The foundation of Christianity is rooted in the belief of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The link between the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the birth of Christianity speak for itself. The early Christians focused on spreading Jesus Christs teachings as well as those of the Apostles often during a time of intense prosecution. The teachings are present in the four gospels of the Bible making them one of the sources of foundations to Christianity. This paper is going to focus on the Gospel of Luke and how it is foundational to Christianity.
The book of Luke is one of the Gospels and contains narrative history, parables, sermons, genealogy, and some prophetic oracles. The book contains a total of nineteen parables which is more than any other Gospel. The key personalities in the Gospel of Luke include Jesus Christ, Mary, and Joseph, who were His parents, John the Baptist, Jewish religious leaders, Herod the Great, and Pilate. The writings of the book are meant to give people a better understanding of the Savior who is Jesus Christ and that they may know the exact truth (Luke 1: 4 New International Version).
Nothing strong can come from a weak foundation: not a house, friendship, marriage, business or even the society. Christianity is no different. It becomes important to know the foundations of Christianity for one to be mature and grow as a Christian. Many opinions exist that want to explain the foundations of Christianity. However, what is important is what is contained in the Bible as it is the place all Christians go to find information about their faith and religious beliefs. The foundation of Christianity is the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and some of the foundational Christian doctrines include repentance, faith toward God, Baptism, laying of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. The Gospel of Luke clearly outlines the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as well as the foundational doctrines of Christianity.
In chapters 1-4 of the book of Luke, there is a comprehensive account of the birth of Jesus as well as the events that surrounded it. Luke goes on further to explain how John the Baptist prepared for the coming Messiah. He baptized Jesus in River Jordan, which marked the transition into Jesus starting his ministries in Galilee (3: 21). During their ministries, both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ called for people to repent so that they can strengthen their relationship with God and have a chance of inheriting the Kingdom of God. The Gospel Luke states that it was necessary for Christ to endure sufferings and resurrect on the third day and that repentance of sins should be preached in His name to all nations (24: 46-47). Based on His teachings, it is evident that repentance is an important foundation of Christianity.
All new Christians must repent and recognize themselves as sinners who have to turn from their old sinful ways so that Jesus Christ can save them. When John the Baptist was preparing the way for the Messiah, he always called for people to repent to allow for forgiveness of their sins (3: 3; 3: 8). Jesus also used the same message of repentance in his ministries to allow people to leave their old ways and come to the Kingdom of God. He taught that it was necessary for people to repent so that they can enjoy salvation and the presence of God. If they do not repent, then they are bound to perish (13: 3). Also, after Jesus resurrected, the first word in the preaching instructions to His disciples was repent (24: 46-47). Repentance is one of the major foundations of Christianity as God rewards repentance with life. The Lord and the angels in heaven take pleasure and have great joy for a single person who repents (15: 1-10). Repentance is an important and foundational aspect of the life of every Christian as it strengthens their relationship with God and it is the first step towards ensuring that they have a place in the Kingdom of God.
The second foundational doctrine of Christianity is having faith in God. Every Christian believes in the existence and power of God. Having faith alone is not effective as it is complemented with ones actions. Faith is an important aspect of the life of every Christian due to various reasons. Faith allows them to please God, to be righteous, receive answers to prayers, to have eternal life, and to receive promises. Also, having faith allows Christians to have God forgive their sins, enter Gods Kingdom, and is a source of joy and peace in their lives. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus asks His disciples where their faith is after they became afraid during a storm (8: 22-25). The passage shows that faith is important in the lives of every Christian as it opens their minds and allow them to accept Gods truth.
The third foundational Christian doctrine is baptism. Jesus received baptism which shows that such a rite is important for a Christian to fulfill the requirements of righteousness. When Christians are baptized, it symbolically means that they have entered death with Jesus after which they resurrect with him and become born again with a new life in Christ. Unless Christians are born again in water, they cannot enter the kingdom of God. Baptism occurs in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit after which a person enters Christs death which enables them to receive forgiveness of their sins. The importance of baptism is evident in the Gospel of Luke. John the Baptist baptized Jesus in river Jordan which made him righteous before God. After the baptism, the Holy Spirit descended on Him and a voice came from heaven saying, You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased (3: 21-22). Today, the substance of baptism is the blood of Jesus, which removes the sins of Christians and makes them righteous.
The next doctrine is the laying of hands. Based on the passages of the Bible, there are many purposes for which people perform the laying of hands. However, of most importance to the foundation of Christianity is the laying of hands to allow for receivership of the Holy Spirit. It is of paramount importance for a Christian to receive the Holy Spirit. The fact that God organized for John the Baptist to witness Jesus receiving the Holy Spirit show that it is indeed important (3: 21-22). Simply, a Christian should receive the Holy Spirit to allow for the worship of God in the spirit. When Christians receive the Holy Spirit, they are able to avoid temptations and have the inspiration to speak the word of God to others. Some passages in the Gospel of Luke shows how the Holy Spirit inspired people to speak the word of God. One of this passages is the one talking about an ordinary person named Simeon who was filled with the Holy Spirit and praised God and prophesied over Jesus at His circumcision (2: 25-32). There are many other accounts in the Gospel of Luke that shows the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians receive the Holy Spirit to guide them into the truth of Christ, directs their steps, give them spiritual gifts, assist them to defeat the enemy, and guarantees them hope of entering heaven.
The resurrection of the dead is another foundational Christian doctrine. There is no Christianity to those who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Christians believe that Jesus Christ died and after three days he resurrected and through this, Christians have hope of entering a new life. The Gospel of Luke states that God is not a God of the dead but the living and that those who have died in the flesh have spirits that are still alive (20: 27-40). Resurrection is important for various reasons. First, it shows the immense power God has and therefore believing in it is believing in God. Secondly, Jesus resurrected, and this acts as a testimony that human beings will also resurrect. The resurrection strengthens the faith of Christians by making them know that physical death is not the end of life as they will still live and rejoice in the Lord. Finally, resurrection is a glorious victory for every Christian that allows them to be changed and have new glorified bodies that would live for eternity.
The last foundational Christian doctrine as evident in the Gospel of Luke is eternal judgment. The primary purpose of every Christians life on earth is to give them an opportunity to make their decision on whether to follow the ways of God or do the contrary. The final judgment marks the end of the work of the creation of God in the earth and allows Him to determine if the decision of each is right or wrong. Individuals who made the right decision will continue to live with God for eternity. On the other hand, those who made a wrong decision would go to eternal destruction. Jesus said that there will be a judgment day and that everyone is personally accountable for their actions (10: 12-14). For Christians to avoid eternal destruction, they should repent, believe, and follow the ways of the Lord (10: 13). Christians believe that God will judge everyone for their actions and that for people to enter the Kingdom of God, then they should act and speak by Christs teachings.
The foundations of Christianity are based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ which are all present in the Bible. One of the books of the Bible that give an account of the life and teachings of Christ and hence offers a basis to the foundations of Christianity is the Gospel of Luke. Luke gives an account of the birth of Jesus, His Baptism, His life and missions, the teachings to the people, His death, and his resurrection. Based on these accounts, it becomes easier to identify six basic foundational doctrines of Christianity which include repentance, faith toward God, Baptism, laying of hands, resurrection, and eternal judgment. A Christian, who practices these doctrines, is bound to grow in faith and strength and therefore be able to inherit the Kingdom of God.
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