Jun 11

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In review of last week’s article, the invitation invites two classes of people: (1) those who are not Christians, and (2) those Christians who have sinned publically. I. To those who are not Christians, God explains that the following are required: 1st, Hear the Gospel (Rom. 10:14; John. 6:44,45). 2nd, Believe the Gospel (Mark. 16:16; John. 1:12). 3rd, Repentance (Acts 2:38). Now we continue….
4th, Confession. A second work of faith (Jas. 2:26) is confession. Jesus said “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32). Upon the confession of the Ethiopian (“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God “Acts 8:37), Philip proceeded to baptize him. (Acts 8:38). It was upon this confession that Christ said He would build His church (Matt. 16:13-17). Romans 10:9,10 states, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,…thou shalt be saved. For…with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.“ Thus, if a non-Christian wishes to become a Christian, one of the works of righteousness (Acts 10:35) that he must do is to confess that Jesus is the Son of God.
5th, Baptism. Baptism is an immersion (Rom. 6:4) in water (Acts 8:38) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). The water itself does not save anymore than did the water itself cleanse Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kings 5). Rather it is the act of obedience to the command of God (Luke 7:30) which saves us (1 Pet. 3:21).
Baptism stands in between the non-Christian and: (1) being saved (Mark 16:16); (2) having his sins washed away (Acts 22:16); (3) becoming a child of God (Gal. 3:27); (4) being added to the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13); (5) being freed from sin (Rom. 6:3-7); and (6) entering into the kingdom (John. 3:3,5).
Conclusion. What does God require of a non-Christian? Hear, believe, repent, confess, and baptism.
II. To those who are Christians but have publically sinned, God explains the following are required:
1. Repentance. Simon was a Christian (Acts 8:13) who committed a sin (Acts 8:19-23). God’s response through Peter was “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven” (Acts 8:22). To an entire congregation which had fallen, Jesus told them to repent, or else he would remove the candlestick (Rev. 2:5). Since the Bible makes it clear that there will be Christians who will be found in the lost state (Gal. 5:4; 2 Pet. 2:15, 20-22) due to sin (Isa. 59:1-2), then repentance is a must if the Christian wishes to be forgiven (Acts 8:22; Rev. 2:5).
2. Confession. In James 5:15-16, due to the Christian’s committing of sin, “they shall be forgiven him,” and he “may be healed,” but such is conditioned upon, “confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another….” When Jesus taught concerning the lost son’s return, confession of sin was included in his restoration (Luke. 15:18,21).
Thus, confession of sin is a must if the Christian wishes to be forgiven of sin.
3. Pray for forgiveness. Included in the verses for the above two conditions is the necessity of prayer. Peter told Simon to repent and pray (Acts 8:22) and James instructed to confess and pray one for another (Jas. 5:16).
Conclusion. What does God require of the Christian who has sinned? He must repent, confess, and pray. The invitation is always open. Heaven is too wonderful, and hell is too horrible to reject the Lord’s invitation.

Gary Henson

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