By Asst Ps Patrick Chan Yin
Last weekend, Snr Ps Beh Soo Yeong introduced a sermon series (called “Essentials”) and talked about the essential practices (or spiritual exercises) that our church believes are important for us to grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord, in the context of our community of faith.
The word “Essentials” got me thinking: what are the essentials of the Christian Faith in the first place?
There are several ways we can approach this question. We could take a look at church history and see what God’s people have always believed. We could examine the ancient creeds and confessions of the church. We could do a search on the major themes of Scripture (e.g., covenant, love, glory, atonement) that emerge from a study of important passages (e.g., Genesis 1, Exodus 20, Matthew 5-7, John 3, Romans 8). But let me suggest we take a slightly different route and consider what are the beliefs and behaviours which Scripture says should be held by and manifested in the true disciple of Jesus Christ.
Ten Essential Christian Beliefs:
We must be born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:5).
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 3:18, 36; 6:35, 40, 47, 53-58; 8:19, 24; 11:25-26; 12:48; 14:6; 15:23; 20:30-31; Gal. 3:7-9).
The benefits of the gospel come by faith, not by works of the law (Acts 15:8-11; Gal. 1:6-9; 2:16, 21; 3:10-12, 22).
Salvation comes from Jesus Christ, our faithful high priest, the radiance of God’s glory and our brother in the flesh (Col. 1:15-23; Heb. 2:4).
God exists and rewards those who seek him (Heb. 11:6, 16).
We are saved by Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 1:18).
The good news of the gospel is that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and he appeared to many witnesses (1 Cor. 15:1-11).
Jesus Christ was bodily resurrected and our bodies will be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:12-19).
Jesus was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory (1 Tim. 3:16; 1:3, 18-20; 6:3-4, 20-21).
God saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim. 1:8-14).
Ten Essential Christian Behaviours:
We repent and turn from our sins (Matt. 5:29-30; 11:20-24; Acts 2:38; 3:19; Heb. 10:26-27).
We forgive others (Matt. 6:14-15; 18:33-35).
We are undivided in our devotion to God and to Jesus Christ (Matt. 6:24; 10:38-39; 19:16-30; John 12:24-26).
We publicly acknowledge Jesus before others (Matt. 10:32-33; 21:33-44; 22:1-14; 26:24; John 5:23)
We obey God’s commands and do not make a practice of sinning (John 14:15; 1 John 3:9-10; 1 John 5:2).
We live a life that is fruitful and not fleshly (Matt. 12:33-37; 21:43; 24:36-51; 25:1-46; Gal. 5:18-24; 6:5; Heb 13:4; 1 Cor. 6:9-10).
We are humble and broken-hearted for our sin (Matt. 5:3; 18:3-4; 1 John 1:8-10).
We love God and love others (Matt. 22:34-40; John 11:35; 15:12; 1 Cor. 13:1-3; 1 John 3:14-15).
We must persevere in the faith (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:29-31; 12:12-17; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 1 Tim. 5:11-12).
We help our natural family and church family when there are physical needs (1 Tim. 5:8; 6:18-19; 1 John 3:17).
Obviously, the two lists above are not meant to be exhaustive. They are meant to show, by way of example, what the Bible considers to be essential and how precious these truths should be to the Christian. There are a number of behaviours in Scripture which serve to prove or disprove our Christian commitment. Likewise, there are a number of beliefs in Scripture which we must hold to be true, and without which we cannot be saved.
So let us continue to study and understand these beliefs and embrace these behaviours, as taught in Scriptures, and promote and protect them with zeal and effort. May God be our guide, help and strength!
 Adapted from Pastor and Seminary Professor Kevin DeYoung’s blog from The Gospel Coalition website: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/what-are-the-essentials-of-the-christian-faith/