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1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 3, Chapter 10

Jesus’ Salvation Is Received
Through Faith Alone

Chapter Illustration

See Also the Video:
The Value of Using What Is Eternal Life? in Evangelism

Section 3 Chapters
Study Questions

This Chapter is an expansion of comments made about this subject covered in Chapter 9 of Section 1 of this textbook titled, "Unalterable Biblical Foundations For Successful Evangelism." If you have not yet read this Chapter, it would be to your benefit to read it first before reading this Chapter.

When I share the Gospel on the field I get many different statements about how we are saved. Some are the following: "Through Repenting of our sins," "Through water baptism," "Through receiving the Holy Spirit," or "Through speaking in tongues." It is true that in order to receive Jesus’ salvation for our sins, we must first confess and repent of our sins. Jesus said,

Luke 24:46-47 "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’" (see also Matt 3:1-12)

Jesus made plain that we must repent of our sins to be forgiven, but just repenting of our sins does not gain God’s forgiveness for our sins. If we could be saved through just repenting of our sins, then all people of all religions would be saved. We must repent of our sins in order to receive God’s forgiveness for our sins, but just repenting of our sins alone will not gain God’s forgiveness for our sins. The only way we gain God’s forgiveness for sin’s repented of is when we accept by faith alone His forgiveness for those sins through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. Paul and John wrote,

Romans 5:8-9 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."

Ephesians 1:7 "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace."

1 John 1:7 "The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."

Revelation 1:5 "To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood."

Many times I am told on the field that we are saved through water baptism. They will cite Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16,

Acts 2:38 "And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’"

Mark 16:16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved."

When these passages are taken out of the Bible, it is hard for one to argue with them. By themselves this seems to be exactly what these passages are saying. What is the problem with interpreting these verses at face value? First, Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16 are not the Bible, they are verses in the Bible. The Bible is Genesis through Revelation. These verses must be interpreted in the light of all that the Bible teaches on the subject. Second, Peter’s own teachings and comments in the rest of the book of Acts do not support the emphasis these people are putting on Acts 2:38. All one has to do is read the rest of the book of Acts to see that Peter does not interpret his statement in Acts 2:38 the way these various religious groups are interpreting it.

In Acts Chapter 10 we read of the first Gentiles converted to Christianity. Peter was a Jew and nothing unclean had ever entered his mouth and he had never polluted himself by entering the house of a Gentile. However, Jesus did not just come to save the Jews as Peter and even at this time the rest of the Apostles had believed, but to save all mankind including the Gentiles. Because of Peter’s incomplete understanding about Jesus’ salvation for men the Lord gave Peter a vision of all the animals of the earth, including the unclean ones they were commanded in the Law of Moses not to eat. When Peter saw the vision the Lord told him to kill and eat. Peter responded by saying to the Lord that nothing unclean had ever entered his mouth. Jesus said in response in Acts 10:15 "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." This happened three times and then some Gentile men knocked on Peter’s door that were sent from Caesarea by Cornelius, a centurion and Gentile of the Italian cohort. Cornelius sent them to Peter through the instruction of an angel of the Lord to have Peter come and deliver a message to them.

The Holy Spirit told Peter He had sent them to him and that He was to go with them without misgivings. When Peter greeted the men he went with them and when he arrived at Cornelius’s house, he said to him and the others gathered to hear him,

Acts 10:34-35 "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him."

What do we see demonstrated here? We see that even though Jesus had died, risen from the dead and afterwards had spent forty days with the Apostles teaching them and then they witnessed His ascension, they still did not yet have a full understanding about what their salvation in Jesus was all about, the universal scope of that salvation to all mankind including the Gentiles as well as the Jews, nor how it was to be received and administered. Up until this vision, Peter believed that Jesus’ salvation was only for the Jews, not the Gentiles. The book of Acts is a recording of the beginnings of the church, their growth and the Apostles’ learning experience of all that Jesus’ salvation involved. In Acts Chapter 2, to the best of Peter’s understanding, which was based on John the Baptist’s baptism and instruction, he was explaining to them what they needed to do to be saved, but at this point Peter did not believe this included Gentiles. Now in Acts Chapter 10 Peter learns through the Holy Spirit that Jesus’ salvation includes the Gentiles also.

