What I Believe…[i]
Finally, I will let you in on my own personal musings regarding the Christian faith.
On Scripture or the Holy Bible…
- I believe that all 66 books of the Bible are a God-breathed document. That in the past men of God under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit wrote down what had been revealed in their hearts/minds the inerrant and infallible Word of God. All that is contained therein is necessary for true knowledge and wisdom, and is profitable for Christian faith and practice, so that all who adhere to its teaching are thoroughly equipped for every good work. Therefore, teachings that are not derived from or rooted in Scripture are unworthy to be used as doctrine for the Church of Jesus Christ.
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all our soul and with all your might” (Deut 6.4-5).
- I believe in One God, the Creator of the heavens and earth (meaning all of creation) pertaining to that which is seen and unseen. He is the One Lord, the Sovereign King over all creation. He is full of glory and majesty, completely Holy, Good and Loving, the Righteous Judge of the Living and the Dead, the spiritual and the creaturely; the perfect I AM. And yet, we who hold to the Christian faith know that the One True God has revealed Himself in Scripture, specifically at the advent of the incarnated Word, as three distinct persons.
- I do not believe in a three-headed God, or a God that wears three different faces, but a God who is One Being in three persons, a Trinity. The Triune God of Scripture is revealed as “the Father…the Son…and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28.19). One Being in three persons, co-eternal, co-equal in all that the Bible reveals as God. Though they share the status as the One God, each member of the Triune God has differing roles in history. We see this specifically in salvation where the Father elects a people and sends His son into the world to ransom and redeem them. The Son steps into history through the virgin birth in the womb of Mary, to lay His life down for all those whom the Father has given Him. The Holy Spirit, after the Son’s ascension to the Father’s right hand, is then sent into the world by both the Father and the Son in order to regenerate what was dead via the atoning work of the cross, and then empowering these new creatures in Christ to walk in the steps of the Savior, which is in turn a following after the ways of the Father.
- I believe that as the Scriptures teach regarding creation, believers ought to recognize and submit. We are told that God created in six days and rested on the seventh. The formula of morning, evening and a number were attributed to all days, but the seventh and yet the pattern holds for all seven of them. Although, the language is clear enough in the English tongue, the Hebrew term “yom” which included with the formula as seen in Genesis 1, with either morning or evening or a number attached always means a regular approx. 24-day period throughout the entire Old Testament (around 400 occurrences).
- On days 1-5 God created light and separated it from the dark, the celestial bodies, the various animals according to their kind, and even that which is not directly mentioned the angelic host (these are the invisible/unseen creations of God; see Col 1.16).
- On the sixth day God created mankind; male and female He created them. They were given dominion (rule) over all flesh on the earth, even the very earth itself, to govern in a fashion that reflected their Creator’s heart and mind; thus, they are called His image bearers. Which, the rest of humanity shares.
- This also limits marriage as defined between one man and one woman, and the sexes as being male and female. Regardless of a persons feelings to the contrary, nothing can supplant God’s design for these things.
- Sin entered the world through one man, whom we know to be Adam. He was given the privilege of ruling the earth that God created as a prince, but he chose to be a rebel instead. In the garden, the woman was deceived by the Serpent, but the man knowingly and willfully thought to be his own lord. Rather than allow His creator to dictate what was “good and evil,” he decided that he would determine what “good and evil” would be. Desiring to be like God (i.e. equal to Him), the man ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; of which, he was commanded not to.
- Immediately, both the man and woman died that day. The legal judgment of God was finalized, and they attempted to cover their shame (i.e. nakedness) with some fig leaves. But their private works would not cover their sin, it would not mend their separation they felt in their inner most parts from their Holy Creator, and so they sought to further remove themselves from Him by hiding in the dark.
- Upon entering the garden, which now strangely represented a wilderness (at least spiritually), the Lord God called out to the man and woman. God the Creator was holding His creatures accountable and so He commanded them to come forth. When presented with an opportunity to confess their sin, they blamed another. All three (the serpent, the woman and the man) were cursed for their sins. The consequences spreading throughout all of creation, in particular to the race of mankind.
On the Gospel…
- The term “gospel” means “good-news,” or “good-message.” The gospel, then is the good news of God’s promises and activity in history, finalized the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; identified as the Christ (from the Greek) and/or the Messiah (from the Hebrew). All of the Holy Scriptures contains the crimson thread of the gospel, but Jesus is the crown jewel—the capstone—and the foundational cornerstone of it. The good news then is that God will accomplish in Jesus what He has promised to do in the past, as evidenced by what He has been doing in the past. The recipients of the gospel (i.e. the elect) are those who have come in humble submission to Jesus Christ trusting in the sufficiency and efficacy of His atoning work.
On Christ’s Work…
- The gospel was given light on the darkest day of history. When all hope seemed lost, God pronounced good-news in the coming seed of the woman (Gen 3.15). Though sin caused division amongst God and man, and even man from the other lesser creatures, God promised a reconciliation that would serve as a remedy. There would be animosity between the two branches of humanity—those who were seeds (i.e. offspring) of the serpent and those who were seeds of the woman—but the true Seed—the rightful heir of all—would crush the serpents head, though the serpent tried to kill him by biting His heel.
