Thursday, February 21, 2008

What do Christians Believe?

I believe in Jesus as the self-attesting Christ of Scripture. Meaning he is the foundation of my beliefs and I believe what I believe because I am His follower.

Jesus teaches the Triune God, as the only God who is (Mark 12:29), and who created humanity (Mark 10:6). Having fallen, Jesus taught the human race descended into sin (eg. John 8:21), and needed redemption. Jesus declared Himself to be that redemption, who gave his "life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). Jesus taught that he was the "only way" to Salvation unto eternal life and freedom from sin (John 14:6), and that this way was by faith in Him, "whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"(John 11:26).

God, Jesus taught is the standard of Good itself (Mark 10:18), and therefore all God does is good because he does it. Jesus taught that God has revealed himself in the Scripture, and Scripture cannot be changed or ignored (John 10:35).

Jesus taught that he would establish his church (Matt 16:18), and that the Apostles would have authority over it (Matt 18:19). To help them He would send the Holy Spirit, who would inspire them to write the Scriptures both calling to mind the teachings Jesus had already given and delivering new teachings as they were able to handle them (John 14-16).

The mission of the church as guided by these apostles is global discipleship, evangelizing and teaching them to obey all the teachings of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20).

The Apostles since clarified the content of the gospel of Christ "once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 4) and direct the church today through their authoritative record of Jesus and Epistles directing the church, in how we ought "to conduct [ourselves] in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).

Since "His divine power has granted [past tense verb] us all things pertaining to life and godliness" (1 Peter 1:3) we now look to these teachings as our guide for life and conduct, and as "able to make you wise for salvation" (2 Timothy 3:15), "profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (v 16), with the purpose that the man of God be "complete, thoroughly equiped for every good work" (v. 17).

Jesus also gave the Holy Spirit as a gift to his church, who gives each person spiritual gifts (1 corinthians 12:7), for the good of all, and especially gives gifted leaders to equip the rest of the church (Eph 4:11ff).

Jesus promises to return with his reward, good for good, bad for bad (Revelation 22:12).

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