The common faith is not a doctrine that someone wrote. I didn't come up with it, nor Christians on Campus, nor Martin Luther. It's the Bible, it's God Himself, who defines our faith. Thus, I simply appreciate the fact that I was given the opportunity to learn how we need to fight for the faith and not fight for anything else that is not part of the common faith.
According to the Bible, there are eight items in our common faith:
- The Bible is the complete divine revelation inspired by God, word-by-word, through the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16)
- God is uniquely one, yet triune - the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. (1 Timothy 2:5a; Matthew 28:19)
- The Son of God, even God Himself, was incarnated to be a man by the name of Jesus Christ. (John 1:1, 14)
- Christ died on the cross for our sins, shedding His blood for our redemption. (1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7a)
- Christ was resurrected from among the dead on the third day. (1 Corinthians 15:4)
- Whenever any person repents to God and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is regenerated (born again) and becomes a living member of the Body of Christ. (Acts 20:21; John 3:3; Ephesians 1:22-23; Romans 12:5)
- Christ is coming again to receive His believers to Himself. (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
These are the specific, absolute items that God defines to be the bases of our identity as Christians. In other words, we are Christians based upon our believing in these items. Yes, very specific and special indeed. That is why, the Apostle Paul said he fought the good faith and kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). The Book of Jude specifically urges us to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered unto all God's people (Jude 3).
This past week I was reminded once more, our faith is the ground of all the Christians' genuine oneness. We are one not because of some kind of agreement, we are one because we are of the same faith. All Christians are the same in the faith. There is no argument.
Although we are the same in the faith, many of us may be very different in the doctrines. Shall we be divided then? Why emphasize differences when we have the common ground? Must the Body of Christ be divided due to our doctrines?
I have a personal experience to share in my next post.