By Carol R. Lumpkin
Before leaving this earth to return to heaven, Jesus informed His disciples that the Holy Spirit would be sent to guide them in all truth. “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come (Jn. 16:13). What was contained in God’s marching order to the apostles, as well as to us today, has been fully, entirely, and completely revealed (Jude 3; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3).
Jesus said to His apostles, “All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20). Jesus said, “Go and teach all nations.” What was to be taught is not stated in these verses.
Mark records this same commission the following way: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:15-16). Mark informs us that the “gospel” is that which is to be taught. Luke records, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:47).
When we add up what these three inspired writers said about “God’s marching order,” we have the following: (1) go, (2) teach, (3) all nations, (4) the gospel, (5) he that believeth, and (6) repents of sins and (7) is baptized, (8) is forgiven of sins.
Paul helps us with a better understanding of this, when he wrote: “Moreoever, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Paul lists the facts of the gospel to be the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ. These facts must be believed before the alien sinner can obey the commands of the gospel. From Acts 18:8 we learn that the “Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”
Paul adds additional light, when he wrote: “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). When one obeys that form of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, he is made free from his past sins and becomes a servant of righteousness. Paul explains this “form of doctrine” earlier in this same chapter. “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).
Christ died for our sins (Rom. 5:8). The alien sinner dies to sin when he stops his sinning, which occurs at the point of repentance (Lk. 24:47). Christ was buried in a newly made tomb (Matt. 27:58-60). The alien sinner is buried in water for the remission of sins (Lk. 24:47; Acts 2: 38; Rom 6:4). Christ was raised up from the grave by the glory of the Father (Rom. 6:4; Acts 2:24). The alien sinner is raised from a burial in water as a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 6:5-6; Rom. 6:5-6, 18).
“God’s marching order” charged the apostles with the preaching of the gospel, God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16), to every nation. This was done beginning in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8; Acts 2), and was thereafter preached to every cr6ature (Col. 1:23).
When the same gospel of Christ is taught, believed and obeyed, we may rest assured that it will save today as it did then. “God’s marching order” remains unchanged and must be preached without alteration in any way (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Jn. 9).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 18, p. 555
September 20, 1984