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What we-believe


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What we-believe

  1. 1. WHAT WE BELIEVECONTENTS Foundations OfIs Doctrine Keeping Christian DoctrineUs Apart? . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 S omeone has said thatTen Doctrines And the most important thingTheir Importance about us is what we God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 believe about God. That is Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 not an overstatement. Beliefs Holy Spirit . . . . . . . . . . 10 are at the root of everything we do. Those beliefs may be Bible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 unexamined, illogical, and Salvation . . . . . . . . . . . 15 blindly tied to our desires. But Christian Living. . . . . . . 20 they are constantly fueling and Church . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 shaping what we do. This is why the highest priority must be Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 given to what we believe and Spirit World . . . . . . . . . 26 why. Nothing can shape human Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 character more than minds andWithout Love We hearts determined to think rightAre Nothing. . . . . . . . . 32 about ourselves, our God, our lives, and our relationships. Martin R. De Haan IIManaging Editor: David Sper Cover Photo: SuperstockScripture quotations are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by ThomasNelson, Inc. Used by permission.All rights reserved.© 1989,1996,2002 RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan Printed in USA © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. IS DOCTRINE distinguishing mark of HisKEEPING US people, we cannot afford to let doctrine come betweenAPART? us. As the apostle Paul said,T he case against if we don’t have love we are doctrine is growing. like a “clanging cymbal.” An increasing number Without love we are nothingof people are coming to the and what we do profitsconclusion that doctrine nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3).is the enemy of the church.Doctrine divides us. Itdestroys unity and separatesfamily members. It makes it Doctrine divides.difficult for those who follow Love unites.Christ to set aside differencesand stand together incommon purposes of We cannot afford to forget,evangelism, discipleship, however, that doctrine alsoand social concern. Doctrine unites. Acceptance of theis what distinguishes and doctrine of Christ is whatbreaks followers of Christ into allows true believers in Christthousands of denominations to find “family” all over theand subgroups. world. Acceptance of the For this reason, many doctrine of the grace of Godare pointing out that while enables men and womendoctrine divides, love of all ethnic backgroundsunites. The implication and cultural differences tois that because Christ called recognize one another asus to love one another, and brothers and sisters who arebecause Christ Himself said saved by grace through faiththat love would be the alone, in Christ alone.2 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. For the same reasons, love be accursed (Gal. 1:6-8).divides. Once we know the Paul knew that forgivenesstruth about who Christ is and of sins, eternal life, andwhat He has done for us, it adoption into the family ofwould be selfish for us to act God comes only by graceas though “we are all one” through faith alone, in Christregardless of what we believe alone. Any doctrine of humanabout the doctrine of the merit added to what Christgrace of God. It would be did for us could spell theshortsighted to sacrifice the difference between everlastingtruth for a false sense of unity, life and death. The gospel ofjust so that we could stand Christ makes it clear that youtogether in social or political cannot mix faith and worksconsensus. when trusting God for It was love working forgiveness and salvation,together with truth that or when trusting Him forcaused the apostle Paul enablement to live as Histo write: child. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you Doctrine unites. in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is Love divides. not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel Doctrine can be defined of Christ. But even if we, as “principles believed and or an angel from heaven, taught.” By definition, we preach any other gospel to can’t have Christ without you than what we have embracing a doctrine of preached to you, let him Christ. We need doctrine to 3 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. answer questions like: be turned aside to fables • Who is God? (2 Tim. 4:2-4). • What is He like? Our generation is facing • Does He answer to the danger Paul wrote other names such as about. The spirit of the age Muhammad and encourages us to accept Buddha? Christ without bringing us • Does He care what we under the lordship of the believe about Him? doctrines of Christ. The • Would He send anyone to hell for having a wrong opinion? In Christ, truth • Once knowing Him, how are we to live? is as essential This is why the apostle as love, and lovePaul, who was known for his is as essentiallove, also wrote: Preach the word! Be as truth. ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all result is a growing lack of longsuffering and teaching. discernment that makes us For the time will come vulnerable to the “doctrines when they will not of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). endure sound doctrine, For these reasons, we need but according to their own foundations of doctrine based desires, because they have not on tradition but on itching ears, they will heap Scripture. up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and4 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. TEN DOCTRINES the trust that we habituallyAND THEIR place in ourselves, our family, or our finances. Because HeIMPORTANCE is eternal, no one will outliveTHE DOCTRINE Him. Because He is the LordOF GOD of lords, He is the only one in the universe to whom we must finally answer. 