In Case You’re Wondering What This Christian Believes

When you've got the Good News, you want to share it with anyone who'll listen! (I Peter 3:15)

When you’ve got the Good News, you want to share it with anyone who’ll listen! (I Peter 3:15)

 

In case you’re wondering what this Christian believes: (I hope you’ve got a cup of coffee. I believe a lot.)

  • I believe in the One true God, who exists eternally in God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. He is the all-knowing and all-powerful Creator of the universe. He is always perfectly good, kind, loving, merciful, forgiving, wise, just and holy. (Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 43:10, John 4:24, Psalms 90:2, Matthew 19:26, I John 3:20, Matthew 28:19, Isaiah 22:3, Romans 11:33, Jeremiah 23:23 and 32:17, Psalms 25:8, 86:5, and 99:9, James 5:11)

  • I believe the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God and is without error in its original writings. It is the complete revelation of God’s will and the final authority in all matters of Christian faith and life. Not everything I write, however, is without error. I ask for grace and the opportunity to make corrections as needed. (II Peter 1:21, II Timothy 3:15-17, Colossians 3:16)
  • I believe that God created man in His image. Man was tempted by Satan and fell into sin, bringing sin into all the world. Since then, every man has been born with sin in his heart. Because the penalty for sin is death, man is in desperate need of a Savior, completely unable to save himself. Unless God seeks after man, man will not seek after Him. A heart that shows any interest in spiritual things is a heart that is being drawn by God, but man must respond. Man has the freedom to choose to trust in Christ or to reject Him.(Genesis 1:26-27 and 3:1-6, Jeremiah 17:9; Ephesians 2:12; Romans 3:10, 5:12 and 6:23, Isaiah 53:6, John 3:3, 16-18)
  • I believe that Jesus Christ, who is the one and only Son of God, came down from heaven, is the only way to salvation, and is coming again. When Jesus came down from heaven, He remained fully God, but He also became fully man, as He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, taking on the form of a man. He lived a sinless life and died on the cross, as the final and perfect sacrifice to pay for the sin of the world. He was buried and rose again on the third day, defeating sin and death. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, continually interceding for believers in heaven. One day He will come again to judge sin, usher in His Kingdom, and establish the new heaven and the new earth. (Matthew 1:23, John 1:14, I Peter 3:18, I Corinthians 15:3-4, 55; II Timothy 2:8, Acts 1:9, Hebrews 7:25 and 8:1, I Thessalonians 4:16-17, Revelation 19, 20:12-15 and 21:1, Mark 13:26, Philippians 2:10-11)
  • I believe that all who call on the name of Jesus Christ, trusting only in His finished work on the cross for their salvation from the penalty of their sin, are immediately saved. Salvation is through Christ alone, not Christ plus something else. It’s not Christ plus good works or Christ plus baptism. All who trust in Christ become children of God and co-heirs with Christ. (Mark 1:15, John 1:12-13, 6:40 and 17:6-8, Romans 5:8-10, 8:16-17 and 10:9-13, II Corinthians 5:21, 2 Peter 3:9)
  • I believe that the Holy Spirit indwells all believers at the moment of salvation. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to glorify Jesus Christ, convict man of sin, draw him to Jesus, and empower the believer to live the Christian life continually overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Holy Spirit guides, instructs and comforts believers. (John 14:15-26, 15:26 and 16:7-14, Titus 3:5, Romans 8:9,14, Ephesians 3:16, 20, I Corinthians 3:16, Galatians 5:22-23, I John 2:27 and 4:12.)
  • I believe every believer is called to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him. Salvation doesn’t guarantee the believer will live a perfect life, but there should be convincing evidence through the believer’s humble repentance of sin, as well as a sincere dedication and obedience to the Word of God. All believers are called to share the gospel, make disciples, and spend time daily in private study of the Bible and prayer. Believers should not live in bondage to a list of “do’s” and “don’ts,” but rather obedience should flow naturally out of a grateful heart for the grace, mercy, and love they’ve received from Jesus Christ. This same love and grace should be continually passed on to others, knowing that one day we will all stand before God and be judged. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:9-15; 1 Peter 3:15, Joshua 1:8, John 14:15, 2 John 1:6, Colossians 1:10 and 4:2, Ephesians 4:1, I Thessalonians 5:17 and 2:12, Revelation 14:4-5, Hebrews 9:27, I Corinthians 3:10-15)
  • I believe water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are demonstrations of faith and obedience. Neither are necessary for salvation, but rather, they flow out of a heart of gratitude for the salvation the believer has already received by faith and a desire to obey the Lord. He has commanded that His followers baptize those who believe and regularly participate in the Lord’s Supper. (Luke 22:19, I Corinthians 11:23-26, Matthew 28:19, Romans 6:3-4, Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • I believe that the church is not a building but the full family of God, the Body of Christ. All who have trusted by faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation are the church, of which Christ is the Head. (I Corinthians 12:13 & 27, Acts 2:47, Ephesians 1:22-23)
  • I believe in the existence of Satan, who is the sworn enemy of God. Satan’s intentions are only to kill, steal and destroy. He is a liar, slanderer, and tempter. He masquerades as an “angel of light.” He is powerful, but he is powerless before God. God has given Satan temporary freedom to roam the earth as the “ruler of darkness,” but only to fulfill God’s good purposes and glorify Himself as He continually triumphs over Satan. God will one day do away with Satan and his demons forever, but until that time God limits Satan’s activity. (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 4:15, John 12:31, I Peter 5:8; Acts 10:38 and 26:18; Luke 22:3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 and 11:14-15, Ephesians 6:12, 2 Timothy 2:26; Revelation 2:10, 12:7-12 and 20:3,10; John 10:10; Colossians 2:15; I Corinthians 15:55-57, Job 1:12)
  • I believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead. All those who have trusted in Christ for salvation will spend eternity in His presence in heaven. All those who have rejected Christ as their Savior and have chosen not to accept Christ’s payment for their sin on the cross will spend eternity separated from God. (I Thessalonians 4:16-17, John 5:28, Revelation 20:12-15; Matthew 25:41, Jude 1:6)

 

PS — In case you’re also wondering what I believe about the picture at the top: No, I don’t believe that you can lead a cow — or any other animal — to salvation. I do believe, however, that a good sense of humor can lead to a good laugh. 




