Why Christianity and what is it?
Christianity is the faith that is founded on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a faith that is lived by grace, but with the willingness to be constantly changing from within through the power of a loving God. Christianity recognizes that human beings cannot change themselves, no matter how good they think they are, because each human being is created with a spiritual void – hence the need to allow God to dwell within the heart and make the change. Christianity simply means, “Christ-in”, or Christ lives within the heart. Therefore, Christ-in people are followers of Jesus Christ. Christians were originally called, “followers of the Way.”1
Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus is the Holy Son of God. He was God revealed in the flesh. He lived among human beings in the land of Israel over 2,000 years ago. At His first coming, He was given to the world in the form of a human baby, through a girl named Mary, who was a virgin, before she got married to her fiancé, Joseph.
God’s power made it possible for Mary to conceive, therefore, Jesus’ conception and birth was holy. After His resurrection, Jesus returned to Heaven; but He promised His followers that He will return again to earth at God’s appointed time. At His second coming, He will return to judge the world, this time, not as a baby, but as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.2
Why was it necessary for Jesus to die?
Because of our sin. The first people to sin were Adam and Eve. When Adam sinned, his spiritual life died and left a void in his life. From then on, he could no longer live in the presence of God and communicate directly with Him. Because of this original sin, which now permeates humanity, and discloses itself in many forms, none of Adam’s descendants is holy and therefore no one can save himself, or herself. Though Jesus was born in the land of Israel to a Jewish mother, His death and bodily resurrection made it possible for anyone who repents of sin and chooses to follow Him, to be saved by grace, regardless of their race; whether they’re rich or poor; highly educated, or not; male, or female.3
The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace through faith, not a reward for good works.4 No one can gain salvation through scientific experimentation, or self-realization; salvation is a spiritual transformation through a simple, child-like faith that believes that Jesus saves. Supposing a father tells his child he is going to the store to get the child a box of chocolate and he will return in an hour, the child will sit and wait, trusting that the father will return with a box of chocolate in an hour. If the child asks any question, it would probably be something like, “Is Daddy home yet? Is it almost an hour? How long is an hour? Can I stand outside and wait for Daddy to come home with my box of chocolate?” It is most unlikely that the child will get into a long dissertation over the merits, or demerits of a box of chocolate, or his dad’s promise, let alone run around the house looking for chores to do so he can earn his box of chocolate. His father made the promise, his father will fulfill his promise. Those who become followers of Jesus do so by faith in God’s saving power through Christ. Jesus Christ is a gift to anyone who humbles himself, or herself, and receives Him.5
Jesus said to His disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never enter into the Kingdom of God.” 6
For more about Followers of Jesus Christ, please read the Christian Bible, and contact the pastor of a local evangelical church, if you can find one close to you.
New King James Version (NKJV)
The Book: The New Living Translation (NLT)
1. John 14: 6; Romans 10: 9; Acts 11: 25.
2. John 1: 1 – 18; Luke 1: 26 – 38; Acts 1: 6 – 11; Revelation 19: 11 – 16.
3. Genesis 3: 1 – 24; John 1: 29 – 31; I Corinth 15: 21 – 22.
4. Ephesians 2: 8 – 9.
5. Romans 5: 1 – 2.
6. Luke 18: 16 – 17
Is Christianity only about, “Thou shalt not?”
The answer? No. Christianity is not about forbidding people to have fun. If you grew up in a loving home, with decent parents, chances are your parents laid down ground rules for the family – rules designed to keep you safe and help you grow and mature into a good citizen that would honor your family name, because your parents loved you. You learned the consequences of not obeying your parents. For example, getting yourself into scrapes from which your parents had to rescue you, sometimes, at a great cost to them. Consider acceptable behavior in your home as, “Thou shalt” and unacceptable behavior as, “Thou shalt not.” If you loved your parents, you obeyed them.
