By Jimmy Tuten
A. The “way of salvation” is a two-part series showing what one must do to be saved.
B. The Bible teaches that there is one way of salvation and that one way is Christ, the church (Jn. 14:1-6; Col. 1:18,24). It is called:
1. The “way of holiness” (Isa. 35:8).
2. The straight gate, narrow way (Matt. 7:13-14).
3. A race (Heb. 12:1).
4. A walk (Eph. 4:1, in love; 5:2, in light; 8, 16, circumspectly).
C. In the last lesson we learned the how of getting into the “way of holiness,” and found that certain things are necessary to lead us unto Christ, but only one act can put into Christ (Baptism).
1. To become a Christian one must believe, repent of his sins, confess his faith in Christ and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:37).
2. In this lesson we learn what happens when one is baptized.
I. One is baptized into Christ, the way, the Church (see chart below).
A. Baptism is into Christ (Rom. 6:3), and into the Body, the Church (1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18,24). Therefore one is added to the Church when he is baptized (Acts 2:38,47; 1 Cor. 12:18).
B. The Church is a company of baptized believers. (There is no such thing as getting into a so-called “visible” church one way and then into an “invisible” church another way. The only thing invisible about the church is its head [Christ], and that because He is in heaven sitting at the right hand of God [Acts 2:30-33]. The concept held by many is that by “faith only” one gets into an invisible Church, but must comply with terms not found in the Bible in order to “join” a church of your choice. But whatever Christ is the head of that is what you are baptized into [Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:18, 13].)
C. One publication of “Articles of Faith” (Baptist publication) says: “It is most likely that in the apostolic age when there was but one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, and no differing denominations existed (italics mine, jt), the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the Church, and at once endowed him with all rights and privileges of full membership. In that sense, baptism was the door into the Church. Now it is different; while the churches are desirous of receiving members, they are cautious that they do not receive unworthy persons. The churches therefore, have the candidates come before them, give their experiences, and then their reception is decided by a vote of the members” (Hiscox’s Manual, p. 22).
D. Look at the things that are admitted.
1 . That what made one a member of the Lord’s Church in New Testament times, will not make one now.
2. What the Baptist Church does in receiving membership is different from that of the New Testament Church.
3. Membership is decided by a vote of the members rather than the Bible way of obedience to the gospel adding one to the church.
4. The truth is that since the Baptist Church teaches salvation by “faith only” and membership into the Baptist Church by a vote of its people, they take a person who is already a member of the Lord’s church (i.e., if “faith only” saves, for the saved are added to the Church, Acts 2:47) and place him in a denominational church. They take him from the Lord’s Church and put him in the Baptist Church! One is saved by faith and baptism (Mk. 16:16), and as such is placed in the body by the Lord (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:13,18).
E. Being a member of the Lord’s Church means that one is in the way that leads to life eternal:
1. The Church is the body and all Christians are members of that body (1 Cor. 12:20,27).
2. The Church is the household of God and Christians are children in that family (1 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 2:19).
3. The Church is the Kingdom of God and Christians are citizens in it (Jn. 3:5; Eph. 2:19).
4. The Church is the Temple of God and Christians are living stones therein (Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:5).
II. Reaching our destination as strangers and pilgrims is conditional (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet. 2:11).
A. Read and study carefully Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 6: 1; 12:1-3. Observe that having come into the Way of Salvation one must continue therein faithful even unto death (Rev. 2:10). We have the power of God to help (Phil. 1:6).
1. We hope for eternal life (Rom. 8:23-25). This is the receiving of the “end of your faith” (1 Pet. 1:9).
2. The doctrine of “one cannot fall after becoming a Christian” is the doctrine of eternal security of the believer. The Bible does not teach this (1 Cor. 9:27; Gal. 5:14; Heb. 4:1).
B. Look at what can happen as you travel the spiritual highway that leads to heaven:
1. You can neglect the great salvation and be lost eternally (Heb. 2:1-2).
2. You can become unfaithful and go to hell (Rev. 2: 10).
3. Worldliness can overtake you and cause you to go back into the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17; 2 Tim. 4:10).
4. You can backslide (2 Pet. 2:20-22).
5. You can become fruitless (Jn. 15:1-8).
C. Should you fallfrom the Way you cannot be saved in that condition and must repent and confess your sins in order that the blood of Christ would remove your sin (1 Jn. 1:7-9; Acts 8:20-24). There is no forgiveness “even as you sin.” You must cease sin and repent of it (Rev. 2:5,16,25, etc.). Salvation is conditional!
1. Thus the way of Salvation is demonstrated. We are drifting to eternity’s shore on the sea of time. Our hearts “like muffled drums are beating funeral marches to the grave.” There is no more solemn truth than “no sooner does man begin to live that he does not begin to die.”
2. The body decays day by day, but the Lord stands ready to prepare the soul. By grace are we saved by faith (Eph. 2:8).
Guardian of Truth XXX: 10, pp. 298-299
May 15, 1986