What is a Christian?
A Christian is a follower of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 11:26). Those who follow Jesus not only believe that Jesus spoke the truth in His earthly ministry, they believe to the point of committing their entire lives to Him (John 3:16). They seek to become Christlike disciples and share their faith with others, forming them into Christlike disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
What is the purpose of my life?
There are two answers to this question. First, God invites us to experience a personal relationship with Him. That invitation is offered to every human on earth. Second, God wants each of us to use our abilities and opportunities to help others. These purposes are different for each of us.
As part of traditional Christianity, Nazarenes understand that God created all people with the same intention: Each one should have a loving relationship with God that will last for eternity (John 3:16; 1 John 1:3). When we have such a relationship, God intends for us to become more loving, patient, and self-disciplined; in short, we are on a journey toward a God-shaped life (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John 3:2).
In addition, God gives each person special abilities designed to help others. For example, some are able to teach others about God, some are able to help with physical needs, and some are especially effective in counseling or leadership (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
What do Nazarenes believe about God?
As part of the Christian community, Nazarenes understand that there is one God, who has always existed and will always exist (Deuteronomy 6:4). We believe that He is creative (Genesis 1; Isaiah 40:25-26) and holy (Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah 5:16, 6:1-7) and that His purposes are carried out in this world (Jeremiah 29:11; Acts 1:6-7).
We also understand that God’s nature is “three-fold”: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14). This concept of God’s three-fold nature, the Trinity, was understood by the early Christian Church as the best way to explain what they had experienced. They knew from their Jewish roots that there is only one God, but they also knew that Jesus acted as if He were God. In addition, the Holy Spirit, empowering the church as promised by Jesus and the Old Testament, seemed to have all of God’s power as well. Thus they understood that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are parts of the one God who has always existed. Nazarenes embrace this belief borne out by God’s Word.
Who is Jesus Christ?
The New Testament writings state that Jesus of Nazareth was born to a Jewish family during the early days of the Roman Empire. He was killed by the Roman occupation forces and truly rose from the dead. Then He joined God the Father in heaven.
While those of different faiths consider Him a great religious teacher, the followers of Jesus understood that He was more than just a teacher. He forgave sins (Mark 2:1-12; John 8:1-11); He spoke as if He had always existed (John 8:58); and one of His followers addressed Him as God (John 20:28). His death was more than a simple execution; His death makes it possible for humans to have a restored relationship with God (Colossians 1:21-23). In His continued life with the Father, He still cares for us humans (1 John 2:1-2).
The Church of the Nazarene agrees with other Christians that Jesus is God. He is distinct from God the Father, known to the Jewish nation at the time of Moses (Deuteronomy 1:31; Proverbs 3:12). He is also distinct from the Holy Spirit, who has empowered Christians since the earliest days of the Church (Acts 2:4, 33). The Holy Spirit continues the work of Jesus through His followers today (John 16:13-15).
While He is God, He is also human. Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary when the power of the Holy Spirit came upon her (Luke 1:26-35). In Him, the nature of God and the nature of humanity are united in one Person (Colossians 1:19-20).
What do Nazarenes believe about the Holy Spirit?
Before Jesus died, He told His followers that He would leave them. He also promised that they would receive “another advocate” who would be with them forever (John 7:37-39, 14:16). After His death and resurrection He told His followers that they would receive power through the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). He then left His followers (Acts 1:9).
Days later, Jesus’ followers did receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, 18, 32-33). The church immediately recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit as being equivalent to God’s presence (Acts 15:8-9; Ephesians 3:14-19; 1 John 3:24).
What do Nazarenes mean by “salvation?”
Nazarenes, like other Christians, use the term “salvation” to mean turning from wrong actions, receiving God’s forgiveness, committing ourselves to God, and living as God directs.
Salvation is from the word “save.” Jesus declared that He came to “save the lost” (Luke 19:10). When a pagan Roman jailer wanted to become a Christian, he asked, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). When talking to a religious leader, Jesus said that God intended to “save the world” through His life (John 3:17).
What are we saved from?
Some scriptures promise salvation from other people and their evil intentions (Psalm 18:3). More often, God’s Word promises salvation from the evil that is widespread throughout the world (Isaiah 45:22; Acts 4:12). Many times in the scriptures God offers to save us when this world is destroyed (Joel 2:31-32; 1 Peter 4:18). However, the most common use of the word may be “saved from the punishment we deserve” (Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Timothy 2:4).
How do I become a Christian?
You must believe God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). You must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He died for your sins and that He rose again three days later (Acts 16:30-31).
To repent means to turn away from sin. It’s agreeing with God that you have done wrong and you need Him to forgive you (Luke 13:3-5; Acts 2:38).
Tell God that you believe and that you want Him to forgive you, because you know that He’s the only one who can. Tell Him that you know He is Lord (Romans 10:9-10).