matthew 26:41; John 15:4-6; cf. paragraph 42.
¶21. Essence and aim of sanctification is implicit love toward God and a hearty brotherly love and love for the neighbor, which is created and nurtured through the Holy Spirit. Matthew 7:12; Matthew 22:37-40; Galatians 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:7. Through this love the Christian becomes the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Matthew 5:13-14; Ephesians 5:8; cf. Kingdom.
¶22. The purpose of sanctification is the glorification of God. Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:12.
¶23. The one perfect example of sanctification is the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. John 12:26; Ephesians 4:12-13; Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Corinthians 1:1; Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 13:7.
¶24. The power of sanctification is Christ through faith dwelling in the heart of the regenerate man. Ephesians 3:16-19; John 14:23. Without this gracious indwelling of Christ and God the believer has neither power to stand against sin nor power to grow in the inner man. John 15:4-5; Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 1:11; Colossians 2:19; 2 Peter 3:18.
¶25. Sanctification is progressive throughout life and the believers have their perfection only in Christ. Philippians 3:9-15; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; Matthew 5:48; Colossians 2 10; Colossians 3:14. Even in a holy walk the believers need at all times the forgiving, chastening and cleansing grace of God through the blood of Christ.* Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11; James 2:10; 1 John 1:6-10; 1 John 2:1-2; Daniel 9:18.
¶26. The perceptible means of grace, which God has ordained in his Word and through which the Holy Spirit worketh in virtue of the redeeming blood of Christ in the work of conversion and sanctification are the Word (the preaching) in conversion; the Word, holy baptism, and the Lord's Supper for the converted in the congregation of the believers, the Church of Christ. Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:14 etc.; Acts 8:4 etc. and 35. Acts 10:34-44. Acts 16:13-32; Colossians 3:16; (cf "Close", quotation) ; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12 and 38; Acts 10:47-48; Acts 16:33; Acts 2:42 and 46; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians ch. 14.
¶27. Prayer accompanies all these divinely ordained means and all acts of the spiritual life of every Christian and ceaseth not in the entire congregation of God, the New Testament priesthood, according to the teaching and example of the Lord' Jesus and His apostles as we read: Luke 3:21; Hebrews 5:7; Matthew 6:5-18; Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:1-13; Acts 2:21; 9:11; 22:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Acts 2:42; 3:1; Mark 9:29; James 5:13-16; Leviticus 6:6 (13) ; Isaiah 62:6; Revelation 5:9; 8:3 and 4; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Luke 18:1-8; Acts 1:23-26; 6:6; 13:1-3; 14:23; 12:5; Hebrews 13:3; Ephesians 6:18-19; Daniel 9:1-22; Genesis 18:22-32; Psalms 50:14-15; Philippians 4:6; Romans 8:26-27.
* Menno Simons writes concerning regeneration and sanctification: "What is regeneration other than the change and renewal of man, which God worketh through faith in Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit; also that man is created out of God, born out of His seed, made after His image, renewed to know Him, partaking of His divine nature and born of His spirit to serve God in holiness and righteousness in a new nature of the Spirit all his life! Where this happens and is accomplished there is the true new birth, there is the new creature in Christ Jesus!" (Glaubensbekenntnis der Mennoniten in Preussen und, Ruszland, Berdjansk, 1874. - transl.)
Confession of Faith of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America. American ed. Hillsboro, KS : Mennonite Brethren Pub. House, 1917.
Loewen, Howard John. One Lord, One Church, One Hope, and One God : Mennonite Confessions of Faith. Elkhart, IN. : Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1985.
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