I tend to think in the “Big Picture.” That has always helped me to focus and not get lost in the details. The same goes for my faith. Knowing the “Big Picture” of what God is doing through history helps me to focus on my present purpose. Thus, as I grow in my faith, from time to time, I tend to write out my understanding of Christianity as contained in the message of the Bible. The content below represents my understanding of the Christian faith at this moment in my life. Maybe it will help you. I invite your comments or thoughts in regard to my distillation of the Christian faith.
God Revealed Himself
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as manifested in the Old Testament is the one true sovereign creator and sustainer of all that exists. As the only entity that is of such nature as is He, God is working all things for His own glory. His incomparable uniqueness is manifested in His being as one in essence but eternally triune. Within the one essence are three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This incomparable God has partially revealed Himself by His work in creation and in man’s conscience and has sufficiently revealed Himself in His written revelation, which consists of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. This revelation forms an inerrant, cohesive, coherent, and authoritative witness regarding the nature of God and His plan for all of creation including mankind and history. As such, the Biblical witness enables mankind to begin to develop a consistent, coherent, comprehensive, true worldview that explains the observed phenomena of the world in which man lives (including history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, biology, astronomy, theology, morality, etc.) and more importantly, that declares the glory of God.
The Creator Acted
The Scriptures begin with God creating out of nothing all that is seen. The climax of creation is God creating mankind (Adam and Eve) out of dust and animating them as His representatives to rule over the works of His hands through humble dependence upon Him. Mankind was to be fruitful and multiply the image of God over all creation and rule righteously and justly over the works of God’s hands. In so doing, God would also dwell intimately with His people who represent Him. The consummation of history according to the witness of Scriptures is consistent with this initial trajectory. In other words, the final chapters of the final book of Scripture, describe God dwelling intimately with those who are reigning over His newly restored creation—but this time under the One who represented God, perfectly—the Davidic Messiah, Jesus Christ, who, as the incarnation of God, serves as the preeminent one over all creation.
Between creation and consummation, however, mankind was given the choice to obey God or not. Mankind chose to rebel, destroying their own innocence which was required to dwell with their just and holy creator God. God subjected creation to a curse which introduced extreme hardship, death, degeneration, etc. not only as a consequence of guilt, but also as a gracious tool to drive mankind back to Himself in repentance. Since then, all mankind has been subject to penalty of their guilt—physical death and eternal death—separation from God for eternity.
God Offers Redemption
In the midst of mankind’s history of rebellion, however, the uniqueness of God’s mercy and grace is exalted. God manifests His graciousness by promising and subsequently bringing forth in history a man, the Davidic anointed One, Jesus Christ, God incarnate who would perfectly represent Himself and offer atonement for mankind’s guilt. Jesus Christ, son of God, son of David, son of Abraham, and son of Adam is the centerpiece of God’s plan through the ages through which God restores alienated mankind and creation to Himself and through whom God reigns.
Redemption is offered by God to all mankind but is only given to those who by “Abrahamic” type faith believe in God’s ultimate provision for redemption—Jesus Christ. The collection of God’s people who manifest Abrahamic faith in God’s provision, are justified, sanctified, and glorified, so that they may dwell with God and His Son forever and be co-inheritors with Jesus Christ of the new heaven and new earth in the last day.
The Church Has a Mission
As the redeemed wait for the time when Jesus Christ makes all things new, His people are to form redemptive communities across the world in which God dwells that not only echo Eden but also foreshadow the coming Kingdom. These communities, local churches, are to be filled with the redeemed that are growing in their love for each other and their neighbors as they handle life with righteousness, justice, and equity all as their head, Christ, has modeled. In this way, the image of God in Christ, the perfect Adam, is multiplied across the world through the church.