2. Q. How do we know there is a God? A. The wonders of nature witness to His existence as GOD Creator (Ps. 19:1-4). The inner voice of our conscience1. Q.Who is God? testifies to His existence as A. God is Yahweh, the Lawgiver and Judge ( (Dt. 6:4), ultimate (Ps. 1:18-32; 2:12-16). And the97:9; Isa. 40:12-31), eternal love of Christ reveals HisBeing (Ps. 90:2), who created existence as Savior and(Gen. 1:1), rules (Ps. 115:3), Friend (Jn. 1:1-18; 15:15).and sustains all that exists Because God has made(Job 38; Acts 17:24-28). Himself self-evident, our Countless religious problem is not so much tosubstitutes divert worship prove His existence as toto themselves. But there is stop ignoring it (Jn. 3:17-21).only one Creator and Savior. 3. Q. How can weBecause He alone gives life, define or describe God?He deserves our gratitude. A. God is the one andBecause every heartbeat and only (Isa. 44:6), unchangeablecircumstance is under His (Jas. 1:17), invisible (Col.control, He alone deserves 1:15), infinite (1 Ki. 8:27), and 5 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. perfect (Mt. 5:48) Spirit Being 5. Q.What do we mean(Jn. 4:24). He is holy (1 Pet. when we say1:15-16), loving (1 Jn. 4:8-16), that God is infinite?and truthful in all that He A. God is infinite in thatdoes (Jn. 3:33). He has lived He is unlimited (Lk. 1:37).from all eternity as one God He is unrestricted by time,in three distinct persons (Mt. space, or circumstance. He28:19), and in the course of is eternally timeless (Ps. 90:2;time He visited us as God in Rev. 22:13), all-powerfulthe flesh (Jn. 1:1-14). (Mt. 19:26), all-knowing He exists with or without (Job 37:16), and everywhere-our understanding. He can present (Ps. 139:7-12;be described truthfully and Mt. 28:20). Yet He alwaysadequately, but never remains distinct from Hisexhaustively. He is infinitely creation (Isa. 40:18-26). Hemore, and never less, than we is limited only in the sensehave yet known Him to be. that He cannot do anything4. Q.Where do we inconsistent with His ownget the idea that goodness (Ti. 1:2; Jas. 1:13).God is one God in three This means He is vastlypersons? different from the gods of A. The Bible emphasizes Eastern mystics or Westernthe unity of God (Dt. 6:4; materialists. Their gods areGal. 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:5; Jas. either so small and self-2:19), but it also describes contradictory, or so secularHim as three distinct and inclusive that theypersons—Father, Son, and cannot be distinguishedHoly Spirit—all of whom from cows, rats, scorpions,are fully and equally God statues, or human thought.(Mt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 6. Q.What is the13:14; Heb. 1:8; 1 Pet. 1:2). comfort of believing6 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. that this triune God planet to reveal God (Jn. 1:1-is the Creator and 14), to show us how to liveSustainer of everything? (1 Jn. 2:6), and to rescue us A. This assurance enables from the guilt and power ofus to be patient in trouble sin (Rom. 6:1-14). He is Savior(Rom. 5:3-4; Jas. 1:2-4), (Acts 4:12), Life (Jn. 14:6), andthankful in prosperity (Phil. Lord (Rom. 10:9,13) to all who4:10-13), and joyful even in put their trust in Him.the face of death (Rom. 8:28- Because of who He is39; 2 Cor. 4:7–5:9). and what He has done for God is ultimately all that us, Jesus deserves ourwe need. While our tendency genuine appreciation, ouris to seek satisfaction and deepest affection, oursignificance in lesser persons complete obedience, andor pursuits, God alone offers our unconditional lasting hope and life. 2. Q. How does the New Testament affirmTHE DOCTRINE that Jesus Christ wasOF CHRIST genuinely human? A. The Lord Jesus was born of a woman (Gal. 4:4). He had a human body that developed mentally and physically in the same way that other children do (Lk. CHRIST 2:40,52). He became tired (Jn. 4:6-8), hungry (Mt. 4:2), and1. Q.Who is Jesus thirsty (Jn. 19:28). He sleptChrist? (Mt. 8:24). He wept (Jn. A. Jesus Christ is the God- 11:35). He was tested ( who appeared on our 4:1-11; Heb. 2:18; 4:15). He 7 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. felt anger and grief (Mk. 3:5), 40,54; 11:38-44), and executescompassion (Mt. 9:36), and judgment (Jn. 5:22,27). Jesusagony (Lk. 22:44). was given names and titles of Because He endured not deity: Immanuel, meaningonly what we endure but far “God with us” (Mt. 1:23); Kingmore, He understands and of kings and Lord of lordsfeels what we are going (Rev. 19:16); and Son of Godthrough. Because He lived (Mt. 26:63-65). Jesus Himselfas a real man, He showed us claimed to be God (Jn. 10:30;how to depend on the Holy cp. v.33).Spirit for our every need. He In saying that Jesus ismodeled the way all of us can God, the Scriptures statedepend on God. more than we could ever3. Q. How does the understand. What remains isBible show that Jesus for us to show by our actionswas not only man but that we believe in One whomalso God? we can worship and serve, A. The Bible explicitly even though we can’t fullystates that Jesus is God understand Him.