hristianity, as a religion, is not very old compared to other world religions, such as Hinduism. Yet, when examined, its roots are indeed very ancient. Just because one faith is older than another, that doesn't make it "better" or "correct." Anyway, it is surprising to me how many Christians don't realize that the roots of their faith actually go down into the utter most depths of history, into the days of Abraham, and even to the first days of creation! Now that is really old - well- based on our modern and impatient concept of time, anyway!
Abraham lived around 2000 years before Jesus was born [2000 years ago]. But rather than bearing the name of Abraham, the Christian religion bears our Lord's title: "Christ", meaning: the anointed one, in Greek. So if Abraham is the father of our faith, then why isn't it named after him? Well, according to Jesus, "Before Abraham was even born, I Am!" [John 8:58]. That means Jesus was in existence, as holding the title of Elohym (the creator) before Abraham was born [Jhn. 1:3-5, Col. 1:15- 23]. And unlike what we see today in the many and varied so-called 'Christian' religions, Abraham's religion was a simple one.
So we can look back upon the Old Testament, (as God intended) in order to learn from the examples of the patriarchs, and to gain understanding of what was, and what is, and what is to come. The Old Testament contains God's wondrous plan of bringing himself to earth as Jesus (the Messiah), as the Savior of the world. This was fulfilled in the New Testament by his birth and ultimate goal, or his destiny at Calvary. The second and final time of his coming, at the Mt. of Olives, will lead to him bringing total and complete salvation to his faithful followers, which was also foretold of in the Old Testament. But only those who have ears to hear, and eyes to see, and a faithful heart to obey what is written; only those who are lead of the Holy Spirit, are the ones who are truly worthy to be named as belonging to Christ.
All others who read the Bible and try to claim it as their manual for righteous living, but mix it with idolatrous beliefs and philosophical teachings, will eventually reveal their true nature through their deeds, despite what they say. These people were, are, and will be the scoffers, and hypocrites, who amass for themselves the false teachers who tickle their ears with the doctrines of demons (that they love), and are fooled by the lying wonders they embrace. Yes dear reader, the Christianity of today is very sensual, and worldly. Many base their faith on their five physical senses, and secular marketing tactics, because they have found Christianity is big business. For many people, they must "feel " the Lord's presence when they gather together, or else it just isn't real to them. Their flesh is gratified with the help of special lighting, and music which is geared to induce the proper mood. And other carefully contrived formulas that lead to the maximum yield of profitability are sought after in most churches. Usually this model of success consists of:
- the greeting and call by the band leader to participate in three worship songs (two fast and one slow) which are usually already top 10 hits on the radio. Hymnals are relegated to "old" churches, and are considered to be stuffy, to preachy, and irrelevant.
- the call for the congregation to greet one another (put on your best fake smile folks!)
- the announcements (advertisements for upcoming unbiblical events, and teachings, and a guilt trip plea for volunteers)
- the call for the ushers to accept the O.T. tithe (with veiled threats for the "robbers"), and the N.T. offerings (a.k.a. the fleecing of the sheep) with promises of prosperity for only the cheerful givers.
- a 45 minute (and no longer) topical milquetoast, self-help, or syncretic sermon, which plays to fleshly emotion, rather than to the soul's conscience. Proper biblical teaching (instead of the seeker sensitive stuff) would convict people of their sins, and lead to the edifying (building up) of one's spirit, which demands growing up into obedience of Jesus' gospel of grace and truth; is therefore not allowed.
- the pagan altar call given (and accompanied by mood music), which is void of the rational process of counting the real cost of discipleship, but loaded with emotion.
- final worship song (fast and up beat), that is self centered.
- dismissal blessing, or curse, depending on how you look at it.
