Christianity-What Is It?

Cross of Christ

Christianity is based on God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible, which is the Word of God. A Christian is one who believes the Bible and lives the teachings of Jesus Christ. This way of life brings peace and contentment here on this earth and prepares us for a home in heaven.

God the Father

The Bible teaches that there is only one God who has always been and always will be. God knows all things and His wisdom and knowledge are unlimited. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” He is present everywhere and can give full attention to everyone in the whole world at the same time. We can pray to God from any place and at any time. He hears our prayers and will answer as He sees best. There is only one God and yet He is revealed in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three are distinct, and yet work together in harmony because they are one.

The Creation and the Fall of Mankind

God created the world and everything in it. In five days God created the sun, moon, stars, earth, water, birds, and fish. On the sixth day God created all the creatures of the land, and then created man in His own image. Man is the crown of God’s creation and an expression of His love. God created Adam, the first man, pure and without sin. God wanted man to serve Him by personal choice. He gave Adam and his wife Eve one simple commandment, but they chose to disobey. Because of their sin they were separated from God. Their disobedience caused everyone to fall under the curse of sin and death. God was the only one who could redeem mankind. Because of His love “He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

God the Son

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Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to earth as a baby, born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus lived the life of a common man. He was tempted of the Devil in many ways just as we are, yet never sinned. Jesus went about doing good, healing many people of their diseases. He taught them about salvation and the love of His Father. His purpose in coming to earth was to give Himself as a sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. As Jesus preached against sin and selfishness, the religious leaders became angry with Him. They delivered Him to the government authorities who crucified Him. After His death on the cross, His disciples placed His body in a tomb. On the third day, by the power of God, Jesus arose from the dead. Before He returned to heaven, He taught His followers how to establish the kingdom of God.

God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the godhead. He reveals the will of God to man. He reproves people for their idolatry and sinful deeds. He invites man to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as an atonement for their sin. To those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, God gives the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is a counselor in all of life’s difficulties, a comforter in all tribulations. He reproves men of unrighteousness, guiding them into all truth.

The Bible

The Bible is God’s Word and His message to man. It is not a man-made book but was written by holy men of old as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible records the creation of the world and of man. It tells us that all have sinned and that sin separates man from God. It explains the way of redemption that is able to free everyone from the bondage of sin. The Bible teaches us how to live a godly life and how to prepare for eternity.

Living a Christian Life

To become a Christian we must realize our sinful condition. We must confess our sin and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. As we surrender our life to God, He fills us with the Holy Spirit. The power of the Spirit abiding within enables us to love and forgive others. A Christian will strive to maintain purity in his heart and be honest and truthful. When we fail, the Bible promises that “If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

After Life

The Bible teaches us of the two eternal destinies of the soul, heaven or hell. When we die, the soul departs the body to await God’s final judgment. At the judgment the saved will be invited into heaven. All those who have rejected God will be sent to hell. Hell is a terrible place. It is a bottomless pit of burning fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. All those who did not obey the voice of Jesus, but willfully lived in sin will burn forever without hope.

Heaven is God’s dwelling place. It is the most beautiful place of perfect peace and rest prepared by God. In heaven there will be no more sorrow or pain, no hunger or sickness. It is the home for all who have forsaken sin and accepted Jesus as their Savior. There the saved will sing and praise God forever.

What Must I Do to be Saved?

Everyone should ask themselves the important question, “What must I do to be saved?” Many people believe they are saved, yet Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). To be saved, it is necessary to believe that Christ will forgive our sins. Then we must repent of them, live a holy life, and love one another. Because there are many teachings advanced by a multitude of religions, the question may well be asked, “What really is the truth?”

What Is Meant by Being Born Again?

Many people try to serve the Lord without first experiencing the new birth, but are they saved? Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). When Jesus left this world, He sent the Holy Spirit. “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit will bring man to an awareness of sinfulness. When man begins to feel the burden of his sins, he will feel condemned in his heart. If he humbles himself and through faith in Jesus cries out to God with all his heart, then God will forgive him. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). Repenting of sins includes being sorry for them, forsaking them, and turning to a new way of life. When this happens, the Holy Spirit enters the heart and one is born again. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Who Needs This New Birth?

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the prophet Isaiah foretold the suffering of our Lord Jesus for the sins of mankind. He said, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus clearly told Nicodemus, a seeker of the truth, that one cannot see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. This spiritual birth is the work of the Holy Spirit. All who want to be saved need to experience this birth.

All who are weary and tired of their burden of sin are invited to come to Jesus and find forgiveness. Jesus invites: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus suffered, shed his blood, and died on the cross “for our sins: and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Repentance

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Repentance, confession, and restitution are all part of coming to the Lord Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If we have wronged our fellow man, we should confess and acknowledge our sins, and make restitution where needed. “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8).

Faith and Obedience

Once we have experienced the new birth, we endeavor to live faithful Christian lives. Jesus instructs his followers; “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). We are also admonished to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27). “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).

The Christian will be able to accomplish this by following the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give direction and the strength to live a godly life. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). The results of this effort will bring about a changed heart; a life of faith that will produce obedience. “By works was faith made perfect” (James 2:22). The Christian is now living for Jesus instead of living for himself.

