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KEY BELIEFS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH (Part 2)

4. THE BELIEF OF CHRIST AS TRUE GOD AND GOD IN THE FLESH: THE VIRGIN BIRTH, SINLESS LIFE, ATONING DEATH, TRIUMPHANT RESURRECTION; ASCENSION AND ABIDING INTERCESSION OF THE LORD JESUS, HIS SECOND COMING AND MILLENNIAL REIGN UPON THE EARTH.

Jesus Christ is the second person in the Trinity; co-equal and co-eternal with God. He is God, came to the world as the Word of God who became flesh (John 1:1-14). He was born by the virgin Mary and He is called Jesus because “He shall save his people from their sins” (Mat. 1:21). He pre-existed in heaven as the Word and that is why He said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58b). Jesus became Man (Phil 2:1-11).

  • Jesus is fully God and fully man (Heb 4:15; 2 Cor. 5: 21).
  • Jesus is sinless (1 Pet 2:22, Heb. 4:15).
  • Jesus is the only way to God the Father (John 14:6; Mat. 11: 27; Luke 10: 22).
  • Jesus died for the sin of every person in the world (1 John 2:2; 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Pet. 2: 24).
  • Jesus’ death was a substitutionary sacrifice; He paid the price for our sin (1 Pet. 2:24; Mat. 20:28; Mar. 10:45).
  • Jesus resurrected from the dead in physical form (John 2:18-21) and will come back in like manner (Acts 1:11).

Have you ever seen a notorious criminal going to stand bail for a person who has been arrested and is about to be prosecuted for an offence? No. It’s not done in any sane land. So, it was needful for the Saviour’s conception and birth to be different from ours. His conception was of the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:34-35). It was needful for Him to be the sinless Lamb of God that was to carry away the sin of the whole world (John 1:29).

His death, burial and resurrection are very crucial to the redemption of mankind. There are things He did for humanity in His death. There are things He did for us in His burial and there are things He did for us in His resurrection. He followed through right to the end in all He did. Do you remember that encounter of Him revealing Himself to Mary Magdalene? Mary was going to embrace Him but He said, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). Read Hebrews 9:11-15 for a glimpse of what He was going to do!

The hope of His second coming helps us to keep ourselves pure (1 John 3:2-3). The teaching of millennial reign on this earth motivates the believer for evangelism and faithfulness in His service. (Rev. 20:6; 11:15; 22:12).

5. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S PERSONALITY AND HIS MINISTRY (PNEUMATOLOGY).

The next belief we are looking at is the Holy Spirit; as God, the third person in the Trinity and indwelling presence of His person in a believer (1 Cor. 6:9). This study of the Holy Spirit is called pneumatology. Let us see some important lessons about the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is fully God.

The Holy Spirit is a person. It is most important to know and not to think of Him as a ‘force’ or ‘energy’ or ‘influence’. He is referred to as a person. Several passages of scriptures speak of the Holy Spirit in a way that shows that He has the same divine status as the Father and the Son (Mat. 28:19). The Holy Spirit has the same character or attributes as the Father and the Son (1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:2; Jude 20-21). Peter confronted Ananias with the fact that he has told a lie “to the Holy Spirit,” he said, “Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3-4). In other passages, we see the divine attributes of the Holy Spirit, such as Omnipresence (Psa. 139:7-8; 1 Cor. 3:16) or Omniscience (1 Cor. 2:10-11). The Holy Spirit (“the Spirit of God”) was present at the beginning of creation (Gen. 1:2).     

A distinct person.

The Holy Spirit should not be thought of as merely the power of God or the presence of God, but He is like the Father and the Son; a distinct person within the eternal Trinity. The Bible ascribes many personal activities to the Holy Spirit. He teaches (John 14:26), bears witness to people (John 15:26; Rom. 8:16), prays to the Father on our behalf (Rom. 8:26-27), knows the thoughts of God (1 Cor. 2:11), and makes personal decisions about which spiritual gifts to distribute to which people (1 Cor. 12:11). The Holy Spirit personally guides us as believers (Rom 8:14; Gal. 5:18; Acts 16:6-7). Something can seem good to the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28), and the Holy Spirit can be “grieved” by our sin (Eph. 4:30). These are all activities of persons.
 

In the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is otherwise called (i) Holy Ghost (ii) Spirit of Truth (John 14:17) (iii) The Comforter (John 14:16; Isa. 11:2) (iv) Counselor/Advocate (John 16:7 )  (v) Spirit of God/Lord/Christ (Mat. 3:16; 2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Pet. 1:11) (vi) Spirit of Life (Rom. 8:2) (vii) Teacher (John 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:13) (viii) Witness (Rom. 8:16).

The Works of the Holy Spirit.

Below are some of the works of the Holy Spirit:

  • He Inspires the Word of God .

The Holy Spirit inspired all the authors of the Scripture so that what they wrote was not only their own words but the words of God Himself (2 Tim. 3:15-16; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:11; Acts 1:16; 4:25; 28:25).

  • He Gives Power to the Gospel message (Acts 1:8; 4:12; 4:31; 4:8; 6:10; 7:51; 1 Pet. 1:12; 1 Thes. 1:5).

Paul said that the entirety of his gospel preaching throughout the world had been carried out “by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” (Rom. 15:18-19). Both the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of His early disciples was carried out by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • The Holy Spirit Regenerates the Sinner. 

By His operation, we got born-again, for “No man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 12:1-4). It is His leadership that makes us sons and daughters of God (Rom. 8:14) and we are sealed by this same Spirit until the last day. No human person has the power to impart new spiritual life to another person, nor can we who were spiritually “dead in sins” (Eph. 2:5) make ourselves spiritually alive to God. This new spiritual birth can only come about by the work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-7; John 6:63).

  • He Sanctifies the Believer. 

The Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers to enable them to grow in personal obedience to God (Rom. 8:13). It is the Holy Spirit who produces Christ-like character qualities in the lives of believers (Gal. 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit also convicts people of their sins (see John 16:8-11). This purifying work of the Holy Spirit is called “sanctification” in the New Testament (2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2).

  • He Guides the Believer.

Paul says, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14) and he speaks of Christian believers as those who are “led by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:18). Believers in the New Testament regularly had quite specific guidance from the Holy Spirit (Mat. 4:1; Acts 8:29; 10:19-20; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6-7; 20:22-23).

  • Empowering Gifts for Ministry. 

Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit before He began His earthly ministry and then ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14, 36, 40-41) and similarly, the early disciples waited for the power of the Holy Spirit before they began preaching the Gospel (Acts 1:8). In the ordinary life of the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who imparts spiritual gifts to every believer (1 Cor. 12:7) and it is the Holy Spirit who gives different gifts to different people (1 Cor. 12:11).

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