Basic Biblical Christian Beliefs
Jesus the Christ (or Messiah) is the name sake of the Christian faith, because to be a Christian, one must be "Christ-like", or be a disciple of his teachings, and according to him, there is only one way (his way) to eternal life. He and his disciples (after his ascension) faithfully taught sound doctrine to subsequent disciples, based on OT Scripture, and they expected those in the church body to obey that doctrine implicitly, out of love for their God, and in single minded devotion to him, and to each other. Even so, Jesus and his disciples knew that this wouldn't happen for the most part, so they warned us of this very thing repeatedly. Acts 20:31 has Paul telling the elders of the church in Ephesus, that there would come false teachers, prophets, and false gospels, all of them claiming to have come from God, but that they would only desire to have a following and make a name for themselves. He warned them for three years! Day and Night! With tears even! They would make their many ways seem like the only way, but instead of leading to life everlasting, these false ways will only lead the forgers themselves, and their blind followers into a ditch. A very deep, and a very HOT ditch! We would do well to take heed of our Lord's, and his disciples, numerous and explicit warnings.
Which Way Is The Right Way?
I read for myself that Jesus said he is the only way to the Father, and thankfully he left us with two great commandments. We are to:
- love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and with all our strength, and the second is like it:
- love our neighbor as our self.
For a biblical "tenant", or belief to be truly Christian, then it must:
- be in both the Old and the New Testaments.
and one Redeemer of mankind, that saves them from sin. This is taught in both
testaments. What is NOT taught outright is the trinity. According to most biblical
scholars, it is "implied". In reality, it is only implied by trinitarian teachers, not
- not blend idolatrous worship with God's righteous worship.
their "god" that lead them out of Egypt; then Aaron declared that they would
have a feast unto the LORD. This is syncretism, and God hates it. All of the people
who worshiped the golden calf were executed by the Levites. These days many pagan worship rites are linked to God's worship, such as the ones found in Christmas and Easter. While God hasn't had the people who celebrate these pagan rituals executed, those who perform them will not escape his final judgment.
- not replace Jesus Christ as the only mediator (priest) between God and man.
being human mediators between God and man. Any religions that claim to be
"Christian" and teach these things are false and idolatrous religions.
- not glory in works of the flesh, or gratify fake spirituality, which are "sense" based, and not faith based.
prayers, and forced fasts. Any meeting where "feeling" the presence of God as lightening, goosebumps, liver quivers or any tingly sensations are not based in faith. Mystical and superstitious rituals like lighting candles, and using prayer beads, etc. are all kinds of activities satisfy the flesh, and are not of Jesus Christ.
- not change grace into a license to sin.
they will loose other so-called "benefits."
These are just a few of the examples of the tenants from some denominations that claim to be "Christian", but when carefully examined in the light of Jesus' two great commandments, they actually violate them. We have been blessed with the Divine gift of Scripture, which tells us how these two great commandments govern our faith. But, the only way to rightly divide the word of truth from the lies, you must have the Spirit of the Lord residing with in you, and that can only happen when you are born again. Otherwise, you will be lead by a false spirit, or by a humanistic point of view, rather than the author's point of view.
For example, I once knew a Jewish young man who said that he had read the Bible from cover to cover, not once, but three times! He also said that he didn't get anything from it. Nothing! Nada! Zilch! I was truly amazed. Either he was boasting a lie, or he was obviously not saved and therefore not able to comprehend what he read. Even so, I hold to the hope that seeds were planted in his heart, if he in fact did read the Bible cover to cover three times. And that which God plants, will sprout, take root, and grow.
This is what a true monotheistic religion is, one that believes in only one God, whereas the prevailing tradition borrowed from idolatrous teachings, is that there is one office of God, held by three separate co-equal persons. This is an inversion to the biblical model where one God, holds several titles that describe his nature, and the offices that he holds. For instance, the Almighty's' Old Testament title of "The LORD of Hosts", reveals that he is a warrior and the commander and chief of heaven's armies. He and only he has ever held that O.T. title of office, and only he has the authority to carry out the duties of it, this is carried over in the N.T. where Jesus also bears this title. So either God is confused as to how many beings hold that title, or The Almighty and Jesus are one in the same person who bears the title "The LORD of Hosts."
