the Truth shall set you FREE, from what?

JESUS SAID, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

Jesus orders us to “continue in my word,” and He connects it to the truth. (cr. John 17:17) When we keep His word, the truth, we will be FREE!

FREE from what? From what does obeying the word of God set us FREE?

We’re used to having liberty in our country (free speech, right to assemble etc.), but most fail to realize they’re in bondage.

Let’s search the scriptures to learn from what we’ve been set FREE.

The Truth shall set us FREE from:

The FEAR of death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” [1Cor. 15:56,57]. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:7]

Being set free from the FEAR of Death is a powerful blessing from obeying Christ. By extension, we are FREE from the FEAR of men. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29].

The truth also sets us FREE to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. Prior to knowing (& obeying Gal 5:7) the truth we were in bondage to sin and free FROM righteousness. Now we are FREE from sin to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” [Rom 6:18-20].

This does not mean that we can’t sin [1John 1:8-10], nor does it give us license to sin. Rather, it is teaching that we can have assurance on how to live faithfully, and avoid sin.

Another thing from which we’ve been set FREE is found in the letter to the Galatians. Paul reminded the saints that Christ set them FREE from the ENTAGLEMENT of the Law of Moses. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” [Gal. 5:1; cr. 2:4; 4:9;]

Returning to the Law of Moses is tantamount to going back into bondage. It’s sad when folks appeal to the OT for NT practices, thereby becoming ENTANGLED in bondage. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” [Gal 3:10]. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” [Rom. 7:6].

Going back to Romans we learn one more thing. Having been set FREE from sin, we may now have EVERLASTING LIFE. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” [Rom. 6:22]

None of the above will happen if we are ignorant of the truth. Remember, it is continuing in the TRUTH that sets us FREE. Before we can continue in it, we must first be in it.

WE CAN BE SET FREE IF….

…we become one of His disciples. HOW do I become a disciple of Christ? Remember, Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32] To become His disciple we must obey the Gospel. Before He ascended into heaven He gave this command, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” [Matt 28:19 (ASV)]

The Gospel is what calls us [2Thess. 2:14]. By hearing the truth, we can then believe that Jesus is the Christ [John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to repent [Luke 13:3], and we learn to confess that Jesus is the Christ [Act 8:37].

By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to be baptized for the remission of sins. [Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16].

Being set FREE occurs AFTER obeying the gospel. The Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. Obeying the Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of us through water baptism [Rom 6:3-4].

Obey the Gospel and be set FREE.

— spencer

Spencer is a gospel preacher residing in Borger Texas where he works with the congregation that meets at Franklin & Juniper streets.

Thou hast the words of eternal life

The statement above is one of the most significant realizations a person can make. (John 6:68)

Before we look at some take aways, let’s first notice an implication.

For there to be an ‘eternal life’ there stands to reason there is also an eternal DEATH. This should bother people much more than it does.

But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” (Mark 3:29)

That’s the warning. Now let’s see what we might do to have ETERNAL LIFE.

There are some 30 specific references in the New Testament to “ETERNAL LIFE.” It seems to this writer that this holds some significance.

Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and LEARN OF ME; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt 11:29) The context of our opening verse is about learning. “HEARING” is another way the Bible says the same thing. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Mat 7:24-29). These verses clearly teach there is individual responsibility to Hear & LEARN. Some would have you believe that you’re unable to do either except miraculously. UNTRUE! We are all called by the Gospel message. “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Thess 2:14)

The beginning of attaining Eternal Life is LEARNING.

Matthew 7:24-29 is a link in the chain connecting the first action with the next; we must be INVOLVED in doing the things that we’ve LEARNED. We’re involved by obeying the commands of God. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

The clear teaching by Jesus here, and in other places (cf. Phil 2:12), is that the INDIVIDUAL is responsible to LEARN & get INVOLVED in his own salvation. “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40b). In the immediate context of this verse, they LEARNED to be baptized in the name of Jesus. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

Eternal Life is for those INVOLVED people that obey.

When we write articles like this some will often decry “LEGALISM” or say that we’re working our way into heaven. Nothing of the sort is being said. Obedience to the will of God is FAITH (Heb 11:6). We trust that God will do what He promises for those that obey Him. God works through our faith. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Col 2:12). Eternal Life is for those who are emotionally engaged.

Therefore, that the person striving for Eternal Life must have FAITH from the heart and is not just checking boxes on a list. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat 22:37). He said in another place, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And also, “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (Mark 7:6)

Eternal Life is for those that have FAITH.

