Lucia's Blog: SALVATION IS A PACKAGE DEAL
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

SALVATION IS A PACKAGE DEAL

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 
Matthew 28:19-20


The apostle Peter on Pentecost demanded repentance and baptism as conditions for receiving the forgiveness of God, but the serpent has convinced most followers of Jesus that He only requires a belief or trust in Him. Serpent whispers, “As long as you are honest and sincere, it does not really matter what you do.” The snake has made obedience to God a pariah, an unpleasant, uncomfortable suggestion, even evil, because it is just so judgmental. What actually does the Gospel of Jesus teach? Does the Gospel require us to do anything as a condition of salvation? If so, could we call that condition “the obedience of a law” or “a divine rule?” Is not belief also something that we personally do? 

The Serpent has inspired such zeal against the lordship of Jesus, that the apostolic epistles are now called “The Love Letters of the Apostles,” to avoid finding any divine commands or authority emanating from the throne of Jesus. It is not fashionable to speak of the wrath of God toward those who will not repent of sinful practices as defined in the inspired writings of the apostles of Christ. Why is that? Is it merciful to allow disobedience to wreck someone’s life, or is it love, true love, to be supportive of a course headed for disaster? Why did Paul say reprove, rebuke, and exhort with patience? My friends and brethren, we are under attack by false teaching!! The Serpent's lies come with just enough Truth to cover up and conceal their poison. The sacred words like grace, faith, works, baptism, and love are twisted and redefined to justify evil.

So the question is, What is the connection between grace, law, and works? Is man saved by grace alone? Faith alone without baptism? Works alone? How important is faith to salvation? It would be a failure on our part to rely upon our own belief or presumptions when answering these questions without God's Word. You see, God has given us all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). It is not our place to speculate whose opinions are correct! We know for a fact what is Truth because God has given us everything we need to live a godly and righteous life. It means that God has already given us all the answers to our questions in the Bible. He has already told us what we need to do to be saved or justified. Therefore, we must study His Word diligently to know what it says! (2 Tim. 2:15). Moreover, we must put all our opinions aside and go to the only source of Truth, His Word, searching for His Truth to give us His answer to any question and not the Catholic Church, Luther, Calvin, and all Protestants. They are worthless if they cannot be proven from God's Word, Truth!

I must stress out of love the need to be in harmony with what God has revealed in the Bible and pay close attention to the Truth. And once you know the Truth that sets you free from the slavery of sin, you must continue to obey it until the end and share it with others. The Bible denies that we are saved by "faith only." Many passages in the Scriptures point out that faith in one's heart, by itself, will not save us (John 12:42-43; Rom. 10:9-10; Mat. 10:32-33; James 2:19-20; James 2:14, 17, 20, 24, 26). The demons believe and are aware that there is only one true God, but are they saved? So the question is, can faith alone save without obedience? NO! It is a dead faith. Man cannot be justified by "faith only." And though James 2:14, 24 mentions "faith alone," it does not say that we are justified by “faith alone”! Those who teach justification by “faith alone” are teaching error and are false. The Bible emphatically says that we are NOT justified by faith alone! Take heed! So the question is, what kind of faith saves and what does it require? Does it require repentance, confession, baptism, and obedience to God's divine commands? Consider those things that are essential to salvation and that God has supplied for our salvation as well:

  1. God's Grace and Mercy (Ephesians 1:7; 2:4-10; Titus 2:11-12; Acts 15:11).
  2. Jesus’ blood, His death on the cross (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:6-9; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Rev. 1:5).
  3. Jesus’ resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4; 15:17; Romans 10:9; 5:10; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 3:21).
  4. The Gospel (Romans 1:16; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Acts 11:14; James 1:18,21; 1 Cor. 15:1-2; John 8:31-32).

