|The gospel shapes our doctrine|
As BibleCatholics, we believe God’s word (the Bible) clearly promises us (believers) that Jesus alone won our salvation on the cross, securing a place for us with him in heaven forever. That's why the gospel or good news of Jesus shapes all that we believe.
A savior who truly saves
There's nothing we can do to help Jesus do what he has already done. His suffering and death was the once-for-all-times sacrifice for the sins of all who come to believe in him. His death on the cross saved us from the hell we deserve for our rebellion against a just and loving God. Jesus, the Son of God, died, rose from the tomb bodily, appeared to many and ascended into heaven, promising to return again. His work is—as he said from the cross—finished! If you believe this, rejoice! You believe the Gospel or Good News of Jesus—that he died to do nothing less than to save us for eternal life with him.
Promises we can trust
When this Jesus, who has won heaven for those who believe in him, tells us that believers will not perish and he will let no one snatch us out of his hands—we should indeed believe it. In fact, we should rejoice! Likewise, when he tells us that he gives us his body and blood at his supper—we should indeed believe it. We don't need to be able to explain it. If Jesus wanted us to be able to explain it, he would have left an explanation. We simply accept his promise and believe we receive his very body and blood at Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, which we celebrate each week.
Do we need to believe a man-made explanation such as transubstantiation? No. We need to believe Jesus. We need to believe that he gives us what he promises us. He has promised all who believe in him receive his body and blood in this life at his supper—and because he has given them the gift of faith to believe in him—they have everlasting life with him in the next life.
We totally reject sacerdotalism. In other words, we do not believe that either Baptism or Holy Communion (the Lord's Supper) save us in any way. Yet we receive both with gratefulness because they have been commanded by Jesus, who alone has saved us from eternal hell and won for us heaven. We know that all he commands for us is for our good.
Baptism and Holy Communion are not only Christ's commands but his promises to all believers that he indeed has washed away our sins and feeds us with his grace (his favor) strengthening us again and again for this life's journey. We are buried with him in Baptism and are raised to new life, even as our bodies will be raised in glory with him when he comes again. We are fed with his own body and blood as he forgives our sins and strengthens us to do his will. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are living signs and seals of his spiritual work in us.
So how do we know we have the salvation he won for those who believe? We believe!—and only because he gives us the gift of faith to do so—through our new birth in water and the Holy Spirit. The water, of course, comes at baptism. The Holy Spirit comes when he chooses. As Jesus’ church, we reach out our hands and lay them on our brothers and sisters, praying for the Holy Spirit’s power and intervention in numerous situations from healings to ordinations.
How then shall we live?
How then should we live? As he commanded us, ever-watching for his return and using the spiritual gifts he gives us through his Holy Spirit to build up the church as we seek to love one another as he first loved us.
When we get down on ourselves for falling into sin again, that’s good. We should be ashamed. On the other hand, we can never forget, it’s not about us and our sins. It’s about Jesus and how he forgives the sins of all who believe in him by his shed blood on the cross. How he chose us to believe in him before the world began, gave us the gift of faith to believe in him and all he has done for us. We trust in him and not in any of our own works, actions or intentions.
So instead of dwelling on ourselves and our sins, we take them to Jesus in prayer and admit them. We thank him for the forgiveness he won for us. We thank him for the eternal life in heaven he promises us. Life is not about how many times we fail, but the fact that our God has saved us from all our failures—our sins. That’s why he urges us to take comfort in him, telling us his yoke is easy and his burden is light. In thanksgiving, we seek to honor him in all we say and do.
Remember, the gospel is about Jesus, God in the flesh, and what he did for us and the wonders he has in store for all who believe. He will come again some day and raise us up to join him in the clouds. We will see our Savior face to face and live with Jesus forever. We always have something to look forward to. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!