ANSWERING A WEB PAGE RESPONSE ON
THE QUESTION OF BAPTISM AND SALVATION
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THIS IS my humble understandingÖ In I Corinthians 15:1-4, in a nutshell, the apostle Paul declares what the gospel is: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospelÖhow that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." Likewise, with you [web page respondent], "I believe in salvation by the grace of God through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ." [but not "faith only," James 2:17-26]; Yes, Paul has defined the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We are to personally accept these truths and thereby accept the cleansing blood of Christ. Paul tells us in Romans 10:9 and 10 that we are to confess with our mouth and believe IN our hearts that God has raised Jesus from the dead. In this same epistle, Paul states, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed FROM the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you" (Romans 6:17). Romans 1:5 and 16:26 speak of Godís plan to accomplish the "obedience to the faith" among all nations. In the early days of the church, the record says that "a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7). We are not only to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in our hearts, we are to obey it from our hearts. We personally believe it, and now we personally identify ourselves with it. As Christ died, we die to sin in repentance; as Christ was buried, we are buried in the watery grave of baptism; and as Christ arose from the dead, we arise from the waters of baptism to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-6). Paul also wrote in another place to the Colossians (2:12), "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." Then he says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above..." (3:1). Paul speaks of those who had not become Christians in Romans 10:16, referring to them as those who had not "obeyed the gospel" (had not obeyed the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ). Those on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, were to "know assuredly" (they were to assuredly believe, trust) that Jesus whom they had crucified was now both Lord and Christ (2:36). The benefit of these wonderful truths were to be realized in their lives by repenting and being baptized for the remission of sins and thereby receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (2:38). (Yes, the blood of Christ is the only thing that remits sins [thatís what he is talking about], Revelation 1:5; Acts 22:16). Notice. We are not talking about sacramental, baptismal regeneration [like practiced by the Catholics], but an exercise of faith in accepting Christ. Inasmuch as we canít single out any one of the truths of the gospel (the death, burial, or resurrection of Christ) and say "this only," we cannot leave out any one of the facets of believing, repenting, or being baptized (and say "this only"). Peter sums up being saved as being accomplished "by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (I Peter 3:21, read the whole reference). Then from the viewpoint of our response and Godís accomplishment, this same Peter who spoke Acts 2:38, wrote, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit [he is talking about the same thing as spoken in Acts 2:38] unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever" (I Peter 1:22 & 23). [Then Galatians 3:27 is accomplished] James said it was not by "faith only" (an inactive faith), James 2:17-26, but by one that moves, changes, and produces works (not works of righteousness on our part, but by responsive works of faith). And all of this is in the context of the grace and mercy of God. [Salvation has been attained]. There is no room for boasting.
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