So, if we indeed are saved by "faith alone," why do we need God's mercy and grace, Jesus' death, and resurrection and the Gospel? Consider those things that are required for men to be saved:
  1. Learn and know God's will (Acts 11:14; Romans 10:17). Cornelius and his household had to hear the words of the Gospel to be saved.
  2. Faith (Romans 10:17; John 6:44-45; Romans 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:21). Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. So, if faith is necessary, then so is hearing. You see, hearing produces faith. Take note that faith and hearing are two separate things. One produces the other, but both are essential to salvation. Therefore, we are not saved by "faith alone."
  3. Love (1 Corinthians 16:22). Those who do not love the Lord will be accursed. So can we be saved without love for God? However, love is not the same as faith (Gal. 5:6; 1 Cor. 13:1-3; 1 John 4:7-8).
  4. Hope (Romans 8:24). We are saved in hope.
  5. Repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). Godly sorrow produces repentance unto salvation. So, can we be saved without repentance? Therefore, shall we conclude that faith is not necessary to be saved? (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; Luke 13:3,5; 2 Peter 3:9).
  6. Obedience (Hebrews 5:9, Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. So, those who desire the salvation that Jesus offers must obey His Word, Gospel (Romans 6:17-18). Those who were slaves to sin obeyed from the heart the doctrine delivered to them, and having been set free from sin became slaves of righteousness. Take heed that obedience (not just going through outward motions) is essential for sinners to be set free from sin. 1 Peter 1:22, we are born again by obeying the Gospel. 2 Thess. 1:8-9, those who do not obey the Gospel of Christ will be punished with everlasting destruction. The doctrine of "faith alone" denies obedience to the Gospel of Christ as essential to salvation.
  7. Confession of Christ (Romans 10:9-10; Matt. 10:32). To be saved, one must confess with the mouth and not just believe in his heart. Confession is an act of obedience that one must do to be saved and must be done from the heart. Yet, it is an act of outward obedience, just as baptism is. Faith is done in the heart, and confession is made with the mouth. Both are essential to salvation. So, why is it that many teach that we are saved by "faith alone" without obedience?
  8. Baptism. The following are just a few passages that stress the need for baptism like repentance and confession as necessary requirements for man's salvation, of course, we cannot exclude faith (Mark 16:16; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). Hence, baptism is essential to obedience, just as confession also is. So, how can one claim to understand Romans 10:9-10 (which requires confession along with faith) and refuse to acknowledge the Truth of what Mark 16:16 requires in addition to faith? Notice those conditions or commands that are required: faith, repentance, and baptism. The doctrine of "faith only or alone" rejects baptism as necessary to man's salvation. Can we deny that in addition to faith, repentance, and confession, baptism is essential to man's salvation? (1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-7; Galatians 3:26-27; Colo. 2:12-13).
  9. Faithfulness. What do you suppose follows after one believes, repents, confesses, and is baptized for the forgiveness of sins? Obviously, faithfulness! We are commanded to continue to live faithfully with an obedient faith. Don't forget that remaining faithful is essential to our salvation. Salvation is not permanently granted at the time of initial obedience to the Gospel. The Lord repeatedly warns us of the present dangers of apostasy (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Becoming a Christian is not just accepting salvation, but rather, it is a lifelong commitment of service to God (Luke 9:23-25). Do you suppose our salvation is secured just because we decided to be baptized and follow Him? NO! Baptism does not guarantee salvation unless we serve Him faithfully all the days of our lives (Hebrews 3:12-14; 4:11; John 14:22-30). We must abide in Him to not be thrown away as a branch and be cast into the fire and be burned forever (John 15:6; 1 Peter 1:5). So, to receive the crown of life and glory, one must be faithful until the end (Rev. 2:10; Romans 2:5-8, 10; Matt. 28:20; Titus 2:11-12; 1 John 2:1-6; 2 Tim. 4:7-8).
  10. Church Membership. No one can be saved outside the church that Jesus gave Himself for. "Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for it" (Eph. 5:23-25). Those who teach "faith only or alone" also deny church membership as essential to salvation. Yet, the Gospel teaches that Jesus died for the church. So, how can one believe that Jesus' death is necessary to salvation and at the same time reject that one must be a member of the church which He purchased with His own precious blood? (Acts 2:47; 20:28).


CONCLUSION:

The Gospel is crystal clear about the various conditions or commands necessary to man's salvation. We know that obedience is essential and that we are saved by faith when that faith leads us to obey God's commanded instructions, and not before, as many claim. Accepting just some of those conditions and ignoring others, leads to error, rebellion, and contradiction and losing our soul. Instead, man must accept all of them as essential to his salvation. And though some Scriptures mention grace, blood, repentance, etc., they do not always mention faith, as also passages that mention faith often do not mention obedience. So, should we willfully conclude that faith is not necessary to salvation? One must hear, believe, repent, and confess. Baptism alone cannot save. This is precisely what infant baptism does. It is not valid.

Thus, salvation by "faith alone," excluding baptism and obedience, is not Scriptural and is not acceptable to God. By the same token, salvation by repentance only, or hearing only, or baptism alone, will not save anyone. Take heed, we are not saved by just one thing alone, excluding the other requirements or conditions required for man's salvation.  The Bible asserts that we are saved by grace, by faith, by works, and by water (baptism). God says that in the water of baptism, one's sins are washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16). We are not saved by anything alone: grace alone, faith alone, works alone, and water alone. But we are saved by altogether.

May we honor the Gospel message of Christ as it relates to the plan of salvation, the worship of the church, and our personal conduct and devotion.

Luci

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