(Jn. 1:1; Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 4. Q.Why did Jesus die3:16; Ti. 2:13; Heb. 1:8). Jesus a criminal’s death on apossesses attributes that only Roman cross?God could have: eternality (Jn. A. Since hanging was a8:58), omnipresence (Mt. token of supreme humiliation,18:20), omniscience (Jn. the triune God decreed that16:30), omnipotence (Rev. Jesus Christ should die in this1:8), and immutability (Heb. manner to portray the fact1:12). Jesus does what only that He bore God’s wrathGod can do: forgives sin (Mk. against the sin of the whole2:1-12), gives life (Jn. 5:21), human race (1 Jn. 2:2).raises the dead (Jn. 6:39- Through this humiliating8 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. death, infinite in value A. Jesus Christ ascendedbecause of Christ’s deity, our to heaven 40 days after HisLord provided an atoning resurrection where He hassacrifice (Isa. 53:4-5; Heb. taken a place of honor (Acts9:26), satisfied God’s justice 1:9; 2:33). He will remain(Rom. 3:25), and bought our there until He returns toforgiveness (Col. 1:14). “catch up” the church (1 Th. How can we repay Him? 4:13-18) and then later returnWe cannot! We are eternally to the earth as King to judgeindebted to Him. All we can the world (Mt. 25:31-46) anddo is show our love and rule for 1,000 years (Rev.gratitude by offering ourselves 19:11–20:6).and our service as a living In the meantime, He issacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2). preparing a place for us (Jn.5. Q. How important is 14:3), interceding for us asChrist’s resurrection? our Advocate (Rom. 8:34; A. Through our Lord’s 1 Jn. 2:1), sympatheticallyresurrection, God confirmed responding to our needsJesus as His Son (Rom. 1:4), (Heb. 4:14-16), andshowed His satisfaction with functioning as the HeadChrist’s sacrifice on our behalf of the church (Eph. 5:23;(Rom. 4:25), affirmed Christ’s Col. 1:18).power to give life to those While one person canwho trust Him (Rom. 8:11), say to another, “What haveand assured us who believe you done for me lately?”on Him that someday we too such a question wouldwill receive resurrection reflect mindless ignorancebodies (1 Cor. 15:20-21). or ingratitude if expressed to6. Q.Where is Jesus Christ. He constantly andnow and what is He effectively works in ourdoing? behalf. 9 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. THE DOCTRINE OF Father and Son in creationTHE HOLY SPIRIT (Gen. 1:2), equipped people to do God’s service (Ex. 31:1- 5; Num. 11:16-17), renewed nature (Ps. 104:30), came upon Israel’s kings (1 Sam. 16:13), inspired Israel’s prophets and the men who HOLY SPIRIT wrote the Scriptures (1 Pet. 1:10-12; 2 Pet. 1:21), and1. Q.Who is the Holy worked in the hearts ofSpirit? people to lead them to A. The Holy Spirit is the believe God and do Histhird person of the Trinity, will (Acts 7:51).truly God and therefore co- This shows howequal with the Father and willing God is to providethe Son (Mt. 28:19; Acts 5:3- supernatural strength to4; 2 Cor. 13:14). Since He is those who want to serve Him.spirit, He does not have to Those who want to do God’sbe seen or felt in order to be will don’t have to do it inclose to us. Since He is holy, their own power.He must be met on “holy 3. Q.What is the Holyground.” This is why people Spirit’s relationship towho have not separated the church, the body ofthemselves from sin lack the Christ?awareness of His presence. A. The Holy Spirit gave2. Q.What were His birth to the church (Acts 2:1-roles as a member of 47), baptizes believers intothe Godhead during the the church (1 Cor. 12:13),Old Testament era? abides in the church (1 Cor. A. He acted with the 3:16), unifies the church10 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. (Eph. 2:22; 4:3-4), gives gifts 4. Q.What does theto the church (1 Cor. 12:4- Holy Spirit do for those11), provides leaders for the who have not madechurch (Acts 20:28), directs peace with God?the work of the church (Acts A. He draws attention13:2), and uses the church to to Christ (Jn. 16:13-14),hold back or hinder evil in the empowers God’s messengersworld (2 Th. 2:7). (1 Th. 1:5), brings conviction to sinners (Jn. 16:8-11), and produces the new birth (Jn. 3:5; Ti. 3:5). Those who want For these reasons, no to do God’s will person is too bad or too don’t have to hardened to be converted to Christ. No person is so evil do it in their that he cannot be saved. The own power. purpose of God has never been to save only good people or to bring deliverance Because the Holy Spirit only to those who wereindwells the people of God naturally endowed withboth individually and qualities that would makecollectively, the church should them desirable prospects fornot be thought of as a merely the kingdom of heaven. Godhuman institution. It should sent His Spirit into the worldnot be taken for granted. It to come to the rescue of allshould never be casually kinds of people—even thedismissed or ignored. In many very worst and most hateful.ways our actions toward the 5. Q.What does thechurch are actions taken Holy Spirit do in thetoward God (Acts 5:1-11). lives of believers? 11 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. A. He permanently 6. Q. In what ways canindwells believers to mark we harm ourselves byus out as God’s possession sinning against the Holy(Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19). He Spirit?seals us to guarantee our A. We are warned aboutultimate salvation (2 Cor. sinning against the Holy Spirit1:21-22; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30). by grieving Him throughHe fills us when we yield to disobedience (Eph. 4:30),Him, giving us power for lying to Him (Acts 5:3),life and ministry (Acts 6:3; quenching Him with a13:9-12; Eph. 5:18-21). He negative attitude (1 Th. 5:19),produces Christian character resisting Him (Acts 7:51), andin us (Gal. 5:22-23). He insulting Him (Heb. 10:29).teaches us (1 Cor. 2:10). Heintercedes for us when wecannot pray (Rom. 8:26-27).He enables us to discern false We need theteaching about Christ (1 Jn. Holy Spirit far2:20-27). He assures us that more than we thinkwe are God’s children (Rom.8:16). He equips us to serve we another (Rom. 12:3-8;1 Cor. 12:1-31). He guidesus (Rom. 8:14). For this reason, we We are inclined to should be far more concernedassume that what we see about maintaining a goodin the mirror is what counts. relationship with the SpiritBut what really counts is than we are about staying onwhat the Holy Spirit can good terms with our spouse,do in a heart that is given children, parents, employer,unreservedly to Him. or friends.12 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. THE DOCTRINE to meet personally with everyOF THE BIBLE honest seeker. While the natural world reveals God’s power, majesty, and wisdom, the Bible reveals His plan of personal, eternal salvation. It is the Author of this book and what He offers His readers