Feb 03

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It is amazing how the mind works for we humans. In the mind of many, and I mean many; it is believed that no one is lost, and everybody will go to heaven at death. In the mind of these folks, there is no way to be lost! Therefore, the question which serves as our title is a most useless question.
Yet, in the mind of others, they believe there are several ways to be saved. Some believe: 1) that there is nothing that a person must do, to be saved; 2) some believe that a person must do somethings, but they are not sure just what; and 3) still others believe there are certain things that a person must do to be saved. Of course, there is no authority in what people believe or don’t believe. This question can only be answered correctly by a study of the New Testament! We must follow the “ambassadors for Christ” of whom Paul wrote: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, …” (2 Cor. 5:19-20). The pronoun is in this verse refers to the apostles and not to us of today! Many make the mistake of taking the pronouns “us” and “we” as referring to “us” today, which is used in several verses; therefore, they come away believing incorrectly. This is one of the problems the Pentecostal people make; but it is not limited to them! This is a problem within the churches of Christ! If it is wrong for one, it is wrong for all of us! The “ambassadors for Christ,” preached the word of “reconciliation” and this is the word of salvation; or in other words, the word of “reconciling!”
“The word reconciliation” is the word that brings the lost to God, through Christ. One of the problems in “Christendom” is that they take one verse, as though it has all the information about how one is saved and they believe it is the total of the subject. It is dangerous to take just one verse on any subject. Look at this verse, as it is one used to teach that all one has to do is “believe.” Before looking, let me ask, do they ever tell us just what one must believe? Generally, it is said: “You must believe that Jesus is the Christ.” But look at one of the verses used: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9). Did you see it? Did you see the words, “Jesus is the Christ?” No, you did not! This verse says, “shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Also, notice that the verse says: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, the Lord.” We have gone, now, from believing to “confess with thy mouth.” We now have two necessary things that one must do to be saved!! Yet, we do not have: “You must believe that Jesus is the Christ!” However, the verse does give us two things necessary, and they are: 1) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” and 2) ““shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead.
Another verse used to teach that one must believe that Jesus is the Christ: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). At least we are getting closer to the words some require that the lost must believe to be saved. The word “he” in the text would appear to imply, that the lost must believe that Jesus is the Christ. These words were spoken before Pentecost and to the Jews. What difference does this mean? Jesus is preparing the Jews, as well did John who baptized, for the end of the old law and the beginning of the gospel; thus, moving the Jews from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ. This never crosses the mind of many, if not most.
Some may never think about “time,” and “context” as they read the four gospel accounts. John, who baptized, Jesus, and the twelve, did their teaching in what I call, “the period of transition,” as the teaching was to call the Jews to repentance as it related to the Law of Moses and prepare the for “the age of Christ,” meaning the time Christ has “all authority (Matt. 28:18). This information, “time” and “context,” can make a difference of knowing what to do to be saved or continuing to be lost!

Frank R. Williams

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