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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Fiftieth (Non-Negotiables)

I think if you search, you may find many differing opinions on what are absolute requirements in terms of Christian beliefs we must hold. You'll find a range of things from the trinity, to the resurrection of Yeshua, and even to having the moral stance of pacifism. Are all the beliefs listed in these different viewpoints really non-negotiable? Perhaps this is a case similar to what we looked at last week where in order to be an accurate list, context is required.

What should we consider non-negotiable beliefs and what are those beliefs based on? What are the things you absolutely must believe in order to be considered a Christian, or follower of Christ? Well, the name can certainly help point us in the right direction. We are Christian, so at a minimum we must believe in Christ, right? And the beliefs must be based on at least one aspect of His relationship to us. But really, Christ is just the Greek name for Messiah, which is an English translation of the Hebrew word that means anointed.

Many people were anointed, Biblically speaking, and this process was just a means by which YHWH selected and set apart individuals for certain roles. David was anointed to be king (1 Samuel 16:13), and Elisha was anointed as a prophet (1 Kings 19:16), for example. So, what are we really talking about when we call ourselves Christians? We're talking about the One who was anointed, or set apart, by YHWH to be our Savior: Yeshua.

The first non-negotiable, therefore, is the belief that Yeshua is our Savior (John 1:41, 4:25-26), but this one cannot stand alone because we have to also believe in what He saves us from, and what is that? This can be thought of in a couple different ways, but they are both intertwined and are our next two non-negotiables. For the first way, He saves us from eternal death, but that death only occurs because of the second way, the sinful nature we inherited all the way back from Adam (Genesis 2:17 & 3:6).

The potential for eternal death is described in Revelation (Revelation 20:14-15), with the cause being referenced by Paul (Romans 6:23), and the deciding record of who receives it versus who does not is stated as the Book of Life. This book is referenced multiple times in scripture, and it turns out it's Yeshua's book since He is our Passover Lamb (Revelation 13:8, 1 Corinthians 5:7) and the full title is the Lamb's Book of Life. He decides if we are written in it, and whether or not we are blotted out (Revelation 3:5), and while it requires some assumption, we can be pretty sure that since it's described as being in heaven in Revelation it's the same thing Yeshua was referring to when He was speaking to His disciples about what to rejoice in (Luke 10:20).

The sinful nature we inherited is pretty clearly shown throughout scripture and even just looking around the world today. However, it leads us to the next non-negotiable because in order for Yeshua to save us He had to allow something to be done to Him. Our next non-negotiable is that Yeshua was killed, or more specifically sacrificed, in order for us to be saved. We know He's our Passover Lamb, as we just saw, and we know the Passover lamb was sacrificed as a representation pointing to Yeshua (Deuteronomy 16:1-8). He bore our sins as a part of His death (1 Peter 2:24).

His death actually doesn't actually mean much though, if not for our next two non-negotiables. If Yeshua was just another one of us, He would have just been another sinful man dying on a cross. No, Yeshua had to be different in two, very special ways. Because man already had an un-cleansable sinful nature (at least non-self-cleansable, if that's a thing), Yeshua had to be from someone other than man. He had to be from YHWH or He would have inherited the sinful nature just like us. He has to be YHWH's Son (Matthew 1:18, 3:17). He also had to be sinless, otherwise His death would simply have atoned for His own sin. The point of animal sin offerings were that their sinlessness effected the covering of Israelite sins when the animals were sacrificed. So our next two non-negotiables are that He is the Son of God and that He was sinless when crucified (Hebrews 4:15).

Going further, in order for it to mean anything to be YHWH's Son, YHWH has to be something special. If He were just some random supernatural being, His Son's death would mean nothing. YHWH, and by extension His Son, has to have some connection to us. In fact, in order for YHWH to control nature the way He did (Mark 11:21), they both also have to have a connection to nature. As a result, another non-negotiable is that YHWH has to be the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1).

If we jump back slightly though, we need to be explicit about something. In order for YHWH to die, He must have lived, and lived in the flesh. The animal sacrifices show us that the death of the flesh is what atones for sin. So, no flesh, no atonement. Furthermore, to deny Yeshua came in the flesh is to be antichrist (1 John 4:2-3), so by definition in order to be a Christian you must believe Yeshua came in the flesh (and that He is from YHWH according to those verses). Another non-negotiable.

To go along with that, what must be true in order to prove all these non-negotiables are true? That's right, that after Yeshua died, He rose (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-9). You see, if Yeshua had stayed dead, that would mean He was just like everyone else. By His death, He conquered death and it could not hold Him. Therefore, He rose. And that is definitely a non-negotiable!

As you can see, there really aren't that many non-negotiable beliefs a Christian must hold. We know that believing in Yeshua is fundamental to our salvation (John 3:15-16), but in order for that belief to be credible and mean anything you must also believe these other non-negotiables. Otherwise, barring those who can be convicted so deeply of something lacking basis they will die for it, you risk being swayed or even giving up belief in Him when things get tough or you get confronted.

Satan and His workers don't have to attack belief in Yeshua if you have no basis behind that belief. They can call into question whether or not He died, or rose, or that He is the Son of YHWH. Any of these negate the fact that believing in Yeshua means anything. In fact, if you look around, that's exactly what they're doing! If you don't have these foundational, non-negotiable beliefs, you'll be subject to these lies. And much like the foundation of a building, when you take enough away from it, it all starts coming down.

Yes, there are other beliefs that build upon these and other parts of scripture, but none are as absolutely required as these. Belief in the concept of a trinity? Not required, and honestly I think the majority of time when people argue about this topic they actually fundamentally believe the same thing. Belief in a literal millennial reign of Yeshua on earth? Nope, not necessary.

In fact, you don't even need to believe that Yeshua will come again! Or that there will be a final judgment of everyone before the new heaven and new earth, and subsequently eternity. When He comes, and when that final judgment happens, it's going to happen whether you believed in it or not. Those things certainly help in convincing Christians they should "act Christian," but acting Christian actually comes from following the words and actions of Yeshua, and the only reason you'd do that is if you believe He has some sort of authority for you to follow Him. Hence, the non-negotiables that He is the Son of YHWH and that He is sinless, because He has to be above us hierarchically and He can't be a hypocrite (e.g. telling us not to sin if He sinned) in order to have even just earthly authority, let alone spiritual authority.

Ultimately, you need to come up with your beliefs, especially the non-negotiable ones, on your own, and actually prove them to yourself. There are many Christians out there that just believe whatever someone told them, or whatever their church believes. That is not a basis to decide your salvation, whether you live forever with YHWH or die the second, final death in the lake of fire. Figure out what scripture tells you your core, non-negotiable beliefs are. That way you'll stick to them and won't sway in the wind! (Ephesians 4:14) While things prophesied in scripture will happen regardless of whether you believe in them or not, your salvation will not occur unless you believe in it.

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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