As Peter was sharing the Gospel with these Gentiles, in Acts 10:43 he made the following statement:

"Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."

Groups which tell you that you are saved through water baptism will tell you that believing means to be baptized in water. However the sects of the Pentecostal believers who teach this will also tell you that the person is not truly saved until he receives the Holy Spirit and speaks in Tongues. They base this on Romans 8:9 "But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." I have had this said to me many times on the field when sharing the Gospel with men.

After Peter made this statement in Acts 10:43, what happened next? Acts 10:44 tells us:

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message."

Wait a minute? These groups tell us that a person is saved when baptized in water and that only afterwards can they then have someone lay hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit. Had these Gentiles been baptized yet? No. What had happened? After Peter told them that in order to receive forgiveness for their sins they had to believe on the Gospel, they believed in their hearts the message of the Gospel. When God saw in their hearts their saving faith, He automatically gave them His Holy Spirit as a result. Therefore saving faith is not being baptized in water, but believing on the message of the Gospel which is Jesus’ death and shed blood for our sins. Peter affirms this truth in Acts 11:15-17 and again in Acts 15:8-11,

Acts 11:15-17 "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?"

Acts 15:7-11 "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows-the-heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit ,just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. . . . But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."

In these passages Peter reaffirms repeatedly that not only where these Gentiles saved not because they were baptized in water, but because they believed his message of the Gospel, but also makes it plain that he and the rest of the disciples were saved in the same way. How? How were they saved? ". . . after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . cleansing their hearts by faith." When did Peter baptize them in Water? Note what Peter said in,

Acts 10:47-48 "‘Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?’ And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ."

It was only when Peter saw the evidence of the saving faith they already had that he would then baptize them in water, but not as the means of their salvation, but because of the salvation they already had. How did they receive the Holy Spirit? After they were baptized in water? No, when they believed, God gave them the Holy Spirit automatically as a result, just as it was for Peter and the Apostles. Again, however, not as the means of their salvation, but because of the saving faith they already had. This is in total agreement with what the Apostle Paul teaches in His Epistles. Paul wrote to the Ephesians,

Ephesians 1:13-14 "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory."

Here Paul explains to us the process of salvation:

  1. First, the Person must hear the Gospel.

  2. Second, the person must believe on the Gospel to be saved.

  3. Third, when a person believes on the Gospel with saving faith, as a result of the salvation they already have, God automatically gives and seals them in the Holy Spirit.

Salvation does not come through repenting of our sins, or through water baptism or through receiving the Holy Spirit or through speaking in tongues. Salvation is received through faith and through faith alone. When do we receive water baptism, before or after salvation? After we have believed. How does one receive the Holy Spirit? Automatically as a result of believing on the Gospel. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:19, "Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His.’" Only God knows those who have saving faith in His work of salvation for them through Jesus Christ. When God sees that we have saving faith in our hearts, Paul tells us that He then gives and seals us in His Holy Spirit automatically as a result, but not as the means of our salvation but as a result of the saving faith in our hearts we already have. Paul tells us in

Romans 10:9-10 "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

Paul tells us here that salvation takes place when a person believes in his heart. This again is in complete harmony with what took place in Acts Chapter 10: Peter shared the Gospel and before they had given verbal confession, they believed the Gospel in their hearts with saving faith. God knowing their hearts gave them immediately His Holy Spirit as a result.

Why then is it necessary for us to confess Jesus as Lord? Because even though God knows when a person has saving faith in the Gospel in their hearts, the only way we know if a person has believed is by what they confess with their mouth. Salvation takes place in the heart before God, but the evidence of the salvation we already have before men is through our works: confessing with our mouth Jesus as Lord and obeying Jesus through water baptism, etcetera. These are our works, but not as the means of our salvation, but evidence and proof of the salvation we already have.

When did Peter, Philip and Paul baptize their converts in water? Before or after they were saved? After they were saved:

Peter: Acts 10:47-48 "‘Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?’ And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ."

Philip: Acts 8:36-38 "And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son-of-God.’ And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him.’

Paul: Acts 16:30-33 ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in Adonai-Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of Adonai to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household."

