By Andy Alexander
Where did we learn about sin? Where did we learn right from wrong? The most likely answer that one would expect to hear is that we learned about sin and right from wrong from the Bible, the Word of God. And, that’s exactly right. If it were not for the inspired Word, we would not have a standard of right and wrong. Our souls would be stained with sin and we would be separated from God with no hope, if it were not for the Bible which describes sin and vividly depicts the destiny of the sinner (1 Jn. 3:4; 2 Thess. 1:8). Upon realizing that we are all sinners and we need the forgiveness of those sins to receive the crown of life that is awaiting those who are faithful, where do we go?
Nature. No, a look at the history of man will reveal that nature only leads to idolatry. Sun worship and moon worship are forms of idolatry that come from only looking to nature. It is true that the heavens declare the glory of God, but only to those who have learned of him from another source (Psa. 19:1).
Human Wisdom. No, the best that human wisdom could do was erect an altar to “The Unknown God” (Acts 17:23). Paul taught the Corinthians that “the world by wisdom knew not God” (1 Cor. 1:21). Earthly wisdom will not lead us to God.
Feelings. This is it some will surely say. “I can feel when I’ve been saved.” But, are feelings an appropriate guide? Jacob was deceived into believing his son Joseph was dead. He had all the hurt, pain, and anguish that accompanies the loss of a loved one. But, did his feelings change the fact that Joseph was alive and well (Gen. 37:29-36)? We have a warning from God against trusting our feelings. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Prov. 28:26). Well, where do we go to find out if we are saved, if our sins are forgiven?
Since we learned about sin from the Word of God and we are the ones who have left God and are in need of reconciliation, then we should go to the Bible to find the answer to our question. From studying the Bible, we learn that belief in Christ and repentance are necessary conditions in our journey back to God. Belief gives us the strength we need to live a faithful life to God and repentance is needed to help us in our future struggle against sin, but what about the sins in our past life? How do we rid ourselves of these stains? That same Word that informed us about sin and gave us the information concerning how to live in the future also declares to us what we must do to have our past sins forgiven.
Paul was a penitent believer when he tarried in Damascus waiting to be told what he must do (Acts 9:1-11). But, his sins still had not been forgiven some three days later. In Acts 22:16, after Paul had seen the risen Savior and been praying for three days, Ananias told him, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Denominational preachers would have Paul saved on the road, still in sin. Now that is an impossibility.
The blood of Christ saves man from sin (Heb. 9:14,22). However, man must appropriate that atoning blood. And this is done when a penitent believer is baptized into Christ. No one could say it as plain as the apostle Paul, “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).
Have you obeyed the gospel of Christ or have you stopped short of complete obedience based on the advice of man. We must take all God says concerning salvation and be willing to obey his every word, because it is by his Word that we will be judged in the last day (Jn. 12:48).
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 3, p. 71
February 2, 1989