What Christadelphians Believe about
God, Jesus Christ, and the Crucifixion
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
How can we love and serve God if we do not know Him, and His son, Jesus Christ? Fortunately there is a wealth of information about them in the Bible.
Unlike the gods of so many religions, the God of the Bible it merciful and forgiving: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103 8-12)
God is the creator of everything. In Acts 14 verse 15 Paul says "God, ... made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein". The full story of creation is in Genesis 1 - 2.
The Spirit of God is simply his power, not the third person of the Trinity. Luke 1:35 described the conception of Jesus: ":The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee". This is describing one event, so we can conclude that the Holy spirit is the Power of the Highest. (The 'and' is simply an idiom from the original language.)
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD" (Deuteronomy 6:4). There is only one God, and there is nobody else beside him. Jesus repeated this when he was asked about the greatest commandment (in Mark 12:28-30) "Hear O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength". The second part of Christ's statement comes in Deuteronomy 6:5 - both Deuteronomy and Christ have these important points one after the other. In 1 Corinthians 8:6 Paul writes "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.". This shows that there is one God and He is the Father. But what about Christ?
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." This verse - John 3:16 - is perhaps the most important in the Bible. Jesus Christ was the son of God, but he was also the son of man.
Jesus had a human mother, Mary (see Luke 1:30-31 for example), but his father was God (see John 3:18 for example). Jesus was human, not God. Consider 1 Timothy 2:5:"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" There could not be a clearer statement that Christ was a man.
Because Christ was human he experienced all the trials and temptations that we experience. Christ, however was strong enough to resist all temptation and lived a life without sinning - that is without disobeying God."[Jesus Christ] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15). Christ was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.". (Philippians 2:8)
"Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:15), or as Paul puts it in Romans 6:23 " the wages of sin is death". Christ never sinned, and therefore did not earn the wages of sin. Therefore God raised him from the dead "having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." (Acts 2:24). The full story of Christ's death and resurrection can be found in Matthew 27 & 28, Mark 15 & 16, Luke 23 & 24, and John 18 - 21.
After his resurrection Christ spent some time with his disciples. Then he ascended into heaven. He will one day return from heaven to rule on earth as King
Jesus Christ lived a sinless life even up to his death by crucifixion. Far from being a way of appeasing a wrathful God for the sins of Mankind the Crucifixion is really an example of God's love toward us. Consider Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.". At first this seems slightly strange: how was God's love manifested towards us through the Crucifixion?
Through his death Christ gained forgiveness of sins for all who follow him (see "baptism"). Titus 2:13,14 says "our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity". Redemption is what Christ achieved by his death. It was sending his son to die this way for the benefit of mankind that God's love is manifested through the crucifixion.
(Could there not have been some way of avoiding the Crucifixion? The answer is no: in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night before his crucifixion, Christ prayed "if it be possible, let this [suffering] pass from me" (Matthew 26:39). The suffering did not pass from Christ, therefore it was not possible that it could. Christ's death was indispensable, and invaluable.)