Christian Doctrine, part 2

by Matt Slick

  1. Jesus
    1. He is the creator (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17).
    2. He is uncreated (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17).
    3. He is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; 8:58 with Exodus 3:14; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8).
    4. His Incarnation and His deity
      1. Hypostatic Union--Jesus has two natures in one person.  He was not half God and half man.  He is both Human and Divine.  He was completely God and completely man.  This is the correct position concerning His two natures.  See Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14.
      2. Jesus will remain as both God and man for eternity.
      3. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35).
        1. "He was born under the Law (Gal. 4:4) and fulfilled all of the Law of God (John 4:34; John 8:29) even to the point of death (Phil. 2:8).  In His death He bore the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13).  Thus in the death of Christ the sins of His people were judged (Rom. 3:23-26) and forgotten (Heb. 8:12), and the result of His act of righteousness was eternal life (Rom. 5:18).
      4. Jesus is worshiped--(Matt. 2:2, 11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6).
      5. Jesus is prayed to--(Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 116:4 and Zech. 13:9 with 1 Cor. 1:1-2).
      6. Jesus is called God--(John 20:28; Heb. 1:8).
      7. He is the exact representation of the nature of God (Heb. 1:3).
    5. His death and the atonement
      1. Jesus bore the sins of the world (1 John 2:2) in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24).
      2. He was a propitiation--a satisfaction to God that appeased God's wrath.
      3. He atoned.  He made right that which was wrong between us and God.  His shed blood is what cleanses us from sin (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22; Rom. 5:9; 1 John 1:7-9).
        1. He removed the enmity between God and Man (Rom. 5:10).
      4. For whom did He die?--Some say for the sheep (Christians) only (John 10:11, 15).
        1. The Sheep are the Christians.  The Goats are the non-Christians (Matt. 25:32-46).
      5. Others say He died for everyone (1 John 2:2). Each side has good arguments.
    6. The Resurrection of Christ (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).
      1. Jesus rose in the same body that He died in (John 2:19-21; Luke 24:36-43).
        1. Jesus' body is ‘resurrected.'  We do not know exactly what His body is like, but the nature of the resurrected body is discussed by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:35-58.
    7. Right now Jesus is in heaven--still as and eternally to be both God and man (1 Tim. 2:5; Col. 2:9).
      1. This is important because Jesus is the High Priest forever: "where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (Heb. 6:20).  A spirit cannot be a high priest; only a man can do that. Furthermore, Jesus always lives to make intercession for us "Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25).
    8. The Ascension of Christ (Acts 1:1-11.).
      1. After the resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples during a period of forty days.  He completed His message to them then.
      2. In light of the cloud in the O.T. (Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10f.; Luke 9:34f.) as a manifestation of God's glory and presence, we have the necessary expectation of His glorious ascension.
      3. He ascended in full view of the apostles who wrote of what they saw.
    9. The Doctrine of the Deity of Christ is opposed to:
      1. Docetism--Jesus was truly spirit and only appeared to be a man.
      2. Gnosticism--Jesus was only a man taken over by the heavenly Christ which never became incarnate.  The heavenly Christ returned to heaven before the crucifixion.
      3. Arianism--Jesus was created slightly lower than God. Then Jesus created all things.
    10. The Hypostatic Union (Jesus having two natures in one person) is opposed to:
      1. Kenosis--Jesus lessened Himself in the incarnation, i.e., God minus something.
      2. Eutychianism--The two natures of Jesus are completely ‘mixed' and indiscernible.
      3. Nestorianism--The two natures are not in contact with each other, and that Jesus was two persons.
      4. Monophysitism--The two natures combined and became one--a new type of being.  (Then Jesus would be neither God nor man but a third something.)
  2. The Holy Spirit
    1. With the ascension of Christ we have the arrival of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; Acts 2) who ministers to the Church through the mediation of Christ (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Scriptures.
