Question #226

I need help answering this lengthy diatribe about the Lord's church.

A reader writes and says, "I need help answering the following."

Discussion about the Church of Christ by Pastor David Martin

COMMON SENSE QUESTIONS A " CHURCH OF CHRIST " PREACHER CANNOT CLEARLY ANSWER

The religious sect known as the " Church of Christ " has many peculiar and aberrant doctrines that are contrary to the word of God. It is a most deceptive and dangerous cult. Their teaching of baptismal regeneration is an age-old heresy that has damned millions to hell, and is still doing so today. The idea that they are the one, true and restored church of Jesus Christ puts them in the same league with the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches.

If you are a member of this "church" or have been influenced by its teachings, we challenge you to ask your preacher the questions that follow, then get your King James Bible out, open it up, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the TRUTH (John 16:13). If you have never been saved in the Bible sense, for heaven's sake, do not mistake being "washed in the baptistry of the church" for being washed in the blood of Christ.

If you ask one of these "preachers" any of the questions in this tract, you won't get a straight answer due to their "screwball" theology. You'll have them in "hot water," "swimming in circles," trying to explain their heretical positions. They'll be "hopping all over the pond" because they can't stay too long in one spot without sinking in the mire of their false doctrines.

Don't YOU wind up being baptized in the " Lake of Fire " by accepting a "waterworks" based plan of salvation and rejecting salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ. (Matt. 3:11; Rev. 20:15; Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 5:9; Rom. 11:6).

Here are Questions for Campbellites

Question #1

According to the history of the " Church of Christ ," God used certain men to "restore" the New Testament Church in the early 1800's. Where was the true New Testament church before then? Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). What happened to the church and where was the truth it was responsible for preaching before God restored it?

Question #2

If a " Church of Christ " elder refuses to baptize me, will I be lost until I can find one who will? Do I need Jesus AND a Campebllite "preacher" in order to be saved? If I do, then Jesus Christ is not the only Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Holy Spirit is not the only Administrator (1 Cor. 12:13) of salvation - the " Church of Christ " preacher is necessary to salvation for he is performing a saving act on me when he baptizes me! Is this not blasphemy against Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?

Question #3

If the water pipes broke and the baptistry was bone dry, would my salvation have to wait until the plumber showed up? If I were to die before then, would I go to hell? If obedience to water baptism is the means of forgiveness of sins, then I would.

Question #4

If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to "lose my salvation" and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn't my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! - before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn't that my best opportunity?

Question #5

If as a Christian I can sin so as to "lose my salvation," just what sin or sins will place me in such danger? Is it possible to know at what point one has committed such a sin, and become lost again? Please be specific and give clear Bible references.

Question #6

If as a Christian I can fall and "lose my salvation," is it possible to regain it? If so, how? If God "takes away" my salvation, doesn't that make Him an "Indian giver"? How could I ever know for sure that I was saved or lost?

Question #7

After becoming a Christian, are there any sins that will put me beyond the "point of no return" so that I cannot regain salvation? What sin or sins will put me in such jeopardy, so that, after becoming a Christian, I would be doomed to hell without any recourse? Please be specific and give me clear Bible references.

Question #8

If I committed some sin -whether in thought, word, or deed, one minute before a fatal car crash - would I go to hell if I did not have time to repent of it? And, please, don't just say that it's up to God without giving me a specific Bible reference.

Question #9

Why does the " Church of Christ " insist that their name is scriptural when it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible? The church is referred to as the " church of God " eight (8) times in the Bible, but never is it called the " church of Christ ." The verse they use is Romans 16:16, but it doesn't say " church of Christ ." Where does the Bible call the church the " church of Christ "?

Question #10

If the "Church of Christ" claims to worship God only as "authorized" by scripture because they sing only (and do not use instrumental music), then where do they get the "authority" to use hymnals, pitchpipes, pews, and indoor baptistries in their worship services? If the answer is that they are "aids to worship," where does the Bible allow for that? Where is your required authorization? If a pitchpipe can be an "aid to worship" for the song service in the " Church of Christ ," then why can't a piano be an "aid to worship" for Baptists who may need more help in singing?

