Summary of Beliefs
Grace Communion International has members in more than 120 countries and territories. As part of the body of Christ, our mission is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world and to help members grow spiritually (Matthew 28:19-20).
As a Spirit-led body of believers, the church is exhorted, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). The Spirit of God leads the church into all truth (John 16:13). Accordingly, this Statement of Beliefs is not a closed creed. Grace Communion International constantly renews its commitment to truth and deeper understanding and responds to God’s guidance in its beliefs and practices.
There is one God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God the Father made all things through the Son, sent the Son for our salvation, and gives us the Holy Spirit.
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, was born of the virgin Mary, fully God and fully human, and is the perfect revelation of the Father and the perfect representative of humanity. He suffered and died on the cross for all human sin, was raised bodily on the third day, and ascended to heaven. Standing in for all humanity before the Father, Jesus Christ provides the perfect human response to God. Since he died for all, all died in him, and all will be made alive in him.
The Holy Spirit brings sinners to repentance and faith, assures believers of their forgiveness and acceptance as God’s dearly loved children, and works in them to conform them to the image of Jesus Christ.
The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God that testifies to Jesus Christ. The Bible is fully authoritative for all matters of faith and salvation.
Salvation comes only by God’s grace and not by works, and it is experienced through faith in Jesus Christ. Christians respond to the joy of salvation when they gather in regular fellowship and live godly lives in Jesus Christ.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come.
God, by the testimony of Scripture, is one divine Being in three eternal, co-essential, yet distinct Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The One God may be known only in the Three and the Three may be known only as the one true God, good, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, and immutable in his covenant love for humanity. He is Creator of heaven and earth, Sustainer of the universe, and Author of human salvation. Though transcendent, God freely and in divine love, grace and goodness involves himself with humanity directly and personally in Jesus Christ, that humanity, by the Spirit, might share in his eternal life as his children.
God the Father is the first Person of the triune God, of whom the Son is eternally begotten and from whom the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds through the Son. The Father, who made all things seen and unseen through the Son, sends the Son for our salvation and gives the Holy Spirit for our regeneration and adoption as children of God.
The Son of God is the second Person of the triune God, eternally begotten of the Father. He is the Word and the express image of the Father. The Father created all things through the Son, and the Son sustains all things by his word. He was sent by the Father to be God revealed in the flesh for our salvation, Jesus Christ. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, fully God and fully human, two natures in one Person. He is the Son of God and Lord of all, worthy of worship, honor and reverence. As the prophesied Savior of humanity, he suffered and died for all human sin, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven. Taking on our broken and alienated humanity, he has included the entire human race in his right relationship with the Father, so that in his regeneration of our humanity we share in his sonship, being adopted as God’s own children in the power of the Spirit. As our representative and substitute, he stands in for all humanity before the Father, providing the perfect human response to God on our behalf and reconciling humanity to the Father. He will come again in glory as King of kings over all nations.
God the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead, eternally proceeding from the Father through the Son. He is the Comforter promised by Jesus Christ, given by the Father to all believers. The Holy Spirit lives in us, unites us with the Father and the Son, and transforms us into the image of Christ through regeneration, repentance, sanctification, and continual renewal. The Holy Spirit is the Source of inspiration and prophecy throughout the Scriptures, and the Source of unity and communion in the church. He provides spiritual gifts for the work of the gospel, and is the Christian’s constant Guide into all truth.
John 14:16 | John 15:26 | Acts 2:4, 17-19, 38 | Matthew 28:19 | John 14:17-26, 23 | 1 Peter 1:2 | Titus 3:5 | 2 Peter 1:21 | 1 Corinthians 12:13 | 2 Corinthians 13:14 | 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 | Acts 20:28 | John 16:13
Salvation is the restoration of human fellowship with God and the deliverance of the entire creation from the bondage of sin and death. Salvation is given by the grace of God and experienced through faith in Jesus Christ, not earned by personal merit or good works. God calls on every person to enter that divine fellowship, which has been secured for humanity in Jesus Christ and is embodied by him as the beloved of the Father at the Father’s right hand.
The Christian Sabbath is life in Jesus Christ, in whom every believer finds true rest. The weekly seventh-day Sabbath, which was enjoined upon Israel in the Ten Commandments, was a shadow that prefigured the true Reality to whom it pointed – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Bible prophecy reveals God and his will and purpose for humanity. In Bible prophecy, God declares that human sinfulness is forgiven through repentance and faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. Prophecy proclaims God as Sovereign Creator and Judge of all, assures humanity of his love, mercy, and faithfulness, and motivates the believer to live a godly life in Jesus Christ.