    2. He is fully God; He is not a force. He is the third person of the Trinity.
      1. He has a will--1 Cor. 2:11
      2. He speaks--Acts 13:2
      3. He loves--Rom. 15:30
      4. He can be grieved--Eph. 4:30
      5. He convicts of sin--John 16:8
      6. He creates--Gen. 1:2; Job 33:4
      7. He gives gifts--1 Cor. 12:8
      8. He intercedes--Rom. 8:26
      9. He teaches--John 14:26
      10. He testifies of Jesus--John 15:26
      11. He baptizes--1 Cor. 12:13
      12. He guides--John 16:13
      13. He encourages--Acts 9:31
      14. He empowers--Micah 3:8
      15. He gives joy--Rom. 14:17
      16. He comforts--John 14:16-26
    3. The Holy Spirit indwells the believer (Rom. 8:11) and continues to work in him to bring about sanctification (Rom. 15:16).
    4. The Holy Spirit illuminates the mind of the believer (1 Cor. 2:12, 13) and reveals to Him the things of God (1 Cor. 2:10, 13; 1 John 2:27).
  3. Salvation
    1. Salvation is the deliverance out of or the saving from the judgment of God upon the sinner.  This judgment is known as damnation and consists of God casting the unsaved into the lake of eternal fire.  The saved go to heaven to be with the Lord forever.
    2. God is the sole agent of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; John 1:12-13; Acts 13:48).  Man does not cooperate with God to earn or keep salvation. If a person needed to do anything towards his/her salvation, then Jesus died needlessly (Gal. 3:21).
    3. Salvation is by faith--not by works (Rom. 3:22; Rom. 4:5; Gal. 3:21).  It is a free gift (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9).
    4. In salvation, the sins of the Christian are borne in Christ on the cross, and the merits of Christ's righteousness are counted to the Christian.
    5. The two main views on salvation in respect to man's choosing:
      1. Free will--Man is totally able to accept or reject God (John 3:16) based upon some quality or ability within him.
      2. Predestination--God predestines who He chooses into salvation (Eph. 1:1-11; Acts 13:48).  There is nothing within man that will allow him to choose God. God must call.
  4. Justification and Sanctification
    1. Justification is the instantaneous event where God imputes to the believer the righteousness of Christ.
    2. Sanctification means to be set apart for holy use.  It means to consecrate.
    3. Where justification is that position of being declared righteous before God (Rom. 4:5; 5:9), sanctification is the growth in the life of the Christian in holiness in understanding, intent, thought, and action (1 Thess. 4:3-7).
    4. Sanctification is a transformation of the believer produced by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) where godly fruit is the result.
    5. The Christian's sanctification is tied to Christ: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me . . . " (Gal. 2:20, NIV).
    6. Further scriptures dealing with this are Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 5:10-Gal. 6:10; Eph. 4:17-6:18)
  5. The Church
    1. The church can be viewed in two ways: The visible church and the invisible church.
      1. The visible church is all who profess to be disciples of Christ.
      2. The invisible church is all who truly are saved.
    2. The church is called the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23) with Christ as the head (Eph. 5:23).
    3. The church is to be united (Eph. 4:1-16) under one God (Eph. 4:4).
    4. The church is to be holy (1 Cor. 1:1-2; Eph. 5:27; 1 Pet. 2:9).
    5. The church is open to all (John 3:16) and is to preach the word of God (Matt. 28:19-20).
    6. The church is called the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-23; Rev. 19:7), the church of the firstborn (Heb. 12:23), the church of God (1 Cor. 1:2), God's building (1 Cor. 3:9), etc.
  6. The Resurrection
    1. The resurrection is when the dead in Christ are raised imperishable (1 Cor. 15:42, 52-54).
      1. In general, God raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9).  Specifically it is said that Jesus raises the dead (John 5:21, 25, 28, 29; 6:38-40, 44, 54; 1 Thess. 4:16).
