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Basic Biblical doctrines

The creation of man

Although in Eden the Lord expressed his intention to create man in his image and likeness, in reality Adam was created in God's likeness. God's image in man is created through Jesus Christ in the present time. For this reason, the Bible speaks of the day of God's rest - because the main performer of the work of creating man in God's image is the one to whom God said 'let us create' and who turned out to be the man Jesus Christ.

The original sin

When Adam sees Eve with the fruit, he knows that the law has been broken. He also remembers, however, that he is one body with his wife, which is why he develops the erroneous belief that the consequence in the form of death will also affect him. Because Adam is a human, he has natural instincts, among them an instinct for self-defense, which activates in him as soon as he realizes that his life is in danger. He is not ready to pay the price of life, so he does not think about keeping God's law even at the cost of living, but about how to preserve life even if the law has been broken. First, he hides from God ('I hid because I saw that I was naked'), and when this strategy does not work, he places all the blame on Eve ('the woman you gave me').

The sacrifice of the body

The sacrifice of the body and the sacrifice of the blood are a Biblical response to the problem of sin. Adam is mistaken - he incorrectly evaluates the situation and consequently applies the natural instruction of behavior (self-defense) that leads to sin. The reason for sin is therefore both in the area of consciousness (convictions) and subconsciousness (natural reactions and worked out patterns of behavior). Because the instructions of behavior are encoded in our nervous system (in our body), the answer to sin must be the sacrifice of the body - the repentance of those elements that lead to disobedience to God, and work towards shaping new habits by learning the Word of God and changing the way of thinking .

The sacrifice of the blood

Blood in the Bible means life. The blood sacrifice means man's readiness to act according to conviction, even at the cost of living. Adam knows that he cannot eat the fruit, but his behavior is not consistent with this belief. He does not accept all possible consequences. In this sense, the sacrifice of the body and the sacrifice of the blood pose the problem of trust - when the body sacrifice takes into account one's own fallibility (thus manifesting distrust of one's beliefs), the sacrifice of the blood requires full confidence in one's behavior - until conviction is rejected as false, behaviour based on it must be strictly observed (even at the price of the blood sacrifice).

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ

The sense behind the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is to show by example how Adam should have behaved in order not to sin. Our Lord is in a situation analogous to the test that led Adam to fail, when on the cross just before his death he loses contact with God (which may suggest that he has failed in his service and irrevocable death awaits him). Jesus, however, trusts his spirit to God, thus ultimately performing 1) the sacrifice of the body because he does not give in to instincts of self-defense ('get off the cross, save yourself and us') and 2) the sacrifice of the blood because in the face of death he does not give in to the (false) thoughts that God has left him, and remains faithful to the end.

Justification by faith

The original sin and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ give a picture of what constitutes conduct which in the eyes of God is just: 1) conviction in accordance with the truth and 2) behaviour according to conviction. Justification (the actual reform of character of a sinful person) comes from faith because man must have faith (trust) that one is acting in a truthful manner. In turn, the knowledge of the truth is the result of the action of faith carried out by the spirit of the sacrificial love agape - the love of truth - which causes believers to learn about the Word of God and enables them to do so.

The inward man

The new character is shaped by the sacrifice of the body and the sacrifice of the blood. The essence is to maintain total obedience to the truth, but since we do not have direct access to the truth, only its more or less precise reflection in our convictions, shaping a just character requires a double sacrifice: 1) body sacrifice - 100 percent readiness to verify one's own instructions (convictions and reactions coded in the subconscious); and 2) blood sacrifice - 100 percent readiness to act in accordance with one's conviction. In this way, the character of a human being as a whole undergoes transformation - both in the area of beliefs and subconscious reactions that are modified with the image of truth possessed by the conscious mind.

