STATEMENT OF MY FAITH

1. The Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15)

The Scriptures are “able” to reveal truth to us when the Holy Spirit reveals their meaning and application to our lives.

“And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45

“God…made us sufficient as ministers…not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Cor 3:5-6

“I thank You, Father…that You have hidden these things [context is judgment] from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.” Mt 11:25

“No one knows…the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Mt 11:27

“He [Christ] expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27

“Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able….He who is of God hears God’s words…” John 8:43,47

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mt 11:15; Mt 13:9; Mt 13:43; Mk 4:9; Mk 4:23; Mk 7:16; Lu 8:8; Lu 14:35; Rom 11:8  - Repeated nine times!

“Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them.” Mt 13:34

“To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand’.” Lu 8:10; Mk 4:11; Mt 13:10-13

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me, but you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40

“I am…the truth.” John 14:6

Note: The Bible experts in Christ’ time did not recognize the Word of God when He stood in their midst. They had him crucified!

The Scriptures, as I believe they are illuminated to my mind and heart by the Holy Spirit govern my life.

2. Jesus Christ is “Lord.” Phil 2:11

“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself…” 2Cor. 5:19

“And unto the Son: ‘Your throne, O God, [is] to the age of the age. ‘” Heb 1:8 (YLT); Psalm 45:6

Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:48

“All should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:23

“He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him, and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist…For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness (NAS note: i.e. the fullness of deity) should dwell.” Co. 1:15-19; 2 Cor 4:4

“God…has..spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (ages); who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power…Let all the angels of God worship Him.” Heb 1:3-6 NIV

Jesus is “In very nature God…” Phil 2:6 NIV

Jesus is “Immanuel (God with us).” Isa 7:14

Jesus is the “Mighty God.” Isa 9:6

Jesus is the “Eternal Father.” Isa 9:6

“The Word (Jesus) was God.” John 1: 1, 14

“All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Jn 1:3

“To whom “Every knee will bow…to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:9-11. Our Lord Jesus Christ who is Creator of all things and our Savior is worthy of our sincerest worship. This glorifies our heavenly Father, who of course is worshiped in our worship of Jesus. They are one.

Jesus Christ is “Lord.” Phil 2:11

Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28. Jesus did not correct him.

“And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:58-60

I and My Father are one.  (John 10:30)

The truth that Jesus and the Father are One is precious to me. We have not seen God our Father, but we have seen Jesus. Two thousand years ago He came to earth and walked among us. “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Jn 14:9) Jesus modeled the very character of God. To know Christ is to know God. We continue to see Christ today, in the Scriptures and in His people.

The unity of the Father and the Son, in the Holy Spirit, is a Oneness I cherish. Why? Because when I see Christ suffering and dying on the cross, I see God suffering and dying for the sins of all humanity. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” (2 Cor 5:19). I believe that the Father at least felt the same pain on the cross as His son did, and if not, then it was a greater pain. (It hurts us more as parents to witness the suffering of our children than to receive direct pain ourselves.) Whatever the case may be, the Father also suffered horrifically for us all. This truth draws my heart to God. It ignites the emotions of love and affection for Him from the depths of my being. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). He loves us with a sacrificial, infinite and indescribable love. “God is love.”1 John 4:8

3. God is Good (Psalms 86:5, 9-10, 15)

Is God good? Is He kind? Will He torment most of humanity in hell forever? These are the questions that matter most of all; all else fades in comparison. These questions relate to God’s character. These are the questions a dying world longs to know.

Is God good? Yes! In the fullest sense of the word.   

4. God is Love (1 John 4:8; 4:16)

John repeats this phrase two times. There is no mystery about God’s love.

“By this we know what love is. Christ (God) gave His life for us.” 1 John 3:16

And who are the “us”?

“The Lamb of God…takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

He atones for the sins of the whole world! 1 John 2:2

He died for every single person that has ever lived. Heb 2:9

5. God is Holy (Rev. 4:8)

The Scriptures describe God in a number of ways: He is Holy, Just (2 Thes 1:6), Spirit (Jn 4:24), One (Mk 12:29), Light (1 Jn 1:5) and God is Love (1 Jn 4:8; 4:16).

As God is “one” in personality, He is also one in essence. His attributes compliment and define who He is. They do not contradict each other, but the opposite: they reveal Him like multifaceted sides of a diamond.

If one is greatest of all, it is Love. Why? Because of the infinite price He paid to reveal it to us—His Son. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro 5:8) “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself!” (2 Co 5: 19) Rev.Thomas Allin wrote:

“God is not anger though He can be angry, God is not vengeance though He does avenge. These are attributes, love is essence. Therefore, God is unchangeably love. In judgment He is love, in wrath He is love, in vengeance He is love—’love first, and last, and without end.’ Love is simply the strongest thing in the universe, the most awful, the most inexorable, while the most tender.²

God is Holy BECAUSE God is love.

