Where We Stand

The Theological Stance of Signet Ring Ministries

The promise is the strand upon which all of the story of God and the history of humanity is written. The sovereign Lord of history has proclaimed His purpose to remedy the effects of the fall and redeem a people for His own possession. The promise was initiated in the proclamation to the Serpent regarding Eve and her offspring, continued in the life of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David and reached its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. In the following our statement of what we believe is made in looking at our beliefs through the lens of The Promise.

The Proclamation of the Promise: The Scriptures

God has proclaimed His purpose in the promise through the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the God-breathed testimony of His redemptive work. The Scriptures consist of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments (2 Peter 2:3-16). The word of God was given through human agencies, with God utilizing their personalities and the language of the day, yet were perfectly guided by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21). The Scriptures are the guiding light for the people of God, being fully authoritative in matters of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16). The word of God is inerrant in what it teaches, bringing conviction and illumination to the people of God. In the coming of Christ, the faith was delivered once and for all, thus the Scriptures are God’s final proclamation of the provisions of salvation, which will not be altered or changed (Hebrews 1:12). The Bible is Christocentric in its purpose. The whole of the Scriptures point to the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 5:39-40).

The Prelude to the Promise: Creation

Prior to the initial proclamation of the promise, the Lord created all there is ex nihlio (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 11:3). All that is, whether it be things on earth or in the heavens, was created by the sovereign power of God (Colossians 1:16). By the power of His word He continues to hold all things together (Hebrews 1:3). In regards to the timing of creation, while we avoid putting a “date” on creation in tracing genealogies, we believe that sin and death (both physical and spiritual) did not enter the world until the fall (Romans 5:12).

Humanity

God created humanity as the pinnacle of His creation. They were and are created in the image of God, and are the heirs of the eternal promise of God (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 12). Our first parents disobeyed the word of the Lord and thus sin and death entered the world (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12). Sin is both extensive and intensive. Through the fall, sin has extended to all physically descended from Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:22). We are born in sin and do not have the ability to please God in ourselves (Romans 8:8, Romans 3:11). Sin, the willful disobedience of God’s righteous requirements of God, is intensive, effecting every facet of our being.

The Enemies and Defenders of the Promise
Satan and Fallen Angels

The enemy of the promise is Satan. Satan is a personal, spiritual entity that has fallen and is the epitome of opposition towards God (Genesis 3, Matthew 4). In his fall, Satan also took a host of spiritual minions with him (Revelation 12:4). These are enemies of God and his purposes. Their purpose is to thwart the promise of God (Matthew 16:23). The promise occurred in the midst of the fall and Satan’s attempt to overcome the purposes of God. Satan and his cohorts, though they are in opposition to God, are still under His sovereignty. Satan and all of his spiritual minions are on God’s “leash” until the consummation is accomplished (Job 1:12, Revelation 17:17).

Righteous Angels

There are also spiritual beings that are in accord with God’s purposes and righteousness. These “angels” carry out God’s purposes in various ways. They mediated God’s messages to the prophets and disciples. They minister to those who are inheriting salvation (Psalm 91:11, Hebrews 1:14). They carry out God’s wrath (Revelation 8). They accomplish deliverance for God’s people (Mark 13:27). Though much regarding these entities is unknown, they are a reality and administer God’s purposes in various ways unseen to the human eye.

The People of the Promise
The Covenant People of God (Israel and the Church)

God has granted His promises to His covenant people (Genesis 12:3, 22:15). All of God’s covenant people who share in His promises through the Messiah are such by grace through faith (Galatians 3:6-14). God chose a nation to carry out His mission and continue His promises. The descendants of the Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were and are the ethnic chosen ones of God – the nation of Israel (Exodus 3:15-16). They received the Law and proclaimed the promise through the working of the Lord (Romans 3:1-2). God’s chosen line that began with Eve and continued through the nation of Israel culminated with the coming of Christ (Luke 3:23-38, Galatians 4:4). Jesus of Nazareth arrived and announced the coming of the Kingdom and through the preaching of the Gospel a people are being called out from every tribe, nation and tongue. This the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise (Matthew 28:19-20). These people are the “church.” While we believe there is a distinction between Israel and the church, Israel has experienced a partial hardening until the fullness of the Gentiles come in (Romans 11:25-26). At the end of the age, we believe there will be a “regrafting” of the nation of Israel. This will be through the grace of God and His ethnic people placing their faith in their Messiah (Ezekiel 36:22-36). With this being said, we believe in the unity of the people of God throughout all ages. While the object of faith may be distinct in the pre and post cross eras (i.e. faith in the promise and faith in the person of Christ) all are under the headship of Christ, and are saved by grace through faith (Hebrews 11, Romans 4:10-13).

In this present era (post-cross, pre-consummation) we believe that the faithful people of God are those who place their faith in the Messiah (Romans 9:1-3). The church is the community of the redeemed, scattered across the globe, and are united by their common faith in the Messiah, regardless of race, gender, social status, or any other outward indicator (Galatians 3:28). All who believe are brothers and sisters and destined for glory.