BIBLE that make the Bible so timeless and important.1. Q.What sets the 2. Q. How do we knowBible apart from all that the Bible we holdother books? in our hands accurately A. The Bible in its entirety represents the originalwas written by men who were documents that goinspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16; back more than 3,5002 Pet. 1:21). And because years?it is inspired (lit. “breathed A. The amazing similarityout”) by God, the original of thousands of well-preserveddocuments are without error manuscript copies gives strongof any kind (Jn. 17:17). It is evidence that they accuratelyauthoritative in all matters reflect the originals. We canof faith and conduct (2 Tim. be confident that if God3:16-17). inspired a book to reveal This book is like no other Himself, He would overseebook in the world. It is a the preservation of that book.record of the life and work 3. Q.What evidenceof the most important Person can we give to supportin the universe. Behind the the claim that the Biblepages, storylines, events, and is the inspired Word ofpeople of His book, He waits God? 13 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. A. Christ repeatedly The best reason to believeexpressed confidence in the in the Bible is that Jesus Christ,reliability of the Jewish the perfect God-man, believedScriptures—the 39 books of in it (Mt. 12:39-42; 19:4-5; Lk.the Old Testament (Mt. 5:17- 17:26-29). The most personal18; Lk. 24:27,44). In the reason to believe is found byfourth century, the church each individual in the wisdom,fathers declared these 39 rightness, and strength thatbooks plus the 27 books comes from following theof the New Testament be divinely inspired, 4. Q. How can weauthoritative, and complete. understand the Bible? While the doctrine that A. By asking the help ofthe Scriptures are the inspired its divine Author, by seekingand inerrant Word of God is to determine what its humana matter of faith, it is a authors meant, by interpretingreasonable faith. The unity it literally and in context asof the message of these books we would any other book,written over a period of about and by submitting humbly1,600 years is astounding. Its to its message.accuracy of historical detail, 5. Q.What should weits completeness of storyline, do when we encounterits amazingly fulfilled a Bible passage we can’tprophecies, its beneficial understand or versesimpact on society, and its that seem to contradicttransforming power in the one another?lives of those who read it A. If after serious studybelievingly are such powerful we can’t find the answer ortestimonies that it is actually solution, we should proceedunreasonable not to believe to other passages with thein the inspired Scriptures. assurance that the problem is14 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. with us, and that someday, 2. Q.What is sin?either on earth or in heaven, A. Sin is any thought,our difficulty will be word, or deed that eithereliminated. violates or falls short of complete conformity to God’sTHE DOCTRINE holy laws (Rom. 3:23; 1 Jn.OF SALVATION 3:4). In short, Jesus and His apostles taught that sin is anything that doesn’t reflect selfless love for God and others. 3. Q.What has God done to provide SALVATION salvation? A. He became a member1. Q.What is salvation? of the human race in the A. Salvation is person of Jesus Christ (Jn.deliverance from the 1:1,14), lived sinlessly aspenalty, pollution, and our substitute to fulfill God’spower of sin (Rom. 6:14,23; righteous demands (2 Cor.Ti. 3:4-6). It is eternally more 5:21), suffered and died onimportant than being saved the cross to bear the penaltyfrom fire, deep water, illness, for our sins (Mt. 20:28; Rom.or loneliness. While most 4:23-25; 1 Cor. 15:3-4),people struggle to be saved and rose from the grave tofrom social embarrassment, break the power of deathpoor health, poverty, or and defeat Satan (Acts 2:24;personal discouragement, Heb. 2:14-15).the issue of their eternal well- In other words, Hebeing is usually overlooked or accepted full responsibilityminimized. to pay the price for the 15 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. consequences of our sin. those who are sinners byAlthough Christ actually took nature (Ps. 51:5), disobedientour place, His suffering was by choice (Rom. 3:23; Col.shared by the Father and the 1:21; Ti. 3:3), spiritually deadSpirit. Certainly they deeply (Eph. 2:1,5), unable to pleasefelt the pain of seeing one so God (Rom. 8:8), and underdearly loved experience such His wrath and condemnationterrible humiliation and (Jn. 3:36; Rom. 1:18; 3:19).agony. Christ died for people who have nothing to offer Him but brokenness and The rescue need. He died for people who have fallen far short of their offered by God original purpose to know Him is eternally more (Jn. 17:3), to glorify Him (1 important than Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy Him forever (Rev. 7:15-17; 21:1-4). being saved from 5. Q.Who will be any other kind saved? of debt, disease, A. From the divine perspective, God saves or death. those whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world (Acts 13:48;4. Q. For whom did Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:4; 2 Th.Christ die? 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9). From the A. Jesus Christ died for human viewpoint, salvationall, even for those who will is legitimately offered tonot believe on Him (Jn. 3:16; everyone and is freely given1 Tim. 2:4-6; Heb. 2:9; 2 Pet. to all who believe on Jesus2:1; 1 Jn. 2:2). He died for Christ (Mt. 11:28; Jn. 1:12;16 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. 3:15-16,36; 6:40,47; 7. Q. Does divine11:25-26; 20:31; Acts 16:31; election do away withRom. 