The Essence of Christianity
There seems to be much ignorance on the subject of Christianity. The following is what I posted to a forum I no longer contribute to. I thought it prudent to immortalise it here.
In order to understand Christianity, one must first understand who Christ is.
Note: The quotations I give are from the King James Version of the Bible. I have taken the liberty of bolding some verses for special emphasis.
From John 1:
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14And the Word was made 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.
From Hebrews 1:
1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
4Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
11They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
12And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
Why was the Word sent to dwell among us?
From John 3:
14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
From Romans 5:
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
From Romans 6:
23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From John 8:
31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
From Isaiah 53:
1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
What does He require of us?
From Matthew 16:
24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
From Matthew 22:
37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38This is the first and great commandment.
39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
From Matthew 28:
16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
What must one do in response to His sacrifice?
From Acts 2:
16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
What hope does He bring?
From John 14:
1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
From 1 Corinthians 15:
19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
These are several key excerpts from the Scriptures. I encourage everyone who wishes to understand what Christianity is to read the entire Bible, especially the New Testament.
In summary, this is the essence of Christianity:
- Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh.
- He was sent to die on our behalf and then to rise in order that we might be saved from the wrath of God.
- We are to love God, love our neighbor as ourself, and spread the Good News that Christ is not dead but alive.
- Jesus will return one day to claim those who have accepted His sacrifice as atonement for their sins.