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I wish to take a slightly different approach, doctrine is important. Orthodox Christianity has essential doctrines, mostly stated in Michaels answer. But what is essential? Regeneration (John 3:3-8): We all must be born of the Spirit. That we might be empowered with the love and joy of God, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and the we might be empowered also to love our neighbor as ourself. One must repent of dead works and believe the gospel, crying out to God for His salvation in Jesus Christ. Repent and cry out, that we might receive salvation, His Spirit bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. We have two options, 'We can give up and live until we die in our sins and go to hell' or ' we can cry out until God saves us.' These are the only two options. Read Ezekiel 37. This is 100% necessary. This describes every single Christian. This is essential. After this, you will know God, and more importantly, He will know you. And He will be your God, and you will be His child. To God be the glory in Jesus Christ our Lord, yesterday, today, and forevermore. May His grace sustain you, Amen.
What better standard of faith, or essentials of the faith, than the Nicene Creed. Full text below: I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Salvation is so simple as Paul said, it is the simplicity of the gospel that we are saved. John six:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me HATH EVERLASTING LIFE. Period. John 3:sixteen. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, Jesus, that WHOSOEVER, believeth in Him, should not perish, but HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. Faith alone. What happens the second we believe on Jesus apart from any works. Ephesian 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, First Corinthians 15:1-4, in whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise. Who is the earnest of our inheritance, until the until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of His glory. Paul told the Philippian jailor, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Faith alone apart from works. Acts sixteen:31. Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, does nothing but believes, his faith is counted as righteousness. Faith alone apart from works. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness apart from works. Blessed is the man whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Romans six:23 For the wages of sin is death, and we all sin, and we all die, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus finished work on the cross alone. The gift of God is eternal life, not a reward for good behavior. It is a free gift, from God apart from any works. Saved the second we believe on Jesus alone. We believe, he gives us eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace ye are saved, through FAITH, and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. You can not boast in free. Romans 11:29 For the GIFTS, eternal life, and the calling of God are without repentance. Irrevocable. Can not be changed back. Once you believe it, you receive the free gift of eternal life. If you have eternal life today, you will still have it 1,000 years from now because it is eternal. What if after we believe, we never believe it again? Second Timothy 2:13. If we believe not, He abideth faithful, He can not deny Himself. Ephesians 1:13. The seal of the Holy Spirit keeps us saved. John 10:28-29. Double eternal security. You can not lose eternal life or it would not be eternal. John six:40 And this is the will of Him who sent me, that all that seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day. First John 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. But, only those who accept His free gift are saved. First John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God, that ye may KNOW YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. John 1:12 and Romans 1:sixteen.
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