10:9-10). human freedom and Our part is not to responsibility?understand the mind and A. No! God is sovereignmystery of God but to and man is both free andgratefully accept His responsible. We cannot fullyundeserved love. Of this we harmonize these truths, butcan be sure: All who sincerely we must accept both of themwant to be saved and who in humility and faith.accept the invitation to believe This requires reasonablein Christ will never be turned trust in God. A human parentaway (Jn. 6:37). In time and expects his small child toeternity they will learn that trust his parental judgmentthey came because of the when that child is not able tochoosing, urging, and drawing see the big picture. Shouldn’tof the Father (Jn. 6:39,44,65). we grant the infinite God that6. Q. On what does same consideration andGod base His choosing respect?of some and not others 8. Q. How do wefor salvation? receive salvation? A. God sovereignly A. By faith alone. Neitherchooses according to His zealous commitment to goodown good pleasure (Eph. 1:4- works (Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 4:1-11). Although His choice 12) nor careful observance ofis in harmony with His religious ritual (Gal. 3:1-9)foreknowledge (1 Pet. 1:2), it play a part in obtainingis not based on it. If God did salvation.not take the initiative, no one Salvation is not found inwould believe and choose our efforts for God but inHim (Jn. 6:44). trusting God’s efforts for us. 17 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. As important as it is to go to A. It is personal trust inchurch, a 50-year record of God. It is believing that He,perfect attendance would not on the basis of Christ’shelp us qualify in any way for substitutionary death andheaven. God does not require resurrection, forgives andour money, our attendance, accepts all who trust in Jesusour prayers, or our songs. All Christ and rely on Him aloneHe requires is that we place for salvation (Rom. 3:21-26;our trust in Christ. On that 4:1-25; 5:1-2; Eph. 2:8-10).basis He gives salvation. It is therefore not what I doEverything else follows. but what I believe that counts.9. Q.What is the If what I believe is right, doingrepentance called for by right will follow. Good worksJohn the Baptist, Jesus, are the fruit and the evidencePaul, and Peter? (Mt. (Eph. 2:10; 1 Jn. 3:7-10), not3:1-2; 4:17;Acts 2:38; the ground or the cause.20:21). 11. Q.What does A. Repentance is that the Bible meanchange of attitude about when it speaks ofone’s self, one’s sin, and God, our justification?which involves the whole (Rom. 5:1-2).personality—mind, emotions, A. The Greek word Pauland will. In varying degrees, used is a legal term meaningit always accompanies true “to be declared righteous.” Itfaith. Sorrow for sin often depicts the action of God asaccompanies it and helps Judge. When we believe ongive evidence that genuine Jesus, He declares us righteousrepentance has occurred (Rom. 3:24-26), free from(2 Cor. 7:9-10). condemnation (Acts 13:38-39;10. Q.What is saving Rom. 4:8; 8:1), and restored tofaith? His favor (Rom. 5:9-11).18 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. No human court has ever increasing separation ofoffered a decision of mercy, ourselves from sin and apardon, or acquittal that continual growth in holinessdeserves more celebration (2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Pet. 1:15-16;than the justification God 2 Pet. 3:18).offers to every person who God’s command to be holybelieves in Jesus. is as fitting to a Christian as the insistence of a mother who requires that her children, the dog, and her Good works husband not track mud, tar, are the evidence paint, and grease into the house. of salvation, 13. Q.What is not the basis. redemption? A. Redemption is our salvation viewed from the perspective of the price Jesus12. Q.What is paid to rescue us. Hesanctification? redeemed us from the law A. Sanctification, which (Rom. 7:6) and from itsin the Greek language means penalty (Gal. 3:13), from“set apart,” begins as an act our bondage to sin (Rom.of God by which He sets 6:6,11,18,22; Ti. 2:14), andapart for Himself those who from the domain of Satantrust Christ (1 Cor. 6:11; (Col. 1:13-14). He did so2 Th. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2). through His death on theThis positional sanctification cross, the act by which Heon God’s part calls for us met the demands of God’sto respond in practical holy nature (Mt. 20:28; Eph.sanctification—an ever 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). 19 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. THE DOCTRINE OF truth, we are nothing withoutCHRISTIAN LIVING Christ and His love. 2. Q.What are the evidences of a relationship with Christ? A. Those who know what it means to love Christ and CHRISTIAN to be loved by Him will be LIVING marked by deep gratitude to God (Col. 3:12-17), regular1. Q.What is Christian conversation with Himliving? (1 Th. 5:17), patient trust in A. It is love-controlled Him (1 Pet. 1:6-9), humbleconduct that is grounded in submission to Him (Jas. 4:6-and flows from our personal 10), and careful attention torelationship with Christ. As we love others as He has lovedgrow in our understanding of us (1 Jn. 4:7,11).how much He loves us, we All of this is beyondwill grow in our ability to love our ability to do in our ownGod above all else and to love strength. But it is the normalour neighbor as ourselves (Mt. result of letting Christ, by His22:37-39; Jn. 13:34; Rom. Spirit, live His life through us13:8-10; 1 Cor. 13). (Gal. 2:20; 5:16,22-25; Eph. Nothing is as important 3:16-21; 5:18).as Christlike love—not 3. Q. How can weknowledge, not religious communicate withobservance, not ability, not God?rule-keeping, not appearance, A. By regularly andnot personal sacrifice. While prayerfully expressing ourwe may be ignorant without own hearts to God (Mt. 6:5-20 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. 15) and by carefully listening law, why must we keepto Him speak to us through God’s commandments?His written Word (Ps. 119; A. The commands of the2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12). Bible are God’s guidelines to4. Q.What are the show us how we can live outconditions for effective in daily practice the love weprayer? have for Him and our A. God answers our neighbors (Mt. 22:37-40;prayers when we pray in faith Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Jn. 5:3).