Scriptures are to be properly interpreted from God's divine point of view, and not from a humanistic, or philosophical (allegorical) point of view [2 Tim.3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21], and it is the only reliable source for proper instruction in righteousness. That means we are not to mix the musings of idolatrous philosophers with Scripture; no matter how "beautiful" we may think their minds may be. According to Scripture, if a man doesn't fear God, or if he denies that there is only one Almighty God, then he is without wisdom and knowledge [Psm.14:1; 35:1; Prov. 1:7], and has no biblical moral compass. Sorry folks, but that means the likes of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, or Philo of Alexandria are really spiritual morons. And their teachings are not to be married with Scripture and taught as reliable doctrine.
After the miraculous conception and very normal birth of Jesus [Matt. 1:18], Mary had marital relations with her husband (Joseph) resulting in Jesus having siblings. [Matt. 12:46; Like 8:19; Mark 3:31].
Jesus is the only begotten son of God [Ps. 2:7; John 3:16].
Jesus is divine [Isa. 7:17, 9:6; John 8:58; Isa. 44:6, Rev. 22:13]
It's amazing to me how people will try to use Scripture to nullify these Scriptures just to keep their false beliefs intact.
Jesus' Earthly Life & Example
Jesus also performed many miracles, proving his divine call as Messiah, and fulfilled all of the Scriptures pertaining to the Messiah's first advent, and will continue to do so, until all of his enemies are under his feet. [Ps.110:1; Acts 2:35; Luke 20:43]
Jesus taught and lived sound doctrine. He only said and did the Father's will, then lived it out by example, leaving us the true Christian way of life for others to follow. [John 1:1;14. John 14:6] Jesus modeled for us the concept of: Word and deed, or a true living and saving faith. Any faith that teaches a Triune God, or that Jesus was just a man, or that he was a spook hovering around earth is not Christian.
The Cross & Ressurection
Jesus rose from the dead three days later, and is alive ever more, and is seated at the right hand of the Father (which means: in great glory and power) in heaven. [Ps. 16:10; Isa. 53; as recorded in all four gospels, and is referred to many times in the New Testament.] If anyone teaches that Jesus died spiritually and suffered in hell at the hand of Satan and his demons, then they are not saved. They have the wrong gospel, and the wrong Jesus.
God's plan of salvation was demonstrated through the Passover. Please study it in the Old Testament so you will have a foundation upon which to build in the New Testament.
Salvation (Word and Deed)
Initial salvation is brought about by the preaching of the gospel, which leads to repentance. Repentance is simply changing your mind. You once loved being a sinner, but you have come to change your mind. You have decided that you don't like sinning anymore. You are now ready for redemption. Redemption, or the price of Jesus' blood spilled at the cross, is to fulfill the obligation sin requires according to the Almighty; redemption is not acquired by good works [Gen. 15:6; Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17]. This is the part that we cannot do on our own. A sinless sacrifice must be made to God, and Jesus is the only sinless lamb of God that was acceptable to pay the price of sin. The redeemed are then justified, or no longer guilty of sin, thanks to Jesus' work on the cross, and this brings the desired peace toward God and man. This too is done solely by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Again, to be clear, redemption and justification are solely Jesus' part, we can't add to redemption or justification with any works of our own.
After accepting these gifts of grace, the saint must then move on and live in sanctification (holiness) to Christ [Isa. 51:11; Luke 1:68; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8]. Now this is our part in conjunction with the Holy Spirit in the salvation covenant. This is the fulfillment of the word and deed of the one who claims to be a Christian, which is the evidence against hypocrisy, or even a false conversion. To be clear, repentance, is solely our part, while sanctification is cooperated in us with the help of God's grace, his power to help us live a holy life through the Holy Spirit.
The redeemed and justified saint only receives the end promise of salvation (consummation) by keeping the faith in sanctification until the end of their life, or the end of this age, which ever comes first [1 Thes. 4:3-7; Col. 1:23].
