By Randy Cavender
Many times when one takes a test, questions are asked that require a true or false answer! I have entitled this article “True or False” because I would like for you to search the Scriptures and answer the questions that I ask. The subject is salvation. This topic needs to be studied because of all the disagreements which surround it. I have often said that you could listen to five different denominational preachers speak about salvation, and you would hear five different ways to be saved. Kind reader, there is only one way to be saved! God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33,40). He expects us all to obey the commands he has given, no more and no less! Therefore, please take your Bibles and read the evidence I present on salvation and decide if it is true or false!
First of all, let us notice the last words of Jesus while upon this earth! Beginning with Matthew’s account we read, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. ” Mark’s account is similar, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. ” Luke’s account is as follows, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things” (Matt. 28:1820; Mk. 16:15,16; Lk. 24:46-48). As we read these passages of Scripture, we must conclude that Jesus gave some conditions for salvation. We must also conclude that in order for one to receive the salvation of his soul, he must obey these commands! We must accept what the Lord has said on the matter, for the word of the Lord is truth (Jn. 17:17). Now let us look at some examples of the great commission at work! In Acts 2, the apostles, on the Day of Pentecost were preaching the word of the Lord to those Jews who had killed Christ! We read that the apostles told the people, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). Thus, the subject of salvation was being preached! As the writer focuses on the words of Peter, we see that the people were convicted of sin, and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (v. 37) Peter told them plainly, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (v. 38). We read that about 3000 were baptized. May I ask, did the apostles speak the words of the Lord as he had instructed them? (Look at the Scriptures we have given.) Is it true that the people would receive the forgiveness (remission) of sins when they would obeyed? Is it true that the Lord added the saved to his church (v. 47)? Please be honest and answer these questions. Are these things true or are they false! If false, where am I mistaken?
Let us look at Acts 8! Philip, the evangelist, went down to Samaria to preach Christ (Acts 8:5). We see that Philip preached concerning the kingdom of God, and the people believed those things (v. 12). It is evident by the response that the people believed those things (v. 12). It is evident by the response that the people were told to “believe and be baptized. ” We come to this conclusion because the people did exactly that! Now if Philip had not told them, who did? And if he did, where did he get such a message? This was the teaching of Christ, for it was he who said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16). 1 know these people received salvation because they did exactly what the Lord tells us to do! Now why would anyone deny these plain passages of Scripture? May I ask you, is it true that the Samaritans obeyed the commandments of the Lord, the same commands he instructed his apostles to teach to the whole world? Is it true that these people had faith in what Philip preached concerning Christ, the Son of God, and this faith led them to obey? Again, if this is false, where am I mistaken?
We have yet another example of salvation in Acts 9. Saul of Tarsus was on the way to Damascus to persecute Christians. As he came near the city, Jesus appeared and spoke to him (vv. 4-9). There are some who will say that Saul was saved right there and then. But I deny it! Why? After asking, “What do you want me to do?” Jesus told him to “go into the city and you will be told what you must do” (v. 6). Thus, we must conclude that Saul was not a saved man when he left to go into the city. In fact, the preacher Ananias did not come to Saul for three days! We also see during those three days, Saul of Tarsus was praying, yet he still had not been told what to do (vv. 9,11). When Ananias entered the house where Saul was, he then told him to “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). The Bible says, “and he arose and was baptized” (Acts 9:18). Again, did Saul do what the Lord commanded? Is it true that if he had refused, he would not have been saved?
Kind reader, are the words of Jesus true or false? I happen to believe they are true! If you come to this conclusion, will you not obey the Lord’s commandments and be saved from your sins? Please think seriously about these matters!
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 6, p. 174
March 15, 1990