Statement IV: Christian Living, Heaven Hell and the End of Time

These are the last 3 points in the 10 point statement of faith of the Free Church.  They are about how a Chritian should live, and then basically what we believe about the end of time, when Christ returns and final judgment of all happens.

Statement: Christian Living

8. We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

Justification and Sanctification: Christ’s death on the cross justifies us—pays for our sin and heals our relationship with God.  But Christ’s resurrection power then is meant to transform us.  Christ didn’t come just to forgive us or save us, but to transform us and make our lives useful and creative and beneficial to the world for God’s sake.  We are to live sacrificially, with care for one another, the poor, and the oppressed.  Most of us struggle to really love others we know well sacrificially, much less strange poor people.  But that is how Christians are supposed to live.  We are also called to know the Bible (Word) well, and live a spiritual life of real prayer which enables us to make a powerful difference in the world.  Christ also calls us to make disciples, or Christ-followers.  Anything we can do to draw people towards a life lived for God and Christ helps in that process.  We are always in every circumstance to show the love of God in Christ through our words and actions. 

 Statement: Christ’s Return

9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

We Christians have pretty interesting views about how the world will come to a close.  We think Christ will come, not metaphorically or spiritually, but physically, from Heaven.  The most unique thing in this point of the statement is premillenialism.  Premillennialism is the view that Christ will return to earth before the 1,000 year reign of Christ spoken of in Revelation.  It is a view based on a literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6.  I don’t want to get into this too much, but premillennialism has been a view held from Justin Martyr and Iraneus towards the beginning of the Church up until now by a variety of groups.  Normally Catholics and Calvinists and many Lutherans don’t hold to this view, for reasons I won’t go into here. 

The famous German philosopher Heidegger once said that Christians live on a constant knife edge– which can lead to a heightened sense of engagement and authentic living– because you never know if this might be the last moment of  life as we know it, since Christ could return at any moment.  Christians live with a constant hope of the second coming of Christ, which demands constant expectancy because we don’t know when that will happen.  We should live every day as though it was our last—as though Christ was coming at the end of the day.  Christ’s return is seen to be a motivation for us to live faithful sacrificial lives in expectation. 

Statement: Response and Eternal Destiny

10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

Christ is the power of God and Christ’s work on earth is the means of  healed relationship with God, so it is important that everyone know about the means of God’s grace to humanity.  A lot of people think that life happens, then you die, and thats it.  There is no particular point or purpose to it, and apart from some good and bad kharma (if you are a jerk it will come back to you) many don’t really believe in eternal consequences for your actions.  But Christians are different on this point.  We think life should be lived for a particular purpose, and that there are real long term consequences for our choices.  We believe in heaven and hell, and life after death, and finally in consequences for how we live our lives.  That is why this stuff is so important to us.

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