"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . . Our Website is UNDER CONSTRUCTION, please be patient!

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Monday, April 15, 2019

The FUNDAMENTALS of the FAITH

 ~ By James Fire

What does ‘fundamental’ mean?
“Being an essential part of something, or a foundation for the purpose of building on; something essential, of central importance.”

So, the fundamentals of Christian doctrine are the foundation stones upon which all other doctrines of the Bible are built upon.”

What then does doctrine mean? Simply, it means ‘teaching’. Specifically what GOD teaches us in His Word.
The fundamentals of the faith therefore are the core doctrines, the very heart of doctrinal truth that is recorded for us by GOD in the Holy Bible. From these foundational fundamentals all of the truth of GOD’s WORD is built upon and derives.

What are the foundational doctrines then that are the fundamentals of the faith?
Before we get into these, let’s consider this: if there is anyone who claims to be a Christian, but denies any one of these primary fundamentals, they are denying ‘the faith’ – that is, they are contradicting the truth of GOD’s Word that is necessary for salvation and spiritual life. It is doubtful that such a one is truly born again.


HOWEVER, that being said, it is possible for someone to agree to the truth of these fundamentals and NOT be saved! The Bible speaks of “believing in vain” (1 COR 15:2) that is – not expressing true faith in Christ to the saving of the soul, that brings evidence of a changed life: a new found love and yearning for GOD, His Word and a desire for a life of holiness, a desire to share Christ with others, a hatred for sin, evil and Satan, the great enemy that we wage war against.  

If someone claims to believe the Bible but hasn’t experienced such evidence – even in some small, but growing degree – that person is most likely not saved. This is known as ‘dead orthodoxy’; they believe all the right things intellectually, but there is no genuine faith from the heart as expressed in:

ROM 10:9-10
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation
.

Ø  The First Fundamental: the truth as recorded in Holy Scripture. The Bible, from the Latin word ‘biblos’ means ‘book’. We believe that this is a book like no other – among the myriads of innumerable books that fill hundreds of thousands of libraries the world over, this one book is unique, not because it claims to be a word from God – because many religious books make that claim, and the Bible does too.

The difference is, that the Bible incontestably proves that it is the very Word of God (but that’s for another study. . .).

What is known as the canon of Scripture bears the qualifiable mark of GOD’s own breath, His very Spirit that inspired holy men to record Scripture, precisely as GOD intended it:

2 PETER 1:20-21
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
.

2 TIM 3:16-17
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works
.

We believe that the WORD of GOD is sufficient to fully equip us with everything we need spiritually, mentally, emotionally for this life: it provides for us doctrine – that which is true and right; it provides reproof – to show us what is not right; also correction – how to get it right and instruction – how to stay right in heart, word and deed. The Word equips us completely for all good works that GOD has already planned out for us in our lives (EPH 2:10).

2 PETER 1:3
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue
:

We believe that a literal, grammatical, historical interpretation of GOD’s Word is the only interpretation; this is not a book of allegory, mere story or myth; this is a book of propositional (belief is validated by truth), inerrant, infallible truth – that is, a book of definite statements, clear and understandable that represents the truth of GOD, expressed in language that we can comprehend.

Ø  The Second Fundamental: the sinful nature of humanity and the resulting curse of sin upon creation (ROM 8:21-23). 
The Bible plainly declares that mankind exists, from the time of the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, in a sinful state, wholly depraved, unholy, unrighteous, entirely separated from and rejected by our Holy GOD – unable to understand Him, much less have any fellowship with Him.

ISAIAH 64:6-7
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnessES are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities
.

ROMANS 3:10-12, 20,23
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one
.

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Man’s heart is “deceitful and desperately [incurably] wicked” (JER 17:9). You mean that not even GOD can cure the wicked heart of man? No, GOD cannot – but He can replace the old heart with a new one! That’s what being born again is all about (EZEK 36:26; JOHN 3:3-5; 1 PET 1:23; TITUS 3:5).