In everyone of these cases saving faith came first and only when they gave evidence of saving faith would they then baptize them in water, but not as the means of their salvation, but as a result of the saving faith they already had. In these last two cases there was no physical manifestation of the fact that they had the Holy Spirit, no speaking in tongues, only confession of saving faith they already had. Only God knows those who are His, only God knows those who truly have His Holy Spirit. We can only go by what a man says and his works that follow, but salvation takes place through saving faith in the Gospel in the heart. Only God knows those who are His. God allowed the Gentiles to manifest speaking in tongues in Acts 10:46 to let Peter and the Apostles know beyond doubt that Jesus’ salvation was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews. But whether they spoke in tongues or not, they were not saved when they spoke in tongues or when they received the Holy Spirit, but when they believed in their hearts the message of the Gospel.

The reader at this point needs to understand that there is a difference between receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit at the moment when we have saving faith in the Gospel and being baptized in the Holy Spirit for ministry outreach and release which is accompanied with speaking in tongues. This was clearly demonstrated in

Acts 8:12-17 and Acts 19:1-7. In verse 12 of Chapter 8 it says the following:

Acts 8:12 "But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike."

Again here, we see that only after they believed would Philip then baptize them in water. Verses 14-17 then go on to tell us the following:

Acts 8:14-17 "Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of Adonai-Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit." (See also the case of the Ephesians in Acts 19:1-7)

We have already established clearly that Peter and Paul teach us that we receive the Holy Spirit automatically when we believe whether we feel it or not or whether we speak in tongues or not, but receiving the Holy Spirit and being Baptized in the Holy Spirit are not the same thing. One is a dwelling within and the other is an anointing upon for service. I received Jesus Christ in November of 1969. I saw the work of the Holy Spirit in my life immediately, but it was not until 1972 that I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues through two friends of mine laying there hands on me and praying for me to receive it.

The Lord had been dealing with me about my need to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit because of my work of Evangelism. When I became convinced Scripturally of its separate validity in my walk and service to the Lord, I allowed my friends Chuck & Elain Davidson, who already had it, to pray for me to receive it. This happened just before I went on a missionary trip. When they prayed for me I instantly began to speak in tongues. The increase of fruit that followed in my ministry work, people coming to Christ and being healed physically through prayer, proved to me its validity and how much I really did need it in my work of Evangelism to be as fully fruitful as God wanted me to be. This however is not the purpose of my discussion here. The purpose of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, its Scriptural validity and how it helps a believer in bringing men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ are the discussion of my Advanced Textbook on Evangelism titled, Relationship With Jesus The Key to Effective Ministry. My only reason for making mention of it at this point is to let you the reader, who are baptized in the Holy Spirit, know that I believe in and teach this experience, but that receiving the Holy Spirit when we believe and being baptized in the Holy Spirit are usually two different events in a believers life. Whether a Christian speaks in tongues or not when he believes, he is not saved when he speaks in tongues, but only when he believes on the Gospel. God then automatically gives that person His Holy Spirit as a result whether the person is aware of it or not or whether he speaks in tongues or not. I am also mentioning it here at this point to explain that while, like in the case of the Gentiles in Acts 10, both receiving and being baptized in the Holy Spirit can come about simultaneously at the moment of salvation, for most of us, like in the case of the Samaritan believers in Acts Chapter 8 and the Ephesians in Acts Chapter 19, it has been two separate events. The Samaritans believed. As a result of their saving faith God gave them His Holy Spirit. When Philip saw their saving faith, probably through mouth confession, he baptized them in water. Later, then, the Apostles visited the Samaritan believers and prayed for them to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Both Paul and Peter clearly testify to us that Jesus’ salvation for our sins through His death and shed blood on the Cross is not received through repenting of our sins or through water baptism or through receiving the Holy Spirit or through speaking in tongues; Jesus’ salvation for our sins is received through faith and through faith alone! What then is Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38? In the context of everything that Peter and Paul tell us about the process of salvation, they are general all inclusive statements about our salvation in Jesus. How do we know if a person has truly believed? By whether he obeys Jesus. John wrote in,

1 John 2:3-4 "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

How do I know if a person is truly saved? It will be evidenced by His obedience to Jesus’ commands of which one is water baptism; but not as the means to his salvation, but in evidence of the salvation he already has. This is what James is talking about in James 2:14-22 when he states that faith without works is dead. He states, "You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

What Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 are not is flat statements about what saves us that the rest of the New Testament must then be forced into submission to. When this is done, one must then say the New Testament contradicts itself, that Peter contradicts Himself in His own teachings throughout the rest of the book of Acts on Salvation, that Jesus’ contradicts Himself in His statements about salvation in the rest of the teachings of the Gospels and that Paul contradicts what these passages teach on salvation.