Salvation can be lost. A person's faith can suffer shipwreck due to improper prodigal living, or by embracing false doctrine rather than sound doctrine. [1 Tim. 1:19, 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:18; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 John 1:10-11)
False conversions are another matter entirely. [Acts 8:9-24] The promise of eternal life [alluded to as: rest, in the O.T.] with Jesus in a new sinless body, and in a new heaven and earth, is a hope only assured to those who keep the faith. Heb. 3:14 - Heb. 4
The covenants that the Almighty initiates, do require some form of active response (or obedience) to the terms he sets, by the lesser party, namely- us. The redemption, justification, and consummation parts of salvation are provided for by the Almighty alone, while the repentance, and sanctification part are carried out by the saint with God's help; Jesus doesn't leave sanctification entirely to us. Even so, we can still elect to opt out by choosing to love the world and its ways. For that reason, he mercifully provides us with his Holy Spirit, and his grace to help us grow up in the faith (sanctification), until the consummation (or full adoption) part of our salvation is fulfilled. How foolish it is to reject such a wondrous salvation, because the fulfillment of the salvation covenant is our new glorified bodies, and then we will live in rest, or eternal life and peace, forever with Jesus, whose name (title of office) shall be called: Immanuel! Glory to God!
Heaven & Hell
Jesus' 2nd Coming
Satan will be released and allowed to insight a final rebellion after the 1000 year reign of Jesus. [ 1 Cor. 15:28; Rev. 3:12, 22:4]
After Satan is defeated once and for all, then he and all his minions, will be judged at the great white throne, and tossed into the lake of fire, forever. [Rev. 20:10 - 15]
The Children of God will be judged and rewarded, and will live with their God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will take a new name (Immanuel) and when they will at last, receive "rest" from all sinful earthly striving, and labor forever ![Rev. 22:1-5] Amen and Amen!
What about the world renowned Greek philosophers of the past, did Jesus quote any of them, or endorse any of them as being reliable authorities on Scripture? No. Did he pattern his gospel and doctrine according to their humanistic and metaphysical points of view? No. So why did the "father's" of the faith (Irenaeus, Origen, and Augustine), so called, by modern theologians, feel the need to look to these idolatrous men as inspiration for their thought processes in interpreting and teaching Scripture? Did Paul go to Greek philosophy schools before he taught the Greeks the gospel? No. Did Paul use Pharisaical teachings, or quote notable rabbis to capture his audiences' hearts? No, on both counts.
Remember, when Paul brought the pure gospel to Greece? Many of them laughed and scoffed at it. Why? Because Paul said that the cross of Christ, and the gospel, were both foolishness to them. Even so, some embraced it, and they didn't need syncretism to make that happen either. When Paul preached Christ, Christ drew them to himself. When Paul wrote his letters to the Gentile churches, he was always correcting false teachings that were being mingled with sound doctrine. Rather than using idolatrous teachings and understandings of how the world worked, he based his teachings on the Old Testament, but revealed them as being fulfilled in the New Testament. The only way the LORD can fix this syncratic mess we have made of the pure gospel, is to apply his tried and true classical remedy for removing the dross of idolatry from his people; that being his four sore judgments. We will know it as the Tribulation period, and then the Great Tribulation.
But before his righteous smelting process is in full swing, I encourage you dear reader, to thoroughly examine God's word like the Berean's (Jews in Greece) of Paul's day did, who were exemplified as a righteous model of proper biblical exegesis. They didn't go to the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates or their guy Philo to see if what Paul said was so; instead they went solely to the word of God, more specifically, the Old Testament. The word of God bears witness to itself, and so interprets itself. Don't be like the people Peter spoke of in his second epistle (2 Pet. 3:16-17), be like the Bereans and know the Old Testament. Run to it, and no other book, to see if what a teacher or preacher says is so, and begin your own Christ based sound doctrine smelting process, assisted by his Holy Spirit. Trust me, I've been there and done that. So when I say, "You'll be glad you did.", I mean it! Amen!