Question #11

The " Church of Christ " teaches that a sinner is forgiven of sin when he is baptized in water by a Campbellite elder. Where does the Bible teach that water baptism is required in order to have one's sins forgiven? Every time the phrase "for the remission of sins" occurs it is speaking of the fact that sins have been forgiven previously! The Bible plainly teaches that the forgiveness of sins is conditioned upon repentance of sin and faith in Christ - never upon water baptism! (Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 20:21; Romans 1:16; Romans 4:5; et.al.) Where does the Bible teach that forgiveness of sin is linked with water baptism? When Christ made the statement in Matthew 26:28, "for the remission of sins," it had to be because they had been forgiven all through the Old Testament! Christ shed His blood because God forgave repentant and believing sinners for thousands of years before the Son of God came to "take away" sins and to redeem us and pay the sin-debt with His own precious blood. How can one say that "for the remission of sins" means 'in order to obtain' in light of the fact that God never uses the phrase in that sense? In the Old Testament God forgave sin on the basis of a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22) - the Old Testament saints had their sins remitted (i.e., forgiven) but they were not redeemed until Christ came and shed His blood at Calvary. Their sins were covered (Romans 4:7; Psalm 32:1), but the sinner was not cleared of his guilt (Exodus 34:7) until the Cross (Heb.10:4). Before Calvary, the sins of believers were pardoned, but they were not paid for (i.e., redeemed) until the crucifixion (see Romans 3:25 and Heb. 9:12-15). When Jesus said, "It is finished," (John 19:30), all sin - past, present and future - was paid for, and the plan of salvation was completed, so that 'whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins' (Acts 10:43). In Acts 2:38, the people were baptized because their sins were forgiven (at Calvary when Jesus said "Father, forgive them,") and they received the blessing of forgiveness when they repented of their sin of rejecting Christ and accepted Him as their Saviour and Lord. Friend, heaven or hell depends on what you believe about this.

Question #12

If salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done, and baptism is a work of "righteousness," then how can water baptism be a part of salvation? (Titus 3:5; Matt. 3:16) In the Bible, we are SAVED BY GRACE, and grace does not involve human effort or merit - grace is grace and work is work! (Just read Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 11:6.)

Question #13

The " Church of Christ " teaches that "obeying the Gospel" includes being baptized in water in order to be saved. If this is true, then how is it that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith before and without water baptism? The Bible says in Acts 5:32 that only those who obey God may receive the Holy Ghost - so what did those in Acts 10 do to obey and receive the Holy Ghost and be saved? In the light of Acts 10:34-48, Acts 11:14-18, and Acts 15:7-11, how can anyone honestly believe that water baptism is necessary to salvation? Simon Peter said their hearts were "purified by faith" (Acts 15:9) and that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ like they were (Acts 15:11); that is, before and without water baptism! We know that unsaved people do not receive or have the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Romans 8:9). We know that the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have believed on Christ (John 7:39). We know that the Holy Spirit seals the believing sinner ! Â the moment he puts his faith and trust in Christ as Savior, before he is ever baptized in water (Ephesians 1:12,13). How does the warped theolgy of Campbellism explain away these clear passages of Scripture without "muddying the waters" of truth and drowning its members in eternal damnation?

The Answer:

It is difficult to know where to begin in response to this inquiry. I have seen preacher Martin’s questions before and have paid little attention to them because of the spirit in which they proclaimed. Having been sent here for response, and assuming that the inquirer is honest and sincere in knowing answers, some response will be given. Due to the length of the “question,” not attempt has been made to correct spelling, punctuation, or grammar.

Many of the questions have already been answered at this website. They have been available to preacher Martin and his associates by Internet searches. I certainly found preacher Martin’s Solid Rock Baptist Church website in that manner. My experience tells me that those who use inflammatory language in the manner of preacher Martin have little interest in studying the truth. They think that if they call others enough derogatory terms his listeners will somehow conclude that his opponents are evil. From what I have seen of his writings, he justifies his pejorative names by Jesus’ conduct. It is certainly true that Jesus spoke harshly of the scribes and Pharisees, but never ever did Jesus use such language in his speaking to the multitudes. Paul used stern language when speaking of Judaizing teachers but not of those to whom he preached. The gospel is to be preached in love, Eph. 4:15. The use of such language is neither loving nor true.

Many of the questions listed above are addressed at length in our special lesson on baptism, available here.

Answer to Question 1.

Read our many lessons on the Lord' church, available here.

Read or listen to our special lesson on the Lord' church from our Thought Provoking Questions series, available here.

Read the answers to Questions # 30, 31, 59, 85, 148, and 223.

Listen to the following Audio Sermons: “The Undenominational Nature of the Church,” “It Really Does Matter What You Believe About the Church,” "It Really Does Matter What You Believe About the Contemporary Church,” and “Misconceptions About the Church.”

