The Compilation of the Catechism (for the Church in China, 1984)

CATECHISM - The Compilation of the Catechism

Tian Feng No.2, 1984

We praise the Lord that the Catechism compiled by the China Christian Council was published in September, 1983, and has been issued to churches and Christians throughout the country. The book is not very large, but it represents the prayers and united efforts of Christians in many parts of China. It is, in addition, a witness to the guiding hand of God. We would now respectfully offer a few comments on the work that was involved in its preparation, and would of¬fer our thanks to our heavenly Father for his grace and to our fellow-Christians for their interest and help.

Some time back, not long after the formation of the Christian Council, a number of our fellow-Christians ex¬pressed the hope that we would soon be able to set out the materials for a rudimentary knowledge of the Christian faith. During the next two or three years, there was, throughout the country, a swift advance in the work of rehabilitation. Faced with this happy situation, everybody was deeply con¬cerned with the way in which the questions facing Christians could best be resolved. Especially was this so with regard to new Christians and those enquiring about the faith who had not long been aware of the gospel, as well as those shoulder¬ing pastoral responsibilities, for all of whom these expecta¬tions were very acute. A great many Christians, either by letter or orally, made proposals to the Council in which they requested that a plain and simple catechism be produced in the form of questions and answers, by means of which Chris¬tian doctrine could be taught in a traditional form. This could serve both as basic material for those who were being instructed in the faith, and as a work of reference for Bible classes and individuals in their Bible-study.

The urgency of this demand was very evident. But it was equally clear that this involved a heavy responsibility. This was not a task in which at the whim of somebody’s im¬agination pen and ink could be casually applied. In the Course of our prayers it became clear to us that at the pre¬sent time the Church in China is facing a new stage in God’s unique grace. On the one hand, we are facing fresh responsi¬bilities never before encountered, and on the other hand we are facing new problems never raised before. We must, therefore, exercise both faithfulness and humility in the pres¬ence of God. We must neither evade our responsibilities, nor must we fail to recognize our own limitations and the practi¬cal difficulties that confront us. At the same time, we must firmly maintain our faith in the guiding hand of God, who would aid us in the completion of our tasks.

Preliminary Assumptions

Before putting pen to paper, we first set out some pre¬liminary ideas:

1. This was to be a fresh catechism following upon the dissolution of the denominations. From the second and third centuries onwards, the use of questions and answers as a means of instructing new believers in the faith had become an established custom of the Church. In the course of subse¬quent developments and changes, especially during the pe¬riod of religious reform in the 16th and 17th centuries, the division of the Church into sects and denominations led to a gradual increase in denominational catechisms, in which em¬phasis was given to their own respective points of view. Al¬though in general these denominations gave expression to the light which their experience had shed upon them, unfor¬tunately, in the particular circumstances of their time, they did not give due weight to their common heritage, and were engaged in constant recrimination. Nowadays, we have been the recipients of God’s grace, enabling us to enter upon a new situation in which denominations have practically disap¬peared, and we do not wish, by blaming the denominations of the past, to create a new sect. Instead, we wish to appro¬priate the best elements in each of the various traditions of the past and gather them together into one. So we must ex¬ert every effort to incorporate those essential doctrines which are universally accepted as indispensable.

2. We must strive for full agreement and mutual re¬spect. The unity which has been enjoyed by the Chinese Church during the past few years has led everyone to see that the essential doctrines which are held in common are precisely those which churches that in the past followed dif¬ferent traditions were determined to maintain, and com¬prised the most fundamental components of faith. But in addition to these, some varying points of view continue to exist. We consider that where these points are concerned, we should maintain the policy of mutual respect for each other’s views. In view of this we felt compelled to set side by side different ways of translating, of understanding and of practice, and not force all into one mould.

3. Minor differences are to be retained, and critical judgments avoided. We noted that in the past, where there were different traditions there may have been a few entirely different doctrines. We believe that in such situations the policy to be adopted is that of “retaining differences”. To put this policy into practice, it was felt that since everybody had reached fundamental agreement on the basic doctrines of the faith, these minor points of disagreement should not be included in the catechism, nor should they be the subject of mutual criticism, as this kind of difference of opinion should not be allowed to mar our unity in the Lord and our Christian fellowship.

4. Chinese Christians have undergone a unique spirit¬ual experience. Apart from the basic doctrines which the earliest Christians received from Christ himself, the God who was, who is, and who always will be, has, through the perpetual progress of history unceasingly bestowed new light upon Christians of every land and every age. So now our Chinese Church embodies many new spiritual experiences.  This does not mean that we may alter the pure doctrine firmly held by the universal Church, but rather that in par¬ticular historical situations each important article of faith comes to be understood more completely than before. These insights were revealed to us in the course of making practi¬ca1 arrangements for our work. For example, we felt that the first chapter should deal with the Bible, and that a basic principle should be the citation wherever possible of relevant, biblical chapter and verse in each section. At the same time, we felt it was most important that we should maintain a cor¬rect attitude towards the Bible. Or again, we felt that there should be a thorough exposition of such basic doctrines as the Trinity, the Saving Work of Christ, and the Work, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, dealing in a prac¬tical way with the issue of how one should act in a manner consistent with one’s Christian calling meant that considera¬ble emphasis should be given to the two chapters on The Church and the Christian Life, or “Sainthood”. In the course of the practical work of doing justice to these various em¬phases, we reminded ourselves that we should do our utmost to embody the special insights and illumination that have been incorporated in the spiritual experience of the Chinese Church in recent years.

5. Finally we reflected that in the sight of the Lord we were but useless servants, and that faced with this heavy responsibility our strength was but meager. Although this book has already been produced, it cannot but contain short¬comings and unsuitable passages. Still more are we aware that the China Christian Council is simply there to serve and has no right to “issue orders”. This book is simply provided as a work of reference for our fellow-Christians, and we ear¬nestly hope that everyone will offer suggestions which will help in making improvements in the future.

