What are the Essentials of the Christian Faith?
The essentials of the Christian faith basically refers to the core foundational beliefs of Christianity. Even when intending to join a church it is important for every Christian to know the essential beliefs of that particular church and compare if those beliefs are similar to orthodox Christianity.
The essentials of the Christian faith are key Biblical doctrines which are important for every Christian believer to understand and believe. By understanding the essentials of the Christian faith, the genuine Christian is able to guard himself from various heretical doctrines and deceptive religious groups.
The essentials of the Christian faith refer to the following:
1. The deity of Christ
2. Man is sinful and in need of salvation
3. Salvation is by God’s grace through faith and not by works
4. Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone
5. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
6. God is one and exists in 3 Persons; The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit
7. The Authority of the Scriptures as the word of God
1. The Deity of Jesus Christ
It is essential for Christians to believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible there are many verses about Jesus that refer to Him as being God and having God’s full attributes. Here are some of the Bible verses that prove the deity of Christ:
Jesus & The Father are ONE
John 10:30-33 (NKJV) – “I and My Father are one.” Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
We can learn from John 10:30-33 that Jesus indeed claimed to be God. When Jesus said that He and the Father are one, He was saying that He and the Father are of one nature and have the same attributes. The Jews clearly understood what He meant when Jesus said that He is one with the Father. This is why they responded in an attempt to stone Him and accusing Him of blasphemy they said “… You, being a Man, make Yourself God”. The Jews knew that Jesus was saying that He is God.
Jesus is I AM
John 8:58 (NKJV) – Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
When Jesus said these statements in John 8:58, the Jews responded again by attempting to stone Him. Again, the Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying; Jesus was saying that He was God. Jesus was equating His declaration of being I AM with what God told Moses in Exodus 3:14 and the Jews understood His statement but they refused to accept it. Therefore Jesus was not only saying that He existed before Abraham but He was saying that He has always and eternally existed just as God is self-existing and eternal.
Jesus is God Who Became Flesh
John 1:1-2, 14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-2 & 14 also explains the deity of Jesus. It proves that Jesus Christ is the Word who was not only with God but that He was God who became flesh and dwelt among us.
1 Timothy 3:16 also says the following: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 proves again by saying that “God was manifested in the flesh” meaning that Jesus Christ is God who came in human form.
Jesus is Worshipped as God
John 20:28 – And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus did not refuse worship and He did not rebuke anyone for worshipping Him. Jesus accepted worship while at the same time teaching people to only worship God. Here are some Bible verses where Jesus was worshiped:
Matthew 14:33; Luke 24:52; John 9:35-38; Matthew 28:9,17; Matthew 2:11
2. The Gospel – Man is Sinful and in Need of Salvation
All of mankind is sinful and has sinned against God. We are not inherently good. Instead since the sin of Adam all men are born with sin (Romans 3:10, 23).
It’s essential that every Christian believer understand that God is just and holy. He does not tolerate sin and that the punishment for sin is hell. God cannot allow sin to go unpunished (Romans 6:23).
However, God through His love, mercy and grace has made a provision for mankind to be saved from eternal punishment through His son Jesus Christ who became our substitute by paying for our sins on the Cross (John 3:16). Essentially, Jesus was punished for our sins on the Cross (1 Peter 2:12).
Therefore the genuine Christian must believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).
3. Salvation is by the Grace of God Through Faith and Not by Works
Every genuine Christian must believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).
Every genuine Christian must understand that our works or personal effort cannot save us. Only our saving faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour can save us (John 1:12; Romans 10:9-11).
4. Salvation is Through Jesus Christ Alone
The genuine Christian must believe that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone. Jesus is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6).
There is no other religion, god or person by which anyone can be saved except through believing in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus said: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Jesus is the only path to salvation. Without Christ there is no salvation. This doctrine is essential to everyone who hears the gospel and seeks a genuine relationship with God.
5. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Romans 10:9 – That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
From Romans 10:9 we can observe that believing that God raised Jesus from the dead is essential for the genuine Christian.
In addition to Christ’s crucifixion on the Cross, the resurrection of Christ is significant because it proves that all that Jesus spoke and all that Jesus did was true. It proves Christ’s authority over death and since the Christian believer is in Christ, then the believer will also be resurrected into eternal life.
John 11:25 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
2 Corinthians 4:14 – knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you
The leaders or founders of every other religion do not have the same testimony of Christianity. All other religions have their leaders who are dead, buried and unable to save their followers.
However, Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world and resurrected on the third day. He was also physically seen by many credible witnesses after His crucifixion as evidence that He resurrected.
6. God is One and exists in 3 Persons; The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit
Christians are monotheistic. This means that the genuine Christian believes in one God.
The Bible reveals that there is one God who is revealed in 3 Persons. This speaks of the Godhead or the Trinity. Although the word “Trinity” is not mentioned in the Bible, there are various scriptures that refer to The Father as being God, The Son as being God and the Holy Spirit as being God. However, this does not mean that there are 3 Gods.
When we speak of the Trinity, we should not think of it as 1+1+1=3. But the correct way to view the Trinity is as 1x1x1=1. This means one God existing in 3 Persons.
In Matthew 3:16-17, the moment when Jesus was baptized is the distinct time when we see the appearance or manifestation of the Trinity together at the same time.
Matthew 3:16-17 – When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
So we see from Matthew 3:16-17 that Jesus the Son was there, the Holy Spirit appeared and the voice of The Father was heard.
Therefore all 3 Persons in the Trinity are distinct but equal. All 3 Person in the Trinity share similar attributes but yet they are one God.
It’s important to note that with our finite minds and limited understanding, it can be difficult to fully comprehend or even illustrate the Trinity or the nature of God.
However, we must believe what the Bible says and what the Bible teaches in relation to the Godhead.
Genesis 1:26 (ESV) – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” [emphasis added]
The Hebrew word for “God” such as the one used in Genesis 1:26 is [Elohim]. Elohim is a noun which refers to God in the plural. The word Elohim appears in the Bible more than 2000 times. Therefore Elohim allows for the Trinity.
In Genesis 1:26 God is speaking of Himself in the plural form denoting that God is consists of more than one Person.
Genesis 1:1 (ESV) – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Deuteronomy 6:4 (ESV) – Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
Again Genesis 1:1 and Deuteronomy 6:4 refers to God as Elohim. Therefore the scripture is denoting God as consisting of more than one Person. Deuteronomy 6:4 refers to God as Elohim and that Elohim is united or is one.
There are many scriptures that reflect the triune nature of God. For example, Jesus was in the beginning with God according to John 1:1 and not only was Jesus with God but He was God. All creation was made through Jesus (Colossians 1:16-17). The Holy Spirit is also listed with the Father and Son as “the name” believers are to be baptized into according to Matthew 28:19-20 and Peter referred to the Holy Spirit as God in Acts 5:3-4. The teaching of a Triune God is unique to Christianity and affirms the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one God in three Persons.
7. The Authority of the Scriptures as the Word of God
The genuine Christian must believe in the Bible as being the God inspired written Scriptures. Christians believe in the Bible pertaining to the total 66 books with 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
The Bible is where Christianity’s beliefs are found.
The Bible’s instructions and teachings are still relevant in our individual life and also on issues concerning the world today.
The only way that we can understand God’s mind on many issues in life, is through His word. Therefore every Christian must believe in the inerrant and infallible authority of God’s word.
This article has been excerpted from The Genuine Christian which is available on Amazon and through this website.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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