Answer to Question 2.

Read the answer to Question # 186.

Answer to Question 3.

Read the answers to Questions # 81 and 170.

Answer to Question 4.

Read the answers to Questions # 11, 37, 39, 60, and 120.

Listen to the Audio Sermon, “The Security of the Saint.”

Answer to Question 5.

Read the answers to Questions # 11 and 120.

Example: Simon the Sorcerer, Acts 8:9-24. Simon believed and was baptized. He sought to buy the gift of God with money. Peter said that he had neither part nor lot in the matter, that his heart was not right with God, and that he was in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. This is too plain for preacher Martin to explain away. It was by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Luke wrote that Simon believed and was baptized. Did the Holy Spirit have it right or wrong? It may be said that he was not lost, but the language is too strong for that argument to be valid. In what state would Simon have been if he had not repented and prayed as Peter commanded? The answer is obvious – he would have remained in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity with a heart that was not right with God. Other examples could be cited but if he will not believe this one he will not believe others.

Answer to Question 6.

Read again the answer to Question 5 above. Acts 8 contains what Peter told Simon to do.

Listen to the Audio Sermon, “The Security of the Saint.”

The usual argument made by those who believe “once saved, always saved” is that those people were never saved in the first place. If that is so, then how can one who believes that ever be sure that he or she is saved? After all, even the scripture says that Simon believed. If he was never saved that means he would have been lost even if he had never sought to buy the power of God with money. His thinking that he believed would have made no difference. Indeed, even the Holy Spirit got it wrong. Acts 8:12 says of those who heard the preaching of Philip believed and were baptized both men and women. Were any of those saved? The Holy Spirit used the same word of them, “believed,” that he used of Simon.

God is not an Indian Giver if you lose your salvation. God did not take it away; the wanderer threw it away. The father did not take away the inheritance of the Prodigal Son; he bestowed it upon the son who then spent it in riotous living. When the son came to himself, confessed that he had sinned against God and his father, and went home, the father received him back. What would have been the son’s situation if he had remained with the pigs in the far country?

Answer to Question 7.

Read the answers to Questions # 123, 144, and 150.

Read Lesson 10 from our series of lessons on James.

Answer to Question 8.

Listen to the Audio Sermon, “The Security of the Saint.”

Answer to Question 9.

Listen to the Audio Sermon, “The Undenominational Nature of the Church.”

There are numerous “designations” or “descriptions” of the church in scripture – church of God, kingdom, churches of Christ, church of the firstborn, to name a few. For preacher Martin to say that the term church of Christ is never used in scripture and then cites Romans 16:16 which refers to “churches of Christ.” Preacher Martin concludes from the use of the plural that the singular does not exist. If not a single church of Christ existed it would have been impossible to have churches of Christ. The greater includes the lesser by definition. The truth is that preacher Martin’s argument demonstrates how far he will go to avoid the teaching of scripture.

Answer to Question 10

Read the Answers to Questions # 7, 35, 55, 121, 140, 177.

Read or listen to our class on “Instrumental Music in Worship.”

Pastor Martin urges that the piano is an aid like the song book or the pitch pipe. Singing is impossible without a song; singing is impossible without pitch; singing is possible without a piano (or an orchestra as some churches now have). Now I suppose that a piano could be used only to strike a single note for pitch, but that use of the piano would be silly. I would like to hear preacher Martin play How Great Thou Art on a pitch pipe or a pitch fork. That attempt alone should demonstrate to him that a pitch pipe is not the type of instrument that is involved here.

Answer to Question 11.