Christian conduct is characterized by trust in and loving allegiance to Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. Trust in Jesus Christ is expressed by belief in the gospel and by participation in Jesus Christ’s works of love. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ transforms the hearts of believers, producing in them love, joy, peace, faithfulness, meekness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, righteousness, and truth.
The intermediate state is the condition of the dead until the resurrection of the body. Christians hold various viewpoints on the nature of the intermediate state based on their interpretation of relevant biblical passages. Some passages suggest a conscious intermediate state, and others an unconscious state. Grace Communion International believes both views should be respected.
Isaiah 14:9-10 | Ezekiel 32:21 | Luke 16:19-31 | Luke 23:43 | 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 | Philippians 1:21-24 | Revelation 6:9-11 | Psalms 6:5 | Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 | Isaiah 38:18 | John 11:11-14 | 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
God created humanity male and female in the image and likeness of God. God blessed them, telling them to multiply and fill the earth. In love, the Lord gave humans stewardship over all the earth and its creatures. Typified by Adam who sinned, humanity lives in sin against its Creator, thus spreading suffering and death in the world. Despite human sinfulness, humanity continues in and is defined by having been created according to God’s image. Thus all humans, collectively and individually, deserve love, honor, and respect. The eternally perfect image of God is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the last Adam. God creates through Jesus Christ the one new humanity over which sin and death have no power. In Christ, humanity bears perfectly the image of God, and in union with Christ, humanity is included in the relationship Christ has with the Father.
God’s grace is free and unmerited and is expressed in everything he does. By grace, the Father redeemed humanity and the entire cosmos from sin and death through Jesus Christ, and by grace, the Holy Spirit empowers humans to know and love the Father and Jesus Christ and thereby experience the joy of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.
Worship is the divinely created response to the glory of God. It is motivated by divine love and springs from God’s revelation of himself in communion with his creation. In worship, believers commune with God the Father through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. Worship involves humbly and joyfully giving God priority in all things and is expressed in such actions and attitudes as prayer, praise, celebration, generosity, acts of mercy, and repentance.
God judges all humans through Jesus Christ as those who belong to God through him. Therefore, all humans are, in spite of themselves, loved, forgiven, and included in Jesus Christ, who is their Lord and Savior. God’s love will never cease or diminish even for those who, denying the reality of who they are in him, refuse his love and consign themselves to hell; they will not enjoy the fruit of his salvation but rather will experience his love as wrath. God disciplines those he loves so that they will return to him and live; he stands at the door and knocks, urging them to open the door to his everlasting love. God’s judgment in Christ means the ultimate end of evil and the renewal of the earth and all creation.
Heaven is a biblical term applied to the chosen dwelling place of God and the eternal destiny of all God’s redeemed children. To be in heaven is to remain in Christ in the presence of God, where death, mourning, crying, and pain will be no more. Heaven is characterized by everlasting joy, blessed peace, and the righteousness of God.
Hell is the separation and alienation from God chosen by incorrigible sinners. In the New Testament, hell is referred to by the terms “lake of fire,” “darkness,” and Gehenna (a gorge outside Jerusalem where garbage was burned). Hell is characterized by punishment, torment, anguish, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and eternal destruction. The biblical terms Sheol and Hades, often translated “hell” or “the grave,” refer to the realm of the dead. The Bible teaches that unrepentant sinners will suffer the second death in the lake of fire, but it does not make absolutely clear whether this means annihilation or conscious spiritual alienation from God.
The gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God and salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the message that Christ died for our sins and has made us his own before and apart from our believing in him and has bound us to himself by his love in such a way that he will never let us go. Therefore, he calls on all humans to repent and believe in him as Lord and Savior.
The sacrament of baptism proclaims that we are saved by Christ alone and not through our own repentance and faith. It is a participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in which our old selves have been crucified and renounced in Christ and we have been freed from the shackles of the past and given new being through his resurrection. Baptism proclaims the good news that Christ has made us his own, and that it is only in him that our new life of faith and obedience emerges. Grace Communion International baptizes by immersion.
