Foundations of the Way

This article is a summary of topics crucial to walking the way of Jesus. Each topic will be discussed in depth in a series of follow-up articles.

God

  1. Self existing – uncreated – supernatural(beyond the natural universe) – Transcendent
  2. Eternal
  3. All – Knowing
  4. All-Powerful
  5. Personal – Self-aware – Source of all personalty
  6. Reasonable
  7. Knowable
  8. Triune – 3 persons/1 substance
    1. Father – is eternal, is a spirit, and the source of all – distinct from the Son and the Spirit but one in essence or substance.
    2. Son – eternal with the Father took on humanity in Jesus – distinct from the Father and the Spirit but one in essence or substance.
    3. Holy Spirit – eternal with the Father and the Son, given to the Church in a new and powerful way at Pentecost. Distinct from the Son and the Father but one in essence or substance.
  9. Creator of all
    1. Source of love, morality, goodness, justice, mercy, grace, reason, logic (in short any good we possess finds its source in God). What about evil? Is God the source of that? No, evil is not properly speaking a thing, it is a lack of a thing. That thing being goodness. Similar to darkness being a lack of light or cold being a lack of heat. Evil is simply a lack of good it is not the creation of either God or the Devil. It is simply a lack of God’s goodness. And in the case of created beings like the Devil or Mankind it is an intentional lack. Due to our God given ability to choose.

Man(in the Genesis sense)

  1. In God’s image
  2. Man(אָדָם) is Male and Female
    • 2 persons/1 substance (Gen 2:21-24)
  3. Unique
    • Adam looked over all the animals and found none like him and thus none suitable for a mate.
  4. Rational
    • Named all the animals
    • “They” (male and female) were given the Earth to rule.
      • Man was a “they” not a “he”, two persons – one flesh – one substance.
  5. Given free will
    1. There were real choices with real consequences available.
  6. Relational
    1. With God
    2. With each other

Unity

  1. God is one
    • 3 persons but 1 substance or essence (See Trinity above)
  2. Man is one flesh
    • (2 persons, 2 genders(male/female), but 1 substance(flesh))
    • I believe God was the third member of this original creation – (God, (Man(Male-Female))) as one. Unity was always the intent.
  3. Man in harmony with God each other and nature
    • Sin destroyed this unity of relationship (Gen 3).
    • Restoring this unity is the ultimate purpose of Christ.
    • This breach is fully restored at the second coming (see Rev. 21-22)

Sin

  1. The essence of Sin
    • Choosing Self over God
    • Choosing Self over Others
  2. Idolatry
    • The core sin
      • Worshiping(honoring, valuing) anyone or anything above God alone.
  3. Sins Relationship to Death
    • God is the source of life.
    • Rejection of God = Rejection of life
  4. Sin = debt; Sin = slavery;
    • Our debt was impossible for us to repay -> Our slavery was therefore incurable and absolute.
    • Death is the prescribed punishment for sin.
    • We have all sinned.
    • Human death is the universal result.

Love

  1. Christian definition: Love = Benefiting others at my expense.
    • This is the love God – forever defined for us by the example of Christ.
    • This is pure love since the benefit is other focused and not selfish in any way.
    • This is God’s love toward us – we are his Children and therefore this is to be our love.

Justice

  1. Definition: Receiving exactly that which one deserves.
    • Justice is about balance – often represented by scales.
    • Justice demands that the punishment fit the crime.

Mercy

  1. Definition: Being released from the demands of justice.
    • Mercy allows the guilty, the one deserving of justice to go free.
    • Technically mercy is a form of injustice since justice is not being served to the guilty.
      • One must never equate mercy and justice – they are at odds.
    • If God is to be both merciful and perfectly just something else is required to balance the scales of justice.