This question is simply a longer way than earlier questions to assert that baptism is not essential to salvation. As such all of the materials cited above in relations to questions related to baptism are relevant here. For example, those who have studied those responses know that a “Campbellite elder” is not needed to baptize. Not even an elder of the body (church) of Christ is necessary. Preacher Martin may object to that use of the term “church of Christ,” but those who have studied the scripture cited above know that Christ’s body is the church and the church is Christ’s body. Preacher Martin admits that the scripture says that baptism is for the remission of sins, but he asserts that every time that phrase is used it refers to the fact that sins have already been forgiven. The Greek language does not support him. He even makes that argument based on Matthew 26:28. I will confess that I have never heard anybody argue the Christ shed his blood because sins were already forgiven. He says it “had to be because [sins] had been forgiven all through the Old Testament” and that “God forgave repentant and believing sinners for thousands of years before the son of God came to ‘take away’ sins and to redeem us and pay the sin-debt with His own precious blood.” What does the Old Testament teach about God’s dealing with sins before Christ? Preacher Martin cites David’s statement in Psalm 32:1. This Psalm has been included as one of seven Psalms selected as “penitential psalms.” It was part of the service of the synagogue on the Day of Atonement. On that day the sins of the Jews were carried away on the scape goat. But how did God deal with them? Were they forgiven forever? Read Hebrews 10:1-4 – ”For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. {would...: or, they would have ceased to be offered, because, etc.} 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Where there is a remembrance of sins, sins have not been forgiven. Sins would not be forgiven until the New Covenant. “31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: {although...: or, should I have continued an husband unto them?} 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34. As long as sins were remembered they were not forgiven. Heb. 8:12; Heb. 10:4, 12 -18. Preacher Martin argues that the sins were forgiven in Old Testament times, but he needs to explain why the sacrifices offered did not make them perfect, i.e., sins forgiven. Note that he does not argue that the blood of Christ obtained forgiveness for sins past; he argues that the sins were already forgiven long before the blood of Christ was shed. Of course this raises the question, if God could forgive sins before the blood of Christ was shed, why could He not have continued to forgive without the shedding of the blood and spared Christ from Calvary? It is, of course, true that the blood of Christ obtained forgiveness for “sins past,” Rom. 3:25; however, those sins were not forgiven until Christ shed his blood and offered that one sacrifice forever. Note the following syllogism that utterly falsifies Preacher Martin’s argument.

Major premise: Sacrifices were offered under the Law of Moses.

Minor premise: Where sacrifices are offered there is a remembrance of sins.

Conclusion: Therefore, sins were remembered under the Law of Moses.

Let’s try another syllogism:

Major premise: Where remission of these [sins] is, there is no more offering for sin. Heb. 10:12.

Minor premise: Under the Law of Moses there was continuing offering for sin.

Conclusion: Therefore, under the Law of Moses there was no remission of sins.

Preacher Martin recognizes this problem and is led to argue that under the Law of Moses the Jews were forgiven but not redeemed. The truth is that “forgiveness” and “redemption” are the same thing. To the Ephesians Paul wrote of Christ, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Eph. 1:7. He wrote the same to the Colossians: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14. Surely Preacher Martin will not attempt to draw a distinction between “forgiveness” and “remission of sins.” In fact, he has already admitted that they are the same when, in question 11, he states that “for the remission of sins” in Matthew 26:28 looks to the past remission of sins because “they had already been forgiven.” Thus, Preacher Martin equates “remission” and “forgiveness.” As we have seen, Paul equates “redemption” and “forgiveness.” It has long been known that things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other, so let’s see what that means:

Example:

A=B

B=C

Therefore, A=C.

Now let’s apply it:

Remission = forgiveness

Forgiveness = redemption

Therefore, remission = redemption.

Preacher Martin is wrong. When he admits that there was forgiveness or remission he admits that there was redemption. If he cannot allow redemption until the shedding of the blood he cannot logically argue that there was forgiveness or remission until the shedding of the blood. The only conclusion that can be reached is that Preacher Martin’s argument on Acts 26:28 is neither logical nor scriptural.

One last word here – Preacher Martin argues that God forgave sins in the Old Testament on the basis of blood sacrifices. “In the Old Testament God forgave sin on the basis of a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22) - the Old Testament saints had their sins remitted (i.e., forgiven) but they were not redeemed until Christ came and shed His blood at Calvary.” Preacher Martin, Question 11. Anyone listening to him should at this point turn away from his teaching because it flatly contradicts inspiration: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls should take away sins.”

Preacher Martin also argues that the Greek word eis used in Acts 2:238 and Matthew 26:28 means “because of” in both passages. Here again his argument fails. I will not take the time or space to repeat all that has been said by scholars on this subject (the meaning of eis), but I will list their last names: Abbott, Alexander, Armitage, Axtell, Benson, Bickersteth, Bloomfield, Bonet-Maury, Butcher, Bywater, Cameron, Clarke, Cranmer, Cyril, Dill,Diodati, Ditzler, Doddridge, D’Ooge, Du Veil, Flagg, Foster, Fullerton, Gale, Gloaf, Godet, Goodell, Goodwin, Hackett, Halley, Hammond, Harkness, Harman, Harper, Houge, Hovey, Huntington, Lechler, Meyer, McLean, McLintock, Packard, Paine, Pope, Proctor, Purves, Sadler, Sale, Schaff, Scott J., Scott T., Sitterly, Strong, Thayer, Turrentine, Tyler, Weiss, and Willmarth. Thayer is perhaps the best known Greek scholar in the list. He wrote in a private letter, “I accept the rendering of the revised version “unto the remission of your sins” (the eis expresses the end aimed at and secured by ‘repentance and baptism’ just previously enjoined).”