The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit inspires a deep love in the Christian’s heart. He will seek the fellowship of other born-again Christians. The unity of this fellowship encourages an open-hearted sharing with one another. This is a support to the Christian and helps him to grow spiritually.

When we are born again, our names are written in the book of life. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Our sins are forgiven, and we experience joy and peace in our hearts. Satan will try to rob us of this gift of salvation by tempting us to disobey, but God has promised to protect and deliver us if we are faithful. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

Forgiveness

We need to be forgiven by God in order to be saved. Jesus’ blood is the only way for this to happen. We must humble ourselves and forgive others in order to receive forgiveness. Will you accept God’s forgiveness? This is good teaching for those who are struggling to understand forgiveness.

Are you forgiven? Your eternal future depends on the answer to this serious question. The Bible teaches us that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Verse 23 of the same chapter states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We must find God’s forgiveness if we want to be saved from the consequences of sin. Someday we will meet the Lord in judgment. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). We are facing eternity, and this makes it imperative that we know if we are forgiven. If forgiven, we will be accepted into heaven. If not forgiven, we will be sentenced to eternal hell with the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:31-34, 41).

Forgiveness Through Christ’s Blood

So, what can we do to save our soul? We cannot save ourselves, but we can accept the plan that God has provided for us. It will help us to understand this plan when we consider what He showed to His people, the Israelites, before Christ came. God told them to sacrifice animals. The lambs that were slain pointed toward the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who would redeem all people by shedding His blood for their sins. The shedding of blood also helped the people understand the seriousness of sin. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things… But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Our forgiveness comes through Christ’s death and the spilling of His blood for the sins of man (Hebrews 9:22).

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Let us take note that, because of our sins, we would be worthy of eternal death. But because of His love and mercy toward us, Jesus died in our stead, so we can be forgiven and our transgressions covered.

Unforgiveness Brings Bondage

When we experience Christ’s gracious forgiveness, we receive peace. To retain this peace, it is necessary to forgive others. Christ tells us in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Jesus told a story that teaches us about the perils of unforgiveness. The story was about a king who wanted to check his servants’ accounts. He found that he had a servant who owed him a very large sum of money, equal to many years’ wages. The king told the servant that he, his family, and all his possessions would have to be sold. The servant begged for mercy and the king forgave him of his debt. This servant later found one of his fellow servants who owed him a small sum, about a day’s wages. He told his fellow servant that he would have to pay in full. His fellow servant begged for mercy, but the servant would not forgive the debt. When the king heard of this, he called his servant to him. He said, “I forgave you when you asked me. Should you not have done the same?” The king then sent him to prison until the debt could be paid. Jesus then said that our Heavenly Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive others. (Matthew 18:23-35)

Hating someone, holding an offense, or harboring a grudge causes many negative effects. The person who allows such attitudes in his life becomes miserable. His health suffers, as do his relationships.

When we don’t forgive others, it brings about a bondage to our souls that could be compared to being enslaved by people or bound by a substance addiction. This unforgiveness causes a bitterness within us. It locks in sorrow, anger, and strife; it locks out joy, love, and fellowship. This bitterness is a result of a proud spirit that seeks to keep score and gain revenge for perceived and real wrongs. If we refuse to release our offended feelings, they will eventually control us. We will be in bondage to them as well as in the bondage of sin before God.

Unconditional Forgiveness

Jesus taught that the only way for us to grant forgiveness to others is in the way He has forgiven us. We are to forgive regardless of the nature or gravity of the offense against us, the number of offenses, or the character of the offender. We are to show unconditional mercy as God has shown mercy to us. As we humble ourselves and extend forgiveness to others, God opens the way for us to seek forgiveness for our own mistakes and sins. God fully forgives all who come to Him with a humble and repentant spirit.

As we follow the Holy Spirit, we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free (John 8:32). Verse 36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15). In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come unto me... and I will give you rest.” As we follow these teachings, we will be forgiven and will be able to forgive others.

Coming to God

Now the question is, how do we come to God? The answer is in the Bible. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). God, through His Holy Spirit, makes us aware that we are sinners and in need of a Savior. Sometimes we don’t fully understand God’s call. We may begin to notice an empty, lonely feeling in our heart—a need of something, a feeling we are not right, a conviction we are lost.

When we become aware of this restlessness in our spirit, we need to open our heart to God for direction. The load of sin will become very heavy, and our heart will become remorseful because of our past sinful life. God wants us to surrender our life to Him in true repentance. When God sees our broken and contrite heart and our readiness to fully do His will, He forgives our past sinful life, and we receive forgiveness and peace (Psalm 34:18; Psalm 51:16-17). Oh, how happy we now are, and we want to share with others what Christ has done in our heart!

This freedom is not something that comes through human reasoning. It is a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart that converts us to a new life. Through this power of the Holy Spirit, we have faith to trust God so we can lay down our own will and forgive others. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

The Bible way of forgiveness is beautiful. A trusting faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, coupled with a complete surrender to God and His will, removes the guilt from our heart. Our sins are completely covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. The forgiveness that God gives to us takes away our offenses and hurts. He wipes the slate clean and forgets our sins, “And their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12). What a wonderful freedom we can experience when God forgives our sins and we can forgive our fellow man. You too can experience this in your heart and life. Come to the Lord today!