The Scriptures have revealed to us the importance of these three main principles: faith, hope and love. If we apply a true, living faith to the living hope that has been presented in the Gospel (that is, the hope in the promise that God has made to us through the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ), then it will produce in us a true, spiritual love that reflects the divine nature of God (God is Love!).
We also believe this:
- The word of God, the Bible, is the ultimate authority of truth. The underlying principles of the Scriptures are consistently supported throughout their pages, and the intended meaning of the authors, as inspired by the Holy Spirit of the living God, is very clear throughout. We must prayerfully seek God as we read and study the scriptures for they are our source of truth. We must not rely on any man, or other man’s interpretation of the truth, but must weigh a man’s interpretation of the Word against our own understanding that comes from prayerful Bible study. Please note that all of the following principles are based upon the message that has been clearly and explicitly revealed in the Bible.
- This world is cursed and we don’t belong here. When Adam and Eve sinned and believed Satan’s lie, the Lord cursed this world and allowed Satan to have some authority over the descendants of Adam and Eve. The curse brought death. Jesus came to redeem us from the curse and give us eternal life.
- Redemption from the curse is a free gift from God the Father. It comes through His Son Jesus Christ’s death sacrifice that was offered on our behalf to remove the death (second death) penalty that was upon us. We cannot earn redemption through our righteous works. It is not possible for us to fulfill the requirements of the law on our own apart from God’s transforming work in us after we have been redeemed by putting our faith in Jesus. This redemption constitutes forgiveness for past sins and full acceptance into the family of God, including inheritance of eternal life and a place in the eternal kingdom of God.
- Jesus in the Messiah King, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus has been resurrected from the dead to a glorified body and has ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father as King of kings and Lord of lords. We are now members of His kingdom and have therefore become subject to His lordship, recognizing Him as our Lord. One day He will return with His angels to establish His Kingdom on earth, destroying the current earth and creating a new heaven and earth as His new eternal kingdom.
- True faith requires that we die to this world. The true faith that is needed to be included in the redemption that is offered by Jesus Christ requires that we must die with Christ to this physical world and live the rest of our lives for our true home in heaven, as if we are with the resurrected Christ. As in baptism, we are buried with Christ and should consider ourselves dead to the things of this world, especially the false hopes and promises that this world offers. Instead our hope is shifted and set totally on heaven and the new kingdom that Jesus will bring when He returns to destroy this current earth and create a new heaven and earth.
- Placing our hope in heaven gives us victory over sin. The resultant internal change that occurs when we shift our hope and set our minds on heaven and on spiritual things will give us the power to overcome sin in our lives. True biblical repentance must occur, meaning that we change the way that we think, no longer performing dead works with a dead faith. Instead we put to death the worldly passions and desires resulting in freedom from sin. We can (and must) be truly righteous and truly holy as a result of this internal change in our minds and hearts, showing the fruit of true repentance.
- Beware of self deception. We must realize that we have a tendency towards self deception; we have lied to others and have lied to ourselves. We have believed our own lies to ease our guilt. Often we have difficulty aligning what we say we believe with how we act and make decisions. This is a fatal flaw and major hindrance to having true faith.
- True love fulfills the law, and therefore walking in holiness confirms that we are truly walking in love. A carnal man cannot truly love, nor can a carnal man walk in holiness. It is impossible for a carnal man to keep God’s laws or to please God. A spiritual man has the law written on his heart and therefore can walk in holiness and in love.
- Christians must bear the fruit of love in their lives or risk God’s judgment. Any Christian who is not walking in true love, but continues to feed his carnal nature with the associated sins, is at risk of loosing their position as a child of God. The Lord is quite merciful and patient in this, and will not forsake those who have been sincere in their faith, and will readily accept those who turn fully towards Him in humility and with a penitent heart. As He had removed the Jews for their unbelief in times past, he will also remove unbelieving Christians who remain stubbornly persistent in their unbelief and sin. Christians can, like the religious Pharisees of the time of Jesus, project an outward appearance of righteousness, but retain hidden sins in their life that are obvious(or known) to only themselves and God. Jesus calls them hypocrites or actors.
- Christians must set their hope on things above. The thing that we treasure, the things that we long for and set our minds upon, and the things we hope for must be the spiritual things of heaven and not earthly things. It is extremely critical that we shift our hope from earthly things to heavenly things. This shift of hope is a major part of our transformation and impacts our world view, and thereby influences our thinking and the resulting behaviors and decisions of our lives. This powerful realization and assurance of faith in our hope in eternal life in heaven gives us the strength to persevere in any circumstance or trial that we face.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to talk about these posts: Jim Flanigan at firstname.lastname@example.org; cell: 607-339-9136