boyradd

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Archive for the tag “What is Christianity About”

The Nature of Jesus

The first part understanding what Christianity is about understanding the nature of Jesus. The term Christian means someone who follows Christ. The word “Christ” means the “anointed One.” So a Christian follows the Anointed One.  Jesus is that Anointed One.

A quick understanding of the Christian faith is that there is only one God who created everything. God then created man in His image (the character of God).  The singular God is triune in nature: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus the Christ is the second person of the Trinity.

Christianity is also the only faith in the world that says salvation is comes only through faith in the work of Christ on the cross. We can do nothing to earn salvation. It is a gift of grace and grace alone.

Once we have that faith in Christ we become born again, also known as “saved.”  This means that the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside us and that person becomes a new creation. We begin to experience a true, living relationship with God.

So now that we have a very quick understanding of Christianity, let’s take a look at each of the members of the Trinity, beginning with Jesus the Christ.

Jesus has two natures: human and divine. The first key point to understanding what Christianity is about understanding what it means for Jesus to be both human and divine. In Latin this is called the Commumicatio Idiomatum – the communication of properties. Basically, this is the teaching about both the divine and the human natures belonging to one person, Jesus the Christ.

There are many pseudo-Christian and heretical Christian organizations that fall on either side of the spectrum but don’t believe Jesus is both human and divine. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, give attention only to the humanity of Jesus, not His divinity. On the other end are the Christian Science groups that show Christ’s divinity only and ignore His humanity.

John 17:5 – And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

But Jesus can claim the glory He had with the Father before the world was made (John 17:5), He can claim He descended from heaven (John 3:13), and He can claim omniscience (Matthew 28:20). It is only Jesus that can claim this. No one else.

Matthew 28:20 – and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus is the only one who has two natures. This explains why He would grow in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52) and yet know all (John 21:17).

Luke 2:52 – And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

John 21:17 – The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

The Bible is about God as seen through Jesus.

John 5:39 – You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

The prophets prophesied about Him. The Father bore witness of Him. The Holy Spirit bore witness of Him. The works Jesus did bore witness of Him. The multitudes bore witness of Him. And Jesus even bore witness of Himself.

And this man then went straight to heaven to be our mediator.

1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

To show both His divinity and humanity, I want to show you some scriptural references.

  • Jesus is worshiped as God, yet worshiped the Father.

Matthew 2:2 – and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

John 17:1 – After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

  • Jesus is called God and is called man.

John 20:28 – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 15:39 – And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[a] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

  • Jesus is sinless and yet He was tempted.

1 Peter 2:22 – “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

Matthew 4:1 – Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

  • Jesus gives eternal life and Jesus died.

John 10:28 – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • He is fully divine and yet He has a body of flesh and bones.

Colossians 2:9 – For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

Luke 24:39 – Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

It is Scriptures like this that lead people to say that the Bible is filled with contradiction. But there is one other verse I would like to bring up here:

1 Corinthians 2:14 – The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

No matter what, until we step out in faith, the dual nature of Christ is going to look like foolishness. Even as a Christian who has been saved for a long time now I still struggle with it from time to time. It is not an easy thing to understand, and we may never understand it in full while here on earth. But that doesn’t mean we discount it at all. This is where faith steps in.

Without the eyes of faith, we will never be able to comprehend how God, the Creator of everything, came to earth as a little child, humbly born in a stable, and died a sinner’s death in order to be the final sacrifice for sin.

Next week I will begin looking at the nature of God as a whole. As man we are made in that image. And if we are to understand what Christianity is about, then we need to understand that nature that God has created us as.

What is Christianity About?

A few weeks ago I posted on my Facebook a simple question: What is Christianity about?

I received a decent amount of responses ranging from the obvious like love, service and sanctification to obeying God and living life according to Scripture. I also received some more detailed responses such as letting Christ live through our thoughts and actions or extending grace and not condemning a brother/sister in Christ as we learn to live out the Word of God. Then there were the verses that were posted in response to the question such as Mark 16:15-18 or Philippians 1:21.

Philippians 1:21 – For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.

Those are all great responses.

But almost every single one of them was different from what another Christian brother or sister posted.

And does giving a short answer really encapsulate the spectrum of Christianity or give Christ the respect He is due?

One of the people who answered me told me that my question was a nebulous, and I wholeheartedly agree.

But the point I want to make is just that.

The Christian life is so much more than a short description . Unfortunately, many Christian organizations only focus on one piece of the Christian walk and ignore the others. Some will celebrate one aspect over the others, which leads to a dangerous potential for heresy to enter the church. Other times, individual Christians are to blame when we hear a Sunday sermon preached then make that sermon or its topic the most important part of our lives.

There are major denominations of Christianity and major Christian websites, teachers, preachers, and others who refuse to touch this subject because of its immensity. I went to many of the commentaries I use regularly and very few of them explain truly what Christianity is about. Many of the authors I read don’t detail the answer to this question.

I remember a song a long time ago when I was growing up that had the line, “I know everything Your bride is against but I don’t know what she’s about.”

And that is true of the church today. When the world thinks of the church, they think of everything we are against. I used to ask people outright to come to church with me every week. Without fail, whenever I asked someone to come with me to church they would ask me where my church stands on issues like gay marriage, gun control, democrats/liberals, abortion, sex, and the list goes on. I realized that in simply asking that question outright, I was creating an environment that was hostile. If I answered in a way that they disagreed, then I could potentially lose a friend, or even more importantly, a chance to continually disciple that person over the long term. Now I don’t invite people to church as much anymore until I have had a chance to disciple them or teach them about the church, what we stand for, and who Christ is.

Jesus never called us to make church attenders or even converts. He called us to make disciples.

What I hope to accomplish over the next few weeks is to look at what makes a Christian a Christian. What is it that Christians should unify under and proclaim. I hope to make a pretty exhaustive list, but I am sure that I will miss some point about Christian life.

Life is complicated.

It can’t be summed up in a few short words.

When people write their biographies or autobiographies we find that they sometimes publish multiple different biographies about themselves because they cannot explain their life so simply in one book.

John 17:21 – May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.

The purpose of this series is to give Christians of every denomination something to unify under. God calls believers to unity (John 17:21). Without unity we run the risk of losing our testimony as a church. The churches in the book of Revelation weren’t called out for their great acts (except for 2 of the 7). They were called out because their testimony was either weakened or removed by their lack of unity to Scripture.

So, is Christianity about love?

Of course.

Is Christianity about justice?

Yep.

Is Christianity about a lot of other things?

Most definitely.

It is about emulating Christ. And if we are going to emulate Christ, then we are going to have to understand the nature of God. And once we understand the nature of God, then we need to put on OUR new nature. It is about becoming that new nature. Leaving behind the old, sinful nature.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

So, the long answer to the question of what is Christianity about is that you will have to follow along each week until we’ve exhausted as many of the components of the nature of God.

That makes the short answer to “What is Christianity about?” to mean that we to learn to emulate Christ, both human and divine. And I will plan on doing that over the next few weeks, months, years…whatever it takes.

I hope you will follow along on this path I am about to go down.

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