The last installment in our series on the essential beliefs of all Christians is, surprising to me, one which many people’s response is ‘so what?”. It is quite important, and I’ll explain why after I list the eleven core doctrines of the Christian faith as a quick review:
1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The triunity of God
9. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.
The Bible is very clear that Jesus the Christ will visibly and physically return, raise the dead and judge all of mankind, and establish His kingdom. In fact, there are so many passages in both the Old and New Testaments concerning His second coming that instead of pointing you to various articles and videos in links at the end of this short article, I’ll just list SOME of the many passages that do so.
So what’s the big deal about all that? Life goes on, one day Jesus will return (maybe)… whatever. It’s a nice story, but nobody really believes that stuff, do they? I mean, really it’s been two THOUSAND years!
Here’s the thing: Either you are a disciple of Christ and you believe in the essentials, or you are calling God a liar. Therefore, you CANNOT be a Christian and deny Christ’s second coming, final judgement of all humanity and reign as Sovereign ruler of all. Furthermore, unless your trust in this truth has a real and profound impact on how you conduct your day to day life, you’re skating on very thin ice.
Let me elaborate. The clear teaching of Scripture is that Christ’s bodily return the the physical Earth will be both sudden and can happen at any time – even before I finish typing (I almost ended right here to illustrate the point, but decided not to) this sentence.
The Bible is also clear on this next point: once you have died, there are no second chances; “it is appointed man once to die, and after that the judgement” (Hebrews 9:27). The practical implications of these two truths is that EVERYONE who dies without Christ are literally the walking dead – and it is our duty as disciples of Christ before God to rescue as many as possible. We must ask ourselves daily, “What am I doing to make sure that I live my life in both word and deed to introduce dead and doomed sinners to life with Christ?”.
Not only that, but to neglect to follow the commands of Christ is to willfully disobey God, and by example to encourage others to do the same. I have, in over half a century, NOT ONCE met anyone who claims to be a Christian but denies the doctrine of the second coming of Christ and the final judgement that takes any teaching of Scripture that requires them make significant life decisions seriously. In other words, people who deny essential #11 have a “buffet style” faith – they willfully ignore or deny any command of Scripture that makes them do anything they don’t like. That attitude contains and implicit denial of Christ, and they are not disciples of Him. Period.
This is the last in our Essentials series; now that I’ve set forth the essential beliefs that every Christian holds, next time we’ll start dealing with your questions about making a case for Christ in an increasingly hostile world. If you have any questions about apologetics or how to defend the Christian worldview, email Curly at wofblogs.org and I’ll either post an article here or reply privately.
Here are a few Bible references concerning this article:
2 Corinthians 5:10
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
I Thessalonians 5:23-24
2 Thessalonians 1
2 Timothy 4:1
1 Corinthians 15:20-27
2 Peter 3:3-10