WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE. This gift of God is the only basis for sinners to have eternal life with Him. Grace is the gift of unearned righteousness that is required for fellowship with the Holy God! God’s grace is manifested in the Gospel of Christ’s “death, burial, and resurrection” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The Gospel of God’s Grace is sent to the World (Matt. 28:19f, Mk. 16:15-16, Lk. 24:46-47), and this establishes three major truths:
We do not inherit the guilt of sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)
WE ARE SAVED THROUGH FAITH. The power of faith is in the God we trust. The gift of faith is the avenue to God's saving grace. This is how Jesus could say it only takes a small amount of real faith to accomplish impossible things (Lk.17:5-6). We are commanded to believe in Him (John 6:29, 1 John 3:23). Faith is personal and looks away from ourselves to God alone to do what is impossible for us to do. Faith is not imposed on us by the Holy Spirit but a willful response to God's Word. The Lord Jesus Christ has all the power and is the only person we can and must look to for salvation!
WE ARE NOT SAVED BY WORKS. God’s Law demands and deserves perfect obedience (Gal. 3:10ff). Everyone has failed under Law and has earned only death and separation from God (Rom. 3:23). Jesus Christ is the only sinless man to fulfill God’s Law. So Jesus commands all sinners to believe in Him for salvation (Jn. 6:29, 1Jn. 3:23-24). Since salvation is by faith/trust in Jesus Christ alone no Christian can boast about earning it by works (Rom. 3:27).
WORKS IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH OBEDIENCE. When Paul speaks of not being saved by “works” he is talking shorthand about the perfect works the Law deserves and demands. God’s Law demands and deserves perfect obedience (Gal. 3:10ff). All sinners have failed under Law and have earned only death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus Christ is the only sinless man to fulfill God’s Law, so Jesus commands all sinners to believe in Him for salvation (Jn. 6:29, 1 Jn. 3:23-24) . Since salvation is by faith/trust in Jesus Christ alone no Christian can boast about earning it by works (Rom. 3:27).
WORKS OF THE LAW ARE OPPOSITE OF WORKS OF FAITH. Works of Law look to the worker (Rom. 4:4-5). Faith always looks away from the person trusting to the perfect works of Christ alone and so cannot earn anything. However, when Paul speaks of “the man who does not work” he is not talking about “the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5, 16:26). He is talking about a sinner under Law who does not do the perfect work required.
THE BIBLE INSEPARABLY LINKS FAITH WITH OBEDIENCE. When God commands an action with faith, the act is the faith. Some believed who Jesus was but did not confess it because they did not love Him (Jn. 12:42-43). The obedience of faith gives God all the glory as opposed to self righteous works. Salvation (Heb. 5:9) and gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32) are given to "those who obey Him". In Romans, Paul declares his calling to preach the Gospel to all nations. Like two ends of a bookshelf Paul begins in Rom. 1:5 and ends in Rom 16:26 with his mission to produce the "obedience of faith". James 2:17 says faith without works/obedience is a dead corpse. In Heb. 11 we have a description of saving faith and multiple examples of how faith accomplished impossible things by the power of God when people obeyed His commands.
ABOUT THE BAPTISM
BAPTISM IS NOT A WORK OF LAW BUT THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH. It’s NOT a Church Ordinance but the command of Jesus Christ in His Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20, Mk. 16:15-16). On the Day of Pentecost, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on all those who obeyed John’s baptism of “repentance for the remission of sins” (Lk. 3:3), as was promised by John in Matt. 4:11-16 and Jesus (Acts 1:4-5).
In Acts 2:36f all those who heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, (His prophecy fulfilling, sin atoning death, burial, resurrection, glorification, and exaltation to David’s throne at God’s right hand), were convicted of their personal sin and cried out, “What must we do?”. The Lord’s answer was plain! In Acts 2:38-39 “Peter replied”, (as Christ had commanded him and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call." Notice how this baptism has two gifts connected to it!
A PURPOSE - “for the remission of sins”. NOTE in Acts 2:40 that this command was not given because they were already saved as Peter, “warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves...”
A PROMISE - “and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” NOTE this command was not given because they had already received the Holy Spirit!
We read on about what happened that day in Acts 2:41-44 how 3,000 obeyed that very day and the Lord continually added to the Church those who were being saved. NOTE the text simply says, “those that gladly received the message were baptized”. No word about repentance here because it is inseparably linked with baptism! NOTE they were simply called “all those who believed”. No word here on repentance or baptism because these three are all inseparably linked to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This pattern continues throughout Acts with two exceptions. The first is with the Samaritans (Acts 7) and then the Gentiles in Acts 10,11 who both needed special confirmations that the Gospel was for them as well as the Jews.
We must choose to believe everything the Holy Spirit says about baptism and claim all the promises linked. toit. Those who insist that baptism is a meritorious work of Law must ask themselves, "What did I earn?". Baptism is simply the obedience of faith. If we can help you or answer questions about becoming a Christian please contact us!
COMMUNION IS ABOUT REMEMBERING CHRIST'S SACRIFICE. Communion is a sharing or participation in the body and blood of Christ. These are not mere symbols but signs of his presence with us. It’s communing, it’s fellowship together. It’s a remembering of the death, burial, and resurrection. We are remembering Him (Luke 22:19). "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (1 Cor. 11:26). We are partaking of His body and blood together, and that’s a spiritual reality. In that moment Christ is present with us. Nothing changes as we pray- it’s still unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. What does change when we give thanks is our hearts. In that moment we’re remembering that He died for me and that He died for you too (1 John 2:2).
COMMUNION IS ABOUT REMEMBERING CHRIST TOGETHER. In partaking of communion, we’re remembering Him but also remembering who we are together in Him. We do this every first day of the week.
Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore…. Be imitators of God now as His beloved children and live a life of love, just as he gave himself up as a fragrant sacrifice.” We are being transformed in the image of Christ (Rom. 8). We are disciples of Christ imitating God day by day. We’re learning from Him, and we’re becoming more and more like Christ. Discipleship is a process, an ongoing metamorphosis.
The first three chapters of Ephesians gives you a spiritual identity in Christ and establishes that you are:
- Seated at God’s right hand.
- Partaken of the Holy Spirit.
- Sealed by the Holy Spirit when you believed.
- One in Christ.
- And have peace between believers of all nations.
To the church in Ephesus he says who they are- now under Christ. Then in Ephesians 4, 5, and 6 he gives instruction how to live together in unity in Christ.
ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
One receives the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit in baptism. You can’t earn or work for the gift of the Holy Spirit- it is given to us in baptism (Titus 3:5ff). Titus 3:5 refers to “the washing of rebirth,” and the word "washing" translates to "the water of rebirth". John 3:5 says, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit," and Ephesians 1 references you “being sealed with the Holy Spirit when you believe.” You receive the Holy Spirit when you’ve repented, believed in Christ, and have been baptized.
ABOUT THE CHURCH
We are a church of Christ (Rom. 16:16). We are a nondenominational church, and the New Testament is our creed. We’re baptized into one body with the head as Christ, so we’re supposed to treat each other as if we’re connected. In Ephesians 4, 5, and 6 Paul gives instruction how to live together in unity in Christ.