The Holiness of God is not something apart from, or separate of His love, since love is His very essence (1 Jn 4:8). We cannot say “God is love, “but” He is also holy and must punish sinners forever. No verse says this. There are no “buts” to God’s love. Many say sin (sinners) cannot exist in the presence of God. But this denies the Divinity of Christ, for Christ hung-out with sinners (Mt 9:10; 11:19). Was Christ not God? Plus it denies that God does away with all sin through Christ (Jn 1:29). It denies that Christ will draw (literally drag) all men unto Himself when He is lifted up from the earth. (Jn 12:32).

God’s love for all humanity is the constitution of (and manifestation of) His holiness, not something that conflicts with it.

God is Love, THEREFORE He is Holy.

“Reconciling estranged man to Himself is a work of God’s holiness.” —John Gavazzoni

6. Christ died for “everyone.”  (Hebrews 2:9, John 1:29; 1 John 2:2)

“I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified [for the whole world ].” 1Cor. 2:2;  John 1:29, 12:32; 1 John 2:2.  See: http://www.hopebeyondhell.net/telling-the-good-news-of-peace/

7. One Body, One Spirit, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

I pray Christians everywhere, of all persuasions (among hundreds of denominations), will hold dear what our Lord said identifies us as His followers:

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, by the love you have for one another.” John 13:35

May the Holy Spirit unfold to our minds the full implications of this passage. Note: He did not say “unity of doctrine” but ‘love.” This is very significant.

If you were about to be tortured and killed; what would you pray for?

Please stop a moment…

Think…

If you were about to be tortured, and killed; what would you pray for?

Answer? You would pray for the thing you hold most dear to your heart.

Now…

What do you think Jesus prayed for when He was about to die? Observe what He prayed for on the eve of His crucifixion, just moments before His arrest and night of torture:

Jesus prayed that we “all may be one” as He was one with His Father…that “the world may believe” that the Father sent Him. (Jn. 17:21). He repeats His concern for the world…“that the world may know!” (v.23). Jesus petitions His Father five times to make us one! (See verses 11, 21a, 21b, 22, and 23. And why? Because He cares for the whole world, and not just us. We are His hands and feet to touch the world with his love. See Mathew 9:36-38.

I pray that we, as followers of Jesus, will hold this precious prayer close to our hearts. May we love and accept one another in all our diverse beliefs. May God make us one!

8. Jesus is the Savior of the world  (John 4:42; 1John 4:14)

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.  These things command and teach.” (1 Timothy 4:9-11)

I believe Jesus Christ is truly the  Savior of the whole World. Read my book, “Hope Beyond Hell,” for abundant and compelling Scriptural and reasonable evidence for my belief.

9. All things are possible with God (Mt 19:26; Ge 18:14; Job 42:2; Jer 32:17; Mk 10:27; Lu 1:37; 18:27)

“Who then can be saved? …With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10: 26-27)

“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth…Christ Jesus… gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6)

“Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand.” (Isaiah 14:24)

“Through Your power Your enemies shall submit to You…All the earth shall worship You.” (Psalm 66:3-4)

I, like Abraham, am strengthened in my faith  by God’s marvelous promises. I am convinced that He has the power to do all that He has promised. (see Rom 4:20-21) 

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Eph. 3:20)

I hold some very high and lofty thoughts about our amazing God; especially in regards to His unlimited and unfailing power and love for all His creation.

10. The Apostle’s Creed

The Symbolum Apostolorum was developed between the second and ninth centuries. It is the most popular creed used in worship by Western Christians. It has been called the Creed of Creeds.¹

Note that “everlasting punishment” is not mentioned in this most highly held creed.

Modern English Version  

I believe in God, the Father almighty,  
creator of heaven and earth.  
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, [I must add that in and through Christ we too are becoming God's children]  
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,  
born of the Virgin Mary,  
suffered under Pontius Pilate,  
was crucified, died, and was buried;  
he descended to the dead.  
On the third day he rose again;  
he ascended into heaven,  
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,  
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.  
I believe in the Holy Spirit,  
the holy catholic [universal] church,  
the communion of saints,  
the forgiveness of sins,  
the resurrection of the body,  
and the life everlasting. AMEN.

Systematic Theology

Neither Christ nor His apostles (including Paul), formulated a detailed and exhaustive systematic theology, as did Augustine, Calvin and other teachers and denominations, past and present. Beware of the systematic theologies of men which only fracture the Body of Christ into myriads of denominations with the result of destroying our witness before the world.

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, by the love you have for one another.”  John 13:35

References:

¹ http://www.creeds.net/ancient/apostles.htm

² Allin, Thomas. Christ Triumphant. 1878. Rpt. 9th ed. Canyon Country, CA: Concordant, n.d. 76-77.

 

 

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