Christianity is so much more than an ‘ism’

     An ‘ism’ is defined as a distinctive doctrine, cult, or theory.  A theory can likewise be defined as something that is speculative, conjectural, or hypothetical.
     Christianity, on the other hand, transcends the definition of any ism and, as we’ll see shortly, is rather defined as reality.  Christianity is defined by Webster as ‘the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred Scripture…’
     In the New Testament Christians are defined as disciples or followers of Jesus Christ.  Synonyms for Christians include learners, brothers, faithful ones, and saints.
     The word ‘Christian’ was first used as a term of ridicule.  Doubters thought ‘Christianity’ would not pass the test of time.
     And while Christianity may have been revealed just two millennia ago, the Church of Jesus Christ, along with other ‘mysteries’ originated in the mind of God before the foundation of the world.
      Two major mysteries revealed by the Spirit through Paul in the New Testament were that gentiles would partake of God’s sovereign grace and that Christ would be Head of the heretofore unknown body of believers called the ‘Church.’
     “To me (Paul)…that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church…according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord…”   Ephesians 3:8-11
     “…the church…the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you…”  Colossians 1:24-27
     Therefore, the salvation of gentiles and the church have always been a major part of God’s eternal plan but not revealed to Old Testament prophets. Such wisdom remained mysteries until the exact predetermined time to be revealed by the Spirit.  God used Paul to reveal those heretofore mysteries.
     Let’s go back in history and review other unique aspects of God and His eternal plan.  The Bible in all ways refutes with proof any thoughts that God, His Son, and His plan could ever be limited to the description of an ‘ism.’
     The Old Testament defined God as the ‘God of truth.’
     “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”  Deuteronomy 32:4
     Hebrew synonyms for ‘truth’ include (but not limited to) certainty and assuredly.
     In the New Testament ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ are brought together.  Consider the following verses.
     “And the Word (Jesus Christ) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth…For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:14, 17
     The Greek for ‘Word’ is logos meaning in essence divine reason and wisdom.  The Greek for ‘truth’ is aletheia with significant meanings beginning with ‘reality,’ i.e. ‘the unveiled reality lying at the basis and agreeing with an appearance.’
     Jesus Christ is God incarnate and is the truth in all aspects.
     “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.”  Colossians 1:15-16 
     The Greek for ‘image’ in the present context means ‘the exact image of God’s essence.’  Jesus is the perfect expression of God.  Christ does not merely reflect God’s character; He radiates God’s character from the original pattern. 
     “God…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…”  Hebrews 1:1-3
     To be continued.
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