So what are the “essentials” of Christianity?
We have listed here some “essentials” of Christianity about which the Bible is very clear. Many so-called “Christian” churches have strayed from many of these basic Biblical principles and have come to accept any and all concepts of religion instead of simply following God’s Word the way it was originally written. God’s Word is not vague; it is perfect in its original languages and completely without error.
Unfortunately it is the world converting the church instead of the church converting the world. People who do not study God’s Word are easy prey for the enemy.
Most of these essentials are no-brainers for Christians who study God’s Word and attend a solid Bible-teaching, foundationally stable church. We list many of them here for your convenience and so that anyone checking out our church will know exactly where we stand on these issues.
Essentials of Christianity…
The Deity of Christ:
Jesus is God in flesh (John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14; John 1:1,14; 5:36-40; 10:30-33; 14:7; 14:9; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8).
1 John 4:2-3 – “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
1 John 4:2-3 is saying that if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh then you are of the spirit of Antichrist.
John 8:24 – “I said, therefore, to you, that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”
Jesus said that if you do not believe “that I am” you will die in your sins. In Greek I am is “ego eimi,” which means I am. These are the same words used in John 8:58 where Jesus says “…before Abraham was, I am.” He was claiming the divine title by quoting Exodus 3:14. The Greek Septuagint is the Hebrew Old Testament translated by Jews into Greek around 250 B.C. They translated Exodus 3:14 as ‘ego eimi’ “I AM”.) Jesus also used these words in Mat. 14:27 “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” the literal translation from Greek is, “Take courage! I AM. Do not fear.” And again in Mark 6:50 and John 6:20. It is the same Greek in each of the above verses.
Jesus is the proper object of faith:
It is not simply enough to have faith in something. Your faith must be in Christ (Rom. 10:9). Faith is only as valid as who or what you put it in. You must put your faith in the proper person-Jesus Christ. Cults have false objects of faith (false gods); therefore, their faith is useless — no matter how sincere they are.
If you put your faith in a guru, a philosopher, or a past teacher (and not Jesus) to save you from your sins on Judgment Day, then you will be in a lot of trouble, no matter how sincere or strong your faith is. You might have great faith, but so what? Faith in something false has the same effect as no faith at all.
The Doctrine of the deity of Christ includes:
- The Trinity – There is one God who exists in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are all coeternal and of the same nature.
- Monotheism – There is only one God in all existence (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8). Mormons believe that many gods exist though they serve and worship only one. Therefore, they are polytheists which excludes them from the camp of Christianity.
- The Hypostatic Union – That Jesus is both God and man.
- The sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ (1 John 2:2, 1 Tim. 2:5)- The sacrifice of Christ is completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the world and it is only through Jesus’ sacrifice that anyone can be saved. (John 14:6)
- As God – Only a perfect sacrifice to God is able to cleans us from our sins. This is why Jesus who is God in flesh, died for us.
- Jesus’ virgin birth
- “’Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us,’” (Matt. 1:23).
- The virgin birth further substantiates the doctrine of the incarnation of Jesus being God in flesh. It gives weight to His words in John 8:24, where He said, “I said, therefore, to you, that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”
The Resurrection of Christ:
- “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14). “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).
- To deny the physical resurrection is to deny that Jesus’ work was a satisfactory offering to God the Father. It would mean that Jesus was corrupt and needed to stay in the grave. But, he did not stay because his sacrifice was perfect.
- These verses clearly state that if you say that Jesus did not rise from the dead (in the same body He died in — John 2:19-21), then your faith is useless.
The Holy Trinity:
God is eternal and exists in three persons. One God in three persons means one personal God who lives and works in three different ways at the same time. There is only one God (Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5, 14, 18, 21, 22; 46:9; 47:8; Deut. 6:4)
Matt. 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (See also, Matt. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6.)
This doctrine is not represented by a single word per se, though it is represented. The doctrine of the Trinity is arrived at systematically by looking at the totality of Scripture. It is, nevertheless, the proper representation of scriptural revelation concerning the nature of God.