The Editorial Process

We have already described the preliminary procedures; later, during the course of compiling the book we received from colleagues allover the country a great deal of practical help, which gave us valuable encouragement in our task.

1. Here is a brief outline. At the beginning of 1982, the China Christian Council, having received suggestions from colleagues in many quarters, decided to compile this catechism, and commissioned Zheng Jianye, Jiang Peifen and Wang Weifan to form the editorial board, with Wang Weifan to do the actual writing. In July of that year the first draft was completed. This consisted of seven chapters, with 175 sections, to which were added as an appendix the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, The Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. At that stage it was given the name “Questions and Answers for Believers.”  After some revi¬sion, during August of that year it was mimeographed as “draft for suggestions” and copies were sent out to local Christian councils and to a certain number of representative Christians. By the end of 1982, on the basis of suggestions which had been received from various quarters, the commit¬tee had undertaken two stages of revision, involving addi¬tions and deletions, so as to give seven chapters with 100 sections. In January 1983, the second “draft for sugges¬tions” was mimeographed and sent out as before. In June and July, two further revisions took place on the basis of the suggestions that had been received, but the number of chap¬ters and sections remained the same, with the further addi¬tion of “A Summary of the Law” to the appendix. A note was added just before the appendix to explain the significance of the various documents, and also making it clear that although various Christian traditions held different views about these documents, the principle of mutual re¬spect for each other’s views should be maintained. A few minor additions and deletions were made in the main body of the book, and the name was changed to “Questions and An¬swers on Important Doctrines of the Christian Faith”. So when the final version was sent to the printer in July 1983, it was actually the sixth draft, and it was officially published in September.

2. The suggestions we received were very extensive. Although the first draft of the catechism was simply put for¬ward by the committee as a mere tentative version, the suggestions that were sent in came from all quarters of the country, both in the form of oral statements and in letters. So by the time the final version took form it was no longer the product of a small group, but was the united effort of more than a hundred letters full of encouragement and perti¬nent suggestions. Some contained suggestions arising from meetings held under the auspices of local Christian councils to discuss the draft sent our for suggestions, while others were the result of careful perusal by individuals of the drafts. Among these, there were not only letters from promi¬nent leaders of the Chinese Church in various parts of the country, but also some from ordinary believers springing from the grass-roots. There were suggestions not only from elderly servants of the Lord who were in their 80’s, but also from young people in the seminaries, who were still in the early stages of Christian training. Their origins lay in widely varying Christian traditions, and could almost be said to in¬clude every sect and denomination found in pre-Liberation China. For a small book concerned with Christian doctrine to have given rise to so wide-ranging a discussion would in those days have been virtually unthinkable. We are deeply aware of the immense value of the grace which God has be¬stowed upon the present-day Chinese Church. We could not help including the following observation in the Introduction to our book: “At a time when our Chinese Church enjoys es¬sential freedom from its multifarious sects and divisions, when for the first time God has provided us with this unique situation which enables us to embrace the varied forms of il¬lumination encountered in the history of the Church, so that all may be mutually enriched and developed, we are entering together upon the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

3. We have received enthusiastic support. Apart from the many letters offering practical suggestions, there were also many which strongly supported our editorial policy. Old Mr. Charlie Yan of Beijing said, “It is an honest book, which rightly divides the word of the Lord”.  Old Mrs. Bi Yongqin of Hangzhou highly approved of the thorough citation of scripture passages. She said, “It deals briefly and to the point with many of the themes which so many of God’s children wish to understand. It includes the basic faith and life of the Christian, and deals with the truth, the Christian way and our daily life and work. It is the square and com¬pass in the hands of the older Christian, and it is the rule and measure for the young and enthusiastic. It provides a short cut for all the Christians who are taking part in the spiritual race.” Those who wrote approved of the method we had adopted of clarifying the basic doctrines of the faith on the basis of scriptural texts. They were of the opinion that this procedure will be of help in guiding and building up many who are young in the faith, as well as helping to guard against and to vanquish many biased and confused opinions. The Rev. Zhang Xianzhou of Kunming said, “From now on, as a result of studying this catechism, Christians will not only be strengthened in the faith; they will also know what to believe and how to act. It will be a great help not only to the ordinary Christian, but also to a number of preachers.” A great many people indicated strong support for the policy of mutual respect and for each others’ views on the principle of seeking agreement and preserving differences. The Rev. Liu Qingfen of Tianjin said, “The contents of the catechism are completely in accord with the basic beliefs held in com¬mon by all the earlier denominations.”  Ms. Cao Shengjie of Shanghai said, “It explains the fundamentals of the faith in terms of the yardstick which could be accepted by the great majority of Christians”. With regard to such differences of opinion as still remain among Chinese Christians, many cor¬respondents expressed their support for the disinclination of the catechism to force everything into a common mould, and they took note of the way in which the catechism often used alternative terms side by side, such as the two terms for “God”, “baptism”, “Parousia”, and the Ten Command¬ments. On the other hand there were those who laid empha¬sis on the preservation of differences, and would prefer the inclusion in the catechism of one view or the other, not both. The catechism is certainly not meant to be regarded as a kid of binding credal statement. What we said in our Introduc¬tion on this point has gained widespread support, but it needs to be re-emphasized, namely, “The fundamental source of our faith is grounded in God’s revelation, and not in edicts pronounced by any human being”. The fact that throughout the book the citation of scriptural references is so plentiful in comparison with our explanations affords plenty of scope for elucidation or expansion by our fellow¬ Christians, and it must not be assumed that there is any in¬sistence on uniformity in respect of any entry.