GOT QUESTIONS, the following quote from: Total Depravity – Is It Biblical?
“The Bible also teaches us that man is born dead in transgression and sin (PSALM 51:5; 58:3; EPH 2:1-5). . . because unregenerate man is “dead in transgressions” (EPH 2:5), he is held captive by a love for sin (JOHN 3:19; 8:34) so that he will not seek God (ROM 3:10-11) because he loves the darkness (JOHN 3:19) and does not understand the things of God (1 COR 2:14). Therefore, men suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness (ROM 1:18) and continue to willfully live in sin. Because they are totally depraved, this sinful lifestyle seems right to men (PROV 14:12) so they reject the gospel of Christ as foolishness (1 COR 1:18) and their mind is “hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is unable to do so” (ROM 8:7).”

Examine your heart and life in the light of the Ten Commandments truthfully, and you will realize you are hopeless to do anything to save yourself. You must look to another to save you.

Ø  The Third Fundamental: The Holiness of GOD 
If we truly understand the evil, rebellious nature of mankind, and then come to understand the absolute purity and holiness and righteousness and goodness of GOD – we will at that point grasp the reality that any possibility of people being accepted by GOD by their own ‘good deeds’, or religious practices is entirely hopeless (Reading ROMANS ch. 1-3 will ably demonstrate this truth!).

Yet GOD commands us:

1 PETER 1:15-16
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation
[life]; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

PSALM 29:2
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
.

PSALM 48:1-2
1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain
[not a mound, not a knoll, not a big hill] of his holiness. 2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

PSALM 96:9
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth
.

ISAIAH 43:14a, 15
14 Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel . . . 15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King
.

ISAIAH 6:3 and REVELATION 4:8 express the same truth “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD GOD Almighty . . . the LORD of Hosts

REVELATION 15:4
4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest
.

It is because of GOD’s absolute and pure holiness, that He must judge, condemn and punish sin, from the smallest one ever committed, to the greatest sin. GOD is entirely holy, separate from His fallen creation, set apart from any living creature that has the sin nature – so that His Presence cannot dwell where sin reigns. We have no idea what the depths and heights and great expanse of GOD’s holiness is about – we are strangers to such a nature, and it’s only by being in Christ that we begin to taste now in this life, what will be a sumptuous banquet in the glories of heaven!

ROMANS 3:23-24
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
:
And this great truth of GOD’s grace brings us to the next Fundamental of the Faith:

Ø  The Fourth Fundamental: Salvation by grace according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This deals with the crucifixion of Christ, why it was necessary and the only possible means of salvation! His burial and resurrection are also part of this Gospel truth:

1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures
:

The famous Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “It may be possible for Deity to forgive sin, but I don’t see how.” For a pagan intellectual, that is some significant insight! He realized the concept of the absolute holiness of Deity, that He could not tolerate evil and inevitably would judge all such evil. Yet he also recognized that Deity is absolute goodness, with compassion and mercy. His holiness demands justice upon sinful man, whereas His love desires grace for fallen souls.

How could these two primary characteristics of GOD: His holiness, and His love, come to a meeting point where both could be satisfied? 

As we here know, that meeting point occurred 2,000 years ago, on a lonely, bloody hill outside of Jerusalem, called Calvary and Golgotha.

It was there that the Eternal Son of GOD took upon Himself the eternal judgment of GOD the Father, and the eternal punishment for the sin that we have all committed against the Eternal Law of GOD!

In exchange – the perfect and pure holiness of the SON, the ONLY Person that the Father could look upon with Holy Eyes and see absolute, flawless perfection and He could legally, and righteously declare sinners not only ‘not guilty’ of sin, but also cloth them in the perfect robes of righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is available to any and all, who will place their faith in Christ, and trust His work of salvation that He alone accomplished on our behalf, with the motivation of love for us, as well as bringing glory to the Father for the Supreme gift that is His Son! The Cross of Christ is indeed a bridge that brings the Holy GOD and hopeless sinners together and makes provision for our salvation!

NO OTHER RELIGION can offer this! NO OTHER RELIGION has such a provision for salvation. NO OTHER RELIGION other than Christianity offers salvation by grace – in EVERY religion, one must earn one’s way to salvation, by their own religious works – but on the day of Judgment, EVERYONE outside of Christ will be judged, not by the laws and rules of their own religion, but by the Holy Law of GOD!

ROMANS 3:19-20
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin
.