In the past I had an e-mail correspondence with a minister who came from this persuasion. He tried to tell me that everything written after Acts was not to be used for the purpose of establishing salvation theology, that these other books were only written and addressing the church, not the issue of Salvation. This man in order to live with the contradictions he found in the rest of the Bible just simply cut out and threw away what did not support the way he was interpreting Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16. In light of that, I studied through and addressed him only with the book of Acts and showed him how Peter’s teachings in the book of Acts contradicted the way he was interpreting Peter’s statement in Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16. He would never give me any response to these clear contradictory passages. He would instead resort to name calling, attacking Paul and saying I was of those camps, but he would not give me any explanation of how he could explain in Acts 10 their receiving the Holy Spirit before water baptism and then Peters further statements in Acts 11:15-17 and 15:7-11. This has pretty much been my experience with other ministers of this persuasion also. The man I was corresponding with through e-mail would then go on and attack Paul and his salvation theology. However, I never addressed anything Paul had to say except to point out that Peter’s teachings in Acts were in complete harmony with the teachings of Paul in His Epistles. What does Peter have to say about this? Peter stated in 2 Peter 3:15-16,

"And regard the patience of our Adonai to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."

First, Peter acknowledges Paul’s writings as the Word of God and does not attack Paul’s writings but defends them as not Paul’s ideas but the word of God; second, the context of this statement of Peter is in regard to salvation; and third, he makes plain that people like this man, because they do not take what Paul has to say about salvation into consideration in their teachings on salvation, actually end up distorting what the Bible has to say about salvation. Paul, Peter and John wrote their Epistles Primarily to address wrong teachings about salvation. One cannot understand fully the process of their salvation without reading the Epistles. That is why this man and his associates error, because they do not take into consideration the teachings of the Epistles on salvation in formulating their salvation theology, they do not take the full counsel of God into consideration.

The Bible does not contradict itself and to properly interpret any passage, it must be taken into consideration with everything else the Bible has to say on the subject. All cults based on the Bible are the result of taking verses out of the context of the Bible as a whole and building a theology on it. This is true of Jehovah witnesses, Mormons, Christian Science, etcetera. When you do not take into consideration everything the Bible has to say on the subject of salvation, you end up doing what this man and his associates do, you come up with all kinds of false teachings to explain away obvious contradictions to the way you are interpreting a verse that was meant to be interpreted in the context of the Bible as a whole. Remember, the Bible does not contradict itself, only our interpretations do. It is our interpretations which need modifying, not the Word of God. The truth of the matter is that when you take everything else Peter has to say about salvation in the book of Acts, you find it is in complete harmony with everything Paul teaches in the Epistles. There is no contradiction. The contradiction only comes when Acts 2:38 is made to stand alone without taking into consideration everything else Acts and the rest of the Bible teaches on the subject of salvation. Paul wrote Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth."

1 Timothy 4:16 "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you."

Salvation through Faith Alone is dealt with on pages 9-10 of the salvation tract What Is Eternal Life? It is true that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but his death is not applied to our sins until we receive this work of Jesus on our behalf by faith. Paul wrote in Romans 3:28 "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law." We receive this work of Jesus’ salvation for us by faith by receiving Jesus Christ Himself into our hearts as Savior from our sins and as Lord of our lives.

What do we mean by faith? By faith! we do not mean blind faith, meaning faith without proof or verification; we mean knowing that once we ask Jesus to come into our hearts as Savior from our sins and as Lord of our lives, that He does come in and save us, not as a feeling, but because He gave us absolute proof that He will do what He promised when He came back physically from the dead. What is Jesus’ promise? That He will come into your heart when you ask Him to.