The Body of Christ

The body is a synonym of behavioral patterns that are programmed in a human being beyond the direct control of consciousness, and which are not compatible with the spirit of God. The sacrifice of the body, therefore, refers to the efforts we make to correct these encoded instincts and replace them with patterns shaped in the image of Jesus Christ - to replace them with the body of Christ. Membership in the Body of Christ is, therefore, a community of believers who through conscious imitation of our Lord Jesus in the way of thinking and acting transform their characters from the inside to become his image. In this sense, everyone who believes is a member of Christ. At the end of time, every creature - spiritual and earthly - endowed with the right to life will be part of the Body of Christ.

The new creation

Man's personality consists of consciousness and subconsciousness. The subconscious is called the inward man - it is our character, mechanisms of dealing with repetitive situations encoded in our nervous system. Consciousness, on the other hand, is the 'place' where the new creation develops - the new mind of one who has received the spirit of truth and the desire to follow it. The development of the new creation is development in understanding. Thanks to the acquired understanding and conscious effort towards truthful behavior, the human character - our inner man - will be gradually shaped so that in this way we will be able to participate fully in Christ, complete personality development.

Begettal of the spirit

The new creation is started in the begettal of the spirit. The divine love agape - the love of truth through which begettal of the spirit takes place, 'compels' the elect to make sacrifices for the Gospel in its observance and deepening the understanding of the Word of God, evangelization, teaching and prophecy. In the process the new creation is being developed - the new mind focused on developing the knowledge of the truth and its application. Because the new creation is an element of the human personality (the other is the character - the inward man), the proper notion to describe its transformation seems to be begettal of the spirit (instead of birth of the spirit, which will affect the transformation of personality as a whole).

Birth of the spirit

A complete personality (complete man) consists of an element of the spirit (mind) and the body (character). The process of justification (reform) always runs in one direction: from the spirit to the body. And it is the spirit that is the place where the new creation begins its existence. The goal, however, is to create a complete man in the image of Jesus Christ, both spirit and body. The Bible defines this process of creating a complete personality modelled on Christ as birth of the spirit. The concept of birth of the spirit includes a rebirth of both mind and character. Its tool is the truth the knowledge of which leaves a pattern in character, making believers members of the Body of Christ.

Baptism in the spirit

Baptism in the spirit, or literally 'immersion into teaching', is the goal of new creatures. Being born of the spirit makes us babies in Christ, those who need the most basic teachings. Faithful execution of our consecration in developing the knowledge of the truth will gradually bring a blessing in the form of an ever better understanding of it, and thus also a deeper and deeper internalization of Biblical teachings in character. Because development in the knowledge of the truth is a continuous process, so is baptism in the spirit - it is a continuous process of 'immersing' into the Word of God, thanks to which ever larger areas not only of our awareness, but also of the subconscious habits of behavior, will be in accordance with the truth and the law of God.

Water baptism

Biblical baptism has the form of full immersion and emergence. Immersion is a symbol of 'burial in death' when one's life in the form led unto this point is terminated through repentance. Raising up symbolizes resurrection experienced by one converting to God through Jesus Christ. The decision about adopting new rules of conduct, as soon as it starts to be performed, will be the source of shaping a new character, a new way of thinking and behaving. Therefore, water baptism as a symbol of the inner transformation of man who accepts Jesus Christ is proper for all who repent in his name.

Repentance and conversion

Repentance (Greek metanoia) means a change in thinking - turning away from the way of thinking and acting contrary to the principles of the Bible. Conversion (Greek epistrofe) means a change of direction - accepting the principles of the Gospel as one's own. The basis for undertaking repentance and conversion is obligatory love for God (piety), therefore repentance and conversion are the duty of every man. Repentance is always the responsibility of the repentant man - no one from outside can take up repentance for you. Conversion, on the other hand, can be undertaken both by the repentant one and by the preachers of God's Word encouraging people who have done repentance to learn and practice Bible principles.

Faith

Faith means reason and heart - belief combined with action. The faith which has a conviction about God and repents from one's sins is everybody's duty. The elect who take such obligatory faith receive as a gift of God the sacrificial love agape that leads them to take up effective sacrifice of the body at work of reforming one's character. Therefore, the Bible speaks of faith both as man's duty and as a gift from God. It is man's obligation to believe: to be convinced that God exists and take steps to purify one's behavior. The development of faith requires the Lord's cooperation and one's surrendering to the influence of the divine spirit.