It then stands to reason that as a person LEARNS, is INVOLVED, this person must FINISH what he began. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28) The clear teaching here, and other places (cf. John 15:1-6; Rom 11:21; Rev 2:10), is that there’s no such thing as “once saved, always saved.”

Eternal Life is for those that ENDURE to the end.

Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”

      — spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help.

Why We Left the World

It was a dark and stormy night that frigid evening in November of 1997. It was dark, and the storm was within our hearts, because we had just learned some things about our condition toward God.

By that time my wife and I had been engaged for a few weeks in some simple bible studies with Uncle Charlie.  

The study had just ended having studied what God required of us to receive His grace. We didn’t answer at that moment. Uncle Charlie said, “Ok then, I guess I’ll be going.” I knew he wanted an answer, but none came.

After he left, we talked. We talked for an hour.

WHY WE LEFT THE WORLD.

We weren’t terrible people; we were just a young couple with 3 children trying our best to take care of ourselves. We both believed in God but never really knew about our responsibility toward Him. Until that night.

That night we realized the LOVE that God had toward us and the whole world. “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.” (John 3:16) We realized that this LOVE was demonstrated through the death of Christ on a cross. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We realized that to LOVE God we must keep His commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15; 1John 5:3; Luke 6:46)

That night we heard a very clear EXPLANATION from the scriptures about our sin condition and the sin solution. There were no words without a passage to support them. The passages themselves are very EASY to understand.

  • I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)
  • Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 10:32-33)
  • Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
  • But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:13)

We knew that it was an all or nothing decision. Before we would do anything, we agreed that this was an all or nothing endeavor.

God would not take a half-hearted lip service. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7) We had a godly FEAR of the Lord. A mix of Reverence, Awe and Terror. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31)

We agreed together, but when? “Now,” we said. “TONIGHT.” To delay may mean death. It was well after 10:00pm when I called Uncle Charlie to tell him we desired to obey the gospel in water baptism. He asked, “when?” I answered, “TONIGHT.” He joyfully replied, “LET’S GO!” Had he tried to put us off, or schedule a TIME to be baptized we would likely never have done it. We knew that the TIME was right now, as soon as possible. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2)

What is the biblical TIMING for baptism? Immediately upon understanding your condition toward God and understanding what HE requires of thee. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33)

That night we put on Christ through baptism. That night we obeyed the Gospel. That night we began our newness of life.

We slept peacefully that night knowing that we had done what the Lord had commanded to be done. We rejoiced and continue to rejoice giving thanks to God for His indescribable gift.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2Cor 9:15)

— spencer

Preaching the Cross

Some will argue against the preaching of obedience to the gospel by crying, “PREACH THE MAN, NOT THE PLAN.” They may also say, “THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A LOVE LETTER NOT A LAW BOOK.”

How does one answer such charges? Are they correct in their assertions? Is preaching about baptism, the one church, and against the errors of liberalism & denominationalism opposed to preaching the Cross of Christ?

What does the Bible say? If our speech and preaching needs any revision, let us hear it from the revealed word of Jesus the Christ. Philosophies of preaching from liberal professors will not suffice. We shall appeal to the word of God for all things in word or deed [Col 3:17].

 As this article begins, we are reminded to ‘season our words with salt’ [Col 4:6]. We are not mad any anyone. Our desire is that everyone come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. It’s to that end that we “Preach the Cross of Christ.”

To preach the CROSS is to preach “CHRIST CRUCIFIED” [1Cor 1:23]. Preaching the cross is to preach the gospel [1Cor 1:17,18]. It is not “with enticing words of man’s wisdom,” “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,” which has been revealed by the Spirit of God in the book of God, the Bible [1Cor 2:1-13].

Those that heard the preaching of the Cross RECEIVED the gospel [Acts 2:41; 8:14; 1Cor 15:1]. To receive the gospel, through the word, is to receive the ‘grace of God’ [2Cor 6:1; Titus 2:11-12]. To preach the cross is to ‘testify the gospel of the grace of God’ [Act 20:24].

Until one is OBEDIENT to the word of his grace, he has not been saved by the preaching of the Cross [1Pet 1:22; 1Cor 1:18]. Whenever and wherever one is obedient to the gospel he is saved by grace [Acts 10:48; 15:11]. When Paul preached the cross to the Corinthians, they were obedient in baptism in the name of Jesus the Christ [Acts 18:8; 1Cor 1:13]. This is how they were “washed” [1Cor 6:11]. Baptism is “in the name of the Lord Jesus” [Mat 28:19; Acts 10:48; 19:5], and baptism “in the name of the Lord” is “for the remission of sins” [Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:5].