The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans Chapter 4 tells us about Abraham that he was saved not as a result of being circumcised which represented the Law but because he believed God’s promises to him. Moses records in Genesis 15:6 "Then he believed in Yehovah; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." Paul tells us that God made this declaration to Abraham not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.

Romans 4:9-11 "For we say ‘Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.’ How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the Father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them."

The point of this being that he was saved by believing on God’s promises, not because of some religious act. Paul’s point is that once we have repented of our sins we are saved by believing on God’s promises through Jesus also, not because of some religious act like water Baptism or because we speak in tongues. This is what Paul is talking about in Romans 10:9-10 when he says if we believe God the Father raised Jesus physically from the dead we shall be saved. When we believe on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are saying we believe God’s promise that He accepts Jesus’ death and shed blood for our sins in our place and that He has proved this to us by bringing Jesus back from the dead.

Paul further explains to us that Abraham following Yehovah in obedience through circumcision did not save him but was simply evidence of the faith and salvation Abraham already had. When a person has truly repented of his sins and turned to God for His forgiveness of those sins by faith through Jesus’ death and shed blood on the cross, it will be evidenced in the future by his changed life and obedience to Christ’s commands; but not as the means to his salvation, but as a result of the saving faith he already has. This truth is covered clearly on pages 17 of What Is Eternal Life? In the same way, water baptism does not save us either, but our following Jesus in obedience to Him through water baptism gives evidence and proof of the saving faith we already have.

When sharing the Gospel, how do we properly administer Salvation?

  1. First, we are to Preach the Gospel, preach Jesus, share the Gospel with men (Acts 8:5, 35, Rom 10:14-15, Rev 19:10).

  2. Second the person must believe on the Gospel and then give evidence of his saving faith through confessing Jesus as Savior and Lord (Acts 8:13, 37, Rom 10:9-10, 13)

  3. Third, when they give us evidence of the saving faith they already have through confessing Jesus as Savior and Lord, then and only then do we baptize them in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19-20, Acts 8:12, 13, 38, 10:47-48).

  4. Finally, we are to then lay our hands on them and pray for them to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for ministry outreach and release (Acts 1:8, 8:12-17, 19:6-7).

Since Peter, Paul and Philip would only baptize a candidate when they gave evidence of already having salvation through verbal confession, the teaching of infant baptism is also unscriptural and in error. A several week infant does not have reasoning

capabilities. Even if in a church service he hears the Gospel, he is not able to understand it or receive it by faith. Finally, he cannot, as Paul says is necessary for salvation in Romans 10:9-10, confess with his mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in his heart God the Father raised Jesus physically from the dead. Peter and Philip and the book of Acts make it plain that water baptism is only for those who have already believed on the Gospel and made a public profession of this fact, but not for the purpose of being saved, but because of the salvation that they already have. Infant baptism is centered in an incorrect interpretation about what the Bible means by predestination.

This incorrect interpretation teaches that God has already determined those who will be saved and those who will be lost. Salvation has no bearing on whether a person believes on the Gospel or not, but only on God's predetermined choice of who He will save and who he will dam. Infant baptism is practiced to immediately introduce into the kingdom those who have already been chosen. I go into great detail about how the context of many of the passages used to support this wrong interpretation of Scripture does not support this heretical teaching in Section 5 Chapter 5 titled Evangelism? Or Predestination?

What is the purpose of water baptism. Water baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is our first opportunity to give physical witness to the World of our faith and salvation in Jesus and the meaning of that salvation. Paul tells us the meaning of water baptism in the Book of Romans:

Romans 6:3-5 "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection."

When we receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we receive the Holy Sprit and are made one spirit with Christ (1 Cor 6:17). What this means is that whatever is true for Jesus is now true for us. This is symbolically demonstrated in water baptism. When we receive Jesus, His death becomes our death for our sins. We die in Jesus and are buried with Him. This is symbolically demonstrated through our going under the water. But being made one spirit with Jesus means more than just His death and burial becoming our death and burial for our sins, it also means that we are raised in the likeness of Jesus’ physical resurrection to New life. It means we are a new creation as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation77; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." This is symbolically demonstrated in water baptism through our coming up out of the water. We are declaring to the world that when we received Christ we died in Him, were buried with Him and that we shall also be raised from the dead, recreated anew, in the likeness of Jesus’ physical and spiritual resurrection. In light of this, Paul admonishes us in Colossians 3:1-4,

"If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."

