A core beliefs of Christianity can be stated as:
Each person who responds to God's grace and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ by confession of sin, remorse, repentance, faith and obedience receives the great gift of salvation. Each person who resists God's grace is condemned to everlasting punishment.
- Each person who responds to God's grace and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ by
- confession of sin (Ps 32:3-5; 1 John 1:8-10),
- remorse (Ps 66:18; Luke 18:13),
- repentance (Mat 3:8; Rom 12:2, 13:14; Eph 4:23-24; Rev 2:5, 16, 3:3, 19),
- faith (John 6:29, 3:16-17; Acts 16:31; Eph 2:8-10) and
- obedience (Mat 28:20; Luke 11:28; John 14:15; Rom 1:5, 6:16; Heb 5:9)
- receives the great gift of salvation (Acts 4:12; Rom 1:16; 2 Cor 7:10; 1 Thes 5:9; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:9, 18-19).
- Each person who resists God's grace is condemned to everlasting punishment (Mat 25:46; 2 Thes 1:8-9).
Christian belief must be preceded by repentance and followed by obedience to qualify as faith. Faith is not just an intellectual exercise (Jam 2:19) or an emotional experience (Jer 17:9).
Christians know that belief must be preceded by repentance and followed by obedience to qualify as faith. Yet we find obedience so very difficult. Obedience is easily supplanted by self-interest, pride and self-sufficiency. We sometimes embrace counterfeit obedience whereby we sacrifice some of our worldly status or possessions and label our sacrifice as obedience to God. It is better to fulfill the purpose of God in your life, by discerning His will for you, than to perform some self-imposed act of sacrifice.
“…to obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Sam 15:22)
God does seek your sacrifice, but on His own terms.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom 12:1-2)
Given all the snares and pitfalls of life, the power of Satan and the weakness of the human soul, the best path for a Christian is one of daily confession and renewal. Even the full reception of sanctifying grace does not imply that one needs no longer to ask forgiveness or seek the intercession of Christ. The Christian life is precisely the daily dying to sin and living to pursue righteousness that constitutes a life of repentance, faith and obedience continually reaffirmed and renewed.
(See also Sections 11.1, 11.4, 11.5, 11.7, 11.9, 11.10 and 11.12 of Theology Corner)