Christianity 101 (and our statement of faith)

There are in any given religion, certain things which are adhered to and believed in, which separate each religion from another. It would seem obvious, that when religious claims are at odds with each other, they cannot all be true. In as much as how one lives his/her life, and indeed, one's eternal destiny may be determined by ones religious viewpoint, it is of utmost importance to get it right.

Within any given religion, there are beliefs which are core to that religion, while others are peripheral, and open to some debate. In Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth, is our main object of focus, which distinguishes Christians from other monotheistic religions. Christians tend to hold, that the Holy Bible, is uniquely inspired by God, and is therefore, the only reliable source of information about God and His dealings with mankind.

On this basis, we assume that anything which contradicts the Bible, is contradicting God, and therefore, not of God. So, what things does the Bible teach, which are core beliefs of the Christian faith? Let's have a look:

Before anything existed, God was.

God created the heavens and the earth, and populated the earth with life.

God created mankind, and placed mankind in a pristine environment.

Mankind rebelled against God, causing a separation between God and mankind.

God loved mankind, and desired to be in relationship with mankind.

Rather than allow mankind to be eternally separated from Him, God allowed death to happen, so that mankind, could have a second life, unpolluted by our rebellion, but does not force anyone to come to Him, that does not want to do so.

God exists in three persons, The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Each person is God, but there is one God only, the three persons are the one God.

God the Father, Sent the Holy Spirit, to conceive in a human female, His Son. God the Son was born into the world through a virgin, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who was fully human, with all human frailties, yet never ceased being God. 

God is loving, merciful, and just. All power is His to wield or to delegate, He is everywhere and all knowing. His love compels Him to redeem mankind, to end the separation between Himself and mankind. He desires our love in return, but gives us free will, because love cannot be compelled. His justice, requires that rebellion be punished.

In His mercy, He provided a way to escape His justice.

God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world, to  live a sinless life, to teach us about the will of God, and ultimately, to pay the price of mankind's sin, by suffering crucifixion on the cross, and dying in our place.

In doing so, Jesus took upon Himself, the sins of the world. His sacrifice, on our behalf, is sufficient to satisfy the justice of God, and free us from the penalty of our sin, which is eternal separation from God.

While the price Jesus paid, was sufficient to purchase us as His own, and save us from damnation, God does not force anyone to live with Him in eternity, but gives us the choice, to spend eternity in bliss with Him, or eternity in anguish, separated from Him.

Everyone has committed sin. Sin is nothing more, that acting outside of God's will, disobeying Him. Left to ourselves, we would be separated from God eternally, and that is what we deserve.

God loved us so much, that He sent His only begotten Son, to die in our place, and if we choose to accept that, we can be free from the penalty of our sin.

God offers us salvation, as a free gift, we cannot earn it through good deeds.

We accept God's gift, by believing, in faith, that Jesus died on our behalf, and was placed in a tomb, for three days, and then, returned to life, as a demonstration of His power and authority over death, and as a demonstration, that we can trust all that He told us.

After accepting by faith, that Jesus did this for us, if we ask forgiveness for our sins, God readily forgives us.

Once a person does this, God sends His Holy Spirit to live in the person. His Holy Spirit comforts us, strengthens our faith, and enables us to more clearly understand God's will for our lives, and empowers us to resist temptation.

As we grow in our faith, we also grow to love God more, and desire to live lives which are pleasing to Him.

Christians desire to follow Jesus example and teachings. As such, we desire, and try, to live without sin. We desire and try, to live exemplary lives.

Among our responsibilities as followers of Jesus, are such things as teaching others about Jesus and the will of God, loving people through action, regardless of whether they deserve it or not. This love for others, consists of seeking the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of others.

Christians are all brothers and sisters, regardless of denominational affiliation. Christians are instructed to seek other Christians out for fellowship, and to help each other to live out their common faith. The worldwide family of God, all Christians, are known as the church.

Christians live out their faith, century to century, awaiting the day, when Jesus will return, to judge the living and the dead, and permanently deal with evil, and remove it from those He has chosen, from all centuries. Christians will then live forever, in the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, in the dwelling place of God, known as Heaven.

Two rituals we left to the church by Jesus. 1. the Lord's Supper - Communion - the eating and drinking of bread and wine/grape juice, symbolic of His body, broken for us, and His blood, spilled for us, to be taken in remembrance of Him until He returns. 2. Water baptism for believers, symbolic of being washed of our sins, and identifying with our Lord in his death and resurrection.

Obviously, the Bible has much much more to say that that, but that is about as far as I can distill the teachings down to a minimal essence. These things are universally accepted by Christians around the world, and across the centuries.