      2. It is also said to be the work of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11).
    2. The resurrection occurs at the return of Christ. (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15).
    3. The resurrection is physical.
      1. Jesus is called the first-fruits of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20, 23) and the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). He was raised in the same body He died in (John 2:19-21; Luke 24:39).  Therefore, we shall also be raised in physical form as He was.
      2. It is not known exactly what our bodies will be like, but it is thought that they will be like Jesus' resurrection body (Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:42-54) and not in His divinity but in the state of His resurrection.
    4. There will be a resurrection of the good and of the wicked (Acts 24:15).
      1. The good, the Christians, will be raised to everlasting life Matt. 25:31-34).
      2. The bad, the non-Christians, will be raised to everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:4-46).
  7. The Millennium
    1. Millennium means 1000 years.  There are three main views concerning the Millennium.
      1. Amillennialism--that we are in the millennial reign of Christ now.
        1. This view asserts that Satan was bound when Jesus first came to earth.  It holds that at the return of Christ the rapture occurs, the judgment of the wicked takes place, and the new heavens and earth are created.
      2. Premillennialism--that the millennial reign of Christ has not yet happened.
        1. This view asserts that Jesus will return (the rapture occurs near or at His return) and then bind Satan, cast him into the abyss, and rule on earth for 1000 years. At the end of that period Satan will be let loose to lead a rebellion.  Jesus will then destroy him. Then comes the final judgment--followed by the new heavens and earth.
      3. Postmillennialism--that the church will usher in the millennium of Christ through the preaching of the word and the conversion of the world.
    2. There is debate on whether or not the millennium is a literal or figurative period.  Some say the period must be a literal 1000 years (Rev. 20:2); others say the period may be interpreted figuratively (2 Pet. 3:8).  There are very good arguments on both sides of the issue.
    3. Historically, the church has held mainly to Amillennialism and Premillennialism with each gaining prominence at one time or another during the past 2000 years.
  8. The Rapture
    1. The rapture is the time when, at Christ's coming, the Christians who are alive are changed into their resurrected bodies (1 Thess. 4:15-17). They are literally caught up to where Jesus is as He descends from heaven to collect His church.
    2. Those who have died beforehand come with Jesus and precede those who are on earth.
    3. The main debate on the Rapture is when it will occur in relation to the Tribulation.
      1. Pretribulation--the rapture will happen before the tribulation period.
      2. Midtribulation--the rapture will occur half-way through the tribulation period.
      3. Postribulation--the rapture will occur at the end of the tribulation period.
  9. The Final Judgment
    1. This is the judgment of all people (Matt. 25:31-46) at the end of all things (Matt. 13:40-43).
    2. This judgment for the Christian is regarding his works (2 Cor. 5:10).  It does not affect salvation because being in Christ (Rom. 8:1) our works play no part in our salvation (Rom. 4:5).
      1. The reward of the Christian is to be with the Lord forever (1 Thess. 4:17) in the new heavens and new earth.
    3. For the wicked the Day of Judgment (2 Pet. 3:7) is a judgment upon all their sinful actions (Acts 17:31; 1 Cor. 13:11-15).
      1. The wicked will be cast into hell (2 Thess. 1:6-10; Matt. 13:40-42).
  10. The New Heavens and the New Earth
    1. At the consummation of all things, God will destroy the elements with intense heat (2 Pet. 3:12).
    2. There will be a new Earth which is the home of the righteous (2 Pet. 3:13).
    3. This heavenly life will be social since it is spoken of in the context of a perfect city (Heb. 12:28), as a holy temple (Ezekiel 40-48), and as a wedding feast (Rev. 19:7).
    4. This heavenly life will have no more marriage (Matt. 22:30), no death (Luke 20:36), no sorrow (Rev. 7:17), no pain (Rev. 21:4), etc.
    5. This condition of perfection and fellowship with the Lord will be without end (Matt. 25:46) in a condition of light without darkness (Rev. 22:5).

 

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