WHY CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THE WAY THEY DO
by John Clark
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Many people probably wonder why Christians believe the way they do. The Bible is the "textbook" for their beliefs. In the Bible are the teachings of Jesus and many principles for how to live life in a godly and moral fashion. If Christians do NOT live according to the Bible's teachings they are referred to as hypocrites. If they DO live by the standards of the Bible they are called intolerant. So, I guess it is better to be called intolerant than a hypocrite!
The following are teachings that the average Christian lives by. I say "average" because there are those who profess to be in the faith but do not adhere to all of these teachings. As in any religion, there are people who have veered away from the basic tenets of the faith. There are liberals and conservatives. Unfortunately, there are also those who have sought to bring in false teachings or who have majored in doctrines that are not centered around basic Christian teaching, like for example, prosperity theology or working for one's salvation. For every Bible passage given here there are many more dealing with the same subjects.
Without going into a lot of detail here are 12 basic beliefs of Christians:
1. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. There is overwhelming evidence for this. It can also be taken literally. Refer to my article entitled: "What is a Biblical Literalist?"
There are, however, places in the Bible that use symbolism, parables, allegories, or other literary figures of speech. It says this in II Peter 1:20-21 and II Timothy 3:16.
2. Mankind has a sin nature and is prone to having a heart that disobeys or turns away from God. This all started with Adam and Eve and has continued to the present day. See Romans 5:12.
3. God is over all. Christians have a world view that says God is supreme over individuals, nations, governments, and kingdoms. People, however, have a free will to live life the way they want to. God is ultimately in control and has the final say as to events that happen within the world. Read Ephesians 1:20-23
4. Salvation is by grace through faith in God's redemptive plan. This means Christians believe that Jesus came into the world to die on a cross and to physically and literally rise from the dead 3 days later. Salvation is not automatic nor universal, however. It is only for those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus' redemptive work by personally inviting Him to come into their heart. Refer to Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:9-10. Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation. Jesus said this himself in John 14:6.
5. It is not going to church that defines a Christian, but a personal relationship with Jesus. There are people in churches that do not have that relationship; it has become simply a religious activity. The Bible does teach, though, that all Christians should attend church. See Hebrews 10:25.
6. Christians believe in absolute truth, morality, purity, and holiness, as taught in I Thessalonians 3:13, and many other places.
7. Christians believe in divine healing and miracles. This does not mean they do not have confidence in the medical profession, but even with all of the advancement in medicine, it still has its limitations. God can and does perform miracles beyond the reach of medical practice.
8. Christians, in general, believe that all human life is created by God for a divine purpose, as taught in Psalm 139. Therefore, it would probably be safe to say that the majority of Christians are opposed to abortion.
9. Christians are taught to love others, but that does not mean to condone their lifestyle or what they do. Jesus himself accepted people as they were but did not always agree with what they did.
10. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, indwells each individual believer, and provides comfort, peace, joy, happiness, and many other qualities that do not depend upon outward circumstances. Read John 20:22. The Holy Spirit also guides, directs, and provides wisdom to people through the Bible, and convicts unbelievers of their need for salvation.
11. Christians are works in progress. Change does not always happen immediately. That is one reason why so many people view Christians as hypocrites. See Philippians 1:6 and Ephesians 2:10. There is also a spiritual battle between good and evil, and righteousness and the powers of Satan, as expressed in Ephesians 6:12-13. Christians need to continually renew the mind to bring it into conformity with their new nature. See Romans 12:2. They have both an old sinful nature and a new spiritual nature in Christ. There is a battle going on between these two natures, and sometimes Christians win more than they lose, or lose more than they win, but God has already won the final victory!
12. Christians believe in the Second Coming of Jesus to this earth. Read Acts 1:10-11 and John 14:2-3. They also believe in conscious existence in either heaven or a literal hell, Luke 16:19-31, depending upon one's choice of whether or not they have accepted Jesus into their heart and life.
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