What is Christianity?
We start with a summary of what we believe.
We believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; of all that is seen and unseen. Our Christian worldview is based on the all powerful, all wise, ever present creator God, Jehovah, who loves all mankind, his children and who sent his son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins.
The central focus of our faith and life is Jesus Christ. We believe He is God’s Son who lived a sinless life on this earth and paid for our sins by dying on the cross in our place. It is by the grace of God through Jesus Christ we are saved.
We learn about Jesus and God’s love for man primarily from the Bible. We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and is to be used for instruction, encouragement and training. The Bible is God’s authoritative revelation of His will for us and is our primary resource. Jesus is our Savior and model.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The corner stone of Christianity is the birth, life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died for us. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Since God is spirit, it is a spiritual relationship. This spiritual relationship results in a physical way of life based on Jesus Christ, the Son of God and following his commandments.
Keeping the rules won’t save us, we have to have a relationship with Jesus, a spiritual relationship.
The Bible is partitioned into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was for the Jews. The New Testament is for Christians. Christians are not required to follow the Old Testament laws, rather to follow Christ’s commandments in the New Testament. But the Old Testament is useful to us. Speaking of the Old Testament Law the apostle Paul says:
Galatians 3:24 So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The Old Testament tells us who God is and how the world came into being and it provides many examples to help keep us out of trouble. But most important is that the Old Testament helps us understand who Christ is, God’s Messiah. It is full of prophecies about him.
God tells the serpent that a human wlll hurt him.
Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."
God tells Moses that He will raise up another prophet who we had better listen to.
Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him.
God promised King David that from his seed would come one who will build a kingdom that will last forever. Jesus is of the seed of David. The kingdom is his followers, the church.
2 Samuel 7:12-13 When your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
Isaiah prophesies about the coming Messiah who will bear our iniquity.
Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Paul tells us that the Old Testament was written for our good.
Rom. 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that through patience and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
The New Testament tells us that God god loves us and he doesn’t want anyone to be lost. So he sent Jesus. He promises eternal life to those who follow Jesus.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Good news! Christianity is for everyone, not just the Jews.
Galatians 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to promise.
Under the Old Testament law, we Gentiles (Non-Jews) were lost, without God. But Christ abolished the Old Testament law and united us with the believing Jews, the result is a people called Christians.
Ephesians 2:13-16 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in the flesh the hostility, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man of the two, making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility thereby.
Here is a more detailed account explaining what we believe.
Genesis 1:1-3 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light.
God placed us in this world to glorify him and to help him take care of the world and to share a wonderful eternal future with him. God created a beautiful world with no pollution, no sin and no death and placed our ancestors, Adam and Eve, in a garden with good fruit to eat and pleasant work to do taking care of the garden. They even had access to the tree of life (immortality). But they wanted to be wise like God, so they chose to disobey God, to sin, and brought down the curse of sin and death on all mankind.
God loved Adam and Eve so he gave them a choice. God loves us and gives us the choice to be with him or not. It’s up to us. He has given us an operator's manual for life in the world, the Bible. (An explanation of why we believe this is included in "Why Believe the Bible", Appendix B of the "Is Christianity Logical?" discussion on this webpage).
God is holy, he cannot stand sin but He loves us. He loves us so much that he paid the penalty for our sin by sending his son, Jesus, to live as a human and to die for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead overcoming sin and death for all of us. Then Jesus ascended to Heaven to be with God and he is coming back to reward us and to judge each one of us.
Humans are sinners, but Christians are forgiven sinners. We look forward to an eternal home with God in a wonderful place called heaven. Christianity is not foolishness or a lie promulgated on the illiterate and uneducated. It is a well documented fact with a great deal of confirming evidence. There are many many reasons to believe in Christianity, see “Is Christianity Logical?” on this web page.
God is a spirit.
John 4:23-24 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
Christianity is a spiritual relationship with God’s son Jesus Christ. Doing a bunch of good works is fine, but if you don't have his spirit you wil be lost.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will tell me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?' Then I will tell them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.'
Romans 8:8-9 Those who are in the flesh can't please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesn't have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.
You get the spirit by first believing. If you really do believe, you will repent and be baptized.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Christianity is not the keeping of a set of rules, but If you know Jesus and have his spirit you will try to keep the rules. How do you tell if you are on the right track to be saved? You keep his commandments as best you can. We all slip.
John 15:8-11 "In this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; and so you will be my disciples. Even as the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and remain in his love. I have spoken these things to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be made full.
You can tell if you are saved by the fruits you produce.
Matt. 7:15-20 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.
Here are some good fruits. Look in your heart and see if you find these.
Gal. 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
And here are some bad fruits.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Christ’s fundamental commandment is for us to love other people. We must love others, even our enemies.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Matt. 5:43-45 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
Christianity is not easy. We are supposed to love not just the nice people, but even our enemies. This is hard to do. I have to pray for help to do this, I can’t do it on my own. Jesus provides the strength we need to obey.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
When we stumble and fall (we all do), we need to repent, confess, be forgiven and get back on track.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we believe in Jesus and follow him, he will provide grace to forgive us and to justify us in spite of our sins.
Romans 3:21-24 But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;
If we walk in Christ's Spirit, we are justified and free from the law of sin and death that this world lives under.
Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don't walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.
If his spirit dwells in us we can do good, a lot of good. Without him we can do nothing worthwhile.
John 15:5 I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
If Jesus' spirit dwells in us we will walk in the light of righteousness and be cleansed of our sins.
1 John 1:6-7 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and don't tell the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
The Greek verb tense for cleanses in the above verse is one that keeps on working over and over again. It doesn't quit. Don’t get discouraged and quit. When you fall, get back up.
When we follow Jesus, our bodies become temples of God, his Spirit dwells in us.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Don't you know that you are a temple of God, and that God's Spirit lives in you?
Paul tells us how to live.
Rom. 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
As temples of God's spirit, we become a kingdom of priests.
Rev. 1:5-6 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Pet. 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: who in time past were no people, but now are God's people, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Jesus is our high priest. We can get his help as we walk down the pathway of life.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Having then a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold tightly to our confession. For we don't have a high priest who can't be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.
Philippians 4:6-7 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
Jesus is coming back, judgment is coming. His resurrection demonstrates that he is who he says he is, "I AM", God.
Acts 17:30-31 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent, because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead."
If we are Christ's followers we don't need to fear the judgment, but rather look forward to our reward in Heaven.
Hebrews 9:27-28 Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, without sin, to those who are eagerly waiting for him for salvation.
If we follow Jesus commands we will have his Spirit dwelling in us. At the judgment if he recognizes his Spirit in us, we will be saved. We should do good works, but good works don't save us. Knowing Jesus does. Sadly, there are false teachers, then and now. Jesus tells us how to recognize them.
Matthew 7:16-17 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit.
For those of you who have read this far, how many hospitals, orphanages, and universities have atheists founded?
Christ really meant his commandment to love one another. God is love.
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who doesn't love doesn't know God, for God is love.
Christ's invitation is for all of us.
Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,
The Bible closes with Christ's invitation to all mankind.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" He who hears, let him say, "Come!" He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.
When we have accepted his invitation and have Jesus spirit dwelling in us we can say with the Apostle John:
Revelation 22:20 He who testifies these things says, "Yes, I come quickly." Amen! Yes, come, Lord Jesus.