Then, as Paul rebuked SIN found in the church at Corinth, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ When he spoke against division, immorality, marriage, and the perversions of the Lord’s Supper, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ [1Cor 14:37]. The entire letter is the command of the Lord, the wisdom of God, the Gospel.

When the elitist tells us to ‘preach the man, not the plan,’ without condemning the antichrist teachings of denominations, they have missed the mark regarding the connection of Jesus to His plan. To preach the Man without His plan is to miss the SYNONYMOUS terms spoken of salvation.

  • “Baptized into Christ” [Rom 6:3,4; Gal 3:27]. “Baptized into one body,” the church [1Cor 12:13, 20; Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:18, 24].
  • Reconciled unto God “in Christ” [2Cor 5:18-20]. Reconciled unto God “in one body by the cross,” the church [Eph 1:22,23; 2:16].
  • Saved, redeemed by the blood of Christ [1Peter 1:18-19; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14]. Church purchased with the blood of Christ [Act 20:28].
  • Christ “gave himself for me” and tasted “death for every man” [Gal 2:20; Heb 2:9]. Christ “gave himself for it,” the church [Eph 5:25].
  • “In Christ” – “made nigh” – “by the blood” [Eph 2:13]. “In one body” – “reconciled” – “by the cross” [Eph 2:16].

It is not off balance, nor out of focus, to speak about baptism into the body or church of Christ, to speak of reconciliation in one body, the church, to speak of Christ having purchased the church with His own blood. To speak of one, Christ, is to speak of the other, the church. Paul once “persecuted the church” [Act 8:3; Gal 1:13; 1Cor 15:9], but when the Lord appeared to him, He said, “why persecutest thou me?” [Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14]. To preach Christ, to preach the Cross, is to preach the church. If to persecute Christ is to persecute the church, then to preach Christ is to preach the church. It stands to reason, anyone against the doctrine of Christ, is against Christ [2John 9].

Let us therefore, speaking the truth in love, Preach the Cross.

All MUST Obey the Gospel

MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 1

All MUST obey the Gospel.

The first and foremost truth that will answer many objections is the fact that everyone MUST obey the gospel to be saved.

This is easily shown by looking at the New Testament Scriptures.

2Thess 1:8 …rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus:

Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

see also; Rom 1:5; 10:16; 16:26; [emph mine seb]

Denominational people will come to you saying

  • “Baptism is not essential to salvation.”
  • “No works of man can save you.”
  • “Ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll be saved.”
  • “What about the thief on the cross?”
  • “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.”

They will especially appeal to emotionalism

  • “Do you mean to tell me my mother, that godly woman, who was a (insert denomination here) all her life is lost?”
  • “What if you’re on the way to be baptized and you die?”

They may even quote a few scriptures out of context

  • Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
  • Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
  • John 3:16 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.

I believe all these passages, and I hope you do as well. However, I believe them in their context as well as in context with everything else Jesus said about salvation including baptism.

WHAT SAVES US?

Let’s answer one of the main objections to baptism. It is stated this way; “No work of man or from God can save you. If you get baptized, you’re working for & trying to earn your salvation.”

Colossians 2:11-14.

When you’re accused of salvation by ‘WORKS’ reply, “Yes, but it’s not me doing the work. Let’s look at Col 2:11-14.”

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

“…the working of God,” [ASV]

First, It’s God who is WORKING when we are baptized. It is God’s work, [Isa 29:14; Hab 1:5; Acts 13:41]

“…raised with him through faith…”

Obedience to God’s command is never considered earning anything. He’s working through OUR faith, our trust in His working. Our obedience is part of faith. James wrote, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” [Jas 2:17]

wherein also ye are risen with Him…”

When we are baptized, we are being buried as dead sinners, then God’s working allows us to be RAISED with Christ being made alive, being forgiven of all our trespasses. [v13; Rom 6:3-4]

“…he make alive together with him;” [v13]

This scripture lets us KNOW what we’re doing in baptism, understanding that it is God working through our faith. It is not a blind faith, nor just a feeling. We may KNOW that we have eternal life. [2Tim 1:12; 1Jo 5:13]

“…having forgiven us all our trespasses;” [v13]

Lastly, because it’s God WORKING through OUR faith and that we are being RAISED with Christ, KNOWING we’ve obeyed the commands of God, we can be certain that we’ve worked out our SALVATION with fear and trembling. [Php 2:12; Acts 2:40] “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

What Must Happen BEFORE Baptism?

