WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE! Grace is the gift of unearned righteousness and is the only basis 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 and it is “the power of God to save all that believe” (Rom.1:16).
People are not born inheriting the guilt/sin or righteousness of another (Eze.18)! The whole creation suffers the curse Adam and Eve’s sin brought into the world (Rom.8:19-22). We suffer the consequence of physical death because of their sin (Gen.3:17-19). But our sin as theirs is personal and against God (Ps.51:4). They are fitting representatives of us all Rom.3:22-24! Our sin brings spiritual death, separation from God (Isa.59:2).
We know God’s Grace is for all sinners because Christ died for all (2Cor.5:14ff, 1Jn.2:2). This proves God truly loves the world (Jn.3:16), not willing anyone to perish (1Pet.3:9), but for all to be saved (1Tim.2:3-4).
WE ARE SAVED THROUGH THE AVENUE OF PERSONAL FAITH. The power of faith is in the God we trust. This is how Jesus could say it only takes a small amount of faith to accomplish impossible things (Lk.17:5-6). The Lord Jesus Christ has all the power and is the only one we must look to for salvation! Grace and Faith are inseparable! God made our righteousness an issue of our faith, so that it would be an issue of His grace, to guarantee we would get it (Rom.4:16). In Hebrews 11:1f we have a description of obedient faith. All actions of obedient faith are connected to God’s grace and “if it is by grace it is no longer by works” (Rom.11:6).
WE ARE NOT SAVED BY OUR WORKS! God’s Law demands and deserves perfect obedience Gal.3:10ff. All sinners failed under Law and have only earned death (Rom.6:23). Jesus is the only sinless man to fulfill God’s Law and God commands all sinners to repent (Acts 17:30) and believe in Him (Jn.6:29, 1Jn.3:21f). Salvation is by faith/trust in Jesus Christ alone so no Christian can boast about earning it by works (Rom.3:27).
BAPTISM IS THE PENITENT OBEDIENCE OF FAITH IN THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. The Bible teaches baptism is a tangible gift of God, never a work of Law or one’s personal righteousness (Tit.3:5). It is a point of reference for Christians and Bible writers like Peter and Paul. In Rom.6:1f Paul taught that we participate by faith in Christ’s sin destroying, law fulfilling death, burial, and resurrection to a new life of glory to God. In Rom.6:4 we are told exactly WHY we are baptized, “in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” This new birth is ascribed to “as many as have been baptized into Christ” (Gal.3:27f.) In Rom.6:15-18 Paul said servants of sin became servants of righteousness when they, “wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.”
If the blessings Paul ascribes to Baptism are not spiritual realities, they are useless to his defense of the Gospel (Rom.5:20-6:1-4). Those who reject this teaching claim baptism is a “work” of personal righteousness and therefore not essential. They reject the plain teaching of the Bible on baptism because they know we cannot earn salvation. My question is, what does anyone think they earned in their baptism?
Any command or act of repentance, or faith, or is linked to the remission of sins, receiving the Holy Spirit, union with Christ, clothed with Christ, and being saved “by the resurrection of Christ” (1Pet.3:21-22), must never be taken lightly or taught to be optional. Yes, God knows our hearts and He wants us to trust Him and faithfully obey Him and His Great Commission (Matt.28:19f, Mk.16:15-16). Remember God is UNITING believers in Christ’s One Body in baptism, man should not be dividing them by the same means.
GRACE God’s grace is inseparably linked to our faith in the Word of Christ (Rom.10:14-18). We must never think that our faith/trust is an obstacle to grace that we must overcome. God’s gift of righteousness is by faith, so it will be by grace, so we who trust in Him will be guaranteed to receive it (Rom.4:16). Any acts of obedience that the Scriptures link to salvation “by grace through faith” cannot be by works (Rom.11:6).
FAITH “By faith the walls of Jericho fell, AFTER they marched”. Note the people did not start bragging how THEY brought those walls down! No they gave God the glory for doing what He promised and He alone could do! Also, NO ONE asked if they really had to march! No one argued with Joshua that their marching was optional because the walls would fall by faith and not by works!
THE BIBLE INSEPARABLY LINKS FAITH TO OBEDIENCE. To believe in God is the “work” sinners are personally required to do (Jn.1:12-13; 6:28-29). In James 2:17 we see that faith without works/obedience is dead as a corpse.
In Jn.12:42-43 we have examples of disobedient believers. In Heb.11 we have a perfect definition and description of saving faith in multiple examples of how faith accomplished impossible things by the power of God when people obeyed His commands.
WORKS IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH OBEDIENCE. When Paul speaks of not being saved by “works” he is talking about the perfect works the Law deserves and demands. In Romans, Paul declares his calling the preach the Gospel of Christ to people of all nations. Like two book-ends, he begins in Rom.1:5 and ends in Rom.16:26 revealing the aim of his whole ministry, “THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH”.
WORKS OF LAW ARE THE OPPOSITE OF WORKS OF FAITH. Works of Law look to the worker (Rom.4:4-5). Faith always looks AWAY from the truster 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”. He is talking about a sinner under Law who does not do the perfect work required.
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. 3:11-16 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.