God the Father – His holiness demanded that we pay the penalty for our sin, but His love supplied the payment. God is:
- All Powerful: Job 42:2; Ps. 115:3; Jer. 32:17; Matt. 19:26
- All knowing: Ps. 139:1-6; Isa. 46:9-10; John 2:25
- He does not change: Ps. 102:27; Heb. 13:8; James 1:17
- He is Holy: Exod. 15:11; Ps. 24:3; Isa. 40:25; Hab. 1:13
- He is eternal (No beginning and no ending): Deut. 33:27; Isa. 44:6; 57:15
- He is infinite: 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chron. 2:6; Ps. 147:5; Jer. 23:24; Acts 17:24-28
- God is separate from His creation, the source of all life, and is self-existing: Isa. 57:15
- God is completely present everywhere: Ps. 139:7-12; Jer. 23:23-24
- God is a spirit: John 1:18; 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15-16
- God is love: Hos. 11:4; Jer. 31:3; Mark 1:41; 10:16; 1 John 4:8, 10
- God is truth: Isa. 44:8-10; 45:5; Num. 23:19; Rom. 3:3-4; John 14:1, 2, 6; Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2
God the Son – (Jesus Christ) Is God in the flesh. Voluntarily sacrificed His own sinless life and intercedes from heaven for us.-Matt. 3:17
- Jesus had a virgin birth: Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35
- Jesus was fully God: Matt. 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 1:1; 1:14; 8:24, 58; 10:30; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20
- Jesus was fully God and fully man: Heb. 2:16-18; Matt. 1:18; 4:2; Luke 2:40; John 4:6; 8:40; 11:35; 19:28
- Jesus claimed the authority of God: Mark 2:10; 14:6; John 6:39-40; 10:17-18
- Jesus is the creator and the sustainer: John 1:3; Heb. 1:3; Col. 2:9
- Jesus had no beginning and has no end: John 8:57-58
- Jesus is part of the Trinity: John 1:1; Col. 1:15-19; 1 John 5:7-8; Luke 4:34
- Jesus is truth: John 1:17; 14:6; 18:37
- His birth, ministry, suffering and death were foretold: Isa. 7:14; 9:1-2; 52:13-115; 53; Jer. 23:5-6; Ps. 16:10; 22; 41:9; 68:18; 69:21; Mic. 5:2; Daniel 9:25; Zec. 9:9; 11:12
- His sacrifice on the cross conquered sin completely for all who believe on Him
God the Holy Spirit – Lives inside every believer to help us, to guide us, and to change us.
- The Holy Spirit has a will, mind, and feelings – a personality: 1 Cor. 2:10-11; Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 12:11; Acts 16:6-11
- The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, performs miracles, intercedes and guides us into truth by hearing, speaking, and showing: John 16:8; Acts 8:39; Rom. 8:26; John 16:13
- The Holy Spirit is God: Isa. 40:13; 1 Cor. 2:12; Ps. 139:7; Job 33:4; Rom. 8:2; Gal. 5:22; John 14:17
- The Holy Spirit was the cause of the virgin birth, was involved in the creation of the world, and was the vehicle in giving us the inspired Bible: Luke 1:35; Gen. 1:2; 2 Peter. 1:21
- The Holy Spirit is the Counselor and Comforter: John 14:16, 26
- The Holy Spirit lives inside of believers and will remain in them: John 14:17
- The Holy Spirit is the one who gives spiritual gifts: 1 Cor. 12:1-11
Salvation by Grace:
- “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9, NIV).
- “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4).
- This verse and its context plainly teach that if you believe that you are saved by faith and works then you are not saved at all. This is a common error in the cults. Because they have a false Jesus, they have a false doctrine of salvation. (Read Rom. 3-5 and Gal. 3-5).
- You cannot add to the work of God. Gal. 2:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (NIV)
- “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Rom. 3:20).
- “However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).
- “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law” (Gal. 3:21).
- The Bible in its original text, is the all inclusive, inerrant, divinely inspired word of God.
- 2 Tim. 3:16 – “16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
- John 14:25-26 “25All this I have spoken while still with you. 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
- Luke 12:11-12 – “11When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
- “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:8-9, NIV).
- Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self declarative statement that you must believe the gospel. The gospel message in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe.
- Furthermore, it would not be possible to present the gospel properly without declaring that Jesus is God in flesh per John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8.
- 1 Cor. 15:1-4 defines what the gospel is: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (NIV).
- Within these verses are the essentials: Christ is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9); Salvation is received by faith (John 1:12; Rom. 10:9-10), therefore it is by grace; and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4. Therefore, this gospel message automatically includes the essentials.
(There is only one God: Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5; Deut. 6:4)
- “You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
- You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
- but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments,” (Exodus 20:3-6).
We can see that God will visit iniquity on the descendants of those who do not follow the true and living God.
Jesus is the only way to salvation:
- “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me,'” (John 14:6) – Not very politically correct but nonetheless true.
- Jesus declared that he was the only access to God the Father. To deny this is to deny what Jesus said.
- John 3:18 – “18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”