(Mt. 17:20), according to His Those who do notwill (1 Jn. 5:14), with a pure meditate on the Word of Godheart (Ps. 66:18), with a will soon become distractedforgiving spirit (Mk. 11:25- and preoccupied with lesser26), in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18), thoughts, routines, andand with absolute sincerity details. They will become(Ps. 145:18). more concerned with their5. Q.Why is patient own desires than with thetrust so essential to physical, spiritual, andthe Christian life? eternal needs of others. A. God is honored and 7. Q.Why is tellingwill honor us when we others about Jesus anpatiently trust His wisdom, important element inpower, and goodness no Christian living?matter how fiery our trials, A. Christ commandedhow deep our griefs, how it (Mt. 28:19-20), and theexcruciating our pain, or how eternal needs of othersunexplainable His ways are to demand it (Rom. 1:16-17;us (Job 1:20-22; 13:15; 19:25- 10:8-17). It is impossible to27; 23:10; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Jas. love others as Christ does1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-9; 4:12-19). without being concerned6. Q. If love fulfills the about their deep, everlasting 21 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. need. To love others as Christ word ekklesia (which meansloves them might involve “a called-out group”) refers tomore than being concerned a local assembly of believersabout their eternal and (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 1:2; 16:19;spiritual well-being. But it Gal. 1:2; 1 Th. 1:1).cannot involve less. In either case, the church should be as important to usTHE DOCTRINE as it is to Christ. It is far moreOF THE CHURCH than brick and mortar. Its people together make up the body of Christ. Its members both individually and collectively house the Spirit of Christ. 2. Q.When did the CHURCH church begin? A. The church was born1. Q.What is the on the Day of Pentecost,church? 50 days after our Lord’s A. The church is the resurrection, when the Holybody of Christ. The term Spirit came on a smallchurch in the New Testament number of disciples,sometimes refers to the entire baptizing them into one bodybody of people—past, and filling them with Hispresent, and future—who power (Acts 2:1-13).through faith in the Lord By this act, GodJesus make up the organism temporarily set aside thecalled the body of Christ, the nation of Israel as Hisuniversal church (Eph. 1:22- primary means of revealing23; 5:23-32; Heb. 12:23). At Himself to the world. Inother times the same Greek Israel’s place, the Lord chose22 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  23. 23. to work through an testifies to the believer’sinternational body of people faith (Acts 2:38; 8:37-38),who were united not by symbolizes the washing awaynational affiliation but by of his sins (Acts 22:16), andpersonal faith in the Lord expresses the believer’sJesus Christ (Gal. 3:27-29; identification with ChristEph. 2:13–3:10). in His death, burial, and3. Q.What are the resurrection and his intentionofficers of the local to live a Christ-exalting lifechurch? (Rom. 6:1-23). A. Two: bishops (elders) This is far more thanand deacons. Their induction into a fraternityqualifications are given in or club. No other ceremony1 Timothy 3:1-13. Turmoil, deserves to be compared withconfusion, and spiritual the importance of this act ofdissension occur as a result public identification withof not taking the spiritual Christ and His people.qualifications of church 5. Q.What is theleaders as seriously as the meaning of the Lord’sapostle Paul did. Their role is Supper?not merely administrative— A. The Lord’s Supper is aserving on committees and church observance in whichexercising authority. They are believers share bread and theto provide the church with cup as a memorial to Christ’sexamples of spiritual maturity crucified body and shedand Christlikeness. blood (Mt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor.4. Q.What is the 11:23-26).meaning of church By vividly reminding us ofbaptism? the price Jesus paid to save A. Baptism in the name us, Communion calls us toof the triune God (Mt. 28:19) self-examination and spiritual 23 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. renewal. While it has no THE DOCTRINEsaving power, it is not to be OF THE FAMILYobserved carelessly orindifferently (1 Cor. 11:27-34).6. Q.What is the localchurch to do when amember continues tolive in sin despiterepeated warnings? FAMILY A. The church is toconfront such a person 1. Q.What is a family?lovingly about his sin. If all A. A family is the basicattempts at correction are building block of society.resisted, the church is to It begins when a man anddisassociate itself from the woman become husbandmember with the hope and and wife, and it normallyprayer that such action will grows as children are bornresult in his repentance and to them (Ps. 127; 128).return (Mt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. When God’s regulations5:1-13). for the honor and preservation If this were done more of the family are ignored,consistently and lovingly, society unravels. Divorce,individual members of the premarital and extramaritalchurch would not think it a sex, unwed mothers, abusivelight or casual thing to live in husbands, negligent wives,sin while identifying with the and rebellious childrenLord Jesus Christ. combine to signal the fall of a civilization. 2. Q.Why did God institute marriage? A. God ordained marriage24 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  25. 