The nature of our salvation in Christ – is it eternal or temporary?
While there are those who subscribe to either of these two beliefs – those who believe their salvation is eternal, based exclusively on Christ, while others believe salvation is dependent on remaining faithful to Christ – the issue is that salvation is in Christ and Christ alone. If we are truly saved, born again of GOD’s Spirit, then we are sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption (EPH 4:30; speaks of this, 
the day when Christ redeems our natural bodies with its sin nature and takes us from this world, granting us glorified, incorruptible bodies with no sin nature at all (ROM 8:23) – and we go Home to heaven) and secure in our salvation.

For me, the question of greatest importance is not – Can you lose your salvation? But rather, Are you sure you are genuinely saved to begin with (2 COR 13:5Examine yourselves whether you are in the faith…”)?

We read this already, but let’s hear it again!

ROMANS 10:9-10
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation
.

Verses that reveal the glorious Gospel of Christ:

MARK 10:45
The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many
.

ROMANS 5:8
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
.

ROMANS 6:23
The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
.

ROMANS 8:1, 32:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

2 CORINTHIANS 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
.

1 TIMOTHY 1:15
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost
.

1 JOHN 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins
.

REVELATION 5:9
Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation

Check out ISAIAH 53 and you will read as eloquent and profound a description of salvation as can be found anywhere in Scripture!

Ø  The Fifth Fundamental: The Deity of Christ 

Every religion and cult will either take something away from the Person of Christ, or try to add something to Him. The Jehovah’s Witnesses try to take away His Deity and call Him “Michael the arch-angel”. Islam also takes away His Deity and calls Him “the greatest prophet, second to Mohammad”. 
     The Roman Catholic church tries to add works to the cross, as something necessary for salvation. Other legalistic Christian churches will likewise add works necessary for salvation or add water baptism as a requirement for salvation.  The Hebrew Roots Movement tries to add obedience to the Mosaic Law to salvation in Christ.

This doctrine, the Deity of Christ, is closely associated with our redemption as declared in the Gospel, as well as with the Trinity (which we will discuss next).
There is much to say about the Deity of Christ and not enough time to say it all, so let me encourage you to check out these teachings on TTUF that go into details about how Jesus is GOD, GOD the SON – Evidence for Jesus 

The whole point in the Father sending His Son to this fallen world is that He needed a representative to show the world what GOD is really like – who but GOD could truly represent GOD? A saint couldn’t do this, not perfectly, nor could any prophet – nor could an angel or arch-angel or a cherub. Only GOD could do this, and so the Spirit of the LORD came upon Mary and she conceived her first-born, who was not fathered by any sinful man, but by the Holy GOD of creation. 
Because Jesus is the ONLY Begotten of the Father, He has the same nature of the Father – sinless perfection and holiness. For this reason the virgin birth is part and parcel of the fundamental truth of the DEITY and Humanity of Christ. The LAMB of GOD Who takes away the sins of the world (JOHN 1:29) had to Himself be sinless - otherwise He could not be an appropriate propitiatory sacrifice.

Scripture abundantly testifies to the Deity of Christ

JOHN 1:1-2, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth
.

HEBREWS 1:8
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever
. (a quote taken from PS. 45; if you read the entire Psalm you will see that GOD is saying this to another, that is One Who is also GOD, GOD the Son).

1 TIMOTHY 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory
.

The LORD Jesus Christ is 100% fully GOD and fully man – He is not 50% GOD and 50% man, or 100% GOD at one point and 100% man at another point. He is ever and always completely GOD and entirely man – this is the hypostatic union – how can Jesus be completely both? It’s a mystery that the Scriptures speak of, that we at this point cannot fully understand, but when we see Him, we shall know all things (1 COR 13:12).

Ø  The Sixth Fundamental: The Trinity of GOD
The Deity of Christ is connected with the truth of the Triune or “Tri-unity” of GOD – Three Persons, individual in their own right, but comprising a unity that is so unified as to be One. How can three be considered one?

Remember what Scripture says about Adam and Eve? MARK 10:8 says that these two people are no more two, but “one flesh” that is, even though Adam and Eve were separate individuals, they comprised a single ‘unit’.

Likewise, the division that was between the Jewish and the Gentile people for millennia has been taken away in the Person of Christ: no longer are New Testament saints considered Jew or Gentile, but a new man in the body of Christ (EPH 2:15).

Considering the Hebrew words used to express the idea of “one” there are two different words that can be used: yachid, which means the numerical one or echad which means a unit of one.