Faith in God is a gift of God, rooted in Jesus Christ and enlightened by the witness of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. Through faith, God prepares and enables our minds to participate in Jesus Christ’s communion with the Father by the Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
Sin is the state of alienation from God of all humanity and consists of anything that is contrary to God’s will, including acts of wrongdoing, neglect to do good and unbelief in the God of grace and love as made known in Jesus Christ. The Bible associates sin with the devil, whose work Jesus came to destroy. Sin results in damaged relationships, suffering and death. Because all humans are sinners, all humans need the good news that God loves them unconditionally and has forgiven their sins and reconciled them to himself through Jesus Christ.
In the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, we partake of bread and wine in remembrance of our Savior, proclaiming his death until he comes. The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the death and resurrection of our Lord. Just as the bread and wine become part of our physical bodies, so we are made by grace to partake spiritually of Jesus Christ in his body and blood. Thus the Lord’s Supper declares to believers that in every aspect of our Christian life we rely not on any obedience or righteousness of our own, but solely upon the grace of God incarnate in Jesus Christ.
The Millennium is the time span described in the book of Revelation during which Christian martyrs reign with Jesus Christ. After the Millennium, when all enemies have been put under his feet, and all things made subject to him, Christ will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, and heaven and earth will be made new. Some Christian traditions interpret the Millennium as a literal 1000 years to precede or follow the return of Jesus, while others believe that the scriptural evidence points to a figurative interpretation: an indeterminate time span commencing with Jesus’ resurrection and concluding with his return.
The inheritance of believers is salvation and eternal life in Christ as children of God in communion with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father conveys believers even now into the kingdom of his Son, and their inheritance is reserved in heaven to be bestowed fully at the second coming of Christ. The resurrected saints reign with Christ in the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God in the broadest sense is God’s supreme sovereignty. God’s reign is now manifest in the church and in the life of each believer who is submissive to his will. The kingdom of God will be fully manifest over the whole world after the return of Jesus Christ when he delivers all things to the Father.
The Holy Scriptures are by God’s grace sanctified to serve as his inspired Word and faithful witness to Jesus Christ and the gospel. They are the fully reliable record of God’s revelation to humanity culminating in his self-revelation in the incarnate Son. As such, the Holy Scriptures are foundational to the church and infallible in all matters of faith and salvation.
The church, the Body of Christ, consists of all who trust in Jesus Christ. The church is commissioned to make disciples of Jesus by reaching out in love to all people, nurturing and baptizing those who believe, and teaching believers to obey all that Christ commanded. In fulfilling this mission, the church is directed by the Holy Scriptures, led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, and looks continually to Jesus Christ, its living Head.
The Christian is any person who trusts in Jesus Christ. Christians experience new birth through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, embrace their adoption as children of God and enter a right relationship with God and fellow humans by God’s grace as they are empowered and led by the Holy Spirit. The Christian’s life is characterized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Repentance toward God is a change of mind and attitude in response to the grace of God prompted by the Holy Spirit and grounded in the Word of God. It includes awareness of personal sinfulness and trust in and allegiance to Jesus Christ through whom all humanity has been reconciled to God and accompanies a new life sanctified by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ.
Sanctification is God’s gracious act of accounting and imparting the righteousness and holiness of Jesus Christ to the believer. It is experienced through faith in Jesus Christ and accomplished through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Angels are created ministering spirits, endowed with free will. The holy angels serve God as messengers and agents, are appointed to attend to those who will obtain salvation, and will accompany Christ at his return. The disobedient angels are called demons, evil spirits, and unclean spirits.
Satan is a fallen angel who heads the evil forces in the spirit realm. The Bible refers to him with such terms as the devil, adversary, evil one, murderer, liar, thief, tempter, accuser of the brethren, prince of demons, and god of this world. He is in constant rebellion against God. Through his influence, Satan generates discord, deception, and disobedience among human beings. In Christ, Satan is already defeated, and his dominion and influence as god of this world will cease at Christ’s return.
The Head of the church is Jesus Christ, who reveals the will of the Father to the church through the Holy Spirit. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit instructs and empowers the church to serve the needs of congregations. Grace Communion International seeks to follow the lead of Holy Spirit in serving its congregations as it ordains elders and appoints ministry leaders.
Christian financial stewardship is the management of resources in a manner that reflects the love and generosity of God. It includes the responsibility of offering a portion of one’s financial resources to the work of the church. Donations fund the God-given mission of the church to preach the gospel and feed the flock. Such giving reflects the heart of Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us.
Jesus Christ, as he promised, will come again to judge and reign over all nations in the kingdom of God. His second coming will be visible, and in power and glory and will bring the final end to evil. This event inaugurates the resurrection of the dead and the reward of the saints.