Thursday, August 19, 2010

Simply Christian, Part 7

Paul reminded the Corinthians that it was the message of the cross that possessed the power to save; not denominational allegiance. He compelled this church to be of the same mind, which implied a mutual growth in spiritual maturity that would put away carnal thinking and divisive behavior. Not only that, but he wanted them to have the same judgment; that is, purpose or resolve. Paul asked “is Christ divided?” Today He is, as dozens of churches and sects claim His name, oft-times excluding one another for doctrinal issues that are secondary to the matter of one’s salvation. If believers have Christ in common they have all things; a proper view of the deity of our Savior is the criterion that separates Christians from non-Christians.

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we receive a full reward (faithfulness to Christ renders reward at His judgment seat). Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son (both being equally God),” 2nd John 1:7-9. Paul repeats this concept: “[attain] to all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,” Colossians 2:2.

What is the doctrine and the mystery of God and Christ? John and Paul answer this question again:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” John 1:1-3, 14. Paul adds, “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh…” 1st Timothy 3:16.

The Person of Christ (John 1:1-3, 14; 1st Timothy 3:16)
Jesus Christ is God the Creator and Redeemer, manifested in the flesh.

Here is the foundation on which the church is built, and the confession we must make before we enter into life and fellowship in the body of Christ. Before the term “Christian” was coined in Antioch, believers were known as being members of the Way. This may have been inspired by Jesus’ words to His disciples when He told them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” John 14:6. A believer’s close association with Jesus and His unique claims at being the only way to Heaven made them members of that way; they were part of the body of Christ and ambassadors of Christ, seeking to persuade men to be saved and enter in through the Way. Jesus is the narrow gate which leads to life, and few take it.

The Exclusivity of Salvation (Matthew 28:18; John 10:7-18; 14:6; Acts 4:12)
Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father and Heaven; no one may be saved but by saving faith in Jesus.

So many denominations have gone adrift from the fundamental truths of Scripture that it has become an insult to be called a “fundamentalist.” Yet Christ told us to hold fast to the truth, and His apostles said that men are saved by adherence to sound doctrine; for there is no other way to recognize truth, and no other way to refute error, which is creeping in and strangling the church, denomination by denomination. I wonder if anyone who despises fundamentalists realizes how far the ship has strayed from its’ course? It is the watchful servant who is rewarded by his master; it is the servant who loves his master’s coming that looks for his soon return. What is today’s church occupied with, by and large? Have we settled for the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, all of which are condemned of God and doomed to perish with this world? Christ saved us to separate us from this wicked world and its present ruler. We need the pure word taught from the pulpit so people may hear and be saved! Is the title of ‘Christian’ not enough? We are followers of Jesus Christ, God incarnate. We need this solid foundation to build on, or all of our effort is doomed to sink into terrible ruin, Matthew 7:24-27.

The Security of Our Salvation (John 19:30; Hebrews 9:26-28; 10:10-14)
The sacrifice Jesus Christ made was effectual: it only needed to be done once. There is no need for another sacrifice; mankind cannot aid in its own salvation or the salvation of others. What Jesus accomplished was done once for all and will never be repeated; those who believe on Jesus Christ receive (present possession) eternal life.
To be Continued.

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All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.