Because I have no ability to read a person’s heart, I’m very careful to ascertain what a person understands before baptizing them.

It would be a tragedy to baptize someone who doesn’t understand it properly and they go through life, and possibly death, without having truly obeyed the gospel.

We know that it is important from an account found in Acts 19. There were some disciples of John the baptizer who didn’t know about Jesus and needed to be ‘re-baptized.’ (there’s really no such thing as ‘re-baptized.’ You either were or you weren’t.)

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” [19:5] 

We know that denominationalism practices baptism incorrectly; they utilize the wrong mode & often the wrong reason. Even when they do practice it by immersion, it’s usually NOT for the reason God commanded it. It’s a tragedy that some are walking around with a false hope of Salvation. It’s for this reason we ask the question…What happens BEFORE baptism?

Paul asks a few questions about obeying the gospel in Romans 10. He writes, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not BELIEVED?” [Romans 10:14a; cr. Acts 22:16 calling on the name of the Lord is connected to baptism]. Before anyone can obey the gospel, there must be BELIEF. This simple concept eliminates babies & young children from being eligible for baptism.  

He writes in the same verse about something that precedes belief, “and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? We see then that the candidate for true baptism must have EARS TO HEAR. [cf. Mr 7:16] This is describing understanding the word of God. Mockers accuse us of baptism only salvation. There’s nothing of the sort. A person must HEAR & BELIEVE, but are those the only requirements?

In the first gospel sermon at Pentecost, Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” [Acts 2:38a]. “FOR the remission of sins must be understood that baptism is the moment our sins are washed away. Some would try to confuse you by saying, ‘you’re baptized BECAUSE your sins are remitted.’ This false doctrine is easily proven by the Apostle Paul’s own retelling of his conversion. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” [Acts 22:16] Peter would later write about baptism, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of

the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” [1Peter 3:21]. The eligible candidate is baptized to remove their sins, ‘FOR the remission of sins.’

While we’re on this subject, what if you’re immersed when there’s no sin being imputed toward the person? Babies & young children are NOT being charged with sin by God [Mark 10:13-16]. Youth baptisms need to be done with great care. If God is NOT imputing sin toward them, then they are not being baptized FOR the remission of sin.

The eligible candidate must obey the gospel in its proper ORDER. As we’ve already seen, HEARING comes first, which brings about BELIEF about Jesus. Some would say that one is saved at the moment of belief, placing salvation in the wrong ORDER. Belief is essential, but salvation is NOT BY FAITH ALONE. [James 2:24] Being saved comes after baptism [Acts 2:40]

There are 4 essentials that precede true baptism. They are in order; HEARING, BELIEVING, REPENTING & CONFESSION. Jesus commanded, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:3]. Peter preached REPENTANCE at Pentecost [Acts 2:38]. Likewise, one must CONFESS that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. We see the Ethiopian confessing just prior to being baptized by Philip. [Acts 8:37-38; cf. Mat 10:32]

Lastly, some teach that you can never lose your salvation. This too is false. Therefore, the eligible candidate for true baptism must sit down and count the cost of being Christ’s disciple. [Luke 14:25-33]. The eligible candidate must know that Christ EXPECTS him to remain faithful until death, that he can so sin as to lose his salvation. [Rev 3:10; Jas 2:24; Luke 6:46]

The Book of Acts, a book of conversions

Conversions in the Book of Acts

A mistake that is made in learning what we must do to be saved is by consulting only the books written to the saved without looking at what else is said in Scripture.

For example, many will quote the book to the Roman Christians; (Rom 10:9) without considering what Paul taught the Romans when he dwelt there for two whole years. [Acts 16:30]

They will quote the book written to the Ephesian Christians; (Eph 2:8-9) without considering what Paul taught the Ephesians [Acts 19:1-5].

These two examples show us why we must look into the book of Acts to see what lost people did. Those who heard the gospel and either obeyed it or rejected it. This is why it could be called the book of Conversions.

Let’s examine just a few of the conversions in this book to see how they responded to the preaching of the Gospel as commanded by Christ Jesus. [Mat 28:18-20]

Jews at PENTECOST [2:14-47] This represents the first gospel sermon after the DBR of Christ. The beginning of the church that Jesus promised to build [Mat 16:18] and the first example of those being saved. “Be saved from this perverse generation.” What happened? They HEARD the gospel [22-36]. They believed [37]. It must be inferred that they CONFESSED Jesus as the Christ the Son of God [Mt 10:32]. They were told to ‘REPENT & be baptized’ [38]. They were BAPTIZED into Christ [41] and 3,000 were added to the church. Then we see them ‘CONTINUING steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine, which is from Christ [42; cr. John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; 1Cor 14:37].

THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH [8:26-39] This man is reading from Isaiah and struggling with its meaning. Philip approaches him and is invited by the Eunuch to explain the passage. We then are told, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” What Happened? He HEARD the gospel of Jesus [35]. He BELIEVED [36-37] It is inferred that he REPENTED [Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30]. He CONFESSES that Jesus is the Christ [37]. He is BAPTIZED with water, by immersion, into Christ [38-39 cr. Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27]. He went away REJOICING [39].

The Apostle PAUL (Saul of Tarsus) [9:1-18; 22:6-16; 26:12-19]. While on his way to persecute the church of Christ, Saul saw Jesus risen from the dead. He HEARD & BELIEVED [9:5-6]. He was REPENTANT [9-11]. He CONFESSED [5-6]. He was BAPTIZED [18]. When retelling of this event, he states that baptism was the moment his sins were washed away [22:16].

CORNELIUS [10:1-11:18] This story tells of the first Gentile conversion. We must read chapters 10 & 11 to get the full picture. They were told to HEAR and they HEARD [6, 22, 33-43; 11:14]. It is inferred that they REPENTED & CONFESSED [Luke 13:3; Act 17:30; Mat 10:32]. They were BAPTIZED in water [47]. They received remission of sins [43].

Chapter 11:1-18 contains the retelling of this event by Peter to those of the circumcision who contended with him about being with gentiles. This retelling is necessary to show that God had made the same gospel plan of salvation available to every nation [Mat 28:18-20]. Up to this point, the preaching had been only to the Jews. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” [Rom 1:16] The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” only occurred twice, here and at Pentecost. It was done to show God’s approval at the beginning.

As you can see, the book of Acts shows people obeying the Gospel. The same method can be applied to…

LYDIA [16:14-15]

THE JAILER [16:25-34]

THE CORINTHIANS. [18:8]

THE EPHESIANS [19:1-5]

The same Gospel requires all after Pentecost to HEAR, BELIEVE, REPENT, CONFESS, be BAPTIZED in water & have FAITHFULNESS. God shows no partiality, no bigotry. The Gospel is for all and all must obey the Gospel in the same way. God is no respecter of persons.

He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” [Hebrews 5:9; cr 2Thess 1:8-9; 1Cor 15:1-4] –Spencer

Fifth of Seven Musts of Salvation; BAPTISM

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” [1Peter 3:21]

When presented with this passage and the others in this article, you’d think that a believer would jump at the opportunity to obey the commands of God & His Son Christ Jesus. Sadly, most will argue using denominational dogma to argue against God.

We didn’t invent baptism for salvation, God did. It perfectly matches His word. It matches what Jesus did. He died, was buried and was resurrected. [1Cor 15:1-4]

We’re commanded to obey the gospel [2Thess 1:8-9], but how does one obey DEATH, BURIAL & RESURRECTION?

BAPTISM in water through faith in the working of God!!!

#5, we must be BAPTIZED: All quotations are from the ASV or KJV

  1. Matthew 28:19
  • Mark 16:16
  • Acts 2:38
  • Acts 10:48
  • Acts 22:16
  • Rom 6:3-4
  • Gal 3:27

These are just a few of the many verses that command & show a believer must be water baptized to have their sins washed away and be saved. We didn’t bring this up, God did.

What is

BAPTISM? Mat 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:35-33; 22:16

It is a BURIAL and a resurrection. [Col 2:12]

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

It is AUTHORIZED by Christ’s command. [Mark 16:16]

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

It is PART 5 of conversion. [Acts 2:38]. Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess and be BAPTIZED.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

It TRUSTS God’s working, not our own. [Col 2:12]

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

We are baptized INTO Christ & a putting on Christ.

[Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27]

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Baptism SAVES you. [1Pet 3:21]

“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us”

It is done at MIDNIGHT, midday, or the same hour upon H-B-R-C. Not a scheduled monthly social event. [Acts 16:33]

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

If your denomination schedules baptisms, they don’t believe it is essential for salvation. People in the bible obeyed God IMMEDIATELY, the same hour. [cr. Acts 8:36]

Spencer

Why does the church of Christ push baptism so much?

