Why do we include the word, “Reformed” in our name?
While the term “reformed” has meant various things throughout the history of the church, we simply mean it to say that the church is under the authority of Scripture. To say that we are “reforming” simply means that we are always examining what we believe and do to make sure that they are consistent with the teaching of Scripture.
Every church has its issues, in belief and practice, and we are no different. But, as a guiding principle, we do not believe we have the liberty to operate outside the boundary set in God’s word, in doctrine or practice. We freely admit that we are faulty in living up to this standard, and therefore seek God’s grace to enable us to have wisdom as to what his will is from his word, and the ability to carry it out.
With regards to the sovereignty of God, we simply believe that God is Lord over all. Is there any exception to this, in any circumstance, or at any time? We do not believe so and see that this is taught throughout the Scriptures. Psalm 47:2 For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.
That God is Lord over all is a truth for our humbling, our encouragement, our comfort, our conviction, our thankfulness and gratitude to and worship of him. Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Are there any exceptions to this?
With regards to salvation, we believe that everyone, since the fall of Adam, was, is and will be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by hearing the Scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone. Salvation is 100% the work of God and 0% the work of man. Jonah declared this in the fish when he said, “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!” (Jonah 2:9) The Psalmist declared it as well – Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah. Although this is sadly denied in the church today by many, it will be proclaimed in heaven by all of the saints. Rev 7:10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
The idea that almighty God rests salvation upon the decision or acceptance of a fallen man, dead in sin (Eph 2:1), under the domain of darkness (Col 1:13), in the flesh only and having not the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:7-8), walking in darkness (Eph 5:8) and according to the course of this world (Eph 2:1-3), is not found in the word of God.
A man is saved when God grants faith to him in the hearing of God’s word. Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Phil 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake… Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The simple truth of Scripture is this. No one believes in Jesus without the Holy Spirit. Until one is given the Holy Spirit by God, they are not able to and neither will they believe in Christ for salvation. 1 Cor 12:3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. And again, John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Until a person is given the Holy Spirit, they are utterly opposed to and incapable of believing in Jesus. 1 Cor 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
This truth is why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, because, in the preaching of it, God saves his people from their sins. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. And again, 1 Cor 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
So, we include “Reformed” in our name, because we believe that God is Lord over all and that everything we believe and do falls under the authority of his word. Only by his grace alone, will we have any success believing or doing what his word declares.
May this be our declaration, by the grace of God…
Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Unless otherwise cited, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV ®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.