Setting boundaries are what parents do. You may kick and yell when you’re young, but when you become an adult, if you’re like other people, one of your regrets would most likely be that you didn’t obey your parents more often. Furthermore, those who go on to become parents soon find themselves in the same situation as their parents were – i.e, setting perimeters for their children, or calling their own parents for guidance on how to raise children. Parents who don’t set boundaries for their children fail to do so at their own peril.
God is the Loving Father and Creator of the universe. He set up rules in the Bible, by which we can approach His throne.1 The Holy Bible helps Christians look into God’s heart, understand His character and know how they should relate to Him as God and Father through Christ, and also relate to other human beings. Like a caring, protective parent, God built a fort through the blood of Jesus Christ to shut out the enemy and protect those who choose to submit to Him. Within the fort, followers of Christ, God‟s children, can roam freely. Outside the fort are all kinds of spiritual dangers that will destroy.2
The Bible is more than just guidelines, the Bible sets the standard by which followers of Christ can live to please God, their Father. Standards such as:
• Because God is holy, we must also be holy
• God does not tempt us to sin (do wrong), neither is He tempted with sin
• Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself
When believers observe standards provided to help them emulate God’s character, they honor God as good children honor their loving parent.3
Therefore, the, “Thou shalt not” of the Bible is intended to protect believers from being lured away from their faith, thus separated from God and ultimately destroyed forever. The, “Thou shalt” is intended to keep believers in the safe haven of God’s protective love and power here on earth, as many who have experienced His grace will testify. Ultimately, followers of Christ who remain faithful, will get their reward when they enter into God’s presence to live with Him forever.4
1. Matthew 22: 34 – 40, The Greatest Commandment, a summary of Exodus 20: 1 – 17.
2. John 10: 1 – 21.
3. 1 Peter 1: 13 – 16; James 1: 12 – 16 ; Mark 11: 22 – 25; Luke 10: 25ff.
4. Revelation 21: 1ff.
ff = and the verses following.
Why does scientific proof not outweigh spiritual belief?
Science can be a form of religion, as much as any other belief out there. It takes faith to believe all meaning of life can only be explained under a microscope, without factoring a super power into the equation. If science is approached as a religion, its followers also need a savior, since all human beings fall short of God‟s glory (Rom 3:23).
On the contrary, those who believe in God do not believe that science approached properly contradicts spiritual belief. Followers of Christ believe that when science is used to seek the truth, it can enhance our understanding of God’s world, because it shows the expanse, magnitude and majesty of God and the complexity of His mind when He created this intricate, beautiful and sometimes downright humorous world. (Isaiah 40: 12 – 26; 45: 5 – 13; Job 38: 1 ff; Psalm 104.)
Science deals with the tangible – what you can see (whether through a microscope, or bare eyes), what you can touch and what you can smell – and it satisfies the intellect. Godly faith deals with the intangible, the invisible – the human soul (Matthew 10: 28). It is not wise for science to argue that whatever can’t be proven in a laboratory is not real. Faith in God’s power is what makes the invisible visible (Hebrew 11: 1). Jesus used the wind to illustrate the Spirit (John 3: 5 – 8). We all know the wind exists, but we can’t touch it. One preacher expanded further on this concept: no one can see the wind, but we can all see its effect when it blows tree branches, or lifts up a piece of paper, or debris (emphasis added).
In 2006 while driving back from San Diego over Valentine’s weekend, a replay of an old sermon of Evangelist Billy Graham was on the radio. Dr. Graham used the example of a mother’s love. We all know that our mothers love us, at least, those of us who are, or were, blessed with loving mothers. He asked a rhetorical question, “How can you prove the love of a mother in a laboratory?” The simple answer is you can’t. On the other hand, just because we can’t prove a mother’s love under a microscope, does that mean a mother’s loves is not real? So it is with God and God’s love. We see evidence that God exists, we experience His love, but we can’t prove His existence in a test-tube
The closest human beings ever came to feeling and touching God was Jesus Christ on earth, Jesus Christ on the cross and Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead – with scars where nails had been hammered into His flesh, for our sake ( Luke 24: 35 – 48).
