New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 12, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead
also (James 2:19-26).
Please notice in John 12:42-43, that of the chief rulers “many believed on him.” But their faith was as dead as the proverbial door nail. It did not prompt them to action. It was not a saving faith. James describes it as a “dead faith.” Even the “devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19). It is the faith that obeys heaven’s will that saves! Read Hebrews eleventh chapter and see that faith and obedient action are inseparably tied together. For example...
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed: and he went out, not knowing whither he went (Hebrews 11:8).
Faith is essential to salvation. And remember, it must be a faith that obeys God - not a dead faith. So then, faith is something that you must do in order to be saved. Is salvation a “free gift” of God? Sure it is. And God tells you how to obtain the gift you cannot earn. It must be through faith. The faith that the Bible describes as active and alive.
The multitude on Pentecost asked, “Men and brethren, what must we do?” “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). What happened then? Read in the scriptures...
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (Acts 2:40-41).
Here the apostle, inspired of God, clearly states that one must repent and be baptized in order to receive remission of sins. Jesus tied faith and baptism together when He said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). The account of the Ethiopian’s conversion in Acts chapter eight should also be considered.
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way; they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to he baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch: and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:35-39).
You see that the Ethiopian eunuch confessed Jesus Christ as God’s Son. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). Further, Paul wrote...
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. IO For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10).
So we have seen that faith - a faith that is active and alive -obeys God’s commands. God’s commands include
repentance (Acts 2:38) - a change of heart which leads to a change of life. They include confessing Jesus Christ as God’s Son (Romans 10:9-10). Included here is being baptized for remission (forgiveness) of your sins (Acts 2:38).An Objection Considered
“But,” someone may object, “isn’t baptism a human work of merit?” The answer is simple. Baptism is no more a work of human merit than is faith or repentance or confession. It is an act of faith - an act. of humble obedience to God’s commands. Man must believe - he must have faith. But faith is not a meritorious work. Man must repent of sins, but repentance is not a meritorious work. You must confess Jesus Christ, but confession is not a meritorious work. You must be baptized for remission of your sins, but baptism, too, is the response of faithful obedience (not of trying to merit salvation). Baptism is a work only in the same sense that faith is a work.
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (John 6:28-29).
You’ll easily see that faith is called by Jesus a “work." It is not of human merit, but the obedient response to God's commands. The same for baptism. By the way, remember when we earlier pointed out that you must be “in Christ" to obtain forgiveness of sins? The apostle tells us exactly how we get “into Christ”...
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27).
Baptism is part of God’s way of salvation. All together, the Bible teaches that a person must believe, repent, confess, and be baptized in order to be saved.Saved Are Added By The Lord To His Church
When you are saved, you are added by the Lord to that church of which you read in your New Testament (Acts 2:47). That church is not a denomination. It did not originate with men it was built by Christ (Matthew 16:18). It is Christ’s body (Ephesians 1:22:23) and there is only one body (Ephesians 4:4).
Can we study with you about your soul’s salvation? We stand ready to do that, and we humbly ask you to investigate your religious beliefs and practices in light of the Bible.More Information...
Call, write or visit the church of Christ at New Braunfels.
We meet at 1130 Hwy 306, just 1.5 miles west of Interstate 35 in New Braunfels.
Bible classes for all ages: Sunday 9:30 AM and Wednesday 7:00 PM.
Worship assemblies: Sunday 10:30 AM and 6:00 PM Phone: (830) 625-9367
We're on the web! nbchurchofchrist.com