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My story goes something like this: Years ago, I opened my heart to the possiblity that God exists, the historical Jesus was actually God in the flesh (perfect and sinless), that he died died for me so that I could be reconciled with my Creator, and he physically rose from the dead.
When I opened my heart to those possibilities, the Spirit confimed them. I could FEEL it. And I KNEW it in my heart to be true. BUT, for too long, I stopped there. I didn't dig any deeper... not REALLY anyway.
If you call yourself a Christian, it is very important to know what you believe and why you believe it. This may sound simple, but it takes a lot of study and a lot of thinking. I wanted to share the following with everyone. It is from the Christian Research Institute and it is the very basics of Christian doctrine. Know it, love it, live it!
When we talk about the essentials of Christianity we're referring to the basic elements that make up and characterize our faith, and which, of course, separate it from other beliefs. Let's survey these doctrines.
First, we believe in the authority of Scripture, which is another way of saying that the Bible is God's inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word. It's the ultimate source for knowledge about God, as well as the definitive guide for our daily lives.
Next we affirm the existence of a triune God or one God in three distinct persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This God is self-existent, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy, righteous, and loving. God created the universe from nothing and He rules over His creation sovereignly including both human and angelic beings.
We also hold that man is a physical and spiritual being who is created in God's image. But because of his sin or transgression, man has lost his fellowship with God. The extent of sin is so great that its effects continue to this very day in the form of cruelty, suffering, and death.
By God's grace, Jesus Christ - Who is fully God and fully man - was sent to save us from our bondage to sin. We believe that Christ was born of a virgin, died for our sins, physically rose from the dead, and will one day return to judge the world and deliver His people. Faith in Christ is the only means by which mankind can escape eternal damnation and judgment.
Finally, we recognize the church as God's ordained institution headed by Christ. The church is composed of all believers, and is organized for worship, for fellowship, for the administration of the sacraments, for spiritual growth and support, and for evangelizing the world.
"Its life or death now. Make your choice. Who's side are you on?"