Let’s say you come to a dark house, on a cold, freezing winter night and all you have is a candle, which someone told you will help you; but your friend has a permanent solution and gives you instructions on how you can meet your need.
“There’s a switch on the right hand wall, as you enter. It’ll turn on both the light and the heat,” your friend tells you, as you’re entering the house.
“That’s a dumb idea, I don’t believe in electricity,” you reply, shivering.
“Well, turn on the switch, and the light will come on,” your friend coaxes you.
“No. I don’t believe in electricity. I don’t believe it exists.”
“Well, how will you know, unless you turn on the switch?”
“No, no, no! I don’t touch that stuff,” you emphatically refuse.
“It’s already paid for, all you need to do is turn on the switch and you’ll bask in a warm, lighted room.”
“Go away. Leave me alone! I don’t believe in that stuff. It’s all a fable anyway!”
Your friend leaves and you continue to sit in the cold, dark room, watching your one candle light flicker, hoping it will last the night.
Unless you stir yourself, and turn on the switch, you will sit in the cold, dark room and freeze, when all along, you could’ve had a warm, lighted room, free of charge. The switch that will bring you the Light is the Name of Jesus Christ and the Light is Jesus Christ himself (John 12: 46).
Science used properly should be a complement to spiritual faith; used as an end in itself, it becomes a religion that emphasizes the human intellect above all else. All intelligence originates with God, the Creator. It takes more faith to believe the world just exploded into existence, than it does to believe some Super Being, must have brought everything into existence and put the universe in order.
Bible References: Psalm 14: 1 (a), Psalm 111:10
I’m basically a good person, do I still need to be saved?
No one is good enough to save themselves, only God alone can save through His grace and love. Since the first human beings disobeyed God and sinned against Him, everyone born after them has a spiritual void – a chasm – that separates them from God. Because God is holy, and our sin separates us from Him, it was necessary for a holy person to take our place, so that we could be re-connected to God, without going through sacrificial rituals to atone for our sins, every time we wish to communicate with Him (Hebrews 9: 1 – 10). Early people were scared of coming within close vicinity of God (Exodus 20:19). God sent Jesus down from heaven to reconcile us to Him. Without the blood of Jesus that washes away our sin, no one could approach God, without risking being destroyed (Hebrews 9: 11 – 12).
Supposing sin was not an issue, could the basic good of a person save them? If it were possible that someone could be so good as to be admitted into heaven on his, or her, own merit, what about the other people? What would become of those who are not so good, but who still wish to go to heaven? A seeker, who was looking for guidance on how to have eternal life called Jesus, “Good Teacher”. Jesus refused to be flattered. He replied that no one is good, except God (Matthew 19: 17). God knows that the human heart hides unpleasant thoughts (Jeremiah 17: 9), so, if the secrets hidden in our hearts were revealed, even those who may think they are good, would have to admit that they’re no better than the other people.
Moreover, if salvation was by works, what would become of people who couldn’t work as hard as other people, or who were physically unable to work? That is not to say that God approves of laziness, but rather, in giving up His Son for our sake, God empathized with our inability to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. As a Loving Father, He does not discriminate against anyone, provided we obey His standard.
What about if salvation was based on good looks? What would become of those who are homely? Would it be fair to confine them to hell? How about intelligence? Some people have such high IQs, their IQs are off the charts. Would it be fair to admit people into heaven based on their intelligence?
The Bible says, “But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:24 – 25, The Book).
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men,” is the New King James’ Version (NKJV) of I Corinth 1:25.
To God, self-focused accolades are less than nothing because He is completely complete in Himself and if He chose to, He could start from scratch; but through His mercy and grace, He chose not to renege on His promise to Himself to save human beings (Isaiah 40: 18 – 26, Ephesians 2: 4 – 7). He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, because of the spiritual chasm that separates all human beings from Him.
