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The Presbyterian Fellowship
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Understanding the Christian Faith
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    There  are  many Christian denominations  but  only  one Christianity.
The following is a summary of the common core of the faith, stripped of those aspects which divide us and which are of less importance. It is a belief in these fundamentals that defines a church as being Christian.


JESUS’ LIFE - THE SON OF GOD

Jesus Christ lived for about thirty three years and spent all of his life in the area known today as Palestine (Israel, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon), dying in about 30 AD. His ministry lasted for about three years, the last years of his life, during which he demonstrated that he was a person of great authority, claiming, in fact, that his authority came from God.

Using his great charisma, he attracted a group of disciples and taught obedience to God's laws, the forgiveness of sins and the love of God. He also demonstrated an extraordinary authority over the natural world, healing the sick, restoring possessed men to sanity and even bringing the dead back to life. On one occasion he calmed a raging storm.

These acts, together with his claim to be able to forgive sins, brought him to the notice of the authorities and other vested interests. He was betrayed, arrested, tried and executed after a process that can be described as a travesty of justice.
Jesus’ life demonstrated that he was a man impossible to ignore.



JESUS’ DEATH - A SACRIFICE FOR HUMAN SIN
Jesus was crucified - the death, in Roman times, of a common criminal, an execution process that usually took days of agony, but which took, in Jesus' case, about six hours. He had been crucified on the day before the Jewish Sabbath and the process of execution was deliberately shortened to avoid offending the Jews. An unnatural darkness surrounded the event and Jesus, who claimed to be the son of God seemed, for all intents and purposes, to have been abandoned by God. At the moment of his death, the land was hit by an earthquake and the curtain in the heart of the Jewish temple, a furnishing that symbolized the separation of Humankind from God, was split from top to bottom.

However, although Jesus' death was brought about by human sin,  Jesus suffered and died willingly as a sacrifice, a direct link with the animal sacrifices that had been performed up to that time in the Jewish temple. God had indeed turned his face away from Jesus at that time because Jesus was carrying the weight of all human sin on his shoulders.

It was God's way of punishing sin, yet continuing to love sinners and giving them a way of forgiveness. Jesus’ death was the price paid to buy them back from their state of slavery to sin and into a restored relationship based on love and obedience.



JESUS' RESURRECTION

     Having brought others back to life previously, Jesus now rose again, after two nights, from his own death, appearing to many different people in a variety of circumstances.

He demonstrated that death was not the end of life and confirmed the truth of his teaching that all must stand before God eventually to give account for their lives. All who trust in Jesus are forgiven of their sins and will, on that day, be accepted by him.
Those who reject him are bound by the guilt of their sin and will then be rejected by him, lost in eternal separation from God, in whatever form that may take.



SALVATION - BY GRACE ALONE

No person is sinless. From a human viewpoint some people are worse than others, but God's standard is 100% perfection. Therefore all sin separates us from God and no human effort can change this state. Our relationship with God cannot be restored simply by balancing our good deeds against our sins.

Salvation can only come as a free gift from God, made possible, on His initiative, by the sacrificial death of Jesus. He took the punishment for our sins and made it possible for God to look on us as being without any sin.



SALVATION - REPENTANCE

Christians are ordinary people who have accepted this free gift and have allowed Christ to become lord of their lives. They join with the disciple, Peter, in making the great affirmation, You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God! They make a confession of their faith, in God as their Heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and in the Holy Spirit as their Comforter and Helper.
Believers must seek to live their lives with the certainty that Jesus is always with them. They make day-to-day decisions as they believe that Jesus would make them. They put this relationship before their own wills, before their ambitions, before their popularity, before their possessions, indeed before anything that threatens to thrust Jesus into second place.



SALVATION -  LIVING BY FAITH

Christians live by faith. They have a personal relationship with Jesus, worshipping him regularly, studying the scriptures, communing with him in prayer, enjoying loving, caring relationships with fellow believers, and seeking to share their faith with others. They also copy him by adopting a caring attitude towards others
They take Jesus at his word, seek to obey his laws, trust in his leading and live their lives in the confidence that they are accepted by God and will enjoy his love for eternity.



They frequently fail in their high ideals, but they are never far from forgiveness.
 

“You know, O Man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God”



               Micah 6.8








For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

John 3.16-17