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Ephesians 2 – What You Believe Matters

Our Belief System Is Our Foundation


In a recent survey 60% of Americans said their religious beliefs were very meaningful to them and made a difference in how they lived. With the remaining 40% of the country guided only by what seems right, in their own eyes, is it any wonder we allow the death of millions of babies; the devaluation of marriage and turn a blind eye to violence in the home?

Our belief system governs our lifestyle and choices. It is the foundation from which we form our opinion and make decisions. For Christians, it is absolutely essential to know what we believe and why.

Many people inherit their convictions from their parents and simply absorb their ides without really investigating them. For instance, we hear, “my parents were certain about (something) and so am I.” “My parents were saved, and I suppose I am too.”

But to be certain our system of thinking is accurate, we must base it on the Word of God, and not on habit, culture, or even family heritage. If our beliefs are founded on the Word of God, then we can detect false doctrine and philosophy.

Unfortunately, false doctrine is usually mixed with just enough truth to make it seem good. Christians, who are not founded in their faith, are easily led astray by ideas that are too good to be true. They eagerly support an agenda that is inconsistent with God’s Word, because it offers license t live according to one’s own desires.

Another reason Christians should know their convictions is so that they present those beliefs convincingly too others. While it is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring the lost to Christ. God chooses to use our vice and mind to instruct unbelievers in the way of the truth.

Our world is full of people who are desperate, lonely and hurting. They yearn for the amazing hope that we have. They desire hope sourced in truth, not in someone else’s opinion. There is no question that our society is permeated with godless ideas and philosophies that can ultimately destroy us, but if our belief system is based on the Scriptures, we will recognize deceitful teaching when we hear it and can address real needs with real answers.

Let’s look at Scripture.

2 Timothy 3:16, 17

16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Timothy 4:1-5

1I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

People often have difficulty expressing what they believe.  Instead of having a verifiable belief system based on godly principles, too many Christians embrace a few vague ideas that they have picked up from others.  Peter tells us always to be ready to give a reason for what we believe.

I Peter 3:15

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Based on 1 Peter 3:15, we want to be sure that we have a solid knowledge of Spiritual Truth.  Let’s consider a list of Biblical topics that should be a foundational part of our belief system. 

The Bible is God’s unfolding revelation of Himself.  It is His Word to the human race, explaining His intervention in history and nature and His arrival in this world.  God chose individuals to record what He spoke to them, since He, who gave the Word is more than able to protect it from error.  The Bible we have today is as reliable as when it was originally recorded. 

The Word of the Living God was given to us so that we might grow in our relationship with Him.  This is our instruction Book for life and the final authority for what we believe. 

Although the specific term “Trinity” is found nowhere in Scripture, the truth of the Triune God appears, throughout the Bible.  Our one God consists of three distinct Persons:  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.   Characterized by the same attributes, they are eternal, omnipotent, omniscient and immutable. 

Each Person of the Trinity has a different function.  Many passages of Scripture reveal a three-part Godhead. 

Genesis 1:2

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:26

And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Who is “we” if not the Trinity?  It is certainly not angels because they are not creators.   Jesus likewise indicates Three Persons comprise the Godhead.

John 14:16, 17

16And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Later, Jesus admonishes His disciples to baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in:

Matthew 28:19

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

The Heavenly Father is the eternal and absolutely Holy Creator God.  He has control over every single thing, and as apostle Paul says in Romans 8:28, And we know that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  

God the Son is Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself human flesh and walked among men.  Jesus never questioned His own Divinity, instead, He affirmed that He who has seen Me, has seen the Father.

John 14:9, (Jesus speaking to Philip) 

Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father.

Jesus came to earth for the specific purpose of dying on the cross.  His death was the substitutionary payment in full for our sin debt.

I Peter 3:18 

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

God The Father cannot look upon sin.

Psalm 66:18

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me

Consequently, only a perfect, holy sacrifice could atone for sin before God The Father. 

Today, God the Son sits at the right-hand of God, the Father and makes intercession for us.  God The Holy Spirit dwells within every believer from the moment of salvation.  We have our Spiritual Gifts and the empowerment to do the work God chooses for our life.  It is the Holy Spirit who transforms the life of the believer and brings forth good things. 

Galatians 5:22,23

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Ezekiel 28:12-15 (God speaking)

12Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty 13Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

God tells us God created Satan as a beautiful and eminent angel.  He is real.  The devil so desired to be like God that he rebelled against the Creator.  God cast him and his conspirators to earth.  Here he has chosen to set up a counterfeit kingdom in order that he might reign as the god of this world. 

2 Corinthians 4:4

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Satan uses deception and division to ensnare believers.  He also desires to keep unbelievers away from the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ, thereby destroying them.  As the source of all sins, he instigates pain, sorrow and death.  His insidious natures are often disguised in counterfeit religion and empty philosophy. 

When Satan speaks, he accuses and deceives.  He condemns, antagonizes and confuses people in an attempt to bring death and despair into one’s life; however, as Christians we have no cause to fear Satan.  This is true for two reasons. 

2 Corinthians 4:4

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Satan uses deception and division to ensnare believers.  He also desires to keep unbelievers away from the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ, thereby destroying them.  As the source of all sins, he instigates pain, sorrow and death.  His insidious natures are often disguised in counterfeit religion and empty philosophy. 

When Satan speaks, he accuses and deceives.  He condemns, antagonizes and confuses people in an attempt to bring death and despair into one’s life; however, as Christians we have no cause to fear Satan.  This is true for two reasons. 

1 John 4:4

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.

We are under the protection of the Holy Spirit.  Nothing that God does not allow can happen to us.  We know He permits only those circumstances, no matter how bad they seem, that He can turn for our good. 

Second, all of us who have read Scripture have seen Satan’s obituary.  It is in Revelation 20:10 where he is thrown into a lake of fire, eternally punished for his rebellion toward Almighty God

Revelation 20:10

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

God created man in His Image in order to love us and fellowship with us.  We are also privileged to glorify and serve Him.  When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, man’s relationship with The Creator changed. At the same time, man’s very nature became corrupt so that each of us is born with our will inclined away from God. Consequently, we are separated from our Holy, perfect Heavenly Father but God provided for man’s sin with His redemptive plan:  The sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.

No one can earn God’s forgiveness or acceptance.  It is a lie of Satan that any of us can substitute good works for the grace of Christ. 

Whatever goodness we have and whatever works we perform, they amount to nothing more than filthy rags, in terms of meriting salvation.

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Redemption works in our life to change our nature and bend it back toward God.  The simplest definition of salvation is the gift of God’s grace.  He provides forgiveness for our sins. 

Throughout the Old Testament God’s faithful people brought animal sacrifices to  His altar in order to atone for their sins.  These blood offerings foreshadowed the sacrifice that was to come.   Jesus Christ, whom John the Baptist rightly called the “Lamb of God,” died on a cross as a substitute for us. 

God, the Father, placed all the sin of mankind: past, present and future upon Him, so our sin debt was paid in absolute fullness.  Now we are sealed in the Holy Spirit and eternally secure.  Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  It is not something we receive based on our behavior.

Ephesians 2:8, 9

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

“He’s still working on me.  It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.  How loving and patient He must be.  He’s still working on me.   In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see makes me wonder why He never gave up on me.  He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray.  Remember, He’s the Potter and I am the clay.”  (Author unknown)

2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

 

Author: Nannie Mae Jordan
(Transcribed by Joyce Carter   Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)

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