In the course of our work we laid great emphasis both on maintaining the purity of the traditions of the Church and on recording with gratitude the new light which the Lord has bestowed upon us. We have done our best to em¬body some of the unique spiritual characteristics of today’s Chinese Church, and at the same time to maintain as our standard that which is universally accepted. For example, there IS an emphasis on such theological insights as “God’s most basic, most essential quality is love” and “God is con¬stantly seeking man and carrying out the work of man’s sal¬vation, constantly awaiting man’s reconciliation with him and the reconciliation of man with man.”  Then there is the har¬monization of such paradoxes as “Justification is through faith” and “Justification is through works”, or “salvation is by grace, through faith” and “Work out your own salva¬tion.”  We have had to expound on the basis of scripture our belief that the Christian must love God, his country and his people, and the grounds for our faith that the Chinese Church must proceed along the Three-Self-path. All of this is a reflection of the light and leading which the Chinese Church has experienced during the past thirty years. We have been greatly encouraged by the letters we have re¬ceived from such elderly Christians as Bishop Xue Pingxi of Fuzhou, the Rev. Xu Hua of Shanghai and Mr. Wu Guoji of Guizhou.  Everyone has praised the work of compilation, but much of that praise has been excessive. What is more impor¬tant is this: The unanimity of the aspirations and convictions of all concerned has indeed proved once more that we have day by day been lovingly led by the hand of the true and liv¬ing God.


One Hundred Questions and Answers On The Christian Faith
Introduction

Thanks and praise be to our Heavenly Father, who has enabled our Church, after it has been subjected to so many kinds of discipline, to achieve an ever-growing measure of maturity and health. In these favorable times we need to receive heavenly food from Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, so that the Body of Christ may be built up until we arrive at unity in the truth, sharing that heavenly food with all our brethren and sisters. This will ensure that they need no longer be content with milk, but may proceed to maturity as they feed on solid food, so that thought leads on to understanding, and truth can be distinguished from false¬hood.

God is now bestowing his rich grace upon our Chinese Church, and day by day the Lord is adding to our number those that are being saved. While our hearts are filled with thanksgiving, we are especially conscious of the heavy re¬sponsibility we bear for feeding the lambs and tending the flock. We have been urged by many of our colleagues and fellow-believers to prepare a fairly simple little book which should nevertheless contain all the basic doctrines in the form of questions and answers, for general use. It is with a view to carrying out this commission that we have produced this volume of “Questions and Answers on Important Doc¬trines.”

We hope that this catechism can be of use in the en¬quirers’ classes which are held by churches in various locali¬ties, serving as basic material enabling new Christians to learn important truths. It could also serve as a work of refer¬ence for Bible classes or for individuals studying the Bible.

More especially we wish to thank God because at a time when our Chinese Church enjoys essential freedom from its multifarious sects and divisions, when for the first time God had provided us with this unique situation which enables us to embrace the varied forms of illumination en¬countered in the history of the Church, so that all may be mutually enriched and developed, we are entering together upon the unsearchable riches of Christ. It is in accordance with this point of view that this catechism has been com¬piled. Where various traditions still hold differing views, we have followed the policy of showing mutual respect for the opinions of others, and seeking common ground while main¬taining our differences, without forcibly demanding uniform¬ity. This book is simply offered to provide a service for churches and Christians throughout the country, with no in¬tention of demanding identity of outlook on the understand¬ing of each subject. We are all aware that the fundamental source of our faith is grounded in God’s revelation, and not in edicts pronounced by any human being.

In the course of its compilation, this catechism has time and again received warm encouragement, careful scrutiny, and pertinent suggestions from our fellow-Christians, from pastors and elders, and from those engaged in theological ac¬tivities. These contributions came from north, south, east and west, and included men and women, both old and young, and the traditions they represented were many and various, extensive and wide-ranging. Some people wrote let¬ters thousands of words in length, while some deliberated over the exact choice of words and others pondered over the choice of themes or carefully checked the biblical references. The arrival of almost a hundred extremely earnest letters was a clear indication of the concern and devotion of Chris¬tians all over the country for this sacred task. We have valued even more greatly the prayers of churches and Christians throughout the land.  We are grateful to our fel¬low-Christians, and still more grateful to that Great Shep¬herd of us all, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because of our own limitations and the shortage of time at our disposal, this book cannot but contain defects and errors. We hope our readers will go on pointing these out, so enabling us to make improvements in the future.

CHINA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL, July, 1983.

“One Hundred Questions and Answers of the Christian Faith”


APPENDIX

The following items are important documents in the history of the Church, and have been widely respected. As a result of constant development through the centuries, suc¬cessive generations of Christians have varied in their under¬ standing and use of these documents, nor have their translations been identical. This appendix is inserted here for reference.  Mutual respect should be shown when tradi¬tions and practices vary, and uniformity should not be im¬posed.

a. The Lord’s Prayer (cf Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-¬4).

b. The Ten Commandments (cf Exodus 20:1-17; Deu¬teronomy 5:6-21).

c. A Summary of the Law (Matthew 22:37-40).
Sians 1, 10). He who called us IS Holy, so we must ‘
d. The Apostles’ Creed. (The fundamental beliefs which had been handed down from apostolic times were formulated into a creed in the 2nd century and reached their final form in the 6th and 7th century.)

e. The Nicene Creed (Completed at the Council of Nicea in 325 and revised in 381).


translated by Rev. Brynmor Price
Courtesy of The China Study Project.
 
100 Questions and Answers on the Christian Faith
The China Christian Council
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction to the First Edition
Introduction to The Second Edition

The Bible
1. What kind of book is the Bible?
2. How should one regard the content of the Bible?
3. Why should we read the Bible?  Reading the Bible enables us:
4. What attitude should one have in reading the Bible?
5. What attitudes should one guard against in reading the Bible?
6. How should one treat a copy of the Bible?
7. Why are there two editions of the Chinese Bible, one using Shen and one using Shangdi?

God
8. What is the meaning of “Jehovah”?
9. What is the meaning of “The Trinity”?
10. What are the basic and essential attributes (virtues or nature) of God?
11. How does God love people?
12. Was the universe created by God?
13. Did God cease from work after He created the universe?
14. Is God Father?
15. Is human history under God’s control?
16. How is God’s holiness to be understood?
17.  How is God’s righteousness to be understood?
18. How is God’s faithfulness to be understood?
19. What is the meaning of prayer? What is its content?  Does it have a definite pattern? Why
does a prayer close with “in the Lord’s name” and “Amen”?
20. What sort of things should we pray for?
21. Should we pray for other people?
22. What things should we pay special attention to when we pray?

