The Deity Of Christ: When Thomas came face to face with the risen Christ he exclaimed: “My Lord and my God!” The deity of Christ was inferred in his activity at creation (John 1:3), affirmed in the virgin birth (Luke 1:35) and declared in his own words: “I and my father are one” (John 10:30). In fact, the concept of the “Trinity” sees the fullness of deity in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three persons are perfectly “one.” So complete is the oneness that the Bible prohibits any thought of multiple “gods.”
The Bible: Some forty men of highest integrity (“holy men of God”) over a period of sixteen hundred years were chosen by the Holy Spirit to produce the message of God to man in written form (2 Peter 1:21). All 66 books, Genesis to Revelation, comprise the Bible, inspired (2 Tim. 3:16) and preserved with highest integrity by scribes who copied each letter with greatest care. Jesus’ words, “Scripture cannot be broken”(John 10:35) and “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17) are declarations that demand our trust in everything it reveals. The Bible is our final authority for all matters relating to our life and walk of faith.
Man, Sin and Salvation: A despised tax collector, in contrast to the self-righteous Pharisee, cried, “God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Sin is part of the human condition both by inheritance and choice. Romans 3:23 concludes, “all have sinned.” This condition separates us from God, making real the possibility of hell, eternal separation from God. Then came God’s mercy, love and grace. When Christ died for our sins He showed himself merciful. He paid the just death penalty in our stead, allowing God to respond with forgiveness and eternal life. “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). All that is left is for us, who are moved by God, to respond to his offer of salvation “by grace through faith” and “call upon His name” (see Romans 10:13), just as the tax collector did. Salvation is secured. And, “when we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright, shining as the sun—we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun.” A testimony to our faith is seen in the baptism experience and the remembrance of His death, which is celebrated in the Lord’s Supper. These are the two ordinances (sacraments) of the church.
The Church: When Jesus said, “I will build my church,” he was declaring a whole new concept. The wall between Jew and Gentile would come down; people from every nation under heaven would be included. The church was born at Pentecost with a great manifestation of power (Acts 2). In his wisdom, Jesus gave his church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). Local churches would be organized with elders and deacons (1 Tim. 3). Love and unity in this special family would be a testimony to the world. True for 2,000 years, the “gates of hell” have not prevailed against the church. We testify to that!
Things to Come: The beating of our hearts quickens when we think of the rapture—that “catching up” of living believers with the resurrected dead in Christ—to meet the Lord in the air. It gets better! We are assured we will be forever with him (1Thess. 4:13-18). Our destiny is heaven, where there are many “abiding places”(John 14:2). From the Father’s house we will return with Christ for the millennial kingdom. Wars will cease, Satan will be bound (Rev. 20) and the earth will be “filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”(Isa. 11:9). Only when the earth has fulfilled its destined glory will we enter the eternal state where, “in the ages to come,” God will continue to show his kindness to us (Eph. 2:7).
In view of the reality of death and the judgment to come for those who do not respond to the salvation offered by Christ Jesus (Rev. 20:11-15), we must pray, warn, live godly lives and share with them the good news of the Gospel while they still live. There is no second chance.