I had been saved for a year before I had had an opportunity to be baptized in water. The reason being that I had been saved in circumstances which would not have allowed me to be baptized in water again, since they had baptized me as a new born infant. God first had to change my circumstances and church so that I could follow in obedience to Him through water baptism as a confessing believer. A year after I was saved He moved me out of the circumstances I was in and led me to become a part of a church that taught salvation by faith and believers baptism.

When I did finally receive water baptism It came about in a strange way. I had been attending this church for some time. I had filled out a card expressing that I wanted to be baptized in water and was waiting to be contacted so I could be. Finally, one Sunday evening when I came to church, I arrived in the back of the church and over heard the Pastor talking to some people about water baptism. I walked over and asked him if I was on the list he was holding. I don’t think I was, but he knew me that I was a professing born again Christian and so told me that yes I was and that I needed to go with the rest and get ready to be baptized.

In this church the Pastor always asked us to share briefly how we became Christians,how we came to have saving faith in the Gospel. I gave my brief testimony of how I came to have saving faith and then was baptized. What I did not know was that a friend of mine, named June Mason, a friend from before I came to saving faith in Jesus Christ, had come to visit this Church that night and as a result heard my testimony about how I had received Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord and then witnessed my baptism. As a result, that night she gave her life to Jesus Christ and believed on the Gospel with saving faith.

Other passages in the New Testament which talk about our salvation through faith in Jesus’ death and shed blood only, not through receiving the Holy Spirit or because we speak in tongues or as a result of water baptism, are the following:

Acts 13:38-41

Ephesians 2:8-9

Galatians 3:1-9

Romans 1:16-17; 3:21-28, 20; 4:1-25; 5:2-11; 10:3-17

I encourage you to look them up and read them.

EVIDENCE of a Person Having
SAVING FAITH in the Gospel

What are evidences of a person being truly saved? First, we need to understand that only God knows those who are truly saved. Peter made this plain in Acts 15:8 when he said, "God who knows-the-heart. . . ." Paul makes this more clear in 1 Timothy 2:19, "Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His.’" Though only God knows those who are his, the Scripture gives us evidences of those who are truly His and therefore saved. What are these evidences? First, the confession of a person’s mouth. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:9-10,

"That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

Often when I go out on the field and share the Gospel, I run into people who claim that they are Christians but that their faith is personal, between them and God. Not according to the Apostle Paul. When a person is truly born from above and comes into relationship with Jesus Christ, he wants to share it with everybody. I received Jesus as Savior and Lord 43 years ago and the high light of my week is when I get to go out and share the love of Jesus Christ with men.

Jesus put it this way in the Gospel of Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." Only Jesus knows those who are his, but when a person claims to be a Christian but is ashamed of his Christian testimony, Jesus says I have a right to question the legitimacy of his or her faith.

A second evidence of Salvation is a love for the children of God. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:13-15

"Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of spiritual death into spiritual-life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in spiritual death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal spiritual-life abiding in him."

A person who knows Jesus wants to be with other Christians. He loves to fellowship with the children of God.

Third, a changed life. This is the testimony of anyone who knows Jesus: "When I gave my life to Jesus, He saved me from. . . ." "I could not overcome this problem until I took it to Jesus and He showed me what to do to over come the problem and it worked."

I once worked with a man for two years. He said all the right things. He did all the right things. What didn’t he do? He never showed any evidence of change or growth in his relationship with God. As time went on I came to realize that in two years of working with him, he never once ever stated that Jesus ever shared anything with him. I would talk to him about what he learned from the Word and why there was no change in his life in relation to it. He would always give me the answer that he intended to do something about it, but then never did. After a while I would say to him that I was sure all the people in hell intended to accept Christ, but intending and doing are not the same things. All there good intentions did not keep them from going to hell when they died. He would just laugh and nothing would change. He was very religious and did religious works, but there was no evidence of a changed life. He was also involved in many moral issues. At first it appeared that he was a very dedicated Christian, but because I worked with him for two years, I came to realize that his moral involvements were not out of his relationship with God or love, but for the purpose of trying to prove to everybody else that he was better than them. He was very moral, but had no compassion or love. Jesus and the book of Hebrews put it this way,

Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’"

Hebrews 6:7-8 "For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God. But if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned."

