By: Martin Cisneros
What is Christianity? What is essential Christianity? Is it a particular belief in how things will turn out, or is it a belief in the only Name under heaven given among men by which we MUST be saved? Is it a belief in a particular view of Bible prophecy, or is it an acknowledgement of Who is the Only genuine Saviour from anything any of us ever have or ever will need saving from? Is belief in the virgin born Son of God, the Blood of the Cross, the Resurrection of the Saviour, faith in His power to Save, and commitment to live both a holy and a loving life all of the orthodoxy that you or anyone could ever need?
What are we to do with those who have more faith in the results of the first Adam than of the last Adam?
Must we all repent of our sins and embrace the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Absolutely and without a doubt. Must we command everyone everywhere to repent, entrust their souls to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and prove their repentance by their sexual purity, compassion, generosity, and pointing other people to the Lord that's so powerfully saved them? Absolutely! Genuine salvation is by grace through faith. And it's a Biblical principle that real Christianity takes up it's cross daily and follows Christ. It might even be said, based on some Scriptures, that Christ is more concerned by what you're doing with your life than by what you're claiming about your religious life.
People are saved by the Saviour from their sins and from their infirmities, from their poor self-image and from their filthy habits. Faith is faith in the Blood that came from the holy Son of God, His power to keep them forever, and faith in His ability to empower them to reach every sinner on earth with the saving message of His cleansing Blood and saving compassions. Faith is in the broken Bread and overflowing Cup of His Testament. Faith is faith in His power, His provision, His wisdom, His love, His faithfulness, His chastening power, and His pleasures which He's prepared for those who obey Him. He's given His holy Spirit to those who obey Him, but He is the Ransom for all that's to be testified in due time by all Christians. All Christians will testify - at the appointed hour - that He's the Saviour of all, especially of those who believe.
It is enough for me to find a brother who believes that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, born of the flesh of the virgin Mary by the power, presence, activity, purpose, and destiny of the Holy Spirit. That a brother would believe this, along with the sincerity, singularity, and power of the Words of our Lord Jesus and the sufficiency of His Blood shed at the cross for the recreation of every life are what matter most to me. If one believes in the literal bodily resurrection and literal bodily ascension of Jesus Christ to God's right hand, then my joy is full in my brother.
If he (and obviously my sisters are equally embraced) believe in the commandment of Jesus to believe and confess His Name and His Lordship over all, along with believing and taking to heart and his daily life the commandment of Jesus Christ to love all men without hypocrisy, then how can any say that such a one is not my brother, or that such a daughter of the commandments isn't my sister?
Christ came to not only give life to each of us, but to truly teach each of us how to live in obedience to God. Christ came to teach us the meaning and the practice of sincere integrity, compassion, and moderation with each of our brothers and sisters in the world.
(Humbleness, sobriety, joy, gentleness, and zeal are not excluded from Biblically and Christ centered Christianity.)
Love for life begins with love for God, together with hope in His promises. These three things: devotion, integrity, and hope without hypocrisy are what anchor lives and truly create a society, or a local community worth living in.
You cannot ignore the brotherhood and fellowship of those who believe in the purity and sanctity of the cross and Blood of Christ for the atonement of the whole world merely on eschatological or semantical conflicts.
Is Jesus Christ Lord of all? Do His Blood and Spirit continually reclaim lives from the graves of despair, enmity, and filth?
If you can answer yes to the previous two questions, then no one has a right to claim that you and I are not brothers in the finished work of Jesus Christ and joint-heirs of the heathen and of all of the rest of creation.
What constitutes heresy? What is the nature of that which truly divides Christianity from all of the other religions of the world? Is it our end-times doctrines? Is it our views of the creation of the universe? What separates us from all of the other peoples of the earth? While a lot of people will choose to bring up this doctrine or that one, there are a few bottomlines that are nonnegotiable:
1. The Lordship of Jesus Christ over all;
2. Recognition of His finished atoning work;
3. Belief in His literal Blood for the taking away of our sins and our restoration to God's practical favor;
4. Belief in Christ's command to all nations to repent and to live as living sacrifices before Him;
5. Belief that actively engaged compassion is what genuinely makes the world go around;
6. Belief that personal purity and genuine worship are both the bottomlines and a work in progress;
7. Belief that consistency of righteous character, that's yeilded to the daily work of the Holy Spirit, is the goal of all publicly practiced Christianity;
8. Belief that Home is where the Christ is, and that in the light of His "ever-Presence," that we should do all things as if we were doing them for Him;
9. Belief that Christians are not only called to love one another, but to also fellowship with one another for the growth of the common good;
10. Belief that it's the Church's mandate to equip the individual believers for reaching those who've been blinded by their sins and by cultural darkness from the reign of Christ.
This is what the Church is about, whether the views of individual denominations or congregations reflect end-times views that are Augustinian-Calvinist, Arminian, or Universalist.
These constitute the Christian fundamentals and not the endless minutia of Church practice, or how we make Christ known to others. Our obligations to the God of purity, the purifying power of the Blood of Jesus Christ, our wholehearted devotion to the Scriptures and to one another in the reverence and awe of God are bottomline essentials. The purifying of our conscience, prior to the purifying of our plans and pursuits is paramount.
While it's true that no one can stay static and inactive until their conscience is fully purified, God accounts one as pure whose conscience, plans, means, and pursuits are ever distilling through faith and fellowship with Him in the Blood of the atoning sacrifice of the world, Jesus Christ.
Our love for God, our love for the divine, and our love for what that divinity has called each of us to are what constitute the unshakable fundamentals of the Christian faith and what distinguishes us from all of the other families of the earth. Our obligations to cherish the sacred Blood of Christ in our deeds, more than just in our words and creeds, and to offer up our every relationship with our bodies and with this present world, to God and in a godly Scriptural fashion, are what constitute godliness in this present, dark world.
Receive the Blood of Jesus Christ and all of the divine consequences of that. Take His broken body and feed it to our soul sick world. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out the demons that each of us faces in our attitudes and in our cultural expressions. Receive His Bread and Cup, purify your double-minded consciences, and nurture this widowed, orphaned world until it grows beyond the realm of it's childhood and embraces the hope of holiness and obedience, along with righteousness and praise.
Crucify your own flesh rather than your brother's or your sister's. Don't let your raising of the dead become a resurrection unto condemnation, but to simplicity, generosity, and devotion to Christ and to one another in the fear of God. Abandon your sins and not your brothers. Receive with meekness the holy Scriptures to the purifying of your consciences. Realize that what hardens the heart against dying the death that Christ died for the recovery of all of the world is what itself is inherently false doctrine and nothing else.
You'll not partake of life and that more abundantly by ignoring your brothers and sisters in the world in the daily distribution of the mercies, graces, and healing touches of the Lamb of God. The first great heresy in the Garden of Eden was the attempt at caring for one's own soul at the expense of the rest of the Creation around Adam and Eve. That murdered brotherhood from the very womb. How will it produce different results in your life, your legacy, and your posterity today and tomorrow?