The Practices and Ordinances of the Church

The Lord, through His teachings and the teachings of His commissioned apostles, has left us with the prescriptions of what the church should be engaged in while awaiting the return of the King. The church should gather around the word of God, for guidance, exhortation and admonition. The church should gather in prayer. And the church should continue in fellowship exercising their Spiritual gifts for the edification of the body (Acts 2:42). The mission of the church is to go forth in the Gospel calling the nations to repent and believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Luke 24:46-48).

The Lord has also left us with two “ordinances.” One is baptism. We believe this rite is intended for believers as a sign of their identification with Christ and public confession before the others as a sign of their beliefs (Matthew 28:13, Romans 6:3-4). The second is communion. The Lord has commanded us, as a community, to partake of bread and wine to both remember His death and look forward to His return (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Neither of these ordinances is a means of “macro” and continuing salvation, yet do have sanctifying purposes in the life of the believer when united with faith.

The Triune God of the Promise
The Trinity

In the mysterious realm of eternity, before all creation, now, and throughout the ages, God Himself exists in the persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:13, John 17:5). One in essence and purpose, yet distinct in personhood and roles in salvation, we strongly adhere to mysterious yet Biblical truth of the Trinity.

The Attributes of God

The three persons of the Trinity share in the essential attributes of God. God is the all-knowing (Isaiah 46:10), all-powerful (Job 42:2), all-present (Psalm 139:7-10), non-contingent creator of all. That which is essential to the very ontological existence of God is shared by all members of the Trinity. God is also sovereign over the affairs of all human existence (Ephesians 1:11). He rules over the course of human history, over both the macro and micro events (Proverbs 16:9). While exercising His sovereignty over all creation, God is not the author of sin, nor can the Creator be attributed with the association of evil (James 1:13). He allows evil, He overcomes evil, judges evil, and He atones for evil. God is love (1 John 4:16) and God is holy (Revelation 4:8). The persons of the Triune God demonstrate this through their activity in salvation history.

The Planner of the Promise: The Person and Work of the Father

The first person of the Trinity is the Father. We know the Father ultimately through the revelation of the Son. Before the foundation of the world, the Father planned the course of human history and the ultimate course redemption (Hebrews 4:3). Before the foundation of the world, He planned to send His Son into the world to accomplish the work of redemption (Revelation 13:18). Before the foundation of the world the Father chose His children out of history and set His love upon them (Ephesians 1:4). He is sovereignly guiding all human history towards its intended end which will result in the ultimate glorification of His Son (Hebrews 1:1-3). He is the loving caretaker for all that place their faith in the Son.

The Promise Fulfilled: The Person and Work of Jesus Christ

The second person of the Trinity is the Son. Pre-existent from all eternity and intimately involved in the progression of the promise we find testified to in the Old Testament, was born supernaturally through a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 1:1, Matthew 1). Although the ultimate understanding of the dual nature of Jesus Christ eludes our finite minds, Jesus was (and is) true God and true Man (Philippians 2:5-7). While never setting aside the actuality of His deity, He took on the nature of humanity. While He was in the likeness of sinful flesh (i.e. He experienced hunger, fatigue, pain, etc.) He lived a completely sinless life in obedience to His Father (Romans 8:1-2, 2 Corinthians 5:21). The ultimate goal of His initial visitation was to atone for sin and announce the unfolding reality of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 1:21). The climax of His first coming came at the cross when He suffered for the sins of humanity through death by torture and crucifixion. Three days later He victoriously rose from the dead in an immortal, eternally raised physical body. He remained for a short time and was beheld by many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:1-9). He ascended into heaven to reign from the right hand of the Father, as the constituency of His Kingdom is gathered through preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

The Paraclete of the Promise: The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

The third person of the Trinity is known as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is indeed a person that shares the divine attributes of The Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is the creator and sustainer and, throughout the time before Christ, moved the mouths of the prophets and specially equipped certain individuals for divine work (Genesis 1:2, 1 Peter 1:10-12).

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to dwell with His people forever (John 14:16). While the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, He would come upon those who believed and equip them for the work of ministry (Acts 2:17). The promise of the Son to send the Spirit began its fulfillment at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit regenerates the human heart, sanctifies the souls He moves to faith, and will give ultimate life at the time of the resurrection (Romans 8:9-11). The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son of God (John 16:14). Miraculous manifestations of the Holy Spirit must center on the finished work of Jesus Christ in order to bring authentication to His claims and glorification to His Name (Hebrews 2:4).

The Fulfillment of the Promise

Through the work of the Triune God, the promise is given to the spiritual descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). The overarching definition of what we have been graciously given is “salvation.” It is the process and state of being saved from our sin and its consequences and, in turn, being delivered to the eternal joy and blessings of life in the Son.This salvation, although fully accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is lavished upon His people through the following divine acts:

Election

Before the foundation of the world God chose His people unto salvation (Revelation 17:8).In his grace and own purpose He set his love upon us (Romans 8:29). This is known as the doctrine of election. Election is individual (Romans 9:11), corporate (1 Peter 1:1-2), and in Christ (Ephesians 1:4). Election itself does not save anyone, but rather marks those out for whom salvation would come.It is the first link in a chain that brings God’s children to glory.

