Enjoying a Relationship with God Forever – A Summary of the Christian Faith

What is Christianity all about? Why are people so interested in it? Why do people give their lives for it? Why do more than a billion people follow it? Here is my brief summary of the main points of the Christian faith and its significance.

When we talk about the Christian faith, we begin and end with God Himself. Most people of the world believe there is a God, and that is the standpoint from which we begin.

When we think about God, we know that He is far greater than us. He made the earth and the heavens in all their splendor and variety. He made the complexity of our cells and the vast expanse of the universe. He’s far greater than we could imagine.

He is also good. We see this in the beauty of the universe, in the amazing provision this world offers us, and the way we can enjoy so many good things in this world. God has made this world so we can know Him and experience good things.

God is also holy. This means that He is pure in every way. He wants us to be pure. We all have a sense of right and wrong that we did not invent and that we cannot just dismiss. This is our conscience. We all have a sense that right and wrong is not just a preference or something convenient for us. Instead, it comes from our Creator, requires us to do right, and points us to the holiness of God.

When we think about humans, one thing we know about them is that they are created for God and to connect with God. They can know who God is. Within us all is a sense that we can pray. We also have a sense of God’s commands and that we are to live before Him. We are created to connect with God. Continue reading “Enjoying a Relationship with God Forever – A Summary of the Christian Faith”

5 Things Christians Should Do to Engage in Our Polarized Political Environment

There is no question that we face a very polarized political environment in our nation. As Christians, we are involved in this world, and we experience the common anxiety of our society. Our anxiety keeps us from engaging in a thoughtful and sympathetic way. At the same time, we know we have a calling to seek the kingdom of God first. The challenge is daunting.

The Bible provides a foundation for us to not only get by in this environment. It provides us a framework that will enable us to thrive and flourish. “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green . . .” (Psalm 92:14). To continue to bear fruit, we will have to be rooted in that which will enable us to flourish. We can flourish and bear fruit, but it won’t be easy. Many things will come at us that would uproot us and keep us from engaging well in these challenging times.

So, how should we root ourselves in our faith that enables us to be fruitful in these difficult times?

1. Root our emotions in the transcendent reality of Christ & His promises rather than on the changeable circumstances of life. The Apostle Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). It’s easy to root our emotions on what happens day by day, and I am not suggesting that we feel nothing about these things. Rather, I am suggesting that at our deepest level, our emotions must be driven by the hope we have in Christ. This gives us a rock and firm foundation in the midst of a troubled and anxious world. We may mourn but not as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). Continue reading “5 Things Christians Should Do to Engage in Our Polarized Political Environment”

The Meaning of the Circumcision of Christ

The circumcision of Christ may seem like an odd topic, but it is an event that the church has remembered and celebrated as the 8th day of Christmas. Right after the famous Christmas passage about the shepherds, we have the less famous passage about the circumcision of Christ: “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived” (Luke 2:21). This was the time in which Jesus was officially inducted into the people of God and given the name Jesus.

This event has a much greater significance for Jesus and for us. John Milton has captured in a beautiful poem the abiding significance of this event for Christians. Here it is:

Upon the Circumcision

Ye flaming Powers, and wingèd Warriors bright,
That erst with music, and triumphant song,
First heard by happy watchful Shepherds’ ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along,
Through the soft silence of the listening night,—
Now mourn; and if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distill no tear, Continue reading “The Meaning of the Circumcision of Christ”

The Father’s Plan of Redemption

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, it is clear that Satan can do what he does only because God permits it. Why does God permit Satan to enter earth and successfully tempt Eve? In order to show God’s glory in the work of redemption. Milton’s description of God’s decree of redemption a beautiful statement of God’s love.

The Father’s Decree of Redemption
After this determination to fight “war then war,” Satan comes up with a plan to find the new planet of which they had heard rumors. The goal is to disrupt “the Enemy’s” plan. The Father in heaven sees what Satan is doing, decrees to permit the fall, and then decrees to redeem the world through His Son. I found the conversation of the Father and the Son particularly moving.

Milton attempts to describe the glory of the Son as that of the glory of the divine Father:

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance filled all heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect sense of new joy ineffable diffused. Beyond compare the Son of God was seen most glorious; in him all his Father shone substantially expressed; and in his face divine compassion visibly appeared, love without end, and without measure grace; which uttering, thus he to his Father spake (3.135–143).

Continue reading “The Father’s Plan of Redemption”

What We Believe About Jesus

Here is a brief catechism on what we believe about who Jesus Christ is. It explains what we believe and the basis of believing that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God in two distinct natures, God and man. Note: there is more to the catechism. I’m beginning this with Question #7.

7. Who is Jesus Christ? He is the eternal Son of God.

8. Why do we believe that Jesus is the one, true God? Because the Bible teaches that and calls Him that. “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Ps. 45:6). “This is the name by which He shall be called, Yahweh (the proper name for God) our righteousness” (Jer. 23:6). “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28)! “Christ, who is over all, the eternally blessed God” (Rom. 9:5). “Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13). “He is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:20). Continue reading “What We Believe About Jesus”