The term Trinity refers to the Christian belief that the one God is made up of three persons:
The three persons of the Trinity have separate roles and should not be confused:
- Jesus of Nazareth was born a Jew c.7 - 4 BCE.
- He began preaching at about the age of 30.
- He would have been regarded as a Jewish Rabbi (teacher).
- His teaching was not accepted by the Jewish authorities.
- Many of his followers believed he was the Jewish Messiah.
- Some thought that as the Messiah he would restore Israel to its former glory.
- The claim of Messiah troubled the Roman authorities.
- Jesus was arrested and crucified.
- After his death his tomb was found empty.
- Many of his followers claimed to have experienced meeting the resurrected Jesus.
- Christians believe that after a period of forty days Jesus returned to the Father.
- Father – Creator
- Son – Saviour
- Holy Spirit – Sustainer/Sanctifier
- The word ‘Creed’ comes from the Latin ‘Credo’ meaning ‘I believe’.
- The earliest creed was probably ‘Jesus is Lord’.
- Creeds developed as Christianity spread.
- They were used at baptisms as statements of belief.
- The first creed to be accepted by all Christians was the Nicene Creed in 325 CE.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
- Christians believe that God created everything good
- The story of the Garden of Eden tells the story about how humanity disobeyed God
- Disobedience to God cannot go unpunished because God is just
- The relationship between God and humanity has been broken by sin
- Humanity deserves death for its disobedience
- Out of love God sends his Son, Jesus, to save humanity
- Salvation can be understood in several ways:
- Jesus’ death and resurrection is central to Christianity’s understanding of Salvation
- In ancient times people used to sacrifice animals to try and please the gods
- The Israelites sacrificed animals in the Temple in Jerusalem to try and pay for their sins
- Christians believe that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice who died once and for all for everyone’s sins
- Christians believe that all humanity is under condemnation of death because of sin
Christians believe that out of love God sent Jesus to die on the cross in humanity’s place
- Salvation is sometimes referred to as redemption – i.e. to buy back
Christians believe that Jesus, by his death on the cross, has paid the price for humanity’s sin and brought humanity back from hell and death
- Jesus set a good example by being obedient to God even giving his life by his death on the cross
In the Old Testament God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai:
- Worship God alone. Do not make idols
- Don’t take the name of God in vain
- Observe the Sabbath
- Honour your father and mother
- Don’t murder
- Don’t commit adultery
- Don’t steal
- Don’t bear false witness
- Don’t covet your neighbour’s wife
- Don’t covet your neighbour’s possessions
The first three commandments are to do with humanity’s relationship with God. The remainder are to do with humanity’s relationship with each other.
- The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 5-7)
- Jesus is portrayed as the new lawgiver
- The Sermon on the Mount includes the following:
- The Beatitudes (blessings)
- Jesus’ teaching on the Law of Moses
- Jesus’ teaching on prayer including the Our Father
- Jesus’ teaching on trusting in God
- Jesus’ teaching on judging others
In the Beatitudes Jesus outlines the values of the kingdom of God which are very different from the values of the world. Each blessing has its own promise or reward.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It is strongly advised that you read the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) for yourself and you are familiar with it!
- Jesus’ followers are to be both ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in the world – i.e. make a difference in society
- Jesus came not to do away with the law but rather to fulfil it
- Not only is murder wrong so is being angry
- Not only is adultery wrong so are lustful thoughts
- Divorce should only be granted in cases of unfaithfulness
- Oaths should not be taken – swear neither by heaven or by earth
- Jesus’ followers should not act out of revenge – there is no place for ‘an eye for an eye’
- Love of neighbour should also include your enemies
- Jesus’ followers should not make a show of giving to charity, praying or fasting
- Jesus gives a model for how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer
- Jesus warns his disciples about storing up riches on earth – it is difficult to serve both God and money
- Jesus’ followers should trust in God and not worry about their lives and the things they need
- Jesus’ followers should not judge others – otherwise they too will be judged
- Jesus encourages his followers to ask God for things – Ask and it will be given you
- Jesus warns his followers against false prophets – you know a tree by the fruit it produces
- Jesus advices his followers to make his teaching the foundation for their lives – build upon rock not sand
- Jesus is asked which are the two most important commandments. He quotes from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (The Shema) “Love the Lord with all your heart” and Leviticus 19:18 “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
- In short the whole of the law can be summarised as: