There are essentially only two faiths. Either you believe in your good works to save you from sin, death and the just punishment of your sins in Hell; or you believe in Jesus to save you.
World religions: Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Roman Catholics, “Reformed” Protestants (Catholics), Lordship Salvationists, etc, all believe in the ability of their own works, rituals, discipleship and love to save them.
I think the time has come for believers in Jesus to realize the existence of what I call the Christian jerk.
I have contracted the virus of this identity several times, and I perennially suffer from it.
Strict denominations, some fundamentalists, and Westoboro Baptists, are the extreme examples of Christian Jerkism.
Phariseeism (I’m better than you) and no concern for other people’s suffering or struggles can be versions of it.
A shallow, false, or hollow presentation of holiness can be part of it.
“My way or the highway,” endless rules, judgmentalism, purely intellectual quarreling, and self-righteousness and rigidity are symptoms of Christian Jerkism.
Basically, I believe it comes from not having a simple spiritual center to one’s faith (Jesus), and the resulting irritation and need to be right about a thousand things, that makes a person become a Christian jerk.
A lack of spiritual growth, a lack of following the Spirit, and a lack of realizing that I am a needy recipient of God’s grace, are also a part of it.
A belief that Christian growth is an automatic process without my will or effort can be a part of it.
Another part is not living by the reality that I am a saint, but that I still have a sinful nature, and that that nature needs to be considered dead, daily.
When I see myself as a saint who has a sinful nature that needs to be considered dead, then, I think, the process of practical spiritual growth and soul growth begins. Why else take the Lord’s Supper? Why else confess our sins and repent of our sins (change our minds about particular sins)?
If one sees himself only as a sinner, then there is no practical faith in the righteous identity in Christ.
If I see myself as a saint only, then there is no accounting or acknowledgment for the thousands of times when I am not living by faith, grace, or by God’s Spirit in my spirit.
If I think I am practically perfect already, then I can never improve practically by living more from Christ’s Spirit in the righteous spirit of my new self, and I can never apologize.
But this way of realizing our dual nature must not degenerate into sentimentality, or sinking emotionalism, or a liberal tolerance of a degraded lifestyle.
We confess our sins and weaknesses that the Spirit of Christ, and His power in grace, may be with us as we will and do His will in His love and His Spirit of Grace.
I don’t think I have this all worked out perfectly, so please send your comments, questions, and improvements to what I’ve said here–thanks.
Walk into any Christian bookstore and soak up the general feel of the books and products. It’s all idealized, triumphant, and, most importantly, it’s all about YOU. Look how many book titles have YOU in their titles. How wonderful your life on this earth can be. If you take away the darkness and sin and pain and fear and doubt and struggle and disappointment from Christianity and from the perceptions of the lives of believers, you get what we have in America today: a white-toothed sales job–a Disney movie. Wait, even a Disney movie has more honesty about pain and fear and disappointment. The New American Christian Dream is a juvenile, narcissistic, and hollow fantasy all our life long: YOU can be a Christian superhero with a life of endless happiness: YOU.
The painful truths about life in this God-cursed world, and of God’s Gospel, that our prideful Self, the source of most of our misery, was crucified with Christ on the cross, is barely represented.
PS: I like how, in the photo above, the category WOMEN is in all caps. Churchianity is a business, and you gotta appeal to your demographic.
People search for knowledge and insight, and/or spiritual experience, or peace and holiness and righteousness, or assurance and clarity, as the greatest spiritual attainments.
People might seek for these things in many ways, in many different places.
But the best thing anyone can possibly receive is UNION WITH GOD through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God is love.
Union with the God who is love is the greatest thing that can happen to anyone.
Union with God is joy unspeakable.
Union with God gives us the peace our souls crave.
The best possible thing for any human being is to live united with God our loving Father, in Christ our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, who indwells our spirit.
We receive EVERYTHING GOOD by God’s grace, through Jesus, by His death on the cross for all of our sins, through His burial, and through His resurrection.
We receive knowledge of the Gospel through the Scripture.
We receive salvation through believing in the Gospel of Jesus: 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
We receive perfect sanctification through believing in Jesus’ Gospel.
Jesus Himself IS our sanctification.
We receive experience of God through his Holy Spirit in our the intuition of our conscience of our spirit, through Jesus’ Gospel, because we have been crucified with Christ, we have been buried, and we have been raised to eternal life through His resurrection.
Though we still sin, God daily forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. God also tells us to confess our sins to one another. The forgiveness of God in the Lord’s Prayer is in the sense of daily practical fellowship, but we are forgiven for all our sins forever, past, present and future, in the moment of faith in Christ.
We are the holy children of God, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, indwelled by the Spirit of our Father.
When a person first comes to faith, he believes in Jesus, who died for all sins of everyone on the cross, was buried, and rose again on the third day.
And Paul the apostle tells us that Jesus, the Christ, did more than simply die for our sins.
Look deeper into what Jesus actually did for us.
The Bible tells us also that we were in Him in His death and resurrection, washing away all our sins past, present, and future, with His holy shed blood, and giving us a new life of eternal glory. (Galatians 2:20)
We receive this free gift forever and irrevocably in a moment of faith.
When we believe in Christ, in that moment, we repent or change our minds about unbelief about our sinfulness, and we change our minds in thinking that Jesus was just a man.
Repentance from sins and/or commitment and perseverance in holy living are not requirements ~for~ salvation. But they are the possible, but not required for salvation, natural outgrowth and working out of salvation. A holy life is God’s will for His children, made holy in Christ.
When we believe in Jesus, we are immediately spiritually baptized by the Holy Spirit into the death and resurrection of Christ. (This is not water baptism, but spiritual baptism.)
We are saved and preserved forever in Christ.
We are saved by sheer divine grace, there is no merit or worthiness in us.
The Bible says all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
Jesus is the infinite and eternal and unimaginable divine pinnacle of all spiritual desires, who dwells in glorious white light forever and ever.
Jesus is forever worshiped and glorified by the angels in Heaven and by the saints in Christ.
In Christ are ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Through Jesus we receive forgiveness of sins.
Through Jesus we receive union with God.
Through Jesus we are destined for Heaven.
Through Jesus we commune with God the Father, through His Holy Spirit in our spirits, forever loved and at peace.
EVERYTHING SPIRITUALLY GOOD is given to us in Jesus who is God incarnate in human flesh, who died for all of the sins of everyone on the cross, who was buried, and who rose again on the third day.
All to the glory of God my Savior. John 6:47.
“The perceptual/mental/conscience-basis for believing in biblical Christianity can be arrived at by a few simple observations and a few self-evident truths. 1) You see life, consciousness, and beauty; you consider the structure of DNA and the design of the cell, and you experience awe and wonder at the unfathomable interconnected complexity of the human brain; you see the incredible diversity of animal, fish, bird, vegetation, and insect life; and you see the seemingly endless stars and galaxies in the night sky. And you ~know~ there is an all-powerful God who designed and created these things out of nothing. You know that He is all-powerful because of the things you can see that exist. God doesn’t need to appear in front of you for you to have powerful irrefutable evidence for His existence. 2) You know that God is holy and good because you have a strong inborn sense of what is right and good–and what is wrong and evil. Where did you get that sense? 3) Furthermore, you recognize, according to Scripture, that the creation has been cursed by God because of man’s sin, with: death, pain, disease, aging, corruption, decay, rust, thorns, and imperfections of all kinds. 4) You know you have done things that were not holy and good: sins and evil. (1 through 4 are observable facts.) 5) You fear, from the holy God: judgment, punishment, death and Hell for your sins, for your evil thoughts and deeds, and for your wrongdoing. 6) You hear the Gospel of Christ and you know that the man Jesus Christ, God incarnate, died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, and that He rose again on the third day, conquering sin, death, and Hell. You sense Jesus’ unique love, goodness and truth. You know from Scripture that you are, through faith in Christ, forgiven by God, saved, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and destined for Heaven. (7) You know these six things by grace, faith, observation, conscience, thinking, and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.”
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” –Jesus, in John 7:7
The world hates Jesus because Jesus represents to them a condemnation of their evil works.
The world wants a Jesus of their imagination. A Jesus that does not tell them that what they are doing is wrong or evil.
The favorite Bible verse of the sinner who does not want to turn from his or her evil ways is: “Don’t judge me.”
The world wants a Jesus who will not tell them that they are doing bad things.
That is not the Jesus of the Bible.
This is why there are false Christs.
People invent them.
“It is only through faith in Jesus that anyone will escape the justice of Hell. Jesus is our only hope for the forgiveness of our sins. Once a person believes in Jesus, he or she is forgiven of all sins past, present and future, declared not guilty by God, born again, given new life, made a new creation, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, sealed forever by God, and is irrevocably destined for Heaven. This is what it means to be saved through believing the Gospel–according to the Bible. Growing in grace (sanctification) is what can happen next, but salvation is no longer an issue.”