The Simplicity That Is Christianity
By Bruce W. Robida
Christianity is an exclusive religion. It’s exclusive in that its tenets are non-negotiable. Every person on earth, at one time or another, receives opportunities to turn to God in an appropriate way. But it is up to each individual to answer that call from God, appropriately.
Now lets get one thing straight. Christianity takes on the name of its founder, Jesus Christ. And not just any Jesus Christ, the Jesus Christ as He is presented in the New Testament (be careful to choose a Bible that has not been altered. see Bible Versions: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly and Bible Versions for more information).
Since Christianity is named for its founder, it makes sense that the founder should be the One who would determine the requirements for membership. Those requirements are found in the Bible, specifically, the New Testament. Any other requirements for membership in the Church of Jesus Christ are inventions of men (and women). These other requirements have caused so much confusion that in many cases, they have also caused people to avoid Christianity altogether. Christianity itself is perfect. Christians on the other hand are not, therefore mistakes can be made interpreting the Bible (See The Science of Interpreting the Bible and The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics for detailed information). Some mistakes are intentional subversion of the authority of the Scriptures. Those who would do such a thing are conceited and most likely greedy preachers who don't really believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Let's get another thing straight: The Bible is complete, without error or contradiction, "...useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 TI 3:16-17. Did you get that? Those things that the Bible says are useful, are there so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped. That means there is no other source necessary. All of God's requirements for membership in the Church that He established are found in the Bible. Everything else is man-made. See Inerrancy for more detailed information, including the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.
Let's review. Christianity is exclusively for those that subscribe to the tenets of the faith of its founder, Jesus Christ as He is presented in the New Testament, which when interpreted correctly, is useful for thoroughly equipping Christians for good work. If you are reading this and deny any portion of what I have just presented, but you insist on calling yourself a Christian, I have just one question for you. Why? Why take the name of the founder of this faith if you choose to adhere only to those points that you agree with? Why not just form your own religion and leave Jesus out of it? It is not for you to determine the requirements of membership, and I hate to say this but, if you believe in a more liberal Jesus, or one that might ignore your propensity to ignore some of His requirements, then you my friend are believing in another Jesus; a Jesus that the Bible warns us to avoid. Your Jesus cannot save you and your soul is in danger of eternal judgment.
All of my opinions are based on the above information. From this point on, I will quote the Scriptures for every opinion that I have on every subject. It is important to include context so please read every Scripture that is presented. If you wish for more context, please just click on the links associated with the Scriptures and they will take you to an online Bible. You'll have to click on the icon above the Scripture to read the entire chapter. It will say EXPAND: SHOW THE ENTIRE CHAPTER OF ...I use the New International Version in my links, but once on the web site, you can choose from a variety of other versions.
All people are sinners (Rom 3:23, Rom 5:12, 1 John 1:10), even Christians. Whether you are a Christian or not, you are a sinner, so just admit it. There is a penalty for sins. Even one sin is worthy of the penalty of eternal judgment in hell (Rom 6:23). But Jesus Christ made a way for sinners to be made righteous.
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Ro 5:18-19
Did you see that? Jesus will make you righteous! All you have to do is put your faith in His ability to do it. It is only through Him that anyone can go to heaven when they die (John 14:6, Acts 14:12). A person cannot be good enough to get into heaven on his own merits
(Eph 2:8-9). All people must put their faith in Jesus to ensure their place in heaven. If your faith is in anything other than Jesus' ability to make you righteous, then your faith is misplaced. There is no other way to heaven. Do not trust in such things as, good deeds, church membership, certain spiritual leaders, certain church teachings such as purgatory, praying the rosary, traditions, prayers to saints, etc. Jesus is the only way. Trust in Him and His message, nothing more, nothing less.
As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
Now you must repent, ( Luke 13:5, Acts 17:30) turn away from your sins, and be baptized (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:14-16). I know it isn't easy to turn away from sins. But you won't have to go it alone. I know it's not easy to understand, but when you finally believe, the Holy Spirit will enter your body (Acts 2:38-39) and He will live with you until you have been delivered to Jesus when you die
(Eph 4:30). Repentance is an act of the will.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom 12:2
When you become a Christian, your spirit will fight with the Holy Spirit. You will still want to sin, but because of the Holy Spirit, you will have the ability to overcome those sins that once threatened to destroy your soul. You will begin to consider God before your own desires and soon those sins will be easier to avoid. But it will require work on your part. You'll have to change your way of thinking and quit bad habits. But if you are going to be transformed, you'll have to be committed to renewing your mind. One way to do this will be to read the Bible as often as possible, especially the New Testament. Not everything will be immediately understandable, but those things that you do understand, try to apply. No one is perfect, and although God says through the apostle "Be Perfect"
(MT 5:48), He knows that it is not possible, but it is something to strive for.
Believe that Jesus died for you and rose from the dead (John 3:16, Rom 5:8, Rom 10:9). The resurrection is one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith
(1 Cor 15:3). If Jesus, who claims to be God, was not raised from the dead, then neither will anyone else
(1 Cor 15:13). The resurrection however, is the result of His death. The death of Jesus is important to Christians because without His blood, there would be no forgiveness of sins.
When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep." In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Heb 9:19-22
Jesus became the perfect sacrifice (Lamb John 1:29) for sins. It is because of His blood that we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. He not only shed His blood, but He suffered terribly as well (Heb 13:11-12, Heb 5:7-9, 1 Pe 2:21, 1 Pe 4:1 see also Consider His Pain When You Suffer).
Pray for Jesus to save you (Rom 10:13). This prayer should be sincere and it should be your own. You have full access to God. He will hear you and He will respond.
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Heb 7:25
Tell someone about Jesus.
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Rom 10:9-10
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Rom 1:16
Are you a Christian yet? Only you and God know the answer to that question. Now there are certain steps that you should take to keep you on the right path.
First, you should find a place to be with other believers (Heb 10:25) so that you can become mature in your faith. As a Christian, you are also a disciple of Christ. Another name for disciple, is student. Beware of preachers that claim to be apostles or prophets, or those that appear to seek fame and wealth, not just for themselves, but for their congregation as well. Read your Bible often and with a purpose. Christians should use the New Testament as their primary guide, although the Old Testament should not be neglected. Be baptized. Many preachers argue about the mode of baptism, or whether it is necessary for salvation or not. I can't answer those questions myself, but I do know that Jesus was baptized (Mark 1:9), and that He was completely immersed in water. Jesus also told His disciples before He went to heaven:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." MT 28:19-20
My feeling is, if Jesus was baptized and commanded His disciples to baptize, then I should be baptized as well.
And finally, Pray.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. PHP 4:6-7
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." MT 26:41
Pray as often as you can. God is as close as a prayer.
If you are a new Christian, let me know. I would love to send you a new Bible.
I also want you to know that Christianity is not as difficult as some have made it out to be. The next section, Christianity 101 and Daily Christian living will guide you through how Christians ought to live, and you'll be amazed at how difficult it is not. Please take some time to visit the rest of this web site. There are lots of articles related to the Bible, the Church, false teachers, life, etc.
Daily Christian living
Moving On To Maturity
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