Christ
23.  Who is Jesus Christ?
24.  How did Jesus Christ come to Earth as a man?
25.  What is the meaning of “the Word became flesh?”
26. Jesus preached “the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven.”  What is the meaning of these words?
27. What examples did the Lord Jesus leave us when He died on Earth as a man?
28. The Lord Jesus performed many signs and miracles. Why did He sometimes rebuke or evade those who asked for signs?
29. How did Jesus regard the Law of Moses?
30. Why was Jesus crucified?
31. Did Jesus remain in the grave after He died and was buried?
32. Will Christ come back to Earth?
33. Do we know the date when Christ will return to Earth?

The Holy Spirit
34.  Who is the Holy Spirit?
35. How does the Holy Spirit work in people’s hearts?
36. Why is the Christian’s body called “The Temple of the Holy Spirit”?
37. What are the manifestations of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
38. What is meant by the gifts of the Spirit?
39. Are the spiritual gifts identical for each age, each church and each Christian?
40. What is meant by “quenching the Spirit” and “misusing the gifts of the Spirit”?

Salvation
41. How was man created?
42. How are we to understand that man was created in God’s image?
43. How did mankind’s first ancestor, Adam, fall?
44. After Adam’s fall did God abandon man whom He had created?
45. Why did Christ Jesus undergo death and shed His blood?
46. What is meant by justification?
47. How can anyone be justified?
48. What does “A man is justified by deeds, and not by faith alone” mean in the book of James?
49. What is meant by being saved? How can one be saved?
50.  Since a person is saved by grace, through faith, why is it necessary to “Work out our own salvation”?
51. Why does a believer still have to confess his sins and repent?
52. What is rebirth? 11
53. After a person has been born again, is it necessary to continue striving to grow?
54. When will God’s redemption of mankind finally be accomplished?

The Church
55. What is meant by the Church? What is the Church’s foundation?
56. What are the characteristics of the Church?
57. What sort of relationship should there be between the Chinese Church and churches in other countries?
58. Why was Christianity in our country regarded as a “foreign religion” before liberation?
59. How were the Three-Self Principles developed? What are the benefits of the Three-Self Movement?
60. Has the earthly visible Church been without blemish in history?
61. Why should the children of God be united?
62. How is the unity bestowed by the Holy Spirit to be maintained?
63. What is the commission of the Church on Earth?
64. Why do Christians worship or attend meetings?
65. What special ordinances does the Church have?
66. What is the meaning of baptism?
67. What form does baptism take?
68. Who may be baptized? Who is authorized to administer baptism?
69. What does the bread and the wine (or grape juice) in the communion service signify?
70. What does receiving Holy Communion or taking part in the Breaking of Bread mean?
71. Who may receive Holy Communion or take part in the Breaking of Bread?
72. What should be one’s attitude when receiving Holy Communion (Breaking of Bread, The Lord’s Supper)?
73. What important festivals does the Church observe?
74. How should one treat other traditions concerning faith and practice?

The Christian Life
75. What is the meaning of the word “saint”?
76. What is meant by “loving others as yourself”?
77. How can we explain “Love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and all our mind” and “Love our neighbor with all our heart and strength”?
78. Should Christians have a deep love for their country?
79. How should a Christian regard the legal system of his country?
80. What should be the attitude of a Christian towards those in authority?
81. How is freedom in Christ to be understood?
82. Are there constraints imposed upon “freedom in Christ”?
83. What does the Bible teach about serving others?
84. What does the Bible teach about helping others?
85. What does the Bible say about being merciful?
86. What does the Bible teach about forgiving others?
87. How should Christians treat their parents?
88. How should parents treat their children?
89. What does the Bible teach about the relationship between husband and wife?
90. How should Christians get along with other people?
91. What should a Christian’s attitude be towards work?
92. What does the Bible teach about good works?
93. What does the Bible teach about humility?
94. What does the Bible teach about speech?
95. What does the Bible teach about wealth?
96. What warnings does the Bible gives concerning the sin of unchastity?
97. What kind of person can enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
98. Can a Christian only be concerned about worshipping God, and not be concerned about
justice on Earth?
99. How can one distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad?
100. How should a Christian behave?
Introduction to the First Edition
We praise and give thanks to our Heavenly Father, who has enabled the Chinese Church, after it has been subjected to so many kinds of discipline, to achieve an ever-growing measure of maturity and health. In these favorable times we need to receive heavenly food from Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, so that the Body of Christ may be built up until we arrive at unity in the truth, sharing that heavenly food with all our brethren and sisters. This will ensure that they no longer will be content with milk, but they may proceed to maturity as they feed on solid food, which leads to understanding, and truth can be distinguished from falsehood.
God is now bestowing His rich grace upon the Chinese Church, and day by day the Lord is adding to those that are being saved. While our hearts are filled with thanksgiving, we are especially conscious of the heavy responsibility we bear for feeding the sheep and tending the flock. We have been urged by many of our colleagues and fellow believers to prepare a simple book, for general use, which should nevertheless contain all the basic doctrines in the form of questions and answers. It is our desire to carry out this task. Therefore, we have produced this “Questions and Answers on Important Doctrines” book.
We hope that this catechism can be of use in the Inquirers’ classes, which are held by churches in various localities. This book can be used as basic material to enable new Christians to learn important truths. It could also be used as reference materials for Bible classes and individual Bible studies.
We especially wish to thank God that at this time the Chinese Church enjoys essential freedom from multifarious sects and divisions. We are thankful God has provided us with a unique situation which enables us to embrace the varied forms of illumination encountered in the history of the Church, so that all may be mutually enriched and developed. We thank God that we are entering into the unsearchable riches of Christ. It is in accordance with this point of view that this catechism has been compiled. We have followed the policy of showing mutual respect for the opinions of others, and seeking common ground while maintaining our differences, without forcibly demanding uniformity where various traditions still hold differing views. This book is simply offered to provide a service for churches and Christians throughout the country, with no intention of demanding identity of view on the understanding of each subject. We are aware that the fundamental source of our faith is grounded in God’s revelation, and not in edicts pronounced by any human being.
In the course of the compilation of this catechism we have received from time to time encouragement from many sources. The catechism has had careful scrutiny, and we have all received pertinent suggestions from fellow Christians, pastors, elders, and seminary teachers. These contributions come from the north, south, east and west, and include men and women, both old and young, and the traditions they represented were many and varied, as well as extensive. Some people wrote lengthy letters while others deliberated over the exact choice of words, and still others pondered over the choice of themes or carefully checked the Biblical references.
The arrival of nearly a hundred extremely sincere letters was a clear indication of the concern and devotion of Christians from all over the country for this task. We have valued, even more greatly the prayers of churches and Christians throughout the nation. We are grateful for the Christians’ help, and still even more grateful to the Great Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ.
This book contains some defects and errors because of our own limitations and the shortage of time. We hope our readers will point these out, which will enable us to improve the book in the future.
China Christian Council - July, 1983
Introduction to The Second Edition
Thanks be to our Heavenly Father, the first edition of “One Hundred Questions and Answers on the Christian Faith” has been welcomed and highly valued by colleagues and fellow Christians since its publication in 1983. We printed over 700,000 copies. It has been translated into German and English.
This second edition has been undertaken in response to the needs of local pastors. We have taken this opportunity to make minor revisions.
China Christian Council
May, 1987
Second English Edition
July, 2001
 