All of those listed above were referring to eis as used in Acts 2:38, but the construction of Matthew 26:28 is exactly the same thing. To make either of them look back to a prior forgiveness is to ignore the scholarship of the ages.

More could be said, but if this will not persuade the honest reader of the falsity of Preacher Martin’s position, it is doubtful that it can be done. Please note that I am not addressing any of these comments to Preacher Martin personally. I have addressed them to his arguments and his positions. There is nothing to be gained by name-calling and ad hoc arguments. I do not think the Lord would be pleased with such attacks, and I will not make them.

Answer to Question 12.

Preacher Martin’s question is not clear because he does not define what he means by “works of righteousness which we have done,” nor does he offer any support for his conclusion that baptism is a work of righteousness by whatever definition he is using. No one questions that we are saved by grace. It is certainly God’s grace that provides salvation. However, that does not mean that there is nothing that man must do in order to receive the salvation that grace has made possible. Since Christ died for all men God’s grace makes salvation possible for all men. If there is nothing man is to do to receive that salvation then why does it not follow that all men will be saved? Nowhere in scripture does it say that man is saved by grace alone. Let’s try another syllogism:

Major premise: God’s grace is extended to all men.

Minor premise: Man is saved by God’s grace alone.

Conclusion: Therefore, all men will be saved.

I have read Titus 3:5; Matt. 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Romans 11:6. None of the passages teaches what Preacher Martin tries to make them mean. In fact, Titus 3:5 clearly teaches the opposite of what Preacher Martin teaches. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7. Note that v. 5 contains the very expression used by Preacher Martin – not by works of righteousness we have done. Whatever that phrase means, it is clear that “the washing of regeneration” is not included among them. What is “the washing of regeneration?” Hear how the Pulpit Commentary, which is in no way connected with the church of Christ describes it: “Paligenesi,as [translated “regeneration], therefore, very fitly describes the new birth in holy baptism, when the believer is put into possession of a new spiritual life, a new nature, and a new inheritance of glory. And the laver of baptism is called “the laver of regeneration,” because it is the ordained means by or through which the regeneration is obtained.” The term “washing” brings to mind the instructions of Ananias to Saul of Tarsus: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Acts 22:16. Ananias had been sent to Saul to tell him what he must do. Acts 9:6. What he was told was to be baptized and wash away his sins. Saul had not been saved on the road to Damascus or there would have been no sins to wash away. Saul of Tarsus, who later became the Apostle Paul taught the same thing to Titus in Titus 3. Notice carefully:

  1. Salvation was not by works of righteousness which we have done.

  2. Salvation was by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

  3. Salvation was by grace. V. 7.

Clearly baptism did not negate grace. The language is the same as that of Peter on the day of Pentecost: “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.

Baptism is an act of obedience based upon the commands of God. In that sense faith itself is a work. See John 6:28-29. If the reader is serious about studying the relationship between faith and works, he is directed to the lessons on James on this website, especially Lesson 5 which discusses faith and works at length.

If Preacher Martin is to maintain his position and defend his teaching, he has some explaining to do. It is easy to set forth unproved assumptions. Let him define his terms and support his assumptions. If he believes that he is preaching the gospel surely he is set for its defense.

Response to Question 13.

Read the Answers to Questions # 9 and 14, with special attention to Questions # 27 and 219.

Preacher Martin assumes that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith without water baptism. His only argument is that the Holy Spirit was only given to those who obey God. He does tell us when in the process of Peter’s preaching that they received the Holy Ghost nor does he tell us the measure of the Holy Spirit that they received. See the above Questions and Answers for answers to those questions. Those answers will demonstrate why Preacher Martin’s argument cannot afford to fill in the blanks in his argument. His positions are contrary to scripture.

The remainder of Question 13 is just a rehash of prior questions. The passages cited and the arguments made in response to the first 12 questions cover them all. Pastor Martin’s braggadocio that his questions have no answers is shown to be just that – braggadocio. Perhaps Pastor Martin will attempt a reasoned response to these answers without unproved assumptions, illogical arguments, and erroneous conclusions. We shall see.


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)