The word of God links some things both directly and indirectly. This brief study is most important to salvation. Please read carefully each reference given to see how important this truth is.
First, please observe that Jesus AND His church are inseparably connected. Matthew 16:13-19 connected the two. Matthew records the prophetic and promised words of Jesus, “I will build my church.” Notice three words: “I”; “my”; and “church.” Paul told the “saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1) that “Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23; 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18). The head AND the body are one. Death results when there is a separation of the two. The scriptures never speak of Jesus OR the church, but Jesus AND the church, His body. Both Jesus and His Church are important.
Second, another indissoluble picture the scriptures present is the new birth, water, the Spirit and the kingdom of God. (John 3:1-5, 23). Jesus told Nicodemas, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (Verse 3). In verse 5, Jesus explained what He meant by the new birth, saying, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Verse 23 explains what Jesus meant by “water”, water baptism. Thus, one is saved when one obeys the engrafted word of the Spirit to be buried in water baptism to be saved. (James 1:21-25). The connection, therefore, is that the hearer of the word of God upon obeying the word of the Spirit by being baptized in water enters the kingdom of God. Each item is, therefore, necessary to entering the kingdom. Man needs to cease trying to separate these things.
Third, faith and baptism are securely connected. Jesus told His apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). He then told them, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Verse 16). Notice that Jesus did NOT tell them to exhort people to say the sinner’s prayer, be saved by “faith only”, omit baptism, etc. Jesus “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8, 9), said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Verse 16). Notice that believe AND baptism are tied together by a copulative, coupling, coordinating conjunction. Faith, baptism AND salvation are inseparably connected. Both faith AND baptism are necessary to achieve salvation. What unbeliever would ask to be baptized? Thus, it is not necessary to say, “and is not baptized” in the second part of the verse. Consider: He that eateth and digesteth shall live, but he that eateth not shall die. One who does not eat cannot expect to live, so there is no need to speak of digesting if one has not eaten.
Fourth, and similarly, “Peter on the day of Pentecost” and others “filled with the Holy Ghost,…began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 1:26; 2:1-4, 14). He told those guilty of crucifying and slaying the sinless Son of God with wicked hands (Verse 23), “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,….” (Verse 38). Peter’s command (not suggestion) tied repentance, baptism AND remission of sins together. Biblically, neither repentance nor baptism can be removed to receive remission of sins. AND links two things necessary to forgiveness of sins. This harmonizes with Luke 13:3, 5, repent or perish, and 1 Peter 3:20, 21, baptism saves us. Nicodemas was told that a failure to be baptized in water would not allow him to enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:1-5, 23). Compare Matthew 26:26-29 and Acts 2:38, where “for” (Greek, EIS) in each instance means to bring about, not because of past action.
Fifth, hearing the word of God, faith, repentance, confession and baptism are each tied to salvation. Please take the time to see this most important and inseparable connection that you may obey all of the will of God, being truly saved. One is “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1), but “not by faith only.” (James 2:17, 20, 24, 26). Salvation is by grace through faith when one does (saves self, Acts 2:41; Philippians 2:12) by doing what God has ordained. (Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 5:8, 9). Faith “cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Listen to God rather than man. Doctrines and commandments of men will render worship in vain. (Matthew 15:9). The true believer in God must be willing to repent as salvation is sought. (Luke 17:3, 5; Acts 17:30, 31; 2:38). Following one’s decision to turn from a rejection of God’s will to changing one’s life to one of obedience (Matthew 21:28-32), those who would seek to be baptized must first confess their faith in the Deity of Jesus. (Acts 8:36-38; Romans 10:9, 10; Matthew 10:32, 33). Upon completion of these things, faith, repentance and confession of Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16), one is just a step away from being saved. Following one’s confession, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”, Philip commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:37, 38), by burial in water (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:1-5) for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:20, 21), to enter and put on Christ (Galatians 3:26, 27), to enter the body or church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22, 23) of Christ (Romans 16:16), being added by the Lord. (Acts 2:41, 47). No votes by fallible people are necessary. When one does the will of the Savior, He saves and adds that one to His church.
Further evidence of hearing, faith, repentance, confession and baptism being connected and all necessary to salvation is seen when one considers the following diagram:
Are you ready to do God’s will as He has set it forth? Man may not agree with what you have studied. Man may have misled you. Remember, “Salvation is of the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6). Have you followed His way as set forth in the word of God? If not, why not call the one who gave you this information to do so. You may also call the one whose name is on this tract to assist you.
Dear student of the word of God, do not be deterred by anyone from doing what is right. Over the years, this writer has taught many people from many backgrounds. In a number of cases, the truths herein have been believed, but prior to their obedience, they were told, “You better cease studying with those people; they will confuse you.” Others have said, “Now, you know if you do this, it will be like saying your good old daddy and mama went to hell.” Some have read passages that speak of saving faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8, 9), and told people that nothing else is said. The list goes on and on. Do not allow the seed of the kingdom, the word of God (Luke 8:11), sown in your heart to be trodden down and devoured. (Matthew 13:3-23; Luke 8:4-15). If someone seeks to change your heart from believing what you have studied and know to be right, demand that they get behind you (Matthew 4:10), or explain why God did not mean what he said. Be as Paul, who said, “I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” (Acts 2&:25). Then, be as Paul who “was not disobedient unto the heavenly calling”, but “immediately” received sight, arose, and was baptized. (Acts 9:18; 16:33).