Fourth, there is evidence of an ongoing growing relationship with God. The writer of Hebrews and Paul wrote,

Hebrews 3:7-8 "Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness.’"

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 "But just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God."

Christianity is relationship with Jesus. The whole purpose of Jesus’ salvation for us was to bring our spirits back to life and back into relationship with Him so we could talk to him and receive from Him through our spirits and again have a relationship with Him. God’s plan for man was for him to be lead by the Holy Spirit through his human spirit. When Adam and Eve sinned, their spirit died. As a result, their ability to be led by God by the Holy Spirit through their human spirit became impossible. It was for this reason that God through the prophets revealed Himself to us through the written word so that we would know something about God and about His moral character. Without a relationship with God, the only means of moral rightness or wrongness that we have in life is through what is revealed in the Bible.

But the relationship of the Christian who is born from above changes all that because when he is born from above through the Holy Spirit, his spirit comes back to life and he enters back into relationship with God so that the Apostle Paul explains,

Romans 7:6 "But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter."

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit creates-life."

The letter represents the Law: God’s Word, whereas the Spirit represents our relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. It also represents not being changed in our lives through the Law but through our on-going relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

As I was grieved and pondering over this man and his life one day, the Lord showed me that he was not saved and that he did not know him. It was not too long after this that a mutual friend of his and mine came by to visit. During our visit he brought up this man and expressed a concern about him. I shared with him my concern about him also and what I had believed the Lord shared with me about him. I explained to this friend I will call Steve,

"Steve, you have a lot of problems in your life that some of us would consider very big problems, but whenever we get together and share, you will say over and over to me, ‘This morning in my quiet time the Lord showed this to me about my life and gave me an answer to this. . .’ which shows me that you are saved because every time I see you, you share with me Your relationship with Jesus. In two years of working with this man he never once shared with me anything about his relationship with God or anything whenever I would ask him to seek the Lord about something in my life I needed wisdom on. It was not until the Lord showed me that this was because he did not know Him, he did not have a relationship with God. The reason why I know you have a relationship with God is because whenever I see you, you talk with me about your relationship with God, what He is ministering to you. This man never has."

He astoundingly came to agree with my evaluation.

The fifth evidence of a person knowing Jesus is his obedience to Christ. The Apostle John wrote:

1 John 2:3-4 "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

John tells us clearly in this passage that if a person has truly come to know Jesus, he or she will obey His commands to them in His Word and to them personally. Later John also tells us that our obedience to Jesus is also evidence of our love for God’s children. He writes:

1 John 5:1-2 "The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. . . . Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do His commandments."

We have already established in this Chapter that Water Baptism does not save us, but if someone says he knows Jesus, but is resistant to obey Him in Water Baptism, the Bible teaches we have a right to question the legitimacy of his or her salvation. A person who is saved loves Jesus and wants to please and obey him. A person who is saved is not looking for reasons to disobey Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 7:20-21,

"So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven."

This is what James the brother of Jesus was talking about in James 2:14-18 when he said,

"What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, ‘You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’"

Somebody at this point will jump in and say, "See! You are saved by works!" First, The Book of James is not the Bible, but is one book of many books in the Bible and therefore must be taken in the context of everything else that the Bible teaches. Second, we need to understand that James was not talking to the unsaved, but to believers. Third, we need to understand the motivation behind what James wrote here, and that is that Jerusalem was undergoing a famine. The Christians who had were not taking care of their brethren who did not have, they were hording and taking care of themselves. This goes first of all back to the evidence of a true Christian which is his love for the children of God. James’ point here is exactly what we are talking about. They were saying they had faith, but their faith wasn’t being evidenced by their works, by their love for the children of God. Their selfishness and self-centeredness was demonstrating just the opposite. Therefore James’ rebuke of the lack of the evidence of their faith was justified. But this passage is also talking about that if a person truly knows Jesus, then it will be evidenced through his obedience to Christ and through his works which brings us to our next evidence.

