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Contending for the Faith
Christian Non-Negotiables

Friday, June 22, 2012 at 7:00am

What are the non-negotiable things that every Christian should absolutely believe?

The Bible itself reveals what is important and essential to the Christian faith. These are the main “essentials” that we should understand and believe if we are followers of Jesus Christ.

1.     the deity of Christ,

2.     the resurrection of Christ,

3.     salvation by God’s grace and not by works,

4.     the Gospel,

5.     monotheism,

6.     the Holy Trinity,

7.     salvation through Jesus Christ alone,

8.     and Faith.

Let’s look at all of these in a little more detail.


Primary Essentials:  Stated specifically in scripture that these cannot be denied and still be a Christian. They deal with the nature of God, the atonement, and its method of salvation applied to the believer. Denial of any Primary essential constitutes lack of regeneration, lack of salvation. Note: Regeneration means the believer is indwelt by God, changed, and enabled to understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:15)

 1.      The deity of Christ.  Jesus is both God and man.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”  (Matthew 1:23

Without the virgin birth, we cannot substantiate the doctrine of the incarnation of Jesus being God in flesh.  This would put at risk what Jesus said below in (John 8:24).

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

"For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Colossians 2:9)

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."  (1 John 4:1-4)

While Jesus never directly says, “I am God” in the Scriptures, He makes it very clear to those around Him, especially the Pharisees and Sadducees, that He is God. John 10:30 says, “I and the Father are one.” Jesus was claiming deity, and, interestingly enough, He did not deny that He was God. Another example is John 20:28, when Thomas says, “My Lord and my God!” Again, Jesus does not correct Him by saying that He is not God. There are many other examples one can find in the Scriptures regarding Jesus’ rightful place in heaven.

2.     The resurrection of Christ. Perhaps no other event in the Bible, aside from Jesus’ appearance here on earth and subsequent death on the cross, is as significant to the Christian faith as that of the resurrection. Why is this event significant? The answer lies in the fact that Jesus died and then after three days came back to life and rose again to reappear to His followers in bodily form.

Jesus had already demonstrated His ability to resurrect others such as His friend Lazarus. But now God the Father had resurrected Him to display His awesome power and glory. This amazing fact is what separates the Christian faith from all others. All other religions are based on works or a powerless deity or person. The leaders of all other religions die and remain dead.

The Christian faith is based on Christ crucified and resurrected to life.

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

"Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body."  (John 2:19–21)

To deny Christ’s bodily resurrection is to deny that Jesus’ work here on earth was a satisfactory offering to God for the sins of mankind.

3.     Salvation by grace. We are all sinners separated from God and deserving of eternal punishment for our sin. Jesus’ death on the cross paid for the sins of mankind, giving us access to heaven and an eternal relationship with God. God did not have to do this for us, but He loves us so much that He sacrificed His only Son. This is grace, and it is most definitely undeserved favor. Scripture tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor or gain access to heaven apart from His grace.

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"  (Romans 5:1)

"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?" (Galatians 3:1–2)

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.  And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”  (Galatians 5:1–4)

4.      The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

"Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures," (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul spells out what the gospel is and how important it is to embrace it and share it with others. He reminds the Corinthians of the gospel he preached among them: “That Christ died for our sins in according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in according to the Scriptures.This is the essence of the gospel. Paul also warns us to be wary of the many “false gospels” that are being offered to the unsuspecting:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what one you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8-9).

The pure gospel of Jesus Christ … His death on the cross for sinners and His resurrection to everlasting life … is central to the Christian faith.

5.     Monotheism. There is only one God. Exodus 20:3 states very powerfully, “You shall have no other gods before me.

Monotheism is the belief that there is only one God to be worshipped and served. “‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me’” (Isaiah 43:10). Here we see that we are to “believe” and “understand” that God lives and is one. A Christian will know that there is only one God, the God of the Bible. All other “gods” are false and are no gods at all.

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.'" (Isaiah 44:6)

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

Note:  Denial of any of the above doctrines as stated in scripture constitutes being non-Christian.


Secondary Essentials: Not stated in scripture as essential, but are derivatively essential since they deal with accurately describing the true God and they are based, in part, on the Primary Essentials. Denial strongly suggests lack of regeneration.

6.     The Holy Trinity. While the concept of a “three-in-one God” is not represented by a single verse or passage, it is described frequently throughout Scripture. If we look at Matthew 28:19, we see the verse calling out the Trinity: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” While this verse mentions all three Persons of the triune God, it does not call them the Trinity. So to understand the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, we must look at the “totality” of Scripture and glean from it the definition. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, we see how this comes together: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord; and there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.” Again, we see all three Persons being represented but not titled the Holy Trinity.

Comment: God is a Trinity and though a person may not understand or initially affirm the Trinity doctrine upon regeneration, he will eventually come to accept it since it is a biblically true revelation describing the true God.

7.     Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Jesus is the only way to God the Father.

A truly provocative question to ask someone might be “Do all roads lead to God?” The truth is that all roads do lead to God.

Eventually, we are all going to stand before God when we die, no matter what faith we are. It is there that we will be judged for what we have or have not done while we were alive and whether Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives. For the majority of people, this will be a terrible occasion, as most will not know Him or be known by Him. For these people, hell will be the final destination.

But God in His mercy has provided all of us the only means for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 tells us that "... there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  This passage speaks of the name of Jesus and His saving power. Another example is found in the book of John. Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

No one gets into heaven except by faith in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ on his or her behalf.

8.     Faith.  Finally, the essentials of Christianity would not be complete without the ingredient that binds everything together … faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

As Christians we live by this verse with the understanding that we believe in a God we cannot see. But we see His work in our lives and all around us in His creation. We do all of this through faith because we know that faith pleases God.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).


Sources: Adapted from articles at www.gotquestions.org and www.carm.org


Belief beyond proof is faith. Belief in spite of proof is folly.

Call or email me if you have questions.

Amen and God bless you.

Pete, Sr.


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