Three classes of believers

The depth of engaging in the sacrifice of the body by believers allows to distinguish three classes of new creatures, which were prefigured by God in the Tabernacle as the priests, levites and the people. Members of the people make the sacrifice of the body at the moment of conversion, but then stop it altogether. The levites represent these believers who care about the development of knowledge, but who simultaneously follow the attitude of "the truth once obtained we will never give back". Antitypical priests take up their body sacrifice daily not only by broadening their understanding, but also by verifying the current view on spiritual matters.

Resurrection

The reward of the Gospel calling is the resurrection to glory in heaven. The elect who will find themselves among kings and priests with Jesus Christ due to their fidelity and effective execution of their consecration will receive immortal bodies in the Divine nature after the end of their earthly ministry, without having to wait for the general resurrection of humanity under Christ's rule. The antitypical levites are resurrected to the spiritual nature, but lower than the Divine nature, at the inauguration of the Kingdom of God, and those of the levites who until then will be in earthly bodies will be changed to spiritual nature without having to experience death. All humanity will rise in the earthly bodies under the rule of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.

Evangelization, teaching, prophecy

Evangelization is informing the uninformed that salvation is in Christ. Evangelization is the task of all believers. Teaching is transmission of deeper doctrines and as such is a special task of the antitypical levites - new creatures born of the spirit who think they have the truth and who want to pass it on to others. Prophesying is discovering what has not yet been said, serving with new vistas on Bible teaching. Because the spirit of Christ is the spirit of prophecy, all new creatures are called to this spiritual work, but not everyone does it. The new creature that performs its calling in the element of prophecy was prefigured in the image of the Tabernacle by priests.

Lord's Supper

Once a year - on the 14th of Nisan according to the Jewish calendar (the Passover) - all believers receive bread and wine in the way shown by Jesus Christ at the last supper. The bread symbolizes the sacrifice of the body, the wine - the sacrifice of the blood. Everyone who repents and converts to God through Jesus Christ should take part in bread and wine as a symbol of one's participation in the Body of Christ and the sacrifice that one carries out with relation to this membership.

The New Covenant

The New Covenant is the relationship of God with man which consists in giving of the spirit. In the present Gospel Age and under the New Covenant the elect who undertake repentance receive the spirit of the Divine love agape, which works towards the reform of character, and thus reconciliation of man with God. At the outset of the millennial Kingdom the spirit will be poured out onto all flesh, so that everyone will have the opportunity to return to God. Participation in the New Covenant requires the Church to engage in the sacrifice of the body and of the blood. The intermediary of the New Covenant is Jesus Christ, who secured it through his sacrifice.

Jesus Christ's second coming

Jesus Christ comes again in three stages: parousia, apocalypse, epiphany. Parousia is a spiritual presence by restoring the Church to the teachings which were lost in the first centuries, and which again began to be taught with the arrival of the Reformation. The apocalypse will begin with the appearance of the 'sign of the Son of Man', which will announce the end of the present system of things. Epiphany is the revelation of Jesus Christ for the 'eyes of understanding' and as such, it will take place for all people with the advent of the Millennial Kingdom.

Ethics of the Old and New Testament

The source of the ethics of both the Old and the New Testament is original sin. The basic problem that has been facing man since then is how to avoid death. In the Old Testament, God chooses a nation to whom he offers what Adam received: a life in the Edenic Promised Land, which can be renewed indefinitely on the condition of obedience. The ethical action is therefore every action that guarantees the prosperity and survival of Israel. The offer of God for the elect under the New Covenant is different: it is the hope of immortal glory provided that one sacrifices his present life. Therefore, there are other requirements for the elect under the New Covenant.


Keywords: basic Biblical doctrines
 
Published:
Last reviewed: 27-05-2019


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