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Understanding The Foundation of The Christian Faith
Stats: 3,359 words / Reading Time: 16.80 mins

Published: Monday 6th January 2020

Understanding The Foundation of The Christian Faith is read 321 times on CentreNDL.org 321

Understanding The Foundation of The Christian Faith


And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

1 Timothy 3:16

 

There are two key words in the text above that I quickly want us to see their dictionary meanings. The two words are "mystery and godliness." What do they mean and how do they relate with what we are about to discuss today? Mystery, according to the dictionary is "something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain." For example, a Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, its destination. The plane disappeared from the radar 38 minutes after takeoff. Search efforts proved abortive after 4 years of intensive search and millions of dollars expended on the adventure. The incident has been tagged one of the greatest modern aviation mysteries.

 

But in the context of our text above, the mystery of godliness was initially unknown, but now has been made known through revelation. That was why apostle Paul used the phrase "without controversy" in the beginning of that statement. The second word there is "godliness." According to dictionary.com, godliness simply means "conforming to the laws and wishes of God." Why is Godliness so important? Psalms 4:3 tells us "But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The Lord will hear when I call Him."

 

Also, 1 Timothy 4:7-8 says: "But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." Godliness is important because it is profitable for all things, says the Scripture and not just some things. You don't get to be godly in some certain aspect of your life, and become ungodly in other areas. Some believers could be godly in their various church denominations on Sundays and evening programs but chose to be ungodly when it comes to the matter of money in their various organizations.

 

So, the Christian faith is anchored on a number of things. The first of it is that "God was manifested in the flesh." in the person of Jesus Christ. He didn't come in some spiritual, invisible form that no one could see. When Jesus walked the face of the earth, people could see Him, feel Him and touch Him. He was so human that He felt hungry at some point. In Matthew 21:18-19, the Bible says: "Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away."

 

He even wept at a particular point. In John 11:35, the Bible recorded that "Jesus Wept" at the tomb of Lazarus. He also slept like every other humans do. In Mark 4:38, when He rebuked the wind and the waves, the Bible recorded that He was asleep. "But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" These are many more are all indications that God was 100percent human in the person of Jesus.

 

But there are many in the world today who still don't believe that God, with all His power and Almightiness, can appear in human form. Their belief is that God is too big to take on the form of a mortal man. But John 1:1&14 tells us: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. And the Word became 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." to further buttress that it was God who lived among men at the time.

 

For thirty-three and half years, God made His dwelling among men in the person of Jesus. And so, for anyone to be identified with the Christian faith, you must believe that God was revealed in the flesh. It is like a prerequisite course that leads to every other thing in the exercise of your faith. See what 1 John 4:1-3 says about that:

 

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."

 

So, when you come across a man or a woman who does not believe Jesus Christ is God, the Bible says such is the spirit of the Antichrist and so, you move away. Why? Because the spirit of the Antichrist opposes everything that is of God and such spirit, if allowed, is capable to deplete your faith in Christ Jesus. This is why you must excuse yourself from such people.

 

The second anchor upon which the Christian faith hangs is that God (haven manifested in the flesh) was "Justified in the Spirit." After Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, the Bible says in Matthew 3:16 that "When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him." What this means is that although, God had come in the flesh, the Spirit descending upon Him (which is the Spirit of God Himself) is an indication that truly, He is God.

 

Listen To Podcast: Understanding The Foundation of The Christian Faith

 

Apart from this, John also testified. In John 1:32, it says: "And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him." The reason why we are establishing this fact is because there are many who had come to the world claiming that "they are God" or they are "Jesus Christ" whom the Holy Spirit never justify or testify of them. The Christian faith cannot and must not be anchored on such people. So, the Holy Spirit gave us further reasons to believe and accept that JESUS CHRIST was God in the flesh and this is why we are bold to say that JESUS IS LORD or JESUS IS GOD without any fear or shame in our hearts.

 

The third phrase in our text says Jesus was "Seen by angels." Several places in the New Testament it was documented that Jesus enjoyed the ministration of the angels. One thing we should never forget is that the Scripture made it clear that angels are ministering Spirits. Hebrews 1:14 tells us: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" So, God enjoyed the same ministration of angels even while in the flesh. Although the ministration of angels is to us who will inherit salvation, but to show us that Jesus is God in the flesh, He enjoyed the ministry of angels.

In Matthew 4:11, immediately after the temptation of Jesus by the devil, the Scripture says "Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him." Also in Luke 22:43, the Bible says "Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him."

 

"Preached among the gentiles." Now, certain men that Christ called unto Himself, haven walked with Him in His earthly ministry, had enough faith to preach Him after He left the scene. Now, these men wouldn't have had the courage and boldness to preach Christ if they did not believe in Him that He is God in human flesh. Apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:1-2 like this:

 

"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, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— "

 

How did they receive the boldness and the courage to preach Him after He was gone? Because they believed in Him (the God who manifested in the flesh), they had fellowship with Him and their faith was rooted in the things that they saw Him do among them. Therefore, they had no iota of doubt that God had visited the children of men. Apostle Paul wrote this way in Colossians 1:28. It says: "Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." There was no way he could have preached any other because Paul had a one-on-one encounter with Him on the road to Damascus.

 

"Believed on

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in the world." God's manifestation in the flesh is so that the world could be reconciled back unto Himself. John 3:16 tells us "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." The whole world would have remained in total darkness if everyone had rejected the message of the gospel of Christ. Although, majority did not believe Christ in His days on earth. John 12:37-38 tells us: "But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

 

However, many more believed after His ascension through the preaching of the apostles (Acts 4:4, 5:14, 9:42). The Bible says they (the apostles) turned the world upside down.

 

"But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too."

Acts 17:6

 

So, many more have faith in the finished works of Jesus Christ on Calvary because the apostles had faith to spread the message of the gospel of the kingdom of God to every nook and cranny of the world.

 

"Received Up in Glory." The Christian faith is anchored on the fact that Christ died and He rose up again on the third day. Romans 10:8-10 established this. It says "But what does it say? the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." So, what took place when God raised Him up from the dead? He was received up into glory. Luke 24:50-53 shows us. It says:

 

"And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen."

 

In summary, the mystery of the Christian faith is anchored on the following thing we have mentioned here: That God was manifested in the flesh, He was justified by the Spirit, He was seen of Angels, He was preached among the gentiles, He was believed on in the world, and He was received up in Glory.


Thanks for the gift of your time, I am Obayomi Abiola Benjamin!

Feel free to share your thoughts or testimony with me in the comment box below. I promise to respond to them as soon as possible!

Word of Confession: (Optional)

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I have sinned against the LORD God - in the rebellion of my heart, I have disappointed your expectations on my life. I have fallen from Your grace and followed wrong influences around me. Today, I retrace my steps back to you - and I ask that in your mercy you accept me as your son and give to me (again) the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please, come and make my heart your home, and from there rule in the affairs of all men. In Jesus Name I have prayed.



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True spirituality is not in giving alms with the right hand and the left is aware, It is not by standing on the roof top to pray, It is not in wearing a long robe to look sanctimonious. True spirituality is the posture of your heart towards SIN, towards GOD, and towards your NEIGHBOUR.


Published: Apeh Francis Abah | Monday 7th October 2019


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True spirituality is not in giving alms with the right
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