Jesus took these notions another radical step when he challenged his followers to examine their way of living: “And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back” (Luke 6:34–35).
Christians, by definition, believe Christ to be God- made-man, God-in-the-flesh. His claims cannot be amended, watered down, relativised, negotiated away or nuanced into acceptability. But this exclusivism is not an exclusivism of Christian culture, of Christian ethics or of Christians as the only candidates for heaven.
Should a Christian use some Zen Buddhist meditation techniques? Should Chinese Christians use Confucius as their teacher of social ethics? Should Christian pacifists learn from Gandhi’s methods? Should Jewish Christians celebrate the Jewish holidays? Such questions should be addressed with great care, for religion is the active, actual service of God, gods, spirits or demons.
Chinese New Year is the largest holiday of the year in China and if you are praying for China or joining some Chinese friends during the festival, there are two things that every Christian should know.
Baptismal regeneration is not a biblical concept. Water baptism is the symbol of what has already occurred in the heart of one who has trusted Christ as Saviour (Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is an important step of obedience that every Christian should take, but it is not a requirement for salvation. To make it such is to question the sufficiency of Christ’s death and resurrection.
In summary, as the Son of Man, Jesus followed the pattern laid out for the “one like a son of man” in Daniel 7:13. He had authority; he suffered at the hands of his enemies; and he was vindicated and exalted by God. As the Son of Man he also called on his followers to follow him in this pattern of life. (1) They were God’s chosen people and possessed the authority God gave to his people. (2) Now they must suffer faithfully in their commitment to Jesus. (3) When God brings his purposes to an end and executes judgment on all peoples, they will be vindicated and restored to their rightful place of authority.
After Jesus fed the five thousand, those who came to find Jesus asked him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” (John 6:30). Do not miss the audacity of their questions. They asked Jesus these questions the day after the feeding of the five thousand—after that miracle, after that sign, after that work. They refused to see it.
Jesus kept pointing people to himself, saying, “Come to me” (Mt 11:28). Buddha said, “Look not to me; look to my dharma (doctrine).” Buddha also said, “Be ye lamps unto yourselves.” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12). Lao Tzu taught the way (tao); Jesus said, “I am the way” (Jn 14:6). Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad and other religious founders fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and did not rise from the dead. Jesus did. Christians ought to realise how difficult, how scandalous, how objectionable, how apparently unbelievable and absurd this doctrine is bound to appear to others. We can’t apologise for truth.
The Bible as a whole clearly states that life comes from God as His gift and that we are answerable to him for what we do with our own and other people’s lives. Such responsibility means that we shall all answer before the judgment seat for our actions and failures to act. Thus, any and every taking of life is a most serious business and requires justification to God.
If God exists, then we are accountable to Him for our actions. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want, without having to worry about God judging us. That is why many of those who deny the existence of God cling strongly to the theory of naturalistic evolution—it gives them an alternative to believing in a Creator God.
Looks at how God’s plan for history leads to the ultimate goal of completing his kingdom.
Considers how individual human beings experience the events of the last days.
Explores what the Bible says about Christ’s “second coming” and its relationship to events that lead to the end of the age.
Explores what human beings were like when God first created us and placed us in the Garden of Eden.
Examines what the Bible says about human sin, and especially its negative effects on humanity.