________________________________________


The Bible
1. What kind of book is the Bible?
The Bible comprises the Christian sacred scriptures. It is God’s revelation to mankind. It contains teachings about God’s love for the world in providing Christ, the life of salvation for mankind. The Bible is divided into two main sections. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.  “Testament” refers to the covenant God has established with men.  The “Old Testament” denotes the covenant which God estab1ished in the beginning with his chosen people, Israel. Then, because the Israelites rejected the covenant and sinned, God, gave His only beloved Son, who suffered death and shed His blood to redeem the world, and so established a new covenant with mankind. That is why the original covenant is called the Old Testament and the renewed one is called the New Testament. However, the New Testament does not cancel the Old Testament, but fulfills it.
2. How should one regard the content of the Bible?
All the Bible is inspired by God (II Timothy 3:16), with men speaking God’s words as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21). The Bible is our standard for belief and practice.  It is the nourishment for our spiritual life.
3. Why should we read the Bible?  Reading the Bible enables us:
(a) To receive life through believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (cf John 5:39, 20:31).
(b) To gain knowledge of salvation.
(c) To understand doctrine, and receive reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.
(d) To be complete and equipped for every good work (cf II Timothy 3:15-17).
4. What attitude should one have in reading the Bible?
(a) One must Love God’s Word, read and think about it constantly.
(b) One must conscientiously obey God’s Word.
(c) One must make God’s Word one’s food, and from it draw nourishment for one’s spiritual life (cf Psalm 1:2, 119:97; Matthew 4:4; Jeremiah 15:16).
(d) One must search with an open mind, and discover new light and inspiration (cf Matthew 7:7-8, 11:25).
5. What attitudes should one guard against in reading the Bible?
(a) One must not quote it out of context, but allow the whole of Scripture to speak to him.
(b) One must not twist the Scriptures according to one private interpretation, but should rightly divide the Word of God.
(c) When something is not understood, one must not vainly attempt to twist the meaning.
(d) Do not stick to the letter, but interpret according to the essential meaning, because” the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (cf II Timothy 2:15; II Peter 1:20, 3:16; II Corinthians 3:6).
6. How should one treat a copy of the Bible?
The Bible records the words of God. We must value the Bible and love it. We must not regard the Bible as something magical, and we should never use it as a means of exorcism.
7. Why are there two editions of the Chinese Bible, one using Shen and one using Shangdi?
This is simply a matter of difference in translation. In the original text of the Bible “Shen” [for God] and “Shangdi” have the same meaning.  Some people in the Chinese Church advocate the use of “Shen” and others the use of “Shangdi.”  Both forms have been retained by the Chinese Church for a long time. Both continue to be used today.
God
8. What is the meaning of “Jehovah”?
“Jehovah” is the Christian way of transliterating the Hebrew name of God. The original meaning is “the eternally self-existent One.”  The God in whom we believe is eternally self-existent (cf Exodus 3:14-15). The One who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty (cf Revelation 1:4-8).
9. What is the meaning of “The Trinity”?
The God whom we worship is the one, true God, who exists in three Persons, namely, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are together glorified and worshipped. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit cooperated in the work of creation and redemption. The doctrine of the Trinity is mentioned a number of times in the Bible. One time is when Lord commands the disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (cf Matthew 28:19). Another time is when Paul blesses the Corinthian Church he says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (II Corinthians 13:14).
10. What are the basic and essential attributes (virtues or nature) of God?
The supremely basic and essential attribute of God is “love”, for God is love (I John 4:8-16). Not only is the relationship within the Trinity one of love, but God’s creation, election and redemption of man are an expression of His love. It is God’s will that people should understand and accept His love, and that they should love Him with all their hearts, with all their souls, with all their strength and with all their might (cf Luke 10:27). God loves people with an “everlasting love”, and at the same time He draws them with compassion (cf Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 11:4).
11. How does God love people?
God’s love is like that of the Father for the Son within the Trinity (cf John 17:23). He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (cf Psalm 103:8). He loves all that He has created, and His steadfast love is very precious. People can take refuge in Him (cf Psalm 36:5-7). God’s deepest love for man is revealed in His redemption of mankind, such that He delivered up His only dear Son through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, so reconciling man with God and restoring Him to His love (cf Romans 8:32; John 3:16; I John 4:9-10).
12. Was the universe created by God?
The whole universe was created by God (cf Genesis 1:1-2:3; Psalm 33:6), and it belongs to Him, as the psalmist says, “The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours, the world and all that is in it, you have founded them all” (Psalm 89:11).  And so, all things are proclaiming the glory and the might of God (cf Psalm 19:1).
13. Did God cease from work after He created the universe?
No. After God created the universe, He continued to use His authority to maintain and govern all things. The universe not only has its source in Him, it also depends on Him and will eventually return to Him (cf Hebrews 1:3; Romans 11:36). God’s work in the universe will never cease. Particularly since the fall of Adam, God’s work of redeeming, calling, healing and comforting humanity has grown and it will never cease. Thus, the Lord Jesus said, “My father has been at work until now, and I am working too” (John 5:17).
14. Is God Father?
God is the Father of spirits (cf Genesis 2:7; Hebrews 12:9). He gives life and breath to all, so that all men are His offspring. However, not everyone recognizes Him. Those who recognize Him, believe in the Lord Jesus, and are the ones who acknowledge the Father in heaven, and are able to obtain rebirth through the Holy Spirit (cf I John 2:23; John 3:5-6). They were led by the Holy Spirit and they call Him “Abba, Father” (cf Galatians 4:5-6). This must not be, merely based on verbal statements, but by displaying God’s righteousness in one’s behavior. The Bible says, “Everyone who does right is born of Him” (I John 2:29).  “Those who are born of God do not commit sin. They cannot sin because they are born of God” (I John 3:9).
