1 John 4:17, NLT: "And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.”
1 John 4:17, CSB: "In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the Day of Judgment, because as He is, so also are we in this world."
Christianity is the world’s largest religion, with about 2.1 billion followers worldwide. Christian ministers work from the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments that recount the days of Jesus’s teachings and events leading to his birth.
Christianity is divided into many different denominations, and has been divided by Eastern and Western theology. In these two divisions there are seven branches each containing different denominations. The seven branches are:
- Eastern Orthodoxy
- Oriental Orthodoxy
The theology of each different denomination is determined by church councils and governing bodies.
Faith in Christianity
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Virgin Mary gave birth to him. Christians have faith that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. Faith is to believe without question and this is very important in Christianity.
“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.” 1 John 4:2-3.
God sent his son Jesus Christ to earth to save humanity from their sins, and Jesus gave his life on the Cross to complete his Father’s mission for him and then rose again from the dead on the third day for us. The Christian faith believes that there is only one God, but that there are three elements to this one God: God the Father, God the Son, and The Holy Spirit.
Christians have faith that Jesus is the savior, and when he is born again in this lifetime, those leading a Godly life without sin will attain the entrance to the kingdom of heaven and life eternal after death.
The Origin of Sin in Christianity
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
Christianity teaches that we are born with sin in our hearts. The sin we are born with is ancestral sin and can be dated back to the beginning of mankind. Sin originated from Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. Genesis 3:17
A serpent tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and after she ate it, she convinced Adam to eat fruit as well. The forbidden fruit gave Adam and Eve knowledge, and with that knowledge, they learn all about good and evil. With knowledge comes sin because if you know good and evil, then you can choose between it. Adam, Eve, and all their decedents were cursed to live a life on earth that is full of suffering and hard work to pay for their sin until they returned to heaven.
Christians believe that the only way people can receive God’s grace is by accepting his love and forgiveness, having faith that Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem their ancestral and personal sins, getting baptized, and finally leading a life with no personal sin.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Christianity
According to Christian tradition, there are seven deadly sins. These sins are:
- Lust– describes the intense passion or longing, usually for sexual desires. Lust becomes a sin when it goes against the innate good of God’s creations or is in excess. One should exercise self-control and celibacy to avoid and cure oneself of lustful sin.
- Gluttony– describes the sin of an ongoing act of overeating and drinking. This sin is especially shameful because one who commits it is taking more than they need from the Earth. Temperance and gratefulness can cure this sin.
- Greed– is the sin of excessive obsession and pursuit of material goods. Charity cures the sin of greed.
- Sloth is the sin of laziness and not utilizing one’s god-given talents to assist their fellow people. Placing the needs of others before your own helps combat this sin.
- Wrath– is intense anger, which is usually violent or abusive. Kindness is the cure for Wrath.
- Envy– is excessive jealousy. This sin usually results in someone developing a spiteful nature and lack mentality. Service to others is a cure for envy
- Pride– describes the sin of having too much self-importance. Uplifting others is a way to combat this sin.
If you struggle with any of these sins, most Christians believe that you can turn your life around and cure yourself of sin. If you begin to lead a godly life and seek forgiveness, then you shall be forgiven, and His word will guide you down a more righteous path.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-3).
Jesus spoke of heaven in John 14. Only those who have accepted God’s sacrifice through Jesus Christ will enter heaven. Those who have rejected God’s offer of salvation or live in sin will not enter heaven. The bible isn’t clear on what heaven looks like, but it is assumed to be a paradise, similar to the Garden of Eden.
“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
Baptisms are performed by having water poured or sprinkled on one’s head or by being immerse in water. This ceremony is often accompanied by the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3–4
Not only are baptisms an expression of faith in Christ, but they are also a union with Christ in his death and resurrection. The immersion in water signifies the death, and emerging from the water signifies the resurrection. When you emerge from the water, you are reborn through faith and form a deeper connection to Jesus Christ.
For more information on Baptisms visit: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/what-is-baptism-and-how-important-is-it
Communion (The Lord’s Supper)
“Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom'” (Matthew 26:29).
While baptism is generally a one-time event, communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is to be repeated throughout the life of a person of faith. This is a time to reflect on Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for our sins.
This christian sacrament is when consecrated bread and wine are consumed as memorials of Christ’s death, as symbols for the realization of a spiritual union between Christ and Christian, and as the body and blood of Christ.
“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). It is a time for reflecting upon one’s own life: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats the bread and drinks of the cup.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-28).
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Communion is time to reflect upon Christ’s inevitable return to Earth.
Becoming a Christian
Now that you have insight into the Christian faith, making that first step to learning more or becoming a Christian should be a more comfortable lifestyle change. Most Christians welcome newcomers with open arms, and there are many sectors and churches for Christianity.
You can also begin self-teaching yourself the Christian faith, though there are lots of people that benefit from having a community of faith. An excellent resource for deep-diving into Christian teachings and beliefs is http://www.truthorfables.com/Christianity%20101.pdf and of course, the bible. You can start your journey into Christianity anytime by welcoming love and God into your heart and committing to a life without sin by following in His word.