Jesus has been called the greatest religious leader who ever lived, the most influential person ever. But describing Jesus Christ only on the basis of his exemplary life and superior moral teaching gives an incomplete picture.
Understanding Jesus Christ is based on the facts of the Bible: He is God. He became a human being, died by crucifixion, and was buried. He rose again from the dead. He is the only and the all-sufficient Savior of the world.
One day he will return to this earth. To remove these facts from the Bible is to rob it of all meaning and continuity.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.
Scripture is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.
The Bible is the final standard for faith and practice. The Bible's remarkable unity and coherence confirm its authenticity. It reveals a single author, the Holy Spirit, behind the diversity of the human writers.
Both the fact and the message of the Bible are interconnected to reveal God's son, Jesus Christ, and his part in human redemption and restoration.
The 66 books of the Bible fit together as one book with one theme: Jesus Christ.
The greatest hope of the believer is the return of Christ. Jesus will return personally and bodily, and at that time he will receive us to himself. This return could happen any day (Hebrews 10:37).
A new creation will then follow Jesus' return to earth. Jesus will be on his throne to receive the honor and glory he is due.
Meanwhile, he promises not to leave us alone and without comfort. He sends the blessed Holy Spirit as his continuing presence in the world, and in believers. The Holy Spirit lives within us and reminds us of all spiritual truth.
As sure as we believe the Bible and its glorious promises, there is another promise that will be tragic for unbelievers.
The first chapter of 2 Thessalonians is a vivid description of what will happen to those who do not trust Jesus for their salvation.
Loving those who oppose Jesus is not easy. That is why God sent Jesus to make reconciliation possible. As we surrender to God, he gives us power to love our enemies, too.
No matter how much someone has offended you, God still asks you to forgive your enemies and even pray for them (Matthew 5:44).
The supreme example of love is demonstrated in Jesus Christ, the perfect reflection of God's love. His death on the cross provided a way for our salvation, our eternal life.
In Christ we are offered both eternal life after our earthly death and God's joy and peace during this life on earth. And all he wants from us in return is a sincere heart and a trusting attitude as long as we have today.
Bonnie Donnelly is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Janet Gossett at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.