25. as a lifelong and exclusive It’s not easy to be the kindunion of a man and woman of husband God enrich one another (Gen. Nowhere is a man’s character2:18-24), to fulfill mutual tested more intensely.longings for intimacy (1 Cor. Nowhere is there a greater7:1-5; Heb. 13:4), and to need for the grace and innerprovide a godly home as strength of Christ.the proper setting for the 4. Q.What are theprocreation and nurturing responsibilities of a wifeof children (Ps. 127; 128). to her husband? When marriage loses its A. To submit to him as toGod-given honor, husbands, the Lord (Eph. 5:22-24), towives, and children all love him (Ti. 2:4-5), to beexperience the deep wounds considerate of his desire forof neglect and rejection. A intimacy (1 Cor. 7:3-5), to berelationship designed for help, sexually faithful (Ti. 2:5), andcomfort, and encouragement to respect him as the head ofbecomes a primary source of the home (Eph. 5:33).pain, dissatisfaction, and It’s not easy to be theinsecurity. kind of wife God intended.3. Q.What are the Nowhere is a woman’sresponsibilities of a character tested morehusband to his wife? intensely. Nowhere is there A. To love her sacrificially a greater need for the graceas Christ loved the church and inner strength of Christ.(Eph. 5:25), to commit 5. Q.What are thehimself to a lifetime responsibilities ofrelationship (Gen. 2:24; Mt. parents to their19:4-6), to be understanding children?toward her (1 Pet. 3:7), and to A. By their example ascare for her (Eph. 5:28-30). well as by what they say, 25 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  26. 26. parents are to instruct THE DOCTRINE OFtheir children in Bible truth THE SPIRIT WORLD(Dt. 6:4-9) and impart tothem a fear of evil and adesire for godliness (Prov. 1:8-10; 3:1-8; 4:1-9; 22:6). Theyare to do this in a kind,gentle way, and backup their teaching by their SPIRIT WORLDown conduct so that theirchildren will be inclined to 1. Q.What is the spiritfollow them instead of being world?provoked to anger (Eph. 6:4). A. It is that invisible6. Q.What is the realm inhabited by holyresponsibility of angels who actively servechildren to their God for our good (Heb. 1:14)parents? and by Satan’s demonic A. Paul commanded forces who oppose God andchildren to obey and honor seek to harm us (Eph. 6:12).their parents (Eph. 6:1-3). He Its existence is one of thealso taught that older children primary reasons that things inhave a financial responsibility our world are not always asto assist their parents if they they seem. Our challenge isbecome unable to provide for far greater than merely to dealthemselves (1 Tim. 5:4). with the visible details of life. Our primary struggle for well-being does not depend just on our flesh-and-blood relationships but on unseen friends and enemies as well. 2. Q.What are angels?26 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  27. 27. A. Angels are created alluded to in Isaiah’s(Ps. 148:1-5), powerful (Ps. description of the king of103:20), personal (Lk. 1:26- Babylon (14:12-15) and38; 15:10), deathless (Lk. Ezekiel’s reference to the king20:36), spirit beings (Heb. of Tyre (28:11-19). He is also1:14) designed to worship referred to in the Bible as the(Heb. 1:6) and serve the Lord devil, Lucifer, Beelzebub,(Ps. 103:20), and to minister Belial, serpent, dragon,to believers (Heb. 1:14). ruler of this world, god of While natural observation this age, prince of the powerdoes not reveal their of the air, angel of light,importance to us, faith in accuser, tempter, deceiver,the Word of God assures us murderer, liar, and evil one.that God’s sovereign provision Because of his constantin our lives is often mediated activity against God and theby these invisible servants. people of God, he is a farEven more astounding is the greater threat to us than anyassurance of the Scriptures other enemy, personal orthat they do not always remain national.invisible. Because of this, the 4. Q.Who are theletter to the Hebrews urges demons?us, “Do not forget to entertain A. Demons are fallenstrangers, for by so doing some angels who apparently joinedhave unwittingly entertained Satan in his rebellion. Someangels” (Heb. 13:2). are active as members of3. Q.Who is Satan? Satan’s army (Eph. 6:12) while A. Satan is an especially others have been imprisonedpowerful angel who rebelled by God (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).against God. His act of These personal agentsrebellion is not described of Satan’s evil empire candirectly in the Bible but is stimulate and arouse the 27 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  28. 28. worst capacities and desires like Peter (Mt. 16:23), we arewithin us. They don’t make so unaware of the ways ofus evil, but they willingly God that even our gooddominate those who refuse to intentions can serve Satan’ssurrender their hearts to God. purposes. For that reason we5. Q.What are the must continually depend onactivities of Satan? the Lord’s ability to lead us. A. With the help of hisdemon followers, he plantsfalse Christians among the We can be sotrue (Mt. 13:24-30; 2 Cor. unaware of God’s11:13-15). He seeks to devour ways that eventhe Lord’s people (1 Pet. 5:8).He falsely accuses God’s our good intentionschildren (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-5; can serve Satan’sZech. 3:1-10; Rev. 12:10). He purposes.rules over the unsaved world(Jn. 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph.2:2). He deceives people 6. Q.What did Christthrough his outright lies do to assure the(Jn. 8:44) and his cleverly ultimate defeat ofdesigned thought-systems Satan and his forces?(2 Cor. 4:4; 11:14-15; Col. A. By His death and2:8,20-23; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 1 Jn. resurrection, the Lord Jesus2:15-17; 5:19). And he can broke Satan’s power (Col.possess nonbelievers (Mk. 2:14-15; Heb. 2:14-15).5:1-13; 6:13; Acts 5:16; 16:16- So the devil and his forces18; 19:11-12). operate today as defeated We are constantly foes who know they areinteracting with the workings doomed to the lake of fire (Mt.of this evil strategist. Often, 8:29; Jas. 2:19; Rev. 20:10).28 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  29. 