The sixth evidence is a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. When a person comes to know Jesus and the depth of Jesus’ love for him through his salvation, that person loves Jesus and wants to serve him. That person has a hunger and a thirst for righteousness, for the truth. Jesus said it this way in John 3:19-21,

"And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

A person who knows Jesus and loves Jesus does not run from Him. A person who knows Jesus cannot get enough of Him. He wants Him all the more, so he draws near to Christ all the more because he wants his will and purpose for his life. This is the purpose of a daily Quiet Time with Jesus and His Word: it is a time to seek Jesus about what in your life is of Him and what is not and what works He wants you to do and what works He wants you to cease so you know that your works are the result of God’s initiative, not your own and are wrought in God.

Jesus put it this way in John 5:44,

"How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?"

You are a mature Christian when what You do is out of your love relationship with Jesus, not because it will gain you the approval of men. Jesus said,

John 6:27 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him God the Father has set His seal."

If a person claims to know Jesus, but shows no evidence of a hunger and a thirst for righteousness, no change of life-style, the Bible teaches that that person is a liar.

The most important thing on Jesus’ heart is our bringing others to a saving knowledge of who He is, yet most Christians I talk to about how important this issue is have a million excuses of why they cannot get involved. Only God knows those who are his, but based on what Jesus said, I have a right to question the legitimacy of their faith. They are too busy chasing after the world to care about those who do not yet know Jesus. They are storing up treasures on earth rather than in heaven. Paul put it this way in Philippians 3:18-20

"For many walk of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."

Finally, the seventh evidence is a hatred toward sin. The Apostle John wrote in

1 John 5:18 "We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him." In 1 John 1:8, John is very plain in saying that if we say we have no sin, we are liars; so John is not saying here that if you know Jesus that you will not sin in your walk with Jesus. On this side of heaven we have the presence of a fallen soul and flesh which while positionally saved its redemption is yet to be manifested and is still under the power of sin. It is only because of the Grace of Jesus that we have any restraint over sin in our lives at all (Rom 1:28-32). So John is not talking about sin out of weakness here. He is talking about willful deliberate sin. He is telling us that a person who is born of God through the Holy Spirit does not practice deliberate willful sin. A child of God may not be able to keep from sinning on a continuous basis, but he hates sin and is very grieved when he does sin. He cries out to Jesus for His deliverance and for his power to overcome the sin in his life.

A person, however, who does not know Jesus, doesn’t care about his sin. This is because he does not have the indwelling Holy Spirit to convict him of his sin. John is talking about a person who claims to know Jesus, but lives in deliberate habitual sin on a daily basis. The apostle Paul put it this way in Ephesians 5:5-6:

"For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because

of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."

Also in Galatians 6:7 Paul wrote, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." If a person truly knows Jesus, he is not going to be able to live in willful sin for very long. This is because he will be so miserable that he will not have peace until he repents of his sin. But a person who claims to know Jesus and yet lives in willful sin but shoes no remorse or intent to repent of his sin, John says that, that person is a liar. He does not know God.

I have presented many evidences of how we can know whether a person truly knows Jesus or not in this chapter. There are certainly many other evidences that the Bible mentions. I recommend reading through the First Epistle of John. This book focuses on what is a true believer and what is not.

In review, we are not saved by repenting of our sins, or by receiving the Holy Spirit, or by speaking in tongues, or through receiving Water Baptism. When we repent of our sins, we are saved, not by any works of ours, but through receiving by faith God’s forgiveness for those sins through Jesus’ death and shed blood on the cross alone. We personalize this by receiving Jesus into our hearts as Savior from from our sins and as Lord of our lives. When we have saving faith in the Gospel, God automatically gives us His Holy Spirit as a result. Having the Holy Spirit and Water Baptism are not the means of our salvation but evidence of the salvation that we already have.

If a person has truly come to Jesus and received Him as Savior from their sins and as Lord of their life, it will be evidenced by

  1. Their unashamed public confession of Jesus as Savior and Lord

  2. By their love for the children of God.

  3. By their changed life.

  4. By their ongoing growing relationship with God.

  5. By their obedience to Jesus’ commands.

  6. By their hunger and a thirst for righteousness.

  7. And finally, by their hatred toward sin.

Study Questions
On to chapter 11
Bibliography & Notes
Section 3 Chapters

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