I’ve been wanting to blog lately about various issues and how I approach them from a Christian world view. Before I do that, I thought it might be helpful to explain a few of the things that I (and other Biblical Christians) believe.
First, we believe the Bible.
You have probably heard Christians mentioning a verse here and there. And you may have inferred that we give a lot of weight to what it says. But it is more than that. The Bible is our ultimate authority. We believe that it speaks to every situation that we find ourselves in, either specifically or through principles. We believe that it is the word given to us from God.
You may think that we consider it something like a cosmic rule book, containing a bunch of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots.” It does have rules and laws, but it is much bigger than that. If I were to summarize the Bible in one sentence, it would be this: The Bible is the unified story that shows how God glorifies Himself by redeeming His fallen people. It is a wonderful story. And we believe that it is true.
Second, we believe that we are saved by grace through faith. That is a pretty full statement. Let me break it up.
We are saved. You may have heard us use that word before and wondered what we mean by it. Why do we need to be saved? What are we saved from? It is unpopular, but we believe that our sin has broken any chance we have of a relationship with God and has brought His wrath to us. Paul’s epistle to the Romans says this: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Rom 1:18)
What do we mean by sin? We mean any violation of God’s law. We have done things that have violated this law in one way or another: lying, lusting, coveting, stealing, being wrongly angry with people, etc. And what do we mean by wrath? Wrath is God’s perfect hatred of sin that results in a never-ending punishment.
By grace. We believe that we can not possibly do enough good to earn ourselves into a right relationship with God and out of His wrath. Grace means that in God’s kindness and love, He made up His mind to save people, not because they are worthy, but because He is kind. None of us can fully understand such grace because we are accustomed to trading for things or making payments. But we believe that we can’t buy God’s approval of us with anything that we have or anything that we can do.
Through faith. We believe that our only confidence in escaping wrath and having a repaired relationship with God is what God Himself has done. And what has He done? We believe that Jesus, even though He never sinned, took the punishment that our sins deserved. We could not do what He did. We cannot work hard enough to become righteous. Our only confidence is in what Jesus has done for us, not in any thing that we could do for ourselves. And we lay hold of that by believing that it was enough.
Third, we proclaim truth. We believe that because we are His and because Jesus has saved us and because He has defined the ultimate standards of this world, we should speak negatively when we see wrongs being done. And we should speak positively when we see things being done in a way that is consistent with the Bible. Sometimes this comes across hypocritically. I understand that. But we feel compelled to speak, nevertheless.
Fourth, we love. Christians have not done as well with this as we should. Everything we say should be “seasoned with salt,” yet some Christians seem more interested in picking a fight and being right than being kind. When we are unloving, it is wrong. I won’t give us a pass on this. Sadly, we often fail.
But it doesn’t change the truth that God’s love is in us and it is working its way out of us. And even when we love incompletely and show it poorly, we are still trying to love.
You love, too. But your reason for loving isn’t because you have been loved with an eternal, all-powerful, redeeming love. Perhaps you love because it feels right. Or maybe it’s because you have a philosophical conviction that it is good. Or maybe you don’t even know why, but you love anyway. But we love because we believe that we have been loved first by the author of love and the redeemer of our lives. We love because He first loved us.
Fifth, we worship. Our hearts yearn for something that isn’t in this world. We seek (and find) ultimate satisfaction in God alone. Worshiping God in everything that we do and say is our reason for living. Obviously we don’t achieve this goal, but we strive for it nonetheless.
Sixth, we are inconsistent people. The previous three points really bear this out. We proclaim the truth inconsistently. We love inconsistently. We worship inconsistently. Everything that we do is imperfect. But that does more to confirm what I am writing than to disprove it. We believe that this world is broken by sin and will that way until God restores all things. That brokenness includes us. We are saved from the wrath of God and we are being made new, but we are not perfect yet. We strive for perfection, but we will never attain it – not in this life, anyway. Our hope is not in ourselves to save ourselves, but in God who saves us through the work of Jesus. And while we are inconsistent, He is not.
This is just a partial summary of what we believe. Volumes have been written over the years detailing all of these points – and many more. But I think this is a good foundation for what I hope to write in the future.