If you’re watching a football game on television, you see many players on the field, but how many teams are there? Just two. Take away one of those teams, you still have many players, but how many teams? One team – they comprise a single ‘unit’ of players.
Dwelling in Eternity there are Three Players: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit which represents “team GOD”.

1 JOHN 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one
.

In DEUT 6:4 it says,
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: the Hebrew word used for the word “one” is not yachid, but echad – a unit of One.

The very word for ‘GOD’, first seen in the book of GENESIS is Eloheim, which is the plural form for El, expressing the plurality, not singularity, of GOD. All Three Persons of the Trinity are equal in holiness, power, character, knowledge – identical in every way except in the roles that they have: There is the Father, Who oversees all; the Son who is subservient to the Father and the Holy Spirit Who moves in the direction that the Father and Son instructs. All Three members were active in the creation, in the resurrection of the body of Jesus, in the indwelling and empowerment of the believing saint, in the revelation of truth.

If GOD was only One Person, and Jesus Himself was GOD alone - then tell me, when He hung on the Cross as our sin-bearer, Who could judge and condemn Him as He bore our sin? Whoever would judge the Lamb of GOD when He died in our place for our sins, would have to be absolutely righteous, and absolute Deity - Jesus couldn't be the Judge against our sin, since it was He Who was bearing our sin. There had to be another, and indeed we know that it was the Father that judged the sin that He placed upon His Son (ROM 8:3).

Ø  The Seventh Fundamental: The Second Coming of Christ and Judgment Day
Just as certainly as Christ came to this fallen world 2000 years ago and accomplished His Great Work of the Cross for our redemption, He plainly stated that He would return (JOHN 14:1-3); and at the ascension of Christ we have the testimony of angels that confirmed this:

ACTS 1:11
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven
.

And did Christ ascend into heaven in spirit form only? No – we know that when He resurrected and appeared before the disciples, He said,

LUKE 24:39-40
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet
.

The apostle John confirms this for us, that He rose from the dead physically:

1 JOHN 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life
;

I find it strange that it’s quite often the people who accuse GOD of allowing the injustices and evils in this world, are the same people who protest any mention of the Second Coming of Christ and the soon to arrive Judgment against all sin and unrighteousness. There are those even within the church, who are Universalists that believe that there will be no judgment of humanity, no condemnation of sin, that everyone will eventually be saved, but this false doctrine is plainly against Scripture, carefully taken in context:

MATTHEW 7:13-14
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it
.

2 THESSALONIANS 1:7-9
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power
;

REVELATION 20:11-12
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works
.

REVELATION 7:15
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever
.

NO COMPROMISE!

And so, these are fundamental, objective, prepositional truths of GOD that can no more be changed or altered than GOD Himself can be changed or altered (JAMES 1:17; HEB 13:8). As much as this world hates the Light of GOD’s truth (JOHN 3:20) and they would insist that truth is subjective and relative, not objective and absolute – all such protest and objections are vain, futile and does absolutely nothing to change GOD or His truth.

We cannot compromise these fundamentals, we cannot ‘dialogue’ with people of other beliefs and come to a consensus where we agree on the middle ground. We must be resolute where GOD says to stand and be willing to yield where GOD permits us to yield.
In the Marvel film, Captain America: Civil War, a character named Sharon Carter, a friend of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, she said this:

Compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong (I would say: like abortion, like false religion, like ecumenism, like LGBTM sexual perversion) is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say 'No, you move'.

Again, we cannot negotiate these fundamental truths with others who don’t believe as we do; we cannot and will not compromise the precious truths of GOD’s Word with the world that hates the light of GOD’s Truth or with a lukewarm church that is slowly growing cold in the environment of an Emergent Church-style Mother of Harlots.  

We will stand firmly, solidly, unflinchingly, unapologetically on the fundamentals of GOD’s Word no matter how much the world may hate and persecute us for it. We would rather stand with GOD and be loyal to Him and suffer for it, than to be called a welcome friend of this world and be considered an enemy of GOD!

PHILLIPIANS 3:17-19
17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)




You may also be interested in:


DISCIPLESHIP 101 –Fundamentals of the Faith (Four Sessions)
ALSO the most recent articles from TTUF on apostasy in our day:

PORTRAIT of an APOSTATE - by A.M. Kisly

PLUNGING Into APOSTASY - Update on PLUNGING TOWARDS APOSTASY - by James Fire

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