15. Is human history under God’s control?
Yes. God is the Lord of human history. He rules the kingdom of men. He lifts up the downtrodden, and casts the wicked to the ground.  “He sets up the most lowly to rule the kingdom” (Psalm 147:6; Daniel 4:17). His authority “rules over all” and He “called the generations” from the very beginning, controlling the entire history of mankind (cf Psalm 103:19; Isaiah 41:4). His Spirit “searches all things”; to Him belongs all glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time, now, forever and ever (cf I Corinthians 2:10; Jude 25).
16. How is God’s holiness to be understood?
God is holy (cf Leviticus 19:2; I Peter 1:15). He is called “the Holy One” (cf Isaiah 57:15), and His name is “Jealous” (cf Exodus 34:14). He is “of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and cannot look on wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13). The way of the wicked is an abomination to Him, but He loves him who pursues righteousness (cf Proverbs 15:9).
17.  How is God’s righteousness to be understood?
He is a righteous God (cf Isaiah 45:21), and “He is just in all His ways” (Psalm 145:17). “He loves righteousness, and the upright shall behold His face”, but “He hates with all His heart the wicked and the one who loves violence” (Psalm 11:4-7). He “will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7). God cannot tolerate man’s oppression of his fellowman. The Bible speaks of Him as the father of the orphan, as the one who champions the poor and the oppressed (cf Psalm 68:5). What pleases God is not an offering of “thousands of rams or tens of thousands of rivers of oil”, but what pleases God is a man who acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with Him (cf Micah 6:6 8). He has no favorites, and on the day of judgment His righteousness will be revealed when He renders to every man according to his works (cf Romans 2:5-11).
18. How is God’s faithfulness to be understood?
God is a faithful God (cf Deuteronomy 7:9; I Corinthians 1:9), and His love towards men never changes.  Even if they turn their backs on Him, He cannot bear to give them up (cf Hosea 11:8). The Bible says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (II Timothy 2:13). However, many are the promises to bless which He makes, they will all be fulfilled through Jesus Christ (cf II Corinthians 1:20).
19. What is the meaning of prayer? What is its content?  Does it have a definite pattern? Why does a prayer close with “in the Lord’s name” and “Amen”?
Prayer is speaking with God, communicating with God and entreating Him. The main content of prayer includes expressing gratitude to God (cf Psalm 95:2; Philippians 4:6), asking God’s forgiveness (cf Psalm 51:1-3, 19:12-13), making intercession (cf I Timothy 2:1). Prayer has no set pattern. One may pray aloud or pray in silence. One may use a set formula or refrain from using one. One may kneel, stand or sit while praying. One may pray at a set time in the morning or the evening, or may be constantly in prayer at any time during the day or night or in any place (cf I Thessalonians 5:17-18). A prayer is concluded with the words “in the Lord’s name” in accordance with the command and promise of the Lord Jesus Himself (cf John 14:13-14). The meaning of the final “Amen” is “Truly, truly, this is my sincere desire.”
20. What sort of things should we pray for?
We should first pray for God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and pray that God’s will should be carried out on earth as it is in heaven (cf Matthew 6:33, 6:9-13). In addition, we should thank God because our heavenly Father has provided us with food, clothing and other necessities. We should confess our sins before God and ask for His forgiveness (cf I John 1:8-10). We should also ask our heavenly Father to direct our daily life and work, enabling us to have the mind of Christ, so that our behavior may be in accordance with our Christian calling, and that in all things God’s name may be glorified.
21. Should we pray for other people?
The Bible teaches us that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men” (I Timothy 2:1).  “All men” here includes both those who are our brothers and sisters in the Lord, our own flesh and blood, and the people of every nation. We are to pray for the Church, and for the peace and prosperity of our country, as well as for the non-believers, peace of the world and the progress of mankind.
22. What things should we pay special attention to when we pray?
(a) We should make our requests in accordance with God’s will, and allow God’s will to be accomplished in our lives, not making inappropriate requests in accordance with our own will (cf Matthew 26:39-42, 20:20-23).
(b) We should pray wholeheartedly and sincerely to our Father in secret, and not be hypocrites to be seen of men (cf Matthew 6:5-6).
(c) We should have a humble attitude, not considering ourselves to be righteous (cf Luke 18:9-14).
(d) We should ask in faith, without doubting (cf Matthew 21:22; Hebrew 11:6; James 1:6).
(e) When we pray for the sick, we must not forbid them to see a doctor or use medicine (cf I Timothy 5:23; Luke 5:31; Colossians 4:14).
Christ
23.  Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is the only begotten beloved Son of God the Father, and is the second person of the Trinity.  He shares in the divine nature and is co-equal with God.  He was in the beginning with God, and was One with the Father.  All things were made by Him.  He is the true God and eternal life (cf John 1:1-3:18, 10:30; Philippians 2:6; I John 5:20).
24.  How did Jesus Christ come to Earth as a man?
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  He was born in Bethlehem of Judea more than 1,900 years ago.  He grew up in Nazareth in Galilee.  As a young man He was a carpenter.  The Bible records very little about His early days.  Luke’s Gospel records that He listened to teachings in the Temple and that He was obedient to His parents.  Luke sums this up by saying, “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (cf Luke 2:4-52).
25.  What is the meaning of “the Word became flesh?”
“The Word” refers to the Son who was with the Father in the beginning, and “the Word became flesh” is the equivalent of “God manifested in the flesh”, “taking human form” (cf I Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:7-8).  That is to say, the heavenly, spiritual God, invisible to human eyes, became the earthly, material, corporal man, Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus Christ possessed the perfect divine nature and also perfect human nature.
