In the New Testament the word faith is used with two different meanings. First, it means the action of believing (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8; Heb. 11:1). We have faith in the Lord Jesus, and this is the action of believing. This is the subjective meaning of the word faith. There is also the second meaning, that is, the objective meaning of the word faith. Faith used in this way refers to the things in which we believe, the object of our faith, our belief (Titus 1:4; Rev. 14:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). This is what we call our Christian faith. As Christians we have a unique faith.
Paul said he fought the good fight and kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7), and he also charged Timothy to fight the good fight of the faith (1 Tim. 6:12). Jude told us to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The faith mentioned in these verses does not mean our believing action, but refers to the things in which we believe. The faith is something unique, something specific, something special, and is composed of the beliefs concerning the Bible, God, Christ, the work of Christ, salvation, and the church.
Christians are the same only in this faith. Hence, our Christian faith is the ground of all the believers’ genuine oneness. The last night the Lord Jesus was on the earth He offered a unique prayer (John 17). His prayer revealed the importance of the oneness of all His believers. Nothing is as important as the oneness.
The Holy Bible is the word of God written under His inspiration word by word (2 Tim. 3:16) and which contains the complete divine revelation. Every word in the Scriptures comes to us through the action of the Holy Spirit to bear the word of God through human writers (2 Pet. 1:21). The Holy Scriptures are fully sufficient to lead people to salvation and to guide them into glory.
All that we believe is simply based on and limited to what is in the Bible.
God is uniquely one (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4b; Isa. 45:5a) yet triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, who are each fully God. Yet there are not three Gods, but one God in three persons. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are not three temporal manifestations of the one God; rather, They coexist eternally, distinct but not separate from one another (Matt. 3:16-17; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18; Eph. 3:14-17; Rev. 1:4-5). We can believe and enjoy the mysterious Trinity of God as the apostle Paul encourages us: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14).
Eternally Christ is the only begotten Son in the Godhead (John 1:1, 18). In time He became a genuine human being through incarnation (John 1:14). He is like us in all respects, yet He is without sin (Heb. 4:15; 1 John 3:5; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22). Christ is the complete God and perfect man. The divine and human natures in Christ are preserved distinct and each maintains its distinct qualities without forming a third, new nature.
The Work of Christ
God sent the Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin to condemn sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3), and in dying on the cross for our sins, Christ accomplished an eternal redemption for us (Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12) and brought us back to God (1 Pet. 3:18).
Christ was raised from the dead, both spiritually and bodily, and as the resurrected Christ He is our Savior, who saves us not only from our sins but “much more…in His life” (Rom. 5:10). After His resurrection He ascended bodily to the Father, who exalted Him to His right hand as Lord of all (Acts 5:31; 10:36).
Christ will come again to receive His believers to Himself (1 Thes. 2:19).
Whenever any person repents to God and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; Acts 16:31; Acts 26:20; John 3:15-16) he is forgiven of his or her sins and redeemed, justified, and regenerated (born again) to become a member of the Body of Christ (Acts 10:43; Rom. 3:24; Acts 13:39; John 3:6; 1 Cor. 12:27; Rom. 12:5).
God produced the church composed of all persons irrespective of time and space who are believers in Christ. Our attitude toward other believers can be summarized by: “Therefore receive one another, as Christ also received you to the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7). Many choices, such as where to meet or what version of the Bible to read from, we recognize as belonging in the realm of individual conscience. We choose to follow the apostle Paul who wrote “let each be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5).
We take these to be essential items of the common faith. Beyond these, many teachings and doctrines on other items are matters of interpretation where there has historically been room for disagreement among Christians. We do not contend for things other than the common faith of all believers (cf. Jude 3).