29. It is absolutely essential THE DOCTRINEto keep in mind that OF THE FUTURESatan’s final outcome is aforegone conclusion. Hispredetermined fate is aterrible reality that shouldhelp us to avoid eithercarelessness or despair.7. Q. How can we FUTUREdefeat Satan? A. We who have placed 1. Q.What happensour trust in Christ can when a person dies?overcome Satan in our daily A. The person’s soul-spiritlives by submitting to God leaves his body and goesand resisting the devil (Jas. either to Hades, where he4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9); by being consciously awaitsaware of his strategy and resurrection, judgment, andavoiding the sins that give eternal punishment, or tohim a foothold in our lives heaven, where he consciously(1 Cor. 7:5; 2 Cor. 2:10-11; awaits resurrection, judgment,Eph. 4:26-27; 1 Tim. 3:6-7); and eternal reward ( putting on the full armor 16:19-31; Jn. 5:28-29; 2 Cor.of God (Eph. 6:11-18); and 5:8; Phil. 1:21-24; Heb. 9:27).by totally rejecting all forms This universal and personalof occult activity, including fact should constantlymagic, spiritism, and influence and shape ourwitchcraft (Lev. 19:26,31; attitude toward the present.20:6,27; Dt. 18:10-12; Isa. Each of us lives on the edge8:19; Mic. 5:12; Gal. 5:19-21; of a future that is continuouslyRev. 21:8; 22:15). devouring the present and entombing it in the past. 29 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  30. 30. 2. Q.When will (Mt. 24:44). Therefore, webelievers receive their should always be ready (Mt.resurrection bodies? 24:45–25:30) and living in A. Believers in the church such a way that we will notage, both living and dead, be ashamed when Jesuswill receive their resurrection returns (1 Jn. 2:28–3:3).bodies when Christ returns atthe rapture—that time whenHe comes back to catch up Our presentliving believers and conclude problems shouldthe church age (1 Cor. 15:52-58; 1 Th. 4:13-18). Old be seen asTestament believers will temporaryreceive their resurrection inconveniences,bodies immediatelyfollowing the great not permanenttribulation (Dan. 12:1-3). injustices. These new bodies will lastforever. Our present strugglesto cope with the problems of 4. Q.What will takedisease, handicap, and place on earth in thephysical appearance are absence of the church?temporary inconveniences, A. The world will gonot permanent injustices. through a time of confusion3. Q.When will Christ and distress marked byreturn to catch up the rise of a world rulerbelievers and conclude depicted in Scripture asthe church age? the “beast,” “man of sin,” A. It may take place at and “Antichrist,” who willany moment, at a time when blaspheme God’s name andmany will not expect Him persecute all who turn to30 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  31. 31. Jesus (2 Th. 2:1-12; 1 Jn. 4:1- A. After 1,000 years, God3; Rev. 13:1-18). While he is will release Satan (Rev. 20:7)violently opposing God, he and give mankind one moreand the rest of mankind will opportunity to chooseexperience supernatural between obeying Him or thejudgments from heaven (Rev. devil. Multitudes will make6–19). He will be defeated by the wrong choice and join inChrist Himself at His return one last rebellion (Rev. 20:8-(Rev. 19:11-21). 9). At this time, God will5. Q.Why will God send supernaturally defeat His foessupernatural judgments (Rev. 20:9-10), purge theon the earth during this present earth-system with firetime? (2 Pet. 3:10-13), and assign A. God will use these Satan, fallen angels, and alljudgments to display His Christ-rejecting persons towrath against the wickedness eternal punishment in theof unrepentant mankind (Isa. lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15).13:6-16; Rev. 16:4-21), to lead Then He will create a newa great multitude to saving heaven and a new earthfaith in Christ (Rev. 7:9-17), where those whose namesto bring about the conversion are written in the Lamb’sof the nation of Israel (Ezek. Book of Life will serve Him36; 37), and to bring in a forever (Rev. 21:1–22:5).golden age when Israel’s In this light, our Lord said,promised Messiah will rule “What will it profit a man ifas King of the earth for 1,000 he gains the whole world, andyears (Isa. 2:1-4; 11:1-10; Jer. loses his own soul? Or what33:14-16; Rom. 11:25-27; will a man give in exchangeRev. 20:1-6). for his soul?” (Mk. 8:36-37).6. Q. How will Christ’searthly kingdom end? 31 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  32. 32. WITHOUT builds up (1 Cor. 8:1).LOVE WE ARE He knew that all of the knowledge in the worldNOTHING minus love equals nothing.A s we conclude, let’s He wrote, “Though I have remember that right the gift of prophecy, and doctrine cannot exist understand all mysterieswithout love. We can’t think and all knowledge . . . butrightly unless our thoughts have not love, I am nothing”are motivated by the love of (1 Cor. 13:2).God. Then the apostle went on to describe the love that will show whether or not we have right thinking. He wrote: Knowledge Love is patient, love is kind. minus love It does not envy, it does not equals nothing. boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record It’s easy to forget this. of wrongs. Love does notIt’s hard to remember that delight in evil but rejoicesknowledge without love is with the truth. It alwayslike a head without a body. protects, always trusts,Too often, those who know always hopes, alwaystheir doctrine are marked perseveres. Love never failsmore by self-centeredness (1 Cor. 13:4-8 NIV).and arrogance than by It’s love that motivates usapproachability and love. to correct misbelief and to Paul knew that while pursue the truth of God.knowledge puffs up, love32 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  33. 33. Get your free BibleResources catalog! Discovery Series booklets can be valuable guides to help you learn what the Bible says about a broad range of topics. Each 32-page booklet can be used in your personal Bible study or in a small-group setting. Your free Bible Resources catalog includes a briefdescription of each Discovery Series booklet.To get your copy, write to us at the address belowand ask for a catalog. Or follow the link below torequest your copy PO Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2222Canada: Box 1622, Windsor, ON N9A 6Z7