Your Articles of Faith

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV)

How important is it for you to know what you believe?

This may sound like a strange question; however it could be critical to how you behave. Remember Peter? He was the disciple that cut the ear off the guard who came to take Jesus. He was the one who walked on water until he took his eyes of Jesus. He was also the disciple who denied Jesus ‘three times before the cock crows’. This is the same Peter who tells us to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15(NIV)

If you have hope for the future, you must believe something. What do you believe?

Many times when Christians are asked a question about their faith, they frequently begin their response with something like: “This is what my pastor says…”, or “The church believes…”, or “The denomination believes…”, or “I was taught…” And some of you may say:” What difference does it make?”

Suppose that you were driving your car and a stranger stopped you and said: “Someone said the road might be flooded and it is possible the bridge is washed out.” Or suppose another stranger stops you and says: “The road is flooded and the bridge has been washed out.” Which person would you be inclined to believe: the first person who heard the road was flooded, or the second person who knew the road was flooded?

People are more apt to listen to you if your beliefs are ‘first hand’ and not from a second or third source. Can you imagine an automobile salesperson trying to sell you a new car based on what his boss said about the car or about what the TV ads say about the car? Would you wonder if the salesperson knew what they were talking about?

I would like to challenge you to write out your “Articles of Faith”. You may ask what are “Articles of Faith”? Articles of Faith are simply spiritual beliefs that you have. Various Christian denominations have written down six to eighteen of their primary beliefs they hold dear to their faith.

Articles of Faith are usually in a prominent place so that people could look at them to determine if this was the church they wanted to attend. They were helpful to people moving into a community as they selected the church they would attend. In more recent years, if the people are going to be involved in church, they will usually go by the name of the church, which may, or may not actually represent what the church believes. The types of beliefs written in the Articles usually deal with the three persons of the trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and The Holy Spirit. Another article may deal with God’s word, another with a definition of sin, another about baptism, another about salvation, another about heaven and hell. Some articles of faith include more beliefs and some of the have just a few but each of these beliefs helps to identify the body of church members that attend that specific church.

Most of the beliefs listed in the Articles of Faith may vary significantly between denominations simply because we interpret the Bible differently. As a follower of Christ, you should be able to state your beliefs and the reason that you hold to such beliefs. You should be able to give the interpretation that you believe the Holy Spirit gives you regarding that belief.

It is much easier just to accept whatever belief is popular so we do not offend anyone. However, God tells us to be a light to the world but if we let our light resemble what already exists, we will be unable to change the world. We will still be in darkness.

God wants to have a relationship with us. But, if we do not recognize the importance of that relationship, we will continue to follow our old nature.

Note: all scriptures used in this blog were downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com

Ways to becoming a true Christian

How many ways can we become a ‘true’ Christian?

  • Being born into a Christian family? – NO
  • Saying a certain prayer as long as you know the date, time, and place? – NO
  • Going to a certain church or denomination? – NO
  • Being tolerant of other people? – NO
  • Taking care of sick and elderly? – NO
  • Be a good person? – NO
  • Try real hard to live a good life? – NO
  • Have a lot of Christian friends? – NO

We become a ‘true’ Christian only by having the faith to believe that Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for death and no one else can pay that price.

When we believe in Christ, we are once again united with God in the same way Adam and Eve were with God in the garden. By faith in Christ, we are adopted into God’s family. We are true followers of Christ—we are Christians.

Acts 16:30-31(NIV)

 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

 They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

John 3:16-21(NIV) tells us the same thing when it says:

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:16-21(NIV)

People have the right to believe whatever they want to believe but there is only one way to heaven. People can believe whatever they want to believe that will make them feel better about themselves, or feel that they have accomplished something but it still will not get them into heaven.

Salvation is a gift from God, made available through Jesus death and resurrection. There is nothing that we can do to deserve it. God is not going to force it on us or have us jump through all kinds of hoops to get to it. We either accept it or reject it.

Salvation is not dependent on Karma, a certain Horoscope readings, our tolerance of others, nor energy therapy. It is about believing that Christ died on the cross and rose again for you. The gift of salvation is brought about by our faith in an eternal God. There is no other way.

However, when we accept God’s gift of salvation, we also receive a bonus. We receive an advocate to help us and to be with us for eternity. We will never be lonely again.

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21(NIV)

Salvation does not require a certain prayer be prayed or that certain words are used in a prayer, it is simply communicating with God that you accept His gift of salvation that was made available through Christ’s died and resurrection. You can do it right now, right where you are. God loves you.

 

NOTE: Scriptures used in this blog was downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com.