One of the criticisms against the Lord’s church and against His gospel preachers is that we emphasize baptism so much.

There’s a very simple and reasonable answer. To answer it, let’s look at what we have in common with the denominational world.

  • We BELIEVE in Jesus. They acknowledge Jesus as God & already know about Him, that He died, was buried and was resurrected. There are unbelievers, & for those I begin with HEARING God’s word.
  • We both agree that WORSHIP is found in the scriptures. We disagree about how to worship [in spirit & truth John 4:24], but we generally agree that Sunday worship is a part of the Christian life.
  • We agree that a person ought to be PENITENT, meaning that a person has to REPENT of sins. This is only denied by some denominational people.
  • We definitely agree that CONFESSING Jesus as the Christ is essential to salvation. The scriptures make confession essential. [Romans 10:9].

WHAT ABOUT BAPTISM?

This is where we divide widely. Actually, they’re not dividing from us as much as they’re dividing from the Scriptures. (see chart next page) We emphasize BAPTISM, because they don’t emphasize it at all regarding it being ESSENTIAL to salvation. They will baptize, even by immersion, but that is the end of the similarities. Here’s how I know they’re not following God’s word on baptism…

  • They SCHEDULE According to the word, folks who come to the knowledge of Jesus, are baptized immediately.

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” [Acts 16:33]

  • They say, “BAPTISM DOESN’T SAVE.” This is a direct contradiction to the Apostle Peter, to Paul and certainly against Christ.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;”

[Mark 16:16]

Why Did Jesus Appear to Saul

Why did Jesus appear personally to Saul (later called Paul) on the way to Damascus?

  • To tell him what to do to be SAVED? No
  • To PARDON him?

After His ascension, Jesus never appeared to anyone to pardon sins. Why? Because God has ordained a law of pardon [Mat 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38].

Jesus saves no one except through obedience to the gospel plan of salvation [Heb 5:8-9]. There is no scriptural evidence that He ever appeared and saved someone outside of gospel obedience. He did providentially bring sinners into contact with a gospel preacher who would tell them what to do to be saved.

Why did Jesus appear in person to Saul? The answer is to make him an Apostle [Acts 26:16-18].

The criteria to be an Apostle, a man must have seen the Lord Jesus Christ after He arose from the dead [Acts 1:22; 2Pet 1:16; 1John 1:1, 4:14]. Paul had not been a witness of the resurrection of Christ until the Lord appeared to him on the highway [1Cor 15:8].

  • Saul was a chosen vessel [Acts 9:15].
  • He was one ‘born out of due time’ [1Cor 15:8].

 

All of the Apostles were witnesses of the resurrection of Christ [John 20:19-31]. It was necessary for Paul to be made a witness also by this appearance of Christ to him on the Damascus highway. The purpose of the highway appearance was not to save him, but to make him a witness.

Ananias was instructed to go to Saul. He told him to “arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” [Acts 22:14-16]. Note what he DIDN’T tell Paul…

  • To pray and ask Jesus into his heart.
  • To get religion.
  • To speak in tongues as a sign that Jesus accepted him.
  • That he was already saved.

 

He told him to “arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Just as Christ had commanded [Mat 28:18-20; Mark 16:16]

What did Saul do to be saved? FIRST, we note that he believed. Jesus had appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Saul was on a mission of persecuting the church of Christ. Then the Lord appeared to him and told him that it was Jesus he was persecuting. Saul saw Him and heard His voice. Saul believed in the risen Jesus on that Damascus highway. [Acts 22:10; 26:14-18]

NEXT, he repented. Upon arriving to Damascus, he was blind and his attitude was changed [Acts 26:19]. He was ready and willing to do whatever the Lord would command despite his past [Acts 22:10]. He went to the house of Judas at the Lord’s command. He waited for 3 days in a penitent state [Acts 9:9].

THEN he was baptized. He was a penitent believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. There was but one thing left for him to do. He was already a believer, and had already repented. He needed to be BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF SIN [Acts 2:38; 22;16].

In his letter to the Romans, he tells us how & why he was baptized. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” [Rom 6:3-4]

Notice the pronouns ‘us’ and ‘we’ by which Paul is including himself along with these gentile brethren among those buried with Christ by baptism. When he took that step into baptism, he himself was putting on Christ. [Gal 3:27]

From Pharisee of Pharisees and Persecutor of the church of Christ to ALL IN PAUL for the spreading of the gospel. What a shining example of faith and duty.

 

—Spencer