The Toledo Church of God (Seventh Day) embraces the following statements of truth based on the Bible as our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. These fundamental statements are intended as a basis of fellowship among us, and no claim to inspired wording or knowing all truth is implied. It is proper, then, for us to “set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us” (Luke 1:1). May these statements move us closer to speaking the same things about core issues of Scripture (I Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42).
One True God
The one true God has revealed Himself in the Bible as the eternal, self-existent, self-revealed Sovereign and Deity of the universe--the “I AM.” While God is one in essence and nature, Scripture also reveals His simultaneous personal existence as Father and Son, through the Holy Spirit. We affirm the Deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, and the Deity of the Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; Matt. 28:19)
The Holy Bible, consisting of the sixty-six Old and New Testament books, is the inspired Word of God, the infallible rule for Christian faith and conduct. The Bible is superior to conscience and to human reason, but is not contrary to reason (2 Tim. 3:15-17; 1 Pet. 1:23-25; Heb. 4:12)
Human Fall and Redemption
Man was created good and upright, for God said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” Tempted by the serpent (Satan), man fell into degradation and death by sin though Adam’s willful transgression of God’s law. From this fallen state, humanity’s only hope of redemption is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Gen. 1:26-31; Gen. 3:1-19; Rom. 5:12-21).
Salvation of Man
The grace of God that brings salvation has now appeared to all men, through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament gospel stresses repentance toward God, resulting in forgiveness of sin by faith in Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, we are saved—justified by God’s grace, and we become joint-heirs with Christ according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7; Rom. 10:9-13; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38).
Evidences of Salvation
The evidence of salvation for the believer is the inward witness of the Spirit (Rom. 8:16). The outward evidence toward others is consistent love, obedience to God’s word, and good works (John 13:35; Matthew 5:16; James 2:18; 3:13; I Peter 2:12)
Ordinances of Salvation
Baptism in Water
Water baptism should be received by all who have confessed their sins and trusted Christ as Savior and Lord. The method of baptism described and approved in Scripture is full immersion in water. Those being buried in the watery grave of baptism declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they are being raised from their death in sins to walk with Him in newness of life. (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:3, 4; Colossians 2:12)
The Lord’s Supper (Communion)
The Lord’s Supper, consisting of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, is the memorial celebration of Christ’s suffering and death for our sins under the New Covenant. It should be observed annually in the season it was instituted by Christ (the night before His death), and may be observed at other times by those who desire to remember the sole basis of their salvation in Jesus. As a prophecy of His second coming, holy communion is enjoined to all believers “until He comes.” It is accompanied by washing of feet.
(Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:19, 20; John 13:1-17; 1 Cor. 11:23-32)
All who are united to Jesus Christ by faith and baptism are covenant partners of the true church of God, the Body of Christ. The local congregation of Christians is God’s primary instrument for the furtherance of His work on earth. Under the leadership of a divinely called and ordained ministry, all believers in Jesus’ shed blood for salvation should work with others for the purposes of (1) Evangelism: taking the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified to the world; (2) Worship: honoring the Father and the Son publicly, in Spirit and in truth; (3) Benevolence: serving the poor and needy in Christ’s name; and (4) Discipleship: growing the saints toward the perfect image of His Son (I Chronicles 16:29; Matthew 16:16-18; 28:18-20; John 4:23, 24; 17:21; Ephesians 1:20-23; 4:1-16; Colossians 1:28; 3:14-15).
The seventh day (Saturday) is a rest from the ordinary labors of daily life, for the advancement of faith in God and Christ and the enrichment of love for others. Sabbath-observance under the New Covenant is based on these biblical pillars:
1. The Sabbath was set apart as holy by God Himself during creation week (Gen. 2:2-3).
2. The weekly Sabbath was included in the heart of God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).
3. The weekly Sabbath was confirmed by the teaching and example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16; Mark 2:27, 28; Matthew 12:1-12.)
4. The symbolism of Sabbath rest under the New Covenant points to the seventh day as a day of grace as much as it was a day of law under the Old (Matthew 11:28; Hebrews 4:1-11).
An integral part of creation week, Sabbath is God’s original rest day. Made in his image, we too can cease the work and business of the other six days to enjoy the peace and serenity, worship and fellowship available in this Sabbath gift.
We are saved (justified) by the grace of God alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone. But the grace and faith that save are never alone. True salvation always moves the life of the saved Godward. In the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit’s power, we pursue the goal to “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” Sanctification is a process (toward holiness) that leaves no word, thought or deed untouched. In our pursuit of holiness, the Holy Spirit may lead us, via the Word, to evaluate the place of traditional religious holidays and certain foods in the lives of fully devoted followers of Christ. All things in us are being made new under the guidance of God’s commandments and the faith (life example) of Jesus (Revelation 12:17; 14:12). Sanctification is God’s will for all believers. It should be earnestly pursued by walking in obedience to God’s Word—just as our Savior walked. A holy walk in the Spirit can never become the means to God’s grace and salvation, but it is one way we demonstrate the sincerity of our love and faith in the one who loved us and gave Himself for us—Jesus Christ (Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:15, 16; 1 Thess. 5:23, 24; 1 John 2:6)
God ordained marriage as a lifelong covenant relationship between two persons of opposite gender—one male and one female. This covenant requires that married couples be faithful to each other, mutually supportive as long as they both live. Christians are not to marry unbelievers (Genesis 2:18-25; Malachi 2:13-16; Matthew 5:32; 19:5-6,9; Mark 10:3-10; Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:10-11, 15; II Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:22-23).
The Blessed Hope
Human history is not an endless straight line of something, nor an endlessly repeating cycle of anything, nor will it end in destruction and oblivion for everything. It has an appointed end, according to Scripture, that will lift life as we know it to a level and quality that we can only imagine.
Followers of Christ have the assurance of a blessed hope that awaits the redeemed in Him. Someday, the Lord will return to raise the dead, to judge the world, to grant immortality and eternal life with Him to those who have known Him. Both the living redeemed and the righteous dead will be immortalized together in Christ’s millennial Kingdom of Peace and the eternal Kingdom of His Father to follow—a realm of perfect love, joy, and rest.
Those who remain disobedient and unbelieving until the end will suffer the pains of the lake of fire which is the second death, the final destruction of body, soul, and spirit—total annihilation. They shall be as if they never were.
(1 Thess. 4:16; Rom. 6:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52)