- Jesus of Nazareth is declared in Scripture as the promised Seed. He is the Seed of the Woman, the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of David, He is the One spoken of that will “save His people” (Matt 1.21); thus, He is called Jesus (English), Yeshua (Hebrew), Insous (Greek). He is the Anointed One of God, the exact representation of the Father, the rightful King of kings and Lord of lords. His sheep follow Him because they know His voice, because they know Him, and they will by no means follow the voice of another who are strangers to them. Jesus delivers His people from sin, death, and the devil. His life and work were finalized on the cross of Calvary, at the place of the skull (Golgotha) where His cross pierced the Serpents head.
- All who come to Jesus will never be cast out (off), for all who come to Him in truth and Spirit do so because the Father has drawn them. To those who are His, who are found in Him, are newly adopted sons and daughters of God and are given eternal life. Where nothing can separate them from the Love and Power of God.
- To be saved is to be delivered. The sinner is identified as a dead slave, having a darkened mind, being foolish lacking wisdom, blinded, deaf, lame, and thoroughly diseased (i.e. leprous). As a result, the sinner hates God and is counted as His enemy and in willful rebellion raises his arms (weapons) against his Creator. In order to be saved (delivered) from this state something miraculous must take place. What is impossible for man is not impossible for God, and so God in His merciful grace acts on behalf of His fallen creature and restores to him that which as lost. He gives sight, hearing, knowledge and wisdom, having healed the lameness by cleansing all that the leprosy of sin has touched, even the deep recesses of the man’s heart and mind, by breaking the chains of His slavery granting to him life. Thus, the saved (delivered) man (male or female) is rightly called a work of God (Eph 2.10), since his salvation belongs to the Lord alone.
- A person is saved by grace alone, by faith alone in Christ alone. Such an individual has nothing to boast about (not even his/her faith) for all of these which are now attributed to Him are brought about by the sole effort of the Triune God.
On Being an Image Bearer…
- God created man to bear His image. Therefore, mankind is to be a reflection of God’s heart. Man is to think God’s thoughts after Him, to reflect the knowledge and wisdom of the Creator in creation, in order to glorify and enjoy the One who made him/her.
- Being an image bearer speaks of both status and function. Status in relationship in who we are as the creative work of God. Function in relationship to how we are to think and live in this world. Sin tarnished, diminished, brought depravity to the function of the image bearer, but did not remove the status given to man as God’s creature.
- Jesus demonstrates what a true image bearer is to look like in creation bearing the mark of status and function perfectly. Jesus did all that the Father did, and thinking like the Father, said all that the Father said (cf. John 5.19; 6.38; 12.49-50). The saved individual is now being conformed into that same image, because that is the manner in which a created image bearer is intended to be (cf. Rom 8.29; 13.14; Eph 4.24; etc.).
- Theonomy comes from two root words: 1) Theos = god, 2) nomos = law. Therefore, God’s law. I believe that the Bible teaches rather clearly that people are to be governed by God’s law; including all spheres of life (family, church, state). This is intrinsically tied to be an image bearer, and thus Christ informs all His disciples that one of our roles in discipling others is to teach them to “observe” (i.e. obey) all that He has commanded. This includes, and does not limit, the entire Holy Bible.
- Besides, this God’s Law also serves three purposes in creation: 1) It acts as a tutor driving the sinner to Christ in that it confronts him/her in their sin, 2) The Holy precepts of God act as a guide to believers in teaching how to live with “a heart after God’s own heart,” 3) The Law when properly installed in the society acts as a deterrent of criminal behavior.
- I believe that Christ will one day return bodily for His people (both living and dead will be with Him in an instant), for the purpose of judging all of humanity and the angelic host as He is seated on the Great White throne (Rev 20.11). In regards to millennial viewpoints, I am a Post-Millennialist. I believe in the steady, gradual advancement of the Kingdom of Christ throughout His creation until it can be said that all His enemies have become a footstool under His feet, at which time He will hand the kingdom to the Father (see 1Cor 15.27-28).
- This also means that I am a Preterist, not a hyper-Preterist. Therefore, I believe there are solid exegetical grounds for arguing that such passages like the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) were meant of the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. And that the events to which he foretold to his disciples were fulfilled in 70 A.D., when Rome destroyed the city and the temple, burning it to the ground leaving no stone standing on another. This does not mean that all prophetic events are or were satisfied in the first century, but only that which might be proven contextually to state such. However, this does mean that many popular prophetic teachers are wrongly interpreting and applying said passages in fanciful ways. That being said, this is not to imply that such individuals are not Christian, for we are saved in Christ not in perfection of doctrinal understanding, but this also means that we should all be willing to stand criticism, rebuke and correction if needed.
[i] NOTE TO READER: It should be noted that the links provided are concerned with the material being spoken of, and not the opinions or beliefs of those whose cite is being used to reference them. I could have written each linked reference out, but this saves time and space. Also, I should add that not every specific point am I necessarily in agreeance with. As with all Christian doctrines there are at times variances where finer points might be disputed while still holding to the whole of the biblical teaching.
Moreover, this material was is by no means exhaustive, and in all likelihood may be added to in the future. In a number of places I left out Scriptural citations that could have been added, but I didn’t want to make the reading any more difficult than possible. If you have any specific questions about my beliefs or the passages of Scripture from where they are drawn, you may email me at the email address through the contact page and I will respond in as timely a manner as I am able.