Atonement

  1. Atonement = To restore a relationship back to unity by some means.
    • Such as:
      • Redemption = to buy back (often in the context of slavery)
      • Forgiveness = to release from debt(balance is restored) (debt produces slavery)
      • Substitution = To take another’s place (an alternate source of payment for debt)
      • Sacrifice = To offer one life for another (as payment and as a substitute for the punishment due the other). (As payment since the debt owed in the case of sin is the sinner’s life)
      • Victory = By conquering sin and death through his death and resurrection, Christ has risen victorious making our reunion with God and each other possible.
    • We see all of these elements in the atonement of God and humanity through Jesus.

Incarnation

  1. Christian Definition: The eternal Son of God taking on human flesh.
    • Attributes of the incarnation:
      • One person with two natures – (Human and Divine)
      • The divine nature of the Son is eternal and uncreated
      • The human nature of the Son came into being at the birth of Jesus
      • Jesus is the only begotten Son of God
        • He is unique among all men – yet he is fully human.
        • He is fully divine – yet not two separate persons(divine son/human son)
      • In the pre-incarnate state of the Son(before Jesus was born) the Son was not limited by humanity(he had not yet taken on human flesh).
      • During his time on earth Jesus was limited by his humanity.
      • In his present glorified state Jesus is once again not limited by his humanity.
    • Importance of the incarnation:
      • Regarding Atonement:
        • Mankind owed a debt that they could not repay.
        • Since the debt was owed by humanity the debt had to be paid by a human for justice to be satisfied.
        • To pay that debt for us God became a man through the incarnation of the eternal Son in the man Jesus.
        • Jesus as both the representative of all humanity and the divine Son had both the resources to pay this debt coupled with the humanity to make that payment legitimate.
      • Regarding Example:
        • Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God to mankind.
        • God showed us who he is by becoming one of us.
        • Through the teaching and example of Jesus we can now see in a practical way what God is asking of us.
        • Through the resurrection of Jesus we see our future hope as a reality in Jesus.

Resurrection

  1. The Christian definition of Resurrection: The physical rising from the dead with a glorified immortal body.
    • The Resurrection of Jesus:
      • Direct implications of the resurrection of Jesus:
        • Jesus is the Son of God in a unique sense. Death could not hold him for the following reasons:
          • He committed no sin so that the sentence of death was not on him.
          • He has the power over life – he could lay down his life down and pick it up again.
  2. Implications for humanity:
    1. Since we are united with Christ through baptism we are united with Christ in both his death and resurrection. (Rom 6)
      • Since we are united in his resurrection death can no longer hold us.
      • Death, therefore, has no power over us. Therefore we need not fear death.
    2. If we were united with his death then we have all died with him (2 Cor 5:14-17).
      • If we have all died then we are free from our old lives with all its sins and desires. (we are no longer slaves to sin Rom 6)
      • If we are free from our old lives we are no longer defined by our old lives and desires, but rather, we are defined by our new lives found in Christ.
    3. This offer is freely offered to all since Christ died for all.

Confession of faith – Baptism

  1. All of this truth at some point needs to be responded to personally and definitively. Faith must take action to be authentic living faith.
    • We must begin by confessing our faith publicly.
      • Romans 10:9 because, 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. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
    • In practice, since the very beginning of Christianity, this confession is made publicly at baptism. This is the public declaration of faith that states to the world that you have abandoned your allegiance to this world. You have in effect died to this world and as you rise from the water, you declare that you have risen again as new creatures in Christ.
      • Romans 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Sanctification – walking the way of Jesus

  1. The process of actualizing the reality of our new lives in Christ. Thus transforming our self-serving lives into consistently loving and righteous lives in Christ.
    • Through transformation of mind and practice (Rom 12:2)
    • Through walking in love for others (The way of the cross)

Destiny

  1. Our final state in the next age.
    • Our inheritance in Christ.
    • Our immortal glorified bodies in the next age.
    • Our unity with God and each other for eternity.
    • Ruling and reining with Christ forever where death, pain, and sadness are no more.
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