Christian Beliefs 101

What is Christianity?

Christianity is the religion that restores us to right standing with God

Christianity is the religion based on the teachings and the person of Jesus, the Messiah, or Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus, the son of God, is the Messiah which Jews are waiting for but don’t accept. The eyes and the hearts of Jews have been blinded, Romans 11:25, as God uses the 2,000-year time period we are now in, called the Church age, to bring out a people from among the Gentiles who are called Christians.

Messiah was the title given in the Old Testament to the one who would come from God to save his people. This is referred to as salvation. This salvation had to do with restoring the Jewish people to their original relationship to God which they lost thru years of disobedience and idol worship. This salvation also serves as the basis of Christianity.

Christianity Returns It’s Followers to the Relationship that God Originally Intended for Mankind

Christianity is the religion that returns its followers to the original relationship that God intended his people to have when he created Adam and Eve. This relationship was broken when Adam committed his rebellious sin in the Garden Eden. When Adam committed his sin of rebellion his nature changed, he now had the capacity to know good as well as evil. He was created to know only good. Not to mention that when he sinned he essentially turned his authority over what God had created for him, the earth, to the Devil. If you read the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis 3, you will see that once Adam ate of the forbidden fruit his eyes were opened, in essence his nature changed. The Devil, who is called Satan, said that if Adam & Eve ate of the forbidden fruit they would be like God. This rebellious act by Adam, not Eve, plunged mankind into a fallen nature – a separation from fellowship with God. Christianity offers the opportunity to return to the original relationship with God by accepting Jesus as God’s son.

Christianity Has It’s Roots in the Old Testament

As you can see Christianity has it’s roots in the Old Testament. So in order to understand why it is necessary to become a Christian we must understand a few basics of the Old Testament and the relationship the Jews had with God. Remember, and this is important, Christianity has not replaced Jews or Judaism (the religion of the Jews), but by accepting Jesus Christians are grafted into Judaism (Ephesians 2:11-13, Ephesians 2:19, Romans 11:17-24, Ephesians 3:6

When Jesus came to this earth it was as the Savior of His people, the Jews. But they rejected him and God’s plan was to add a new group of people to his family – those that would accept his son Jesus. This is found in the book of Romans 11:11-31.

The Original Sin of Adam – A Crime Against God

When Adam sinned against God and the nature of mankind changed, a crime was committed against God. This crime came with a penalty or better said – a curse (Genesis 3:17). The penalty for this crime was separation from God. Because of the fact that Adam’s nature changed he was no longer capable of having fellowship with God the way he did before his sin of rebellion. The sin was so monumental that all those who were born after Adam now had this new nature built into them. This meant that everyone born from Adam was born with a curse that included separation from God. This original sin was transferred from man to his children. This sin is not transferred by women to their children. Anyone who was born of a man (and this is everyone except Jesus) had this new nature in them which was separation from God.

Approaching God in the Old Testament – Covering Our Sin With the Blood of Innocent Animals

God saw that his creation was now separated from him. He instituted a plan that would allow his people to approach him. God is holy and approaching him was no longer available as it was with Adam before his downfall. Now in order to approach God the blood of innocent animals had to be shed (Hebrew 9:22).

This plan required the sacrifice of animals and offerings to God (Leviticus 1-9). All of this was done in order to cover up the sinful nature that was now part of all mankind. An innocent animal was killed and its blood was shed to show the seriousness of the sinful nature that mankind must now deal with. All of Israel now had to follow extensive rules in order to cover up their sin. Lambs, goats, bulls, and rams were slaughtered and their blood was offered as a covering for the sin of mankind. This was called atonement. This went on for the entirety of the Old Testament. But God had another plan to restore mankind to relationship with Him, a better plan. One that didn’t involve the blood of innocent animals.

Christianity Requires Atonement – The Death of God’s Son Jesus on the Cross

God was going to send His son to die on a cross as an innocent lamb (Isaiah 53:7) for a one time final offering for sin (John 1:29). No longer would the blood of innocent animals cover up our sin. The death of His son Jesus on the cross as the Lamb of God would now permanently take away our sin and restore us to fellowship with God the Father thru the shedding of the blood of the innocent Lamb of God. The blood of Jesus was offered up as a final sacrifice to remove the original sin we were born with because of Adam’s rebellion, our being born with a fallen nature.

Wasn’t Jesus Also Born With a Fallen Nature?

No. The fallen nature required that a person be born from a human father. That is how this original sin is passed down from generation to generation – from father to son/daughter. That fact speaks to the importance of the miraculous birth of Jesus. Jesus wasn’t born of a man. His birth was a miracle from God. This was prophesied in the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah 7:14. Because Jesus wasn’t born with this fallen nature he was what God considered to be the perfect sacrifice to atone for the sin of mankind. He was the sinless Lamb of God.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” –John 1:29

Christianity Revolves Around the Virgin Birth of Jesus

An angel appeared to Mary and told her she would conceive a child from God. Luke 1:26-37 describes in detail that she will conceive a child as a virgin. Christianity revolves around the virgin birth, the sinless life and the atoning death of Jesus who is called the Christ (the anointed one). Jesus was not born of a man, so he was sinless. And because he was sinless he was capable of paying the price that God required for Adam’s sin of rebellion.

Jesus is Considered to be the Last Adam

Because of the sinless nature of Jesus he is referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 as the last Adam. The price that had to be paid to restore fallen man to fellowship with God was the death of a sinless man. And Jesus was the only other person born without sin. That is how serious the whole idea of sin is to God. It prevents a person from truly knowing the nature and character of God. The sin was so serious that God’s son had to die on a cross for the redemption of all mankind. This thing that was done by Jesus on our behalf is why he is so revered in the Christian religion – or should be! He willingly gave his life for all mankind in order that fellowship with God could be obtained. That is why Jesus said in the book of John that no one comes to the Father except thru Him.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” –John 14:6

Jesus is Our Advocate With God the Father

Jesus is a King and is currently seated at the right hand of God our Father until such time as Jesus returns to the earth to gather his people at the rapture and then returns to begin his reign with an earthly kingdom with he destruction of the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon. His presence before God is on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24 says that he entered the holy place made by God and is there on our behalf.

Jesus will continue in heaven seated at the right hand of God until he returns to the earth to set up his kingdom. This is found in Revelation 11:15-17 where the 7th trumpet sounds and voices in heaven begin shouting that the Lord is now beginning to reign on earth.

Jews Rejected Jesus When He Was Here on Earth

The Jewish religion, does not recognize that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Religious Jews have been waiting thousands of years for their Messiah but didn’t recognize him in the days when he walked here on earth. The religious/political environment of that day prevented them from seeing Jesus for who he really was. They missed the fact that their Messiah had already come to the earth.

Because of this fact, the rejection of the Messiah, God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to add a group of people to his chosen people Israel – Christians. This is discussed in Ephesians 3:1-6 when the apostle Paul talks about how God gave him a mystery which was that Gentiles (non-Jews) who would believe in Jesus would now be included in the family of God (referred to as the body of Christ). This mystery will continue until the end of the age when massive, unfathomable, and severe destruction will overtake the earth and Jesus returns to set up his earthly kingdom. His return occurs at the Battle of Armageddon in Revelation 19:11-21.

more to come on this subject…..

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Gregg F. Swift, J.D.