Are you ... a Christian?
Wait, maybe you are not even sure what that means.
Finally, I am back in the gym - post car accident, injury to my back, physical therapy and healing time. On my way home today, I stopped at Hanson's to get some paleo bars to take to the hospital for my upcoming radio-iodine isolation this week.* The 'bar' manager, Nick, had a box for me...yes! And then he said, 'what do you DO?' 'I write Bible study and send it out via e-mail...' he looked intently at me and said, I knew you did something interesting-that explains it.' The air was rather thick with thoughts, so I leaned in, 'Would you be a man of faith, Nick?' 'Why yes, I'm from Serbia and I'm an Orthodox Christian...' our conversation continued.
There you have it.
If you call yourself a Christian-whether orthodox or evangelical, what does it mean you should know and believe? Not according to a denomination or a religious tradition, but from God's words. You see, God himself has given the essential truths-words in black and white-that inform us about
who he says he is,
who we really are-flawed, but hopeful
how we can have relationship with him ... redeemed!
life after death because of that relationship
Jesus' life, death, and resurrection
and who God intends for us to be.
I call these the Essentials of the Christian Faith.
In the coming days, I am going to cover a couple/few at a time.
First - In the beginning, God . . . God always was-because he is eternal. He was not created. God had no beginning; he has no end.
Genesis 1.1 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Revelation 22.13 - "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
Revelation 4.11 - I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
2. God exists in three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
You will not find the word "trinity" in the Bible; however, it is a description of both a biblical and a present reality. I have grown to love the three-in-one, aware of the way each seems to minister to me at different times--aware of the plan of God-the-Creator for me in the vastness of time, space and history; aware of the redeeming, personal work of God-the-Son, both in his ministryon earth and in Heaven; and the comforting, quickening, wooing, convicting, inspiring, sweet Holy Spirit, who helps us in our weakness.
John 1.1-3 ~ [John, speaking of Jesus, the Word] wrote, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." Jesus, the Word - from the beginning, with God because he was God.
Colossians 1.15,16 ~ Paul wrote, "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."
Genesis 1.2 ~ And the Holy Spirit? Present from the start, evidenced at Creation. "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
Romans 8.26,27 ~ How does the Holy Spirit work in our lives? Well, here is one way, as Paul described, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God."
Do you not love the Holy Spirit? Dang, I do!
[Coming this Summer: the Holy Spirit: Who or What is it?]
But now, the first essentials of the Christian faith: 1. God is eternal
2. God is triune
Think about it. God is so big, so diverse.
*I had a thyroidectomy last August - cancer. So, in an effort to eradicate it, will have radio-iodine therapy this week at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California.
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