God created human beings in His image and gave us the privilege to be the highest among creation; yet we cannot save ourselves, no matter how good we may perceive ourselves to be. No one person is the same as another person, even in a family setting, among identical twins. Each person is created with some unique feature, or characteristic. One important gift God gave each person is a will. The will is what gives us the ability to make choices. The American people value their freedom. Adam chose to exercise his free will to disobey God and he lost paradise for the rest of the human race (Genesis 3).
God does not wish for anybody to perish. He wishes everyone to be saved, but the human will is what will determine where each person will end (2 Peter 3:8). By giving us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, God once more gave the opportunity to human beings to exercise their free will. God already did everything for us.
Christ is God’s equalizer to ensure that anybody who chooses to submit to Him, can enter into His Kingdom and live with Him when this world dissolves and a new heaven and a new earth is brought into existence (Revelation 21:1ff). Anybody means anybody – male and female, the young and old, the poor and rich, the plain and the beautiful, the uneducated and the highly educated, the simple and the most brilliant. The definitive phrase is “anyone who chooses to submit.” Salvation is a spiritual gift by grace through faith in what has already been accomplished for us, not an innate gift (Ephesians 2: 8 – 9).
Other References: Romans 5:12, Rom 3: 21 – 28.
If salvation is by grace do I have to make a choice?
God created every creature with a basic will to choose – animals of the wild, birds of the air, even fishes of the sea – they all make choices, when to eat, when to sleep, when to move from one place to another. It would have been astounding if God had given all the living creatures that special gift, except human beings.
Let’s say your doctor recommended that you should watch your health, for longevity. He recommended the healthiest diet to strengthen your body, what more, the food will be provided to you free, the only catch is, you have to lift your hand, take the food, put it in your mouth, chew and swallow. You follow the Doctor’s directions and enter a room. You’re hungry. On the table is a spread of the most delectable, healthy meal any human being could order, ever – the food is perfect, just as your Doctor ordered; but, you choose to exercise your freedom. So, you sit down and stare at the food; or you turn and walk away, saying, “There’re many ways to feed my stomach.” Will observing the food fill your empty stomach automatically?
Or, how about some action?
You bring in the best microscope and spend hours examining the food for scientific proof that it will fill you, but you don’t eat it. You invite other esteemed scientists and invest more hours with your eyes stuck to the microscope, comparing notes, but you refuse to eat; or, you order endless rounds of pizza and fried food (no offense intended) and you and your friends have an impromptu pizza party, your eyes glued to the tube. You write papers and present your findings in symposiums before yet more esteemed colleagues. You call press conferences to defend your findings and go on a quest to prove that the diet is nothing but a myth that can only be embraced by people with soft gray matters upstairs – definitely not great intellectuals with open minds – but you ignore your doctor’s orders. If you starve, or your body hurts from eating the wrong food, or worse, whose fault would it be?
Good parents who love their children, glow with joy and pride when their children return their love voluntarily. No loving parent wants a robot for a child. God is the ultimate Father. He gave us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ; but, He also gave each person the will to choose. It is that apparent control over our own destiny that gives us the illusion of having so much power – power to follow the broad way that leads to destruction, or power to follow the narrow way that leads to life. Therefore, choose wisely (Matthew 7: 13 – 14; Luke 13: 22 – 30).
How do I become a Christian, or a follower of Jesus Christ?
Jesus told Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader, to go through the process of spiritual birth by faith (John 3: 1 – 21, The Book). Apostle Paul, said, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10: 9, The Book).
