I have read many statements of faith, and it has come to my attention that people like to crap-ify them with meaningless or irrelevant data.
The idea of a statement of faith is to claim the scriptural ideas that define you or your group as Christian. Don’t bother putting specific theologies that do not directly affect salvation or daily Christian living.
Things Pertaining to Salvation and God
- God is spirit (John 4:24), and Jesus is body and one with God (John 10:22-42)
Many evangelical Christians are taught from day one that we believe in a Trinitarian God, meaning one God, with three persons. There is evidence both for and against this, but I do not want to make my theology on God a stumbling block for people, and I don’t believe telling people “I don’t know,” is a valid answer to who God is/how He works, because scripture says that if we ask in faith, God will provide (Matthew 7:7-12). I believe that God is also the Holy Spirit. My roots for this is back to the Old Testament, where God firmly states on multiple occasions that He is One, and I don’t think this ideology should be forgotten simply because we are living in the “New Testament.”
- Salvation comes through grace by faith (Ephesians 2:1-5)
People will say that this is explicitly through Jesus Christ, but because I equate Jesus to God, I think it is more accurate to say that it is faith in God. If we say salvation is only through faith in Jesus, although Evangelicals all agree Jesus is God, Jesus was born around 6 BC, which means that everyone before that had absolutely no hope. If you say sacrifice is acceptable to attain salvation, then outside of God, we could sacrifice in the “right ways” to attain a one-way ticket into heaven, and that certainly can’t be right.
Let me also break down some terms here. When this verse means we need faith, it refers to understanding a connection between Jesus’ work by death and resurrection and our personal salvation. If we can believe that what Jesus did can result in salvation, then I think you are fulfilling what this verse refers to as salvation. When the verse says grace, it means that we are not able to attain salvation outside God’s provision, and it is not attainable by our personal action. This leads into my next point…
- Salvation is offered to all (1 Timothy 2:1-6), but it is only valid for the “elect” (John 15:16; Ephesians 1:4-5, 11)
I’ll admit, I’ve struggled to balance these ideas, because I have to believe that God is fair (in His justice), but I also have to believe that God can do whatever He desires with His creation. It seems that God both gave free will, but before creation predetermined what was going to happen. The best reference I have had to balance these two ideas is Jeremiah 1:5. God says that He knew Jeremiah while he was still in the womb. God didn’t just know of Jeremiah, but God knew all about Jeremiah, how he thinks and how he will develop. God knows all that will happen because He has seen it – God is not restrained by time as we are, and God can interfere in anything He desires to. I can’t justify God in how He desires to act, but I can say this shouldn’t be how we justify all bad things in the world. Romans 8:28 says that God will work all things for the good of those who love Him in accordance to His purpose.
- Jesus was God incarnate (John 14:5-14), and died and was resurrected by His own power (John 19-20)
Jesus being fully man is quite easy to declare, but as soon as Jesus is God incarnate, people can get quite upset. Determining whether or not Jesus was God incarnate is a good cult test; most cults say that Jesus was just a very good man (some will say that He was able to attain god-status by his closeness to God). The next point battles against a humanistic point of view – all people die at some point, according to science, but once they’re dead, they are dead. Yes, there is resuscitation, but that only works for a brief amount of time. Resurrection is the main point of the gospel, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. If Jesus was not resurrected, then we could say He was a good man, and certainly did good things, but it would be impossible to say that He was God.
Things Pertaining to Humanity and Daily Living
- Christians must love God with their entire being (Deuteronomy 6:4-6), and love others the way they wish to be loved (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:28-34)
When we love God with our entire being, we will not sin against Him. When we love other people the way we wish to be loved, we wouldn’t sin against them. These laws effectually make you automatically follow the 10 commandments. This is one of those unconditional biblical laws that should always be followed.
- Christians must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9-10)
I don’t mean that everyday, you need to declare this, but as a Christian, you should be able to acknowledge this statement as truth.
- Christians should be baptized (Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 3:10-12)
People get very easily offended on this topic. Jesus says for the disciples to baptize all people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. John the Baptist, however, gives some great insight into baptism – John baptizes with water, but Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Do you know what this means? That water baptism is not required. We need the Holy Spirit – and we don’t need to get soaked to ask God for that. The act of dunking a head in water, or sprinkling water onto someone has no particular meaning to God. That action is just for mankind as a symbol of a change in lifestyle. This doesn’t make the baptism ceremony less valid, however. It is a good opportunity to declare a life-commitment to Jesus, and is certainly a good place to witness to friends who are not Christians.