Four Aspects of Our Beliefs #1 – Absolutes
Christians can seem to disagree about a lot of stuff – theology, lifestyle choices, family issues, political differences, social concerns. But some things we must agree upon.
I find it helpful to differentiate between absolutes, distinctives, convictions, and preferences. Think four concentric circles, with absolutes at the center.
Paul provides a great starting point, of first importance: “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5).
On absolutes all Christians everywhere must agree. More unites us than divides us. On distinctives, convictions, and preferences, however, Christians do differ. “Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5).
Absolutes are the unchanging foundations of the faith. For example:
• The Bible is the inspired Word of God.
• Jesus Christ is God who became a man.
• Jesus died on the cross for our sins, atoning for our sins through his shed blood.
• Jesus Christ rose from the dead bodily.
• Jesus Christ is coming again.
• God is holy, unchanging, perfect, infinite, eternal.
• God is Three in One and One in Three.
• Jesus is Lord.
• The Holy Spirit is a Person.
• Humanity is separated from God and in need of a Savior.
• Salvation is by faith alone.
These essential truths are absolutes. They are nonnegotiable. They never change.
Absolute truths are not subject to personal convictions, cultural trends, or feelings. They are true at all times, in all places, in any society. They are always true no matter what the circumstances.
Absolutes are universal truths essential to the faith that all Christians declare with authority. We “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught,” so that we “can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9).
Primary truths are not complicated. You don’t need a Ph.D. to understand the Bible. People groups with limited education have read the Bible and come to the same conclusions that thousands have discovered for centuries. Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.
What assurance we have knowing that the God of truth has revealed truth to us. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19). By walking down these “ancient paths . . . you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).
~ Pastor Dave