Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Christianity 101 -- The Basics

Basics of Christianity:

Chapter 1. The Theme of Scripture: Faith

There is an over-arching theme to Scripture from beginning to end. A *legalist concludes the theme is law. All things are viewed from the perspective of law; Adam and Eve sinned, sin being transgression of law. God gave “His Law” to the Israelites in the furtherance of God’s revelation to mankind. Jesus came to “magnify and make honorable the law” and that Christ will rule the nations through law; a law that will remain eternal. God, in the new covenant puts “His law” in the believer.

This however is not the theme of Scripture. As there is one true gospel and many false gospels, there is one over-arching theme of Scripture, and many false themes. The theme of Scripture is faith; Faith lost, and faith restored. Faith in Christ; faith in God.

What was the sin of Adam and Eve? Was it a violation of law? God gave a commandment to them, that of every tree in the garden of Eden, they could freely eat, with the exception of one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

One with a legalistic paradigm concludes they violated the “law” of God in the transgression of His commandment. But we need to make a distinction here between the action of violating a command of God and the intent of heart, which is where the issue truly begins. Adam and Eve had to first make a decision to eat of that tree. There was an intent of heart.

But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; ... Matthew 15:18-20 NASB

Why then did Adam and Eve decide to eat that fruit? What was their motivation? What was the real sin here?

They did not believe God. God said they would surely die. The serpent told them otherwise, that;

1. They would not die

2. They would be as gods, knowing good and evil.

The lesson was learned the hard way. They learned what evil was alright, and the consequences of evil; in this case their faithlessness in God and subsequent disobedience.

Their minds were now corrupted. There was now a separation from the mind of God, and soon this was to be followed by a physical separation from God and His Provision, being ejected from the garden of Eden. This was their “death.”

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; — Colossians 2:13 KJV

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. — Ephesians 2:1-2 NASB

Jesus came to redeem mankind. To redeem something is to return it to a former state or condition.

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; — Colossians 1:12-23

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. — Ephesians 1:6-14

Adam and Eve abandoned faith in God. Christ came to restore mankind to a condition of faith in God; a faith of trust, belief, dependence and assurance in God; a faith based in love.

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. — Galatians 3:22-29

Abraham is the father of the faithful. The example of Abraham in Scripture is one of a relationship with God and the development of Abraham’s faith. Abraham received a covenant of promise from God that extends out to Abraham and his children, which in time will include children of faith.

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. — Galatians 3:7

* A legalist is broadly defined as one who believes in some form of law of the letter being adhered to, whether it be the law of the old covenant, or parts of it, or some entirely different set of laws concocted by their particular organization that the membership are required to comply with.

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11


Bill said...

This, and the chapters to follow, are a rough draft of a primer on the basics of Christianity; a "Christianity 101" if you will. I invite comments and constructive criticism.

Anonymous said...

"Christianity 102: Armstrongism is NOT Christianity, in any Way, Shape, or Form."

'S'what I've always said....