In these Doctrine Illuminated articles, the core beliefs of Addison Street Community Church are fleshed out in more detail. Begin by examining the section of the Doctrinal Confession, found at the top, and then discover an explanation of each of its lines below.
Section 7. The Way of Salvation.
"We believe that the salvation of sinners is by grace alone, through the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and our Mediator. Obeying the will of the Father, he freely took upon himself our human nature, yet without sin. He honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and made atonement for our sins by his death. He rose bodily from the dead and is now enthroned in heaven where he intercedes for us as our all-sufficient savior."
If you’ve ever been in a deeply troublesome situation when there was absolutely no way for you to help yourself out, then you know what it’s like to need salvation—that is, for someone to save you. In a much more severe sense, all humans don’t just need saving from a challenging worldly predicament but saving from the warranted wrath of God. In this section of the confession, we explore the way that people can experience this great salvation.
"We believe that the salvation of sinners is by grace alone."
The simple fact about salvation is that there are no other beings for God to save than sinners. Humans need it because humans have sinned and therefore incurred upon themselves God’s wrath (see Psalm 53:1-3). The apostle Paul states the remedy very simply: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV). Therefore, if you recognize your sin and need of saving, then don’t try to save yourself, but believe in his gracious provision of the savior, Jesus.
"[Salvation is] through the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and our Mediator."
But how exactly do you get this grace? Through the death of Jesus Christ. One of the greatest aspects of our salvation is that we were reconciled, or brought back, to God. How? Through Christ’s death. Paul says it very succinctly: “…while we were [God’s] enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10, ESV). So, if you have been saved, then thank God for the crucifixion of his Son. Salvation is free to you but cost God everything.
"Obeying the will of the Father, he freely took upon himself our human nature, yet without sin."
Only someone who is without sin is fit to save sinners. It would have been useless for someone with sin to attempt to be the savior because he himself would still need saving. Therefore, Jesus became like us in every way so that he can sympathize with our weaknesses, “yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15). In serving us as our perfect High Priest, Christ also served his Father—for it was the Father’s will that he obeyed. So, go to your savior in times of temptation, because he can sympathize with you and provide you with his own saving strength to remain faithful through it.
"He honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and made atonement for our sins by his death."
If someone is under God’s perfect law, then to remain perfectly holy they need to obey it in its entirety. But it takes no time at all to look around and see how all people have disobeyed God’s perfect law—chiefly by not loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. So, Jesus came to be the perfect example of joyful obedience to God’s law. He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). And that he did. He obeyed perfectly, and by his atoning death on the cross, he gives believers his perfect righteousness. He took our place as a substitute: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). So, if you’re righteous in God’s sight, then why wouldn’t you pursue living righteously right now? It would simply be living in line with your true identity.
"He rose bodily from the dead and is now enthroned in heaven where he intercedes for us as our all-sufficient savior."
One of the undervalued or overlooked aspects of the good news is that he is now seated in heaven at the right hand of his Father where he rules as King of all. And it is said that Christ—almighty God himself—is the one who lives to intercede for us, his people (see Hebrews 7:25-27). What a glorious and comforting reality. “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). Our savior doesn’t just give us salvation and tell us to hang on to it for dear life. No, he continues to intercede for us and keeps us in the palm of his hand until that great day of salvation when he comes back to finally and fully save his church.
The simple gospel is that Jesus Christ died for sinners—to save them from the wrath of God and to save them back into a relationship with himself. What a savior we have in Jesus!