Tag Archives: What must I do to be saved

“Come Try My Brand-New, Never-Before-Seen, Remedy For Sin!”

You see it all over Facebook, e-mails, and other forms of social media: the advertisers trying to get you to buy their new drug, remedy, food product, diet, or super-simple means of changing your life forever. People are constantly spending their days trying to find the latest, greatest idea or concoction to deal with things that, most of the time, already have answers that have been known and effectively utilized for generations. Often, the comments and responses from people include such lines as: “This looks cool,” or, “I’ll keep this to try later if _______ does not work,” or, “I guess it can’t hurt to try it.”

While it is true that there are some new things that are worthwhile, and for many of these things there is not a right or wrong decision to be made across the board, it must be recognized that there is a limit to which this mentality can be applied. Unfortunately, many people have taken this same mentality and applied it to religion as well. They jump on the band-wagon for whatever new idea or concept comes along. They affirm to people the necessity of simply “finding what’s right for you,” and they are constantly advocating how much they know that you cannot know.

However, this is not some new fad in regard to religion. Men have been trying to come up with new ways and means of salvation since the early centuries of Christianity. There are nearly as many ways man has tried to purport as acceptable means of salvation as there are cold remedies in the aisles of the local pharmacy. In the 3rd century men began arguing for the acceptability of sprinkling instead of immersion. In the 4th century, some began the practice of infant baptism as an acceptable means of salvation. In the 16th century John Calvin popularized the notion that there was nothing one could do to be saved, God either predetermined you to be saved or lost and you could not change it if you tried. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, men such as Moody and Graham popularized the idea of belief and prayer for salvation. While this is by no means an extensive list, it gives you an idea of the fads and beliefs that people have utilized with the same mentality as has been discussed above.

Like those cold remedies, there are elements of each that are the same. However, unlike a cold remedy (whereby you could take an inferior concoction and still get a meaningful result), taking an inferior remedy for sin will only leave you with one thing: sin.  You cannot take away sin with an inferior method or inferior practices, it can only be done by the system that was originally prescribed for its removal.

Utilizing systems that only go back a few centuries, instead of all the way back to the beginning, are not sufficient because they do not go back to the proper source. While religious leaders will use a modicum of truth and Scripture that seems to support their claims; but much like most of the above claims of new products, there is only enough Scriptural detail to pass a cursory glance. A deeper inspection removes the credibility of the claim.

If you go back to the original (the New Testament Scriptures), here is the prescription for the removal of sin: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 8:24; Acts 16:31), repent of your sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19), confess Christ before men (Mat. 10:32; Rom. 10:10), be immersed in water for the remission of sins (Mat. 28:18-20; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4), and remain faithful to God until death (1 John 1:7; Rev. 2:10).

This is the pattern Christ presented, both during and after his time on earth. It is the original, and only, God-ordained means by which one can be saved. Do not be confused by imitations claiming to bring forth a “new way” or an “easier way.” The path God gave is the one that works, and it will be the only one that leads to eternal life.

Remember the words of Paul: “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9), and utilize the teaching of John: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

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Three Reasons Baptism is Essential for Salvation

When an individual listens to all of the different viewpoints of the religious world pertaining to baptism, it quickly becomes confusing. One group says baptism is necessary for salvation, one says it is a good thing but not necessary for salvation, another says it is nothing more than an ancient, outdated ritual. Which one is correct and how can we know?

The only way for man to know what God wants him to do is to go to God’s Word. Anything else is simply man’s opinions and desires, which are not, as the saying goes, worth a hill of beans before God. An examination of the New Testament Scriptures shows definitively that baptism is necessary for salvation. Consider three biblical reasons for coming to that conclusion.

Baptism is essential for salvation… because Jesus said it was. This may sound more like the parental “because I said so” reasoning than logical argumentation, but it is true nonetheless. Jesus told his disciples in Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” The word “and” is a coordinating conjunction; it requires both parts of the statement to be accomplished in order to reach the conclusion. If salvation is to occur, Jesus says two things must be present: belief (Believing what God said and being willing to do it) and baptism (Immersion in water). If either of these two things is lacking, Jesus says an individual will not be saved.

People often ask about the lack of baptism’s mention in the second half of the verse. Jesus uses the term “believeth,” which in the original language carries the tense of continuous action. It means “has believed and continues to believe.” Though one may believe and be baptized, if at any point that individual refuses to continue believing, he will be condemned and not retain his salvation. The end of this passage does not negate the necessity of baptism, but instead emphasizes the continued need for active belief beyond baptism. Jesus did not mince words: baptism is necessary for salvation.

Baptism is necessary for salvation… because it is the means by which we have our sins removed. When those gathered on the Day of Pentecost asked the apostle Peter what they needed to do in order to be saved, Peter responded: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). If these people were going to receive salvation, the blood of Jesus Christ would have to work on their behalf to cleanse them from sin (1 John 1:7). Peter says the means by which they come in contact with that blood is baptism; it is “for the remission of sins.” To further illustrate this point, the preacher Ananias told Saul of Tarsus, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Saul had to be immersed in water in order to wash away his sins. If salvation can come without baptism, then salvation can be proffered without the removal of sins. For such to be the case would negate the entire purpose of our Lord’s coming to this earth (Heb. 9:11-28).

Baptism is necessary for salvation… because it is the place where the new man is born. Paul equated immersion for the remission of sins to the likeness of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus when he wrote, “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). When an individual, through willing obedience, submits to the will of God through obedient faith and baptism, they come out of that watery grave a new creature. The sins of past life have been done away, and a fresh beginning to life has been given.

Paul explained it to the Colossians this way: “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 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. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:11-13). Paul equates baptism to spiritual circumcision; the putting away of a man of sin without care or regard for God’s Word, and the putting on of a man who loves and serves God with willing devotion for the rest of his life. If baptism is not necessary, then it is not necessary to become a “new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17), and man can go on living his same sinful life after “conversion.” Such an idea goes against every principle of the Christian life taught in the New Testament.

The evidence is clear and consistent that baptism is necessary for salvation. The necessity of baptism does not mean that one has somehow earned their salvation, for nothing man could do would be enough for him to deserve it; but it does mean that man has fulfilled the necessary prerequisites to receive the gift offered by the Savior.

We have an amazing God, whose love and care for mankind is shown in all that he has done for us. Let us not disregard that by refusing to recognize what he requires from man in return. Instead, let us acknowledge his commands and obey them with willing minds and diligent service.

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