Fundamentals of the Christian Faith
29 SEP 2017
Each Christian denomination may give you different answers to the question "What are the fundamentals of the Christian faith?" Therefore, the best way to understand these fundamentals is to understand what Christianity's founder -- Jesus Christ -- and the early Christians believed. Their words and actions are recorded in the Christian Greek scriptures, which include the Gospels and letters written by principal Christians in the first century A.D.
1 Love and Faith
Some might say that faith is the most important aspect of being a Christian, but according to Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul, this isn't the case. To be sure, faith is essential -- that is, faith in God and the principles and promises recorded in the Bible. But godly love is even more fundamental. Jesus said that the first and second most important commandments to respect are to love God and to love people. Furthermore, Jesus said that genuine love would be what distinguished true Christians. And the apostle Paul wrote: "If I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing."
2 The Ransom
Such fundamental love, Christians say, is in imitation of the love God has shown and continues to show toward people. The greatest act of love, according to Christian belief, is what they call the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God, the Father, willingly sent his firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth in order to die for the sins of humanity. This is so fundamental to Christian faith because without this ransom sacrifice, Christians believe, there would be no basis for God to have a relationship with human beings. But the perfect obedience and loyalty of Jesus Christ gave evidence that a human being is capable of being fully devoted to God, in spite of suffering, temptation and threat of death. Christians must have faith in the redemptive value of Christ's sacrifice.
The belief that Jesus, after he gave his life as a ransom sacrifice for humankind, was resurrected by God is another fundamental of the Christian faith. The apostle Paul wrote: "If there’s no resurrection of the dead, then Christ hasn’t been raised either. If Christ hasn’t been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is useless." This resurrection gives Christians hope for living a better life after death.
Another fundamental of Christianity is that genuine Christians don't keep their faith to themselves. This is the "evangelical" nature of Christian faith. Jesus Christ told his disciples to go and teach all the nations about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Additionally, the apostle Paul, writing about the Christian faith, said: "God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others." Jesus and Paul set a precedent for how this preaching work should be carried out, which can be understood especially by Paul's words describing how he helped others become Christians: "I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house to house."