26. Jesus preached “the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven.”  What is the meaning of these words?
“The Kingdom of Heaven” refers to the Kingship and Lordship of God. God is the Lord of human history, and He wishes to rule in men’s hearts (Luke 11:2, 17:20-21). The Good News of “the kingdom of heaven” that Jesus proclaimed consisted of telling people the Good News that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and that the Father’s kingdom and the Father’s will were to be manifested and carried into effect on earth as they were in heaven (cf Matthew 6:9-10). The “kingdom of heaven” also indicates the future kingdom of the world, as well as “an everlasting kingdom” (Matthew 26:29; Psalm 145:13; Revelation 11:15).
27. What examples did the Lord Jesus leave us when He died on Earth as a man?
The main points are as follows:
(a) When He was on Earth the Lord Jesus carried out the orders of His heavenly Father and glorified the name of His heavenly Father (cf John 15:10, 12:28, 17:4). He wants us in the same way to obey the Father’s commands and to glorify His name (cf Matthew 28:20; John 14:21; Matthew 5:16; John 15:8).
(b) His love and compassion for men, His hatred of evil and His righteous indignation, manifested the Father’s love and righteousness. He taught us that we are to be perfect, as the heavenly Father is perfect (cf Matthew 5:48).
(c) He wishes us to be humble and to serve others, because He Himself came to Earth “not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (cf Matthew 20:28).
28. The Lord Jesus performed many signs and miracles. Why did He sometimes rebuke or evade those who asked for signs?
On the one hand, there were the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who were fundamentally incapable of believing that Jesus was the Messiah when they saw the miracles. Therefore, Jesus rebuked them and refused to give them a sign (Matthew 16:1-4). On the other hand, there were those who sought Jesus because they ate the loaves and were filled.  Jesus was unwilling to give them another sign, because they sought Him purely to satisfy their bodily needs and not because they were seeking living bread, the words of eternal life (cf John 6:24-36, 68). Still more important, the primary mission of the Lord Jesus, who had been sent to Earth in the name of the Father, was to preach the Good News of the kingdom of heaven, rather than to drive out demons and heal the sick (cf Luke 4:40-44).
29. How did Jesus regard the Law of Moses?
He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it (cf Matthew 5:17). He made higher demands on His disciples (cf Matthew 5:21-28).  He summarized the Law in these two commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”, and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (cf Matthew 22:37-40).
30. Why was Jesus crucified?
The Lord Jesus was crucified by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, because the Jewish chief priests and Pharisees brought a false accusation against Him. He was without sin, but He died in order to bear our sins, so that we having died to sin might live to righteousness (cf I Peter 2:24).
31. Did Jesus remain in the grave after He died and was buried?
No. On the third day after His death He rose from the dead. Because He is the Son of God, He is the Lord of life and could not be held fast by death (cf Romans 1:3-4; Acts 2:24). After the Lord Jesus was raised to life, He appeared a number of times to the disciples (cf I Corinthians 15:3-8; Matthew 28:8-20; Mark 16:9-20; Luke 24:13-50; John 20:11-21:23). During the space of forty days He spoke to the disciples concerning the Kingdom of God (cf Acts 1:3-5). Afterwards Jesus ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father (cf Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3).  Christ was raised for our justification, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (cf Romans 4:25; I Corinthians 15:20). He lives now forever to intercede for us (cf Hebrews 7:25).
32. Will Christ come back to Earth?
Yes. Christ will return to Earth, as He Himself promised (cf Matthew 16:27; John 14:1-3). When He returns:
(a) He will judge the living and the dead (cf II Timothy 4:1; I Peter 4:5), and He will “judge each one according to his deeds”, and render to every man according to his works (cf I Peter 1:17; Romans 2:6). His judgment will begin with the household of God (cf I Peter 4:17; II Corinthians 5:10), and He will judge the world in righteousness (cf Acts 17:31).
(b) The Church will have been “made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (cf Revelation 21:2).
(c) He will destroy Satan and all his angels, and “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (cf I Corinthians 15:4-26).
(d) The history of mankind will enter upon a fresh stage of a new heaven and a new earth. God Himself will dwell with men, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more for the former things shall have passed away (cf Revelation 21:1-5). The whole of creation will be set free from its bondage to decay and enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God (cf Romans 8:19-22).  For humankind “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).
33. Do we know the date when Christ will return to Earth?
Christ’s return is the hope of Christians throughout the ages.  But nobody can know the actual time, nor can anyone calculate it. When the Lord Jesus was on Earth He said, “Of that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). And so, until the Lord’s return, Christians should spend their time devoutly, waiting on alert, striving to do their best in everything.  Because when He comes He will judge them according to their conduct and their work here on Earth (cf Matthew 7:1-27, 25:31-46; I Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 22:10-15).
The Holy Spirit
34.  Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.  The Lord Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize people “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, so placing the Holy Spirit alongside the “Father and the Son” (cf Matthew 28:19).  The Holy Spirit is also called “the Comforter” or “the Advocate” (cf John 14:16).  He grants wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17), bears witness to Christ, and leads us into all truth (cf John 15:26, 16:13).  He is constantly with believer and intercedes for them (cf John 14:16-18; Romans 8:26).
35. How does the Holy Spirit work in people’s hearts?
Our ability to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in the human heart.  For “no one can say’ Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:3). The Holy Spirit has come to convict people in respect of sin and of righteousness and of judgment, to influence people to confess their sins, to repent, and to believe in the Lord Jesus, as well as enabling them to obtain spiritual life (cf John 16:8, 3:5-8).
