By Shelby C. Smith
Since the sinner is promised salvation upon the conditions of belief and baptism (Mark 16:16), could one who believes only truthfully say he is trusting God? Who is the man who is really trusting God? The man who hears God, believes God, and does what God says to do. Since Jesus tells us one’s soul is worth more than “this whole world” and that there is no profit in gaining the whole world and losing the soul, I am persuaded that there is an extremely hot place prepared in hell for anyone who will teach poor lost sinners, who are hanging by a brittle thread over a “lake of fire and brimstone,” that all they need to do is “trust in Him” and He will save you in a split second of time.
No more dangerous doctrine was ever invented by the devil than the popular doctrine of “faith only.” The radio and TVs are pouring out this dangerous doctrine over the air and, as a result, many are dazed and groggy. If we do not get to them with the gospel, they will go into hell. But be it remembered that Paul referred to the gospel as God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1: 16). The word translated power is the Greek for dynamite; so the gospel is God’s dynamite, which will shake the soul, break the heart, stir the spirit, destroy the flesh, and set into operation a new creation.
Many preachers think more of the almighty dollar than the almighty God. They seem to think that the gospel is a sort of sleeping powder which deadens pain and starts the sinner on a journey through sort of a fairyland. The apostle Paul wrote to the Gentiles telling them that the Lord Jesus is one day to be revealed from heaven, “In flaming fire taking vengence on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). Notice, the gospel is to be obeyed as well as believed; those who obey not the gospel will be destroyed in the fires of hell when Jesus returns.
In Romans 6:6-18, we are told that those who have obeyed from the heart are freed from sin and are servants of righteousness. In Hebrews 5:9, we are assured that Christ is the author of eternal salvation “unto all that have obeyed him.” By the spirit of Christ, John declared that all who have their robes washed, “have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).
Another group, with their voice full of tears, will tell sinners that all they need to do is fall down on their knees before a radio or TV and ask God to forgive them, and He will do it that very minute. God said He will turn away His ears from hearing, “and their prayers will be an abomination” (Prov. 28:9). What will save them? “The dynamite of the gospel.” They are to believe what the gospel teaches; and faith, repentance, confession, and baptism puts one into Christ and the church. In Acts 2 and Acts 8, they heard the gospel, believed it, and were baptized. In every case of conversion that we have in the book of Acts of the Apostles, they all did the same thing. Not one time did any New Testament preacher tell any alien sinner to pray for salvation, nor did he tell any sinner to only trust Him. So, why not do exactly what people were told to do in the days of the apostles and be saved? Hear the gospel, believe it, confess our faith in Him, repent and be baptized, and the Lord will add you to His church (Acts 2:47).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 10, p. 293
May 17, 1984