We describe our church as “essentially reformed”. This is our way of declaring our affirmation of the doctrines of grace–that salvation is all owed to the unmerited grace of God. As I put it in a recent message, God put our salvation entirely in his own hands.
In saying we are “essentially” reformed we do mean to distinguish ourselves from the church tradition known as Reformed and from certain beliefs, most notably infant baptism, that are historically associated with those traditions. However, we have no reluctance to trumpet our love for God’s sovereign, electing, overwhelming grace in salvation. Let me state a few reasons why this doctrine is so valuable to us.
1) It summarizes the teaching of God’s Word about salvation–namely that it is not by our might, or effort, but by God’s mercy. We chose him only because he first chose us. We love him only because He first loved us.
2) It provides confidence for our ultimate preservation unto Heaven. Every Christian stumbles and fails on the pilgrimage toward glory. Our grip is weak, and even fails at times. But God’s arm is not to short to save, and no one, not even we ourselves, can take us out of his hand.
3) It provides endless content for our worship of God. There will never be enough songs written of God’s amazing grace. Every Sunday, indeed every day, is a new opportunities to sing of the mercies that are new every morning, so great is his gracious faithfulness toward us.
Yes, we are reformed, meaning we love and sing and trust in a God who has displayed his all-powerful grace to save an undeserving people.