If you have decided to throw in your lot with God through Christ and you have a believer who can walk you through the process, ask them to help you, otherwise, you may say this prayer, or a prayer similar to the one below:
“Father, I thank you for the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Thank you that in dying on the cross, Jesus accomplished everything, so that I don’t have to depend on my strength to be holy. I know I’m a sinner. I believe and confess that Jesus is Savior and Lord and that He died on the cross and rose from the dead for my sin. From now on, I repent of my sins and I choose to return to you. Lord God, my Father, I choose to submit to Jesus as Lord and I invite Him to come into my life and live in my heart as my Savior and Lord. Father keep me from evil, and teach me to walk in your way and grow in my knowledge of you. Thank you for saving me, in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, or something similar, you are now a follower of Christ and a member of His Body. You can seek a pastor to baptize you. Also, start reading the Bible regularly to gain a better understanding of how to live and grow as follower of Christ. If you don’t have a Bible already, you may find a version in your language at a local bookstore, or online.
I’ve become a follower of Christ. What next?
Please contact a pastor from a local church (or a gathering of believers) in your area – a church that teaches the Bible and how to get saved by grace through Jesus Christ. If the church does not teach that salvation is a free gift to all who repent, continue to search, until you find one that does.
Once you connect to a church, attend regularly and become involved with church activities, such as Bible study and serving others, that will help you grow as a member of the Body of Christ.
If you are unable to find a suitable church, continue to read the Bible and ask God to give you a better understanding of who He is and how He can help you grow through Jesus Christ. Believe, in due course, God will provide a way. He always does.
For additional resources, please go to www.ibelievebuthelp.info, or click here: ibelievebuthelp
What do BC and AD mean?
BC = Before Christ
BC started with the ancient times, the prophets, the matriarchs and the patriarchs who walked with God.The BC era started before the Patriarch Abraham and culminated in the era of The Laws of Moses and the Prophets. Before Christ, God spoke to His people through the prophets He had selected. Believers had to offer sacrifices frequently to atone for their sins and God held the prophets responsible for passing His message to His people.To understand more, please read the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible (aka the Christian Old Testament).
AD = Anno Domini = After Christ
After the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. The AD era is known as the era of the Dispensation of Grace. The office of the prophets ceased with Christ, the Ultimate Prophet. Since then, all who believe in Christ have the indwelling power of God in their hearts. They no longer need to go through a prophet to intercede for them. By submitting to God through Christ, believers have a direct relationship with God through His transforming power that works from within out. To understand more, please read the New Testament.
The Dispensation of the Law required believers to be holy, reverence the Lord God and walk humbly with Him; so does the Dispensation of Grace.
Will God hear my prayers? Or how do I pray?
Please go www.ibelievebuthelp.info, or click here: Online prayer help
If Jesus is the Son of God, why do Christians tolerate the misuse of His Name?
Like anybody who loves someone, Followers of Christ are offended by the misuse of the Names of the LORD and of Jesus Christ; but they also know that God is bigger and He will defend His Name. To use our modern day language, God is a Big Boy, He is more than capable of defending His name.
In truth, it is those who profane God’s name who should be afraid. The Bible says our God is not only a loving Father to His children, but He is also a consuming fire to those who oppose Him.
Another passage talks about just because God is silent, it doesn’t mean He‟s asleep at the wheel. Yet another passage says God does not desire that any should perish, but He wants everyone to have a chance to get saved, so they too can live with Him forever, in the new world. So, if it appears that the mockers of Jesus Christ seem to get away with it, it’s because God in His mercy is patiently waiting for those who wish to come to their senses and repent and submit to Him as LORD GOD.
Our current world is living under the Dispensation of Grace. This era started with the ascension of Christ to Heaven and will end with His return to collect His followers. During the period of the Dispensation of Grace, God does not necessarily mete out immediate judgment on the world, lest He wipes out those who would have come into His kingdom.
As long as the door is open, anyone who repents, can come it. The time will come when the door will be closed. Jesus said the only sin that will not be forgiven is the sin against the Holy Spirit. He also said that everyone will be judged by the words they have spoken (Matthew 12:31-37).
So, it is better to revere the Lord, no matter what the trend is.