This I believe

I take inspiration from a post by Claire Jones, a remarkable human being who’s writing is far better than mine I encourage you to read her original post here http://theartofuncertainty.com/2013/12/04/i-believe/

This article comes from a rather different place than from where Claire was writing. Hers appears to show how she may struggle with God but ultimately rests in him and his truth. I have my struggles of faith also but that’s not what I’ve been thinking about lately. Lately I have been faced with a question ‘is it just me?’ or rather ‘is it just us?’. As I have been studying God’s word I’ve been amazed at how many theologians and clergy do not believe what I have always felt was central to the Christian faith. I feel compelled even more so to proclaim my faith no matter how unpopular it is with the rest of christendom. So this I believe:

I believe in one God

No matter how difficult a belief in a triune God is to hold I truly do believe in his oneness. There is only one true God and there are none like him.

the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

God the Father is one person of my God he is not a third of God but fully God and that is why I call him Almighty. No matter how much secularism is pushed upon I believe In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light,true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.

Jesus Christ is my friend and my God. Fully friendly and fully mighty. Fully man and fully God, not one third of God this is why I believe he is Lord.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.

It may sound wacky but I do believe in the virgin birth my God became a man for me. He made himself a little lower than the angels he is so humble and so kind.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.

I believe the cross to be both a demonstration of God’s love for me and where Christ took the punishment for me. He died, he really died the earth shook the veil in the temple tore in two, the sun refused to shine and the centurion declared that Jesus must have been the Son of God.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

I believe that a dead man came back to life. If he did not there is no hope for me. I don’t believe it figuratively or metaphorically but truly my God is not dead he’s alive. He is in heaven where my praise will rise to him forevermore.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

He is coming again. I live my life the best I can but as the hymn says ‘my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness’ if I am to pass his judgement clean it is because in him in am the righteousness of God. I’m not a sinner trying to be a saint, I’m a saint who sins.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

Holy Spirit you keep me in Christ each day you remind me of all that he has done and what I am meant to be. You are truly God not a third of God and that is why I call you the giver of life.

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe the Scriptures to contain all things necessary for salvation even when I misunderstand them or struggle with them or live not according to them.

I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

God’s church is the people of God given all authority through Christ. There is only one true church and the authority of her church comes from Christ through apostolic succession.

I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

In the Holy Spirit’s baptism I am made knew I receive the forgiveness of sin which I most definitely need. What other hope could there be for a wretched man like me?

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Death is not the end

Amen.

Amen.

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Exam Success?

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When I survey the wondrous cross on which the prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. As well as being deeply interested in the details of historic Christianity hence the normal purpose of this blog. I am also an evangelist (someone who tells people about the good news of Jesus) and a youth worker. At this time of year I notice in the media and through Facebook many young people stressing regarding their exam results and UCAS applications. I offer this as a plea to all young people who may be going through this that they allow these words to deeply challenge them because if you accept them I promise you it will change your life. Listen up, here it is: Your identity is not supposed to be in 3 letters on a piece of paper you are not AAA or ABB or whatever, you are not conditional to unconditional firmly accepted. On the other hand you are not a total failure, you are not a person waiting to go through clearing, and this is not the fullness of your identity.

A few months ago I was talking to someone who was awaiting her mock GCSE results and she was stressing and worrying and thinking of herself in terms of being a failure and I said to her listen Racheal[1] I don’t care how good or bad your exams go I don’t care whether you get a full house of A*s what I most care about is you finding your identity in God and that’s what I want to share with you on this blog today.

Here are four truths that will lead you on the way to finding your true identity.

  1. God loves you: He does! He really does love you why could that matter? Because God loved you before you got your results and loved you afterwards. Perhaps you’re not very good at maths, that’s fine with God he made you and he knows what you are good at and he has a plan for your life.
  2. You and I have sinned: Perhaps this is not as easy for you to hear as the first one but the bible says that everyone has sinned and as fallen short of the glory of God. This means that our relationship with God is damaged because he is perfect and we in our sinful nature don’t want anything to do with his perfection. So we try and fill the space where God should be in our lives with things like: Exam success, good jobs, money, family and relationships. All those things are not necessarily bad but when they start to go in the place of God that is where the problem lays the bible says the wages of sin is death. It’s like putting petrol in a diesel car you might get so far but it won’t be long before everything stops working.
  3. Jesus died for you: God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. Yes there is bad news if you have sinned even once in your life God who is perfectly just will punish you when you die forever. But here is the unbelievably good news there is one God who is three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ who is God looked on you and I in our sinful ways and said I want those people in my family so God the father sent him to earth to live a perfect life and die on the cross in our place taking on all our sins on himself so that we can be perfect before God and live a life with him forever in perfect love. I began with the words of an old him which talks about looking at the cross. It also mentions counting your richest gain as loss. Whatever you have done in your life, whatever you are most proud of will count as nothing when you know Jesus Christ as your saviour, friend and treasure.
  4. We need to decide: I cannot do any more than tell you that God loves you, that you have sinned and that Jesus died for you. The last one is over to you. Here is your opportunity to find your identity in God. It is between you and him. Here are 2 things to remember if you decide to choose God, God chose you long before you ever made your decision. Secondly, your life will never be the same again.

 

I leave you with some suggestions of how to do this but there is ‘no right way’ or ‘magic words’ or actions you may like to go somewhere quiet and listen to these songs and think about the words at the end you may like to pray this prayer:

Father,

You are the greatest being in the entire universe,

I ask now if it is your will,

That you would save me from the bad things I do,

That you would make me a child in your family,

That you would give me an identity and purpose,

I am sorry,

I run to the cross of your son Jesus,

Help me to never run away from you again,

Amen

[1] Name changed to protect identity.