36. Why is the Christian’s body called “The Temple of the Holy Spirit”?
The Holy Spirit dwells within us, our body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, the place where God, through the Holy Spirit, may reside (cf I Corinthians 6:19). The Holy Spirit is the spirit of purity, holiness and goodness. He cannot dwell in a heart that is unclean. We must rid our bodies and souls of every impurity. The Holy Spirit is at work within us in order that we might be “sanctified” (cf I Peter 1:2; II Thessalonians 2:13).
37. What are the manifestations of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
(a) Being able to witness for the Lord (cf Acts 1:8, 2:1-4).
(b) Having wisdom to be able to understand the will of the Lord (cf Exodus 28:3, 31:3; Acts 6:3; Ephesians 5:15-18).
(c) Bringing forth in abundance the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and being filled with the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that come from the Holy Spirit (cf Galatians 5:22-23).
38. What is meant by the gifts of the Spirit?
Broadly speaking, the gifts of the Spirit refer to God’s salvation accomplished through Christ. Each gift of grace which God bestows upon us in Christ may be regarded as a gift of the Spirit (cf Romans 5:15). However, in a narrower sense, this expression refers to the varying capabilities and responsibilities which God gives to each in the process of building up the Church (cf I Corinthians 12:4-7; Ephesians 4:11-16).
39. Are the spiritual gifts identical for each age, each church and each Christian?
All gifts are not identical. The spiritual gifts received by the Church in Corinth were not the same as those in the Church at Ephesus, nor quite the same as those in the Church in Rome (cf I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; Romans 12:6-8). It can be said the spiritual gifts which an individual receives from God, are “one of one kind and one of another” (cf I Corinthians 7:7). In each case, the Spirit “apportions to each one individually as He wills” for the benefit of all (cf I Corinthians 12:7-10,11). And so, among every kind of spiritual gift, we must be eager for those gifts which build up the Church (cf I Corinthians 14:12).
40. What is meant by “quenching the Spirit” and “misusing the gifts of the Spirit”?
After we have received God’s grace, we must test everything under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, holding fast what is good and abstaining from every form of evil.  Failing to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this way is “quenching the Spirit” (cf I Thessalonians 5:19-22). “To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal” (I Corinthians 12:7), “for the perfecting of saints, as each fulfils his ministry, in building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). If we use the gifts of the Spirit in order to show off, or as a device for gaining a reputation, this is to misuse the gifts of the Spirit, and is of no benefit either to one’s self or to others (cf I Corinthians 13:1-2). If one is concerned simply to edify one’s self and not the Church, this too is undesirable (cf I Corinthians 14:1-9). And as for making use of spiritual gifts in order to achieve fame or to commit sinful deeds, this is an even worse case of outraging the Spirit of grace, and it will lead to still more severe punishment (cf Hebrews 10:26-31).
Salvation
41. How was man created?
According to the Bible, man was created by God using the dust of the earth, but he was also created in the image of God (cf Genesis 1:26). God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a spiritual being. Hence the Bible refers to man as the glory of God, because man was God’s masterpiece in creation (cf I Corinthians 11:7).
42. How are we to understand that man was created in God’s image?
Chiefly this refers to man’s being created in accordance with God’s nature, that is to say, God’s love, His justice and purity, His wisdom, knowledge and free will.  The Bible describes God’s likeness as “true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). After the fall of Adam, even though all men had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, mankind still had the ability to seek God, to know Him and to love Him. They still had the ability to distinguish right and wrong, and the desire to seek truth, righteousness and purity. There is still a relationship of love between one person and another (cf Romans 2:14-15, 3:23).
43. How did mankind’s first ancestor, Adam, fall?
Satan used a snake to tempt Adam and his wife Eve, and they chose to disobey God’s command by eating the fruit of the tree which God had forbidden them to eat, which distinguished good from evil (cf Genesis 2:16-17). Once man had sinned he lost his harmonious relationship with God, and consequently the relationship between man and his fellow man was no longer harmonious (cf Genesis 3:1-19, 4:1-15).
44. After Adam’s fall did God abandon man whom He had created?
No. God continued to seek him. He called Adam and said, “Where are you?” He asked Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?” (cf Genesis 3:9, 4:9). After this, God kept on seeking man, and carried on the work of man’s redemption, constantly awaited man’s reconciliation with Him and man’s reconciliation with man. The Bible’s revelation is a history of God’s search for man, of God’s redemption of man, right up to the time when He Himself will dwell with men.  Then there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying, nor pain, and all things will be made new (cf Revelation 21:1-5).
45. Why did Christ Jesus undergo death and shed His blood?
While we were still sinners, still far from God, and were His enemies, Christ Jesus died for us, so revealing God’s love and enabling us to be reconciled to God through His death (cf Romans 5:8-11). God made Him who was without sin to become sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. In Christ He was reconciling people to Himself, not holding against them an account of their misdeeds (cf II Corinthians 5:19-21).
46. What is meant by justification?
Justification means being accounted as righteous. A sinner, who is in Christ Jesus, is no longer regarded by God as a sinner (cf Romans 4:22-25). His sins have been forgiven. He is reconciled with God, and has received salvation (cf Romans 4:7, 5:1).
47. How can anyone be justified?
“A man is justified by faith”, not by the method of gaining merit, nor by relying on observing the regulations of the Jewish law, but being justified freely by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (cf Romans 3:23-28). For the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, is given to all those who believe (cf Romans 3:22). But this is not to say that the Law