When we study theology, we are studying what we believe the Scriptures are telling us, as we ask the Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom to understand what God wants us to know about Him. As individuals, we can read the Bible and form our own opinions about what really is being said in its words. But, after time has gone by and many students of the Word have realized that we all believe the same thing, we, as a collective whole, begin to see the pattern that God has laid down for us to completely know who He is and what He wants us to do in response to His message. As the Body of Christ, we are obligated and commanded to understand what God has imparted to us and to tell it to others, as well.
The Church that Jesus began has come to confess what we believe to be the truth of Scripture when it comes to who Jesus is and what He has done for us in His death and resurrection. Here are the four major beliefs that we as followers of our Lord confess to know and understand about His life and work here on earth, as stated in Gerald W. Stafford's book entitled, "Theology for Disciples."
The first confession states that Jesus, the eternal Word, was not just simply a teacher of the Word (pg. 104). More than just a teacher, Jesus was God and is the Author and Finisher of our faith. No one ever, or since, has taught with the authority He did, and no one has ever done the miracles He performed while in a body of flesh.
The next confession of the Church states that Jesus is the One of whom the prophets of the Old Testament spoke about, and not just a preacher who said He was from God (pg. 104). Every prophecy spoken about Jesus was fulfilled exactly as the prophecy predicted from His birth to His resurrection to His ascension, and to His return which has yet to be fulfilled, but will
be soon. Jesus has proven His claim to be God in the changed lives His salvation has offered millions over the last two-thousand years.
Another confession we believe states that Jesus defeated Satan and was not just a man who cast out demons (pg. 104). As stated above, Jesus was God, making Him the only one who could completely cast out demons so they would never return. Even the demons acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God every time they came in contact with Him. Again, Jesus has proven His claim to be God by removing Satan's demonic influence from the lives of those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior.
The last confession that we profess as believers states that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of all mankind (pg.104). Our changed lives are proof that Jesus is our Savior in that He took death from us and replaced it with life in abundance, and has given our hearts freedom from sin and oppression. The confession of millions of believers show that Jesus is truly Lord of all, for it was He who created all we know and see, and has given us a love worth living for.
Next we will discuss what Stafford also considers to be the three themes of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. What did Jesus really do for us on the cross? Did He just die and that was it? Or was something else going on when He gave His life for all of mankind? Let's take a look.
The first theme states that Christ's death paid the price for our sins (pg 106). Only Jesus could have done this for us because it could only be done by someone who was sinless. Jesus' life on this earth was lived without committing one single sin, and, as God, could take our sins and reconcile us back to Himself, free from sin and all its misery.
A second theme for the reconciling of humanity back to God states that Jesus' death, resurrection, and salvation shows us just how much He loves us (pg. 107). Only our Creator could love us so much as to give His own life so that we can be a family once again. When Jesus died in our place, He showed us that love will not be stopped until it has succeeded in making us all that we can be in Him.
Most important of all is the last theme which states that Jesus' atonement broke the chains of Satan and his power over our lives, setting us free from sin and death (pg. 108). With Satan's power defeated, our lives are free to live for Christ. We can now worship Him, obey Him, and love Him as we never could before when were letting Satan control our lives.
Jesus has done it all for us where we could not do it for ourselves. Sin's grip on our lives was strong, but not as strong as our God, who came to earth to show us how much He loves us and just how much He wants us back for Himself. As the Church, we believe that Jesus is God, and that our confessions about Him are true because the One who died and rose again for us makes it true.
Stafford, Gerald W. (1989, 1996). Theology for disciples: systematic considerations about the life of Christian faith. Warner Press.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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