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Intimacy with God

John Aziza



While all of the Bible's doctrines are important and never to be dismissed or ignored, not every doctrine meets the criteria for being essential. To be considered essential, a doctrine should pass the following criteria. First, it must be at the core of salvation. That is, it must be salvific. Such doctrines are crucial to the Christian faith because they concern the deity of Christ and His atonement. Second, it must affirm and establish all of the personal and transcendent attributes of God as revealed in the Bible. Third, it must relate to morality (moral issues). Fourth, it must affirm and establish the Biblical view of original sin and total depravity/inability. Fifth, it must affirm the need for repentance and committed obedience to God's Word as a prerequisite for ultimate salvation. Sixth, it must relate to the well established sacraments of the Christian Faith, such as communion and water baptism. And finally, it must affirm and establish the Blessed Hope of every Believer (i.e., the rapture of the Church and the Second Coming or return of Christ), the final judgement of mankind, and the eternal state of damnation for all who reject the Gospel. These theological areas must never be compromised for the sake of unity. They are absolutely vital and non-negotiable, as demonstrated in the following Scriptures:


Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee (1 Ti 4:16).


Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (2Jn 1:9).


that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine (1 Ti 1:3).


and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Ti 1:10).


If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing (1 Ti 6:3-4).


For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears (2 Ti 4:3).


If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed (2 Jn 1:10).


Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (Rom 16:17).

So what happens when whole Churches divide over trivial doctrinal differences that are completely non-essential? Indeed, it's easy to become divisive over just about any dogma of the Faith while ignoring the really important issues. But the results of such petty divisions are detrimental to the Christian Faith. And that's why this study is so important. If Christians would stop dividing over the nonessentials and unite around the issues that truly matter, the outcome would be revolutionary! No doubt the Church would function at its absolute optimum and God's Kingdom objectives would have already been realized. So here is a concise list of essential doctrines that may help us cure the problem of sectarianism in the Church and define where exactly we need to draw the line:


The Infallibility and Inspiration of the Bible as God’s Word

The Word of God was preserved perfectly in its original form and was inspired by the Holy Spirit in order to direct men’s lives in understanding God’s character and plan of salvation (Isa. 48:8).


The Authority of the Scriptures

All doctrinal or theological beliefs must be filtered through God’s Word and do not stand apart from it (2 Tim. 3:16). If they have no basis in Scripture then they must be rejected.

The Personal and Transcendent Attributes of God's Nature

God is holy (Is. 6:3). God is perfect (Mat. 5:48). God is all good and unblemished by any evil (1 Jn. 1:5-7). God is perfectly sovereign (Dan. 4:35). God is infinite (Is. 40:28). God is omnipotent or all powerful (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17; Mat. 19:26), omniscient or all-knowing (Is. 46:9-10; Jer. 1:5; Rev. 4:1), and omnipresent or present everywhere (Prov. 15:3; Ps. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:24). God's character is immutable (Mal. 3:6). God is all loving (1 Jn. 4:16). God is all just or perfectly just (Deut. 32:4). God is merciful, patient, and slow to anger (Ex. 34:6; Ps. 145:8).

The Trinity

Three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), ONE God (Jn. 1:1-2; 1 Jn. 5:7-8).


The Divinity, Incarnation, and Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ

Christ, the Son of God, was born of a virgin (Mat 1:18-25; Jn 3:16). Having come in flesh form, Jesus is “very God and very man” (Jn. 1:1; 14).


The Substitutionary Sacrifice and Atonement of Christ

Christ died once and for all as our sacrificial Lamb in order to absolve men from the just judgment of God (2 Cor. 5:21). The benefits of this sacrifice only apply to those who put their trust fully in Christ Jesus and none other.


The Resurrection of Christ

Christ died and rose again (1 Cor. 15:17).

Original Sin and the Doctrines of Total Depravity and Total Inability

On account of Adam's transgression, all humans have inherited a sinful nature that is characterized by an overwhelming and irresistable predisposition toward sin (Rom. 5:19; 7:14-21; 8:2). As a result, man is born spiritually dead and unable to satisfy God's demands (Eph. 2:1; Rom. 7:14-21; 8:10-12). He must be born-again (Jn. 3:3-7). Man's total inability requires that God actively enable him by means of the Holy Spirit to conform to His perfect will (Eph. 2:1; Tit. 3:5-6; Phip. 2:13; Jn. 3:27; 15:5; 1 Cor. 2:14).

Salvation by Grace through Faith (Not by Works)

Salvation is a free gift predicated upon God's grace, which then enables us to place our faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). Although we cannot earn our salvation by performing any amount of good works, good works will follow the person who has been truly converted and regenerated (Tit. 3:5-6; Eph. 2:10).

All Immoral Conduct Is Condemned by the Scriptures

Immoral acts such as murder, lying, theft, sorcery, idolatry, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc, are clearly condemned by the Scriptures and will merit eternal damnation if not forsaken (Rev. 21:8).

Repentance from Sin (Evidence of Genuine Conversion)

The Bible clearly stipulates that repentance is necessary for salvation (Mat. 4:17; Lk. 13:3; Act. 2:38; 3:19; Rev. 2:5). A repentant lifestyle is the genuine mark of a saved person (Jas. 2:18).


The Centrality of the Holy Spirit in every Believer’s Life

The Holy Spirit’s centrality is evident throughout the New Testament and cannot be denied. The Spirit of God regenerates man leading to their conversion and what the Bible describes as the born-again experience. It is also responsible for baptizing individuals with a spiritual baptism. Believers should learn how to walk circumspect of the Spirit’s abiding presence in their lives (Jn. 16:13; Rom. 8:4; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 5:22).


Water Baptism

Water baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward happening. The Bible compares it to burial (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12) and describes it as a full body immersion in water (Act. 8:36-40). Every Believer must partake in this ceremony as a testimony of their “death to self” (man’s Adamic sin nature) and “resurrection” unto a new life with Jesus.


The Lord’s Supper/Communion

Jesus commanded His disciples to partake in the communion meal in order to remember His sacrificial atonement (Mat. 26:26-28). In honor of Christ’s death on the cross, symbolized by the unleavened bread (His body) and wine (His blood), we partake in the Lord’s Supper while meeting together with fellow members of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 11:25).


The Lordship of Jesus Christ

Since Jesus is the Lord of our lives we are called to submit to His authority based on the commandments of Scripture. This means that if the Believer does not fully desire to obey all of God’s binding commandments, then they are disingenuous in their willingness to live the Christian life (Lk. 6:46). Such are not fit to partake in the Church or the fellowship of the Saints. However, the Church should never cast judgment upon its members on account of external appearance or rudimentary perceptions (1 Sam. 16:7; Jn. 7:24). Rather, we are called to examine the fruit of one’s life based on their love for and devotion to the Lord (Mat. 7:16).

The Second Coming of Christ, Final Judgement, and Eternal Damnation for the Lost

The New Testament establishes the Second Coming of Christ as the Blessed Hope of every Believer (Tit. 2:13). At Christ's return, all Believers, both past/dead and presently living, will receive their new incorruptible bodies and be gathered up into the air to meet Jesus as He returns to earth (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:16-18). This event is also known as the "rapture" and involves a resurrection of all dead souls. At the conclusion of the rapture, the final judgement of mankind will commence (Rev. 20:12), and men will either spend an eternity with God, based on their Faith in Christ, or be eternally damned in hell for their rejection of the Gospel (Rev. 20:15).

Note: For a more comprehensive list of the essential doctrines of the Faith, please click here.

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