Category Archives: d) Elements of the Faith

Primary Precepts

A precept is defined as “a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct, an injunction as to moral conduct.” The bible is packed full of precepts! There are the 10 commandments given to Moses by God Read Exodus 20:1-17, along with over 600 rules and regulations governing the conduct of the Jews in the Old Testament. These would be of the old covenant between God and the Israelites. This is the law that condemns all men, break one and you are no longer righteous!

Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. Deuteronomy 27:26

Then there are the commandments of the New Testament from the teaching of Jesus. These precepts are of the new covenant between God and all people rooted in the accomplishment of Jesus on the cross – the forgiveness of sin and justification with God. Presented here are the primary commandments that should govern our conduct here on earth under the New Testament covenant with God. Just as with the Old Testament law, complete compliance is beyond our ability, but thanks to Jesus our failures (sins) are forgiven every day.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can strive to keep these commandments during our time here on earth; and every day pray for sanctification to be more like Christ. Know that the full breadth of commands and instruction goes far beyond what I have presented here. You should stay in the word of God every day to understand and grow in the faith.

Number One – Love God

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:30

These are the words of Jesus. This first and most important commandment tells us clearly that above anything else in our life, we are to love God. We are to love him completely, with our whole being, putting Him first in our lives.

The word love can mean many things. This is a love of will, action, dedication, commitment, and purpose.  It springs from gratitude for his mercy (the forgiveness of sin) and his saving grace that declares us heirs to His kingdom (our justification) and humble respect (fear of God) for who he is.  To love God in this way results in obedience to his will; if you love God, you will keep his commandments. Read John 4:15 It is not a love of emotion, or friendship nor is it compliance to religious ritual.

Know that God is serious about this. It is a commandment, not a suggestion. Here Moses tells the Jews about God’s intolerance for those who chose to reject his commands and to love other gods (idols) of the world:

Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 6:14-15

Solomon tells us in Proverbs, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Read Proverbs 9:10 Fear is the beginning, but it is by love that wisdom is accomplished. Those who love God in obedience will dwell in the word, abide in his presence, and will find his wisdom.

Number Two – Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:39

The second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves.  Differing from the love of obedience that we have for our heavenly father, it is instead a love of service. It is to love others as Jesus loved us. This encompasses patience, tolerance, humility, service, support, encouragement, and edification. It is void of envy, coveting, arrogance, or self-serving. Read I Corinthians 13 4-7 This too is not a love of emotion, but of attitude, action, and deeds. We are not asked to like others, but to love them! When we interact with others, including our enemies, we should endeavor to treat them as Jesus would.  Always ask yourself, “what would Jesus do?!”

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you John 15:12

No Idolatry

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Luke 4:8

Idolatry is loving anything more than Jesus. The things that are the priority in our life define the things that we idolize and the things that we idolize are the things that we serve.  If you prioritize money, power, career, pleasure, sex, status, family, sports, entertainment, material things, or even religion above God, then those are the idols that you serve. Enjoy the blessings from God, but serve only God, and don’t turn the good things of life into sin!

Do Not Commit Adultery

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

Ouch! This was a stumbling block for David, Samson, and many other folks in the bible. Adultery is dramatically abundant in today’s world and has ruined many lives. Lust is one of Satan’s most effective tools of destruction.

Do Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain

If there is a proper fear of God, then this is not a problem. Using his name as an expletive or in any disrespectful or irreverent manner dishonors and trivializes him. I think it interesting that for thousands of years humanity has routinely disparaged the name of God. It seems to me that the constant desire to profane his name is sad proof that he exists and evidence that society at large does not care.

Do Not Covet

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Exodus 20:17

To covet means to yearn to possess or have. This last of the 10 commandments is one of the most fundamental and important principles of living the Christian life. Covetousness originates from the motives, desires, and attractions of the heart. This is an inordinate love that makes good things into ultimate things. Covetousness is idolatry as it sets our desires on things other than God. Read Colossians 3:5 This commandment is yet another demand that you love the Lord your God above everything else!

To covet is the root of many sins. You would not commit adultery if you did not covet. Why would you lie, steal or murder if you did not covet? You cannot love your neighbor if you yearn to have his stuff. To extinguish covetousness requires a change in your heart, a change that can only come from God. So, pray for him to deliver you from these worldly desires and strive to be holy, lest your life will be ruined.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:14-15

Tenets

Tenet is defined as “Any opinion, principle, doctrine, dogma, etc., especially one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement.” The tenets are the beliefs that constitute our faith. Faith can be defined as the belief in the word of God, so the primary tenet of Christianity can be summed up in the statement, “we believe what the bible tells us.” We believe that the Old and New Testaments are the inspired, inerrant word of God. It is unfortunate that there are many interpretations of what the scriptures mean, by many groups who identify as Christian, that are in error. Here are the key tenets that define correct, biblical Christian faith:

God the Father

Our heavenly Father is the only God there is. He is eternal; he knows everything (omniscient); he exists everywhere (omnipresent); and he has power and authority over everything (omnipotent) and is loving, merciful, compassionate, just, and truthful. He judges but also offers forgiveness. He created everything and everything holds together by him. God is involved with us individually and has a plan for each of us as he accomplishes his will in the world.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Our heavenly Father is the source of all life. God’s light is truth and virtue and righteousness (holiness).  In darkness lurks lies, transgression, immorality, and evil –attributes impossible for God to possess.