It Is Time to Start Listening to God (Part III)
In PARTS I and II, we have directed your thinking to a consideration of the greatest proposition with which man must deal. We first noted THE REALITY OF SIN, showing that all responsible men are guilty before God because they have violated the Divine Will. We next addressed ourselves to showing YOU NEED TO BE SAVED, proving with the Scriptures, that salvation is possible upon the condition that we "do the will of the Father," or "obey" Him (Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 5:8-9). Herein our thoughts will be directed to the final thought of our study.
PART III: YOU CAN BE SAVED
Please observe that what we will be saying in this section is predicated upon the truths we have already established. You and I are sinful men who need to be saved. However, our salvation depends upon our obeying God.
To Whom Shall We Go?
Is this great question of salvation to be settled on the basis of my word. Certainly not! I have no right to command you to do one single thing, promising you your salvation when you have done it. I cannot save you. Nor can any other man. Therefore, no man can devise a set of commands, bind them upon his fellows, and offer them salvation upon their response to them. Unfortunately, this is done today in the religious world. But, the Churches of Christ do not teach the commandments of men, for we know such religion is vain (Matthew 15:9). Where, then, can I find God's plan of salvation?
Jesus, during his earthly ministry, taught many things that men considered as "hard sayings." Consequently, "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? "thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:66-68). In Hebrews 1: 1-2, we are told that God now speaks to man through His Son. In Matthew 17:5, the Almighty voice from Heaven itself commanded "hear ye him." Christ has the words of eternal life which God has given. Man today simply has to "hear" Him and "obey" what He says. Now, there is nothing complicated about that, is there my friend?
Must Say It Only Once
Let us understand one thing clearly. When the Son of the Living God commands a thing, He only has to command it one time! Why would we ever think it necessary for Him to repeat a hundred times, something that He orders man to do? It is true that He did say several times to do certain things. But not because He had to say it several times to make it binding upon man. Hence, the question is "What must I do to be saved?" What did Christ command?
Hundreds of Answers
That is right. If this question were asked of hundreds of people, you would likely get that many answers, all of them different and contradictory! However, we are not consulting the men of our day. We are consulting the Word of Jesus Christ. And, what we will find out is not at all confusing or complicated. Remember that! We are responsible before God, and in His mercy, He has told what we must do to be saved. And, He told us in language we can understand (Ephesians 3:3-4). Let us note also, that when we understand it, we will understand it alike! If you think we will understand it differently, you are simply mistaken. We might misunderstand it differently, but if we ever understand it at all, we will understand God's will alike.
The Word of Christ
Following I list the things the Lord commands me and every other man on earth to do in order that we might be saved. I will print what He said, but I will also cite other passages of Scripture which teach the same thing. I plead with you; weigh carefully the things taught in these Scriptures.
1. You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. "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). See also Hebrews 11:6; John 3:16; 3:18: Acts 8:37.
2. You must repent of your sins. "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5). See also Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9.
3. You must confess your faith in Christ before men. "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32). See also Romans 10:910; Acts 8:37.
4. You must be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). See also Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; 8:36-38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21.
Salvation Can Be Yours
I have written many words to get to the statement of God's terms of pardon listed above. I said they are not complicated or confusing. Don't you agree? It is a matter of amazement to me that there is such confusion on the subject. You can be saved from your sins if you (1) Believe, (2) Repent, (3) Confess, and (4) are be Baptized. But, you cannot be saved without doing these things!!
Now you answer some questions. Will a man be saved who does not believe in Christ? If he believes but will not repent of his sins, will he be saved? Suppose he believes and repents but he will not confess his faith in Christ before men. Will he be saved? The answer to all three questions is a resounding "NO"! Well, just suppose he believes, repents and confesses Christ, but he will not be baptized. Will he be saved? No! Why? Because he has only done a part of what God has said. We must obey Him in all that He commands. Only then can we be saved.
Yes, that is the question. Have you obeyed these commands? If you have not, you are still a sinner in the sight of God. Will you obey God now that you know what He commands you to do? We are anxious in the Churches of Christ, to assist you in obeying these commands. You are encouraged to contact us if we might be of service.
If you question the truthfulness of these things, feel free to address your questions to us. We want to teach and obey the truth. And, if we are not doing so, you would be our friend if you would point out our error. We will do all within our power to deal with you honestly and fairly. We conclude this brief study with this affirmation: IF A CHURCH TEACHES SALVATION ON ANY TERMS LESS THAN THESE, OR MORE THAN THESE, IT IS TEACHING ERROR. Study the Scriptures cited and think about it!
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 27, pp. 8-9