We believe in Jesus Christ. This one statement, more than anything else, sums up what we Jesus Christians believe. But even a statement as simple and straight forward as that gives rise to more questions.
Most people asking the questions want to determine whether we conform with certain "traditions" associated with that statement. We're more concerned about whether or not we conform to the "Word of God" who is being referred to in that statement. (Mark 7:13)
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ was the Word of God in human form. (John 1:14) It says that the Word of God created the world. (John 1:3) It also tells us that the Word of God was not only "with God", but He also "was God". (John 1:1) Jesus Christ repeatedly referred to God as his "Father". The Bible tells us that Jesus said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father," (John 14:9) and "I and my Father are one." (John 10:30)
However, the Bible also tells us that Jesus said, "My Father is greater than me." (John 14:28) Jesus also said of himself, "The Son can do nothing of himself," (John 5:19) and "I can of my own self do nothing." (John 5:30)
The "Trinity" doctrine was an attempt to reconcile these two positions, and, as such, it does a reasonable job. However, we can understand that people might arrive at different conclusions with regard to the relative strengths of these two aspects of Jesus' personality, i.e. his divinity and his humanity. So we do not make it imperative that our members subscribe to the traditional explanation (i.e. the "Trinity" teaching) as the only explanation of what Jesus was saying in the above statements.
We must repeat what we said at the start. We believe in Jesus Christ, and because of this, we believe (and try to understand) what Jesus Christ said about himself more than we try to believe and understand what followers of Jesus have said about his divinity or lack of it. As wise and sincere as they might be, they will never be able to hold a candle to the brightness of the truth that is in Jesus Christ himself. We believe in Jesus Christ.
Or, to put it another way, we believe in the teachings of Jesus more than we believe in the teachings of the church. Theological statements aimed at expressing conformity with orthodox religious jargon have little to do with genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, but refuse to obey the things that I have said?" (Luke 6:46) Jesus said that a person could be forgiven for not believing that he is the Son of God, but that we cannot be forgiven for rejecting the Spirit of God in what he said (Matthew 12:31-32). It is on the basis of his teachings that we have become most convinced of his divinity; whereas it appears that most people who argue only from the premise of his divinity never get around to believing his teachings.
"We believe in Jesus Christ." Believing in Jesus is impossible if we don't believe him. So we believe Jesus Christ and we try to follow and obey everything that he taught his followers to do. This, too, we do in the face of, and often in contradiction of, popular teachings of the church which can be used as an excuse to do other than obey Jesus. We are convinced that anyone who consciously and wilfully chooses to act in disobedience to the teachings of Jesus cannot be saved. They have rejected the Holy Spirit of God speaking through Jesus, and there is no other way of salvation except through His words. This group of lost souls includes millions of people who reject the teachings of Jesus on the basis of some perverted teaching of their churches.
We are most concerned that the biggest reason that people give today for rejecting the teachings of Jesus is a false tradition of the church that says it is heretical to attempt to obey Jesus, i.e. that it amounts to "working your way to heaven".
Everyone works for someone. Either you are working for God or you are working for the devil; and anyone who teaches that obedience to Jesus is heretical is more than likely working for the devil. If the choice is one between working your way to heaven by obeying Jesus, or working your way to hell by obeying the devil, we know which side we want to be on!
Faith in Jesus Christ demands obedience to Jesus Christ. (John 14:21; II John 6) The Bible says that anyone who "disobeys and does not stay within the teachings of Jesus does not have God; whereas anyone who does stay in the teachings of Jesus has both the Father and the Son. " (II John 9)
The grace of God is only given to those who have faith, (Ephesians 2:8) and "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). In other words, without works there is no faith and without faith there is no grace.
Certainly it is important to understand that our works do not make us "worthy" to receive God's grace; but by the same token neither does not working make anyone worthy to receive God's grace. The more important question is which teaching shows greater evidence of faith in Jesus, since this is what God is looking for.
We believe in Jesus Christ, and we believe Jesus Christ. Because of this, we call ourselves Christians. We are not Paulians, Marians, Lutherans, Wesleyans, Calvinists, or followers of any other human being. We are followers of Jesus Christ.
We have, however, been frustrated at times by the misconception that the world in general has about the term "Christian". It is usually acquainted with the traditions of the visible, institutional "church" which has, over the centuries, been called "Christian". On the other hand, we have found that when we use the word "Jesus" people immediately associate it with the teachings of Jesus Christ contained in the Bible. For that reason, we have resorted to calling ourselves "Jesus Christians" as a way of underlining this difference in emphasis.
Until those who call themselves Christians get back to the teachings of Jesus Christ as contained in the Bible (whether or not those teachings conform with the traditional teachings of the church), we will not regard them as true followers of Jesus Christ. We believe that there are sincere people in the churches; but, as a whole, the institution is wilfully rebellious against God, and as such, it is apostate.
We believe that we are living in one of the darkest times in the spiritual history of the world. It is our job to point people back to Jesus Christ in all that we do. By patterning our lives on his teachings, we become "lights on a hill". (Matthew 5:14) It will cost us everything that we have, and eventually our lives, to do this. In a world which has rejected Jesus, we cannot hope to be popular; for we will share his fate if we are faithful to his message.
We believe in Jesus Christ. For us, this is more than just a glib "article of faith". It will cost us everything. (Luke 14:25-33) But anything short of this is not fit for shit. (Luke 14:34-35)
(See also Churchies.)
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