The End From the Beginning

Click to read: The End From the Beginning ~ In the beginning God gives us the end . . . Redemption in Jesus Christ!

The End From the Beginning ~ In the beginning God gives us the end . . . Redemption in Jesus Christ!


How clever is our God?!

We don’t even get past the first few words of the first sentence before God gives us a clue to the end of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning…” 

To recognize the clue, though, we have to jump forward to the first few words of the first sentence in the Gospel of John in the New Testament. 

In the beginning was the Word -- Jesus Christ (John 1:1)

In the beginning was the Word — Jesus Christ.

John 1:1—“In the beginning…”

The purpose of Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 is not only to record the history of the beginning, but also to point us to Christ.

“In the beginning,” God gives us the end. (Isaiah 46:9-11)

What is the end?

Redemption!

I believe it’s why God gave us the Bible. God wants us to know Him, but we can’t know Him until we’re restored to Him. We can’t be restored to Him apart from His Son, Jesus Christ. (John 14:6

Through Christ alone, all things are redeemed and restored to God. (Colossians 1:15-20)

Thus, everything starts and ends with Christ

Everything.

Not even our personal testimony starts with us!

My testimony isn’t, “When I was in junior high, this happened . . . and then I gave my life to Christ.”

Instead, my testimony is, “God began to work in my heart when I was in junior high when
. . . and then Christ saved me.”

In the first testimony, I’m the central figure.

In the second, Christ is.

I didn’t reach out to Christ. He reached out to me, and I responded.

I didn’t draw Christ to myself. He drew me to Himself, and I responded.

I didn’t save myself. Christ saved me.

Christ gives us life abundant. (John 10:10

So, why does it matter that we understand that the Bible starts with Christ?

The more we understand why something matters, the more the truth moves from our head to our heart.

The truth moves from knowledge to experience, and becomes a part of us.

There’s no better place for God’s truth to be than as a part of us. It’s the best part of us!

BrittanysLeftEye3If
we wake up in the morning
and put our eyes on Jesus before
we put our feet on the floor,
we’ll see life as it should be seen

“…so that He [Christ] Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:18)  

What we might be tempted to view as a hopeless situation, we’ll now see as part of God’s good plan in our lives. 

God’s plans always end with Him receiving glory, and that always blesses us.

What we might be tempted to view as a hopeless situation, we’ll now see as it really is — part of God’s good plan in our lives. God’s plans always end with Him receiving glory — and that blesses us.

We can’t see the end from the beginning, but because God does, we can live as though we do.

Click to read: The End From the Beginning ~ In the beginning God gives us the end . . . Redemption in Jesus Christ!

From beginning to end, it’s always been about Christ, and that’s why “In the beginning” God gives us the end — Redemption in Jesus Christ!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning 
and the End.”
Revelation 22:13


(Join the Journey of The Red Thread with me, starting with the first post in The Red Thread series: How is the Bible Like a Magic Eye?)

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The Angel in the Devil

In the most powerful fiction novels, the heroes aren’t perfect. There’s a bit of the devil in them. Likewise, there’s a bit of angel in the villains. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no angel in Satan whatsoever.

I’m not talking about him. There’s only pure evil in him. 

I’m not talking about Jesus either. There’s only pure good in Him.

I’m talking about man. Because we were created in the image of God, even the worst can hold redeeming qualities, but because apart from God there is no good in any of us, there’s also a touch of devil in even the best of us.

These thoughts came to me when we went to the theater.

Wicked

We went to Wicked, to be exact.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Wicked, it’s the prequel to The Wizard of Oz. It answers the question of what happened in the life of the Wicked Witch of the West to bring her to such an evil place in life.

The story was so brilliant, I’m not going to risk ruining it for anyone by even touching on the story other than to say it reminded me that you don’t always know what has happened in someone’s life to bring them to where they are now. We need to consider that if we’d lived the same life they had, we’d most likely have their same struggles…the struggles we may be condemning.

We all need grace. We all need saving.

Jesus knew this. He saw past the exterior of people and into their hearts. He looked for the angel in people and touched that part of them, causing a thieving tax collector to desire to repay more than he’d stolen.

He also saw the devil in those who played the part of being good but whose hearts were actually dark, like the pious Pharisees who condemned Jesus for healing the sick on the Sabbath.

The play Wicked will forever make me see The Wizard of Oz in a new light…an even better light. And the more I see of Jesus, and through His eyes, the more I see everyone in a new light…a more gracious light.

I’m forever grateful for Jesus’ grace that saves us from the devil that is in each of us through faith in Him. Will the angel in you move you to turn to Jesus, or will the devil in you keep you away. 

image

That’s just my thought for today and a little bit of What I Learned on My Summer Vacation.