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Protestants and Catholics
Even though there are Protestants and Catholics who would be horrified to find out they are brothers and sisters with each other, it does not negate the fact that we are all under the leadership of Jesus Christ as Head of His Army.
What makes us related? Eight basic elements:
1. The Trinity. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are three in one and comprise God Almighty. They are always in agreement, they are omniscient, they are omnipresent and omnipowerful. Only God is to be worshiped so only these three are to receive worship. These are the only ones who were never born, will never die, and who create from nothing. The followers can create from something which has already been created by God.
2. The humanity of Jesus Christ. He came to earth as a human being to accomplish the will of the Father. God’s will was for Jesus to pay for our sins, (John 12:27) reunite us with Him and to give us eternal life in the realm of God’s Glory. (John 6:38-40) Jesus put aside His divinity to accomplish these goals. He came to call sinners to repentance. He says of Himself that He came to defeat the devil, to preach the Kingdom of God and to give human beings the life of God, or zoe life. He says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34) He came to send fire on the earth.
3. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins. He went to hell to destroy the works of the devil and reestablish the kingdom of God here on earth. He was raised from the dead to give us victory over death. He is seated in heavenly places, on His throne beside the Father’s throne where He intercedes for us; we are seated there with Him.
4. The Blood. The price Jesus paid was with His Blood. Nothing else could pay for our sins. Since His Blood was both human and divine, He made a Blood Covenant in our behalf that will never be broken. He is our God and we are His people. Everything we are and have belongs to Him and everything He is and has belongs to us.
5. The New Birth. We are commanded to be born again which means we accept the gift of Jesus’ suffering and all it accomplished and we surrender to His Lordship. At that moment The Holy Spirit comes and lives in us to guide and teach us what we need to know in this new spiritual life we have been given. The is the mystery to which the Bible refers but was never revealed until Jesus sent back His Holy Spirit to accomplish and fulfill the mystery: Christ in us the hope of Glory.
6. The Holy Scriptures. The Bible is the Word of God, spoken to holy men throughout the ages to reveal the will of God. Jesus is known as The Word of God as He directed the inspiration and the writing of the Bible. That is why there is no contradiction found in over 1,000 years of writing. The Word is powerful and when properly used will accomplish great miracles for the people of God.
7. The Ordinances of God, or Sacraments. Because God ordained certain traditions or behaviors, we count them Holy and we do them: Baptism. Communion. Confirmation or the New Birth. Consecration or Sanctification. Marriage. Repentance. Proclamation (of Jesus as our Lord).
8. The Return of our King. The Bible predicts that Jesus will return to the earth riding on a powerful white horse. He will come with His army and overthrow all unrighteousness. He will judge the living and the dead. He will then reign on this earth and we have yet to see what that reign will be like. We look forward to that day and say, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come!”
There are other things we agree on, but I consider these to be the essentials. This is what I focus on as a member of His Army. We need each other and we must perform the duties of the Prayer of Jesus in John 17 where He asks that His people be one. He didn’t mention that people with the same traditions or practices be one, but those who belong to Him be one. We must be united and if we are going to accomplish that goal then we must focus on what unites us, not what divides us.