Regeneration

Because all humanity is dead in trespasses and sin, and is unable to come to God, the Lord grants His children the divine gift of regeneration (Ephesians 2:1-3). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord frees the blind human heart to see Christ in His glory (Acts 16:4).Regeneration is the granting of spiritual life to a spiritually dead individual (2 Corinthians 3:6). Regeneration prompts the next step in the process of salvation.

Faith

When the new life is birthed in the life of God’s elect ones, the regeneration of the Holy Spirit produces faith. Faith is the person believing the elements of the Gospel, assenting to its truth, and trusting in its provisions (1 Corinthians 15:1-9). Faith is a gift of God and the continued means by which the Lord grants His conforming mercy and grace (Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 1:29). Indeed the person does the believing, but only through the enabling power of God (1 Peter 1:5).

Repentance

Repentance is another product of regeneration. When new life is poured into the believers being, a natural result is conviction of sin (2 Corinthians 7:9). Repentance, like faith, is a gift of God (2 Timothy 2:25). Repentance consists of the person turning from trusting self and sin to trusting the living God and His true provisions for salvation.

Justification

With all of humanity guilty before God because of their sin, in order to be at peace with our Creator we need to be justified. Justification is a legal term denoting our standing before the Almighty. Justification is directly tied to the transaction that took place on the cross of Calvary and the subsequent resurrection (Romans 5:9). Through the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf, our sin was atoned for, and therefore we were, are, and forever will be justified before God (Romans 8:30). Justification is accomplished at the cross and applied through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16).

Sanctification

Sanctification literally means being “set apart.” Through the continuing work of the Holy Spirit applying the bounty of Jesus victory on the cross we are being sanctified or set apart (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We are being purified from our sin in order to trust, obey, and serve the living God (Hebrews 13:20-21). Sanctification is a process that begins (in a practical manner) at the point of regeneration and is brought to fulfillment at the consummation of all things.

The Consummation of the Promise
Death

God has appointed for the individuals of humanity to die once and be subject to judgment (Hebrews 9:27) (with some exceptions as noted below). The redeemed go to be with the Lord spiritually (2 Corinthians 5:8), while the ungodly are bound until the time of judgment (Luke 16:24). There is much mystery regarding the specifics but the Bible affirms the continued consciousness of the human spirit until the time of the consummation.

Resurrection

We firmly believe in the future resurrection of the dead. Resurrection is being bodily raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:16-17). All humanity will participate in the resurrection; those who believe will be raised to everlasting life and those who refuse the call of Christ will be raised to everlasting destruction and torment (Daniel 12:2, Matthew 25:46).This will occur at the consummation of all things.

The Second Coming

Jesus Christ has promised to return. He is now reigning as King and is gathering His constituency from every tribe, nation and tongue. At an unknown time He will return to gather His people and judge the wicked.His return will be premillenial (Revelation 20:1-7), meaning that He will return for His people and set up a 1,000 year reign where He rules from the New Jerusalem. This will be an era of peace and prosperity, yet with God in His own wisdom allowing strands of sin and death to remain (Isaiah 65:17-20).

There will be a period of great tribulation and hardship for the people of God immediately prior to the coming of Christ (Matthew 24:15-21). This period will be marked by great persecution and great apostasy (Revelation 6, Matthew 24:10). This period will be inspired by Satan himself and accomplished through a man who is known as the Antichrist (1 John 2:18), the Beast (Revelation 13:4), and the man of lawlessness. This man will be revealed when he sets himself up in the temple and proclaims himself to be deity (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). At an unknown day and hour after this occurs, Jesus will appear in the sky, the dead in Christ will be raised and the living will be transformed as He gathers His elect (Matthew 24:29-34). He will then begin His systematic judgment of the nations which results in the destruction of the man of lawlessness and purification of the world through fire (2 Thessalonians 2:8, 2 Peter 3:10-12).

Eternal States

After the Millenium we enter into the states of eternity (Revelation 20:10-15). All those who believe will experience everlasting life and will be shown the unending riches of the kindness of God (Ephesians 2:6-7). Those who are constituents of the Kingdom will live forever in their resurrected bodies glorifying Jesus for all eternity. Those who do not obey the Gospel are shut out of the presence of God for all eternity (2 Thessalonians 1:9). They are raised to everlasting destruction. They will experience the unending misery of being separated from the goodness of God (Revelation 20:15). This existence is marked with pain, frustration, and torment – the eternal consequences of spurning the Creator (Matthew 25:30).

The Bottom Line

God’s promise was that He would send a conqueror to undo the work of the Serpent (Genesis 3:15). The promise was continued in that through Abraham and His seed He would bless all the nations (Genesis 12:1-3, 22:18). God promised to set up an eternal Kingdom with an eternal righteous King (2 Samuel 7). The ultimate fulfillment of this promise is Jesus of Nazareth redeeming a people from every tribe, nation, and tongue to experience His glories throughout eternity. The cross is the power of God which eternally atones for our sin. Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal King administering the blessings of God for all eternity.