For Our Roman Catholic Friends

Caretaker

Old Greybeard
May God bless your heart for Christ and your desire for His eternal Truth;


I would urge you to go to this website and follow the lead of the Bereans and search the scriptures whether this is so:


http://www.justforcatholics.org/

http://www.justforcatholics.org/crucial_questions.htm



crucial questions

Do you hunger for a personal relationship with God? Do you long for spiritual cleansing, liberty and peace? The Bible gives us the answer. Ask God in prayer to open your heart to the message of the Gospel. Earnestly seek God – He promises to reveal Himself to honest seekers. “You will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).
Crucial Questions

1. How can I know?
2. One Sacrifice
3. One Mediator
4. Forgiveness
5. The Church
6. Born again
7. Right with God
8. Salvation
9. The Gospel

HOW CAN I KNOW?

The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15).

The Lord Jesus described two ways, the broad road leading to destruction and the narrow one leading to life. How can we know the way that leads to heaven, and avoid the other?

The Gospel is the true way to life because it is God's message to humanity. People have invented several religions but all of them are false; the Bible warns us that “the world through wisdom did not know God” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

God's message is recorded in the Bible. It was written by holy people who were guided by the Holy Spirit. We can trust the Bible because it is God's book. We can also be confident that it is the sure guide to Heaven. The Holy Scriptures “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

What about church tradition? Jesus warned us against tradition (Mark 7:1-13). He accused the Jews that they were “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition.” They should have remained faithful to the written Word. Similarly, church tradition has changed the clear teaching of the Bible. For instance, the church commends the veneration of statues even though the second commandment forbids the making of graven images and bowing down before them (Exodus 20:4).

What about religious teachers? We should listen to teachers as long as their teaching is faithful to the Bible. We ought to imitate the people of Berea who “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

What about our personal opinion? We should eagerly seek God's way, not our own. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

The Bible is the only sure guide to heaven. The person who learns, believes and obeys its message can say: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

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ONE SACRIFICE

Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many (Hebrews 9:28).

It is our responsibility to obey and love God, our Creator and Ruler. However, since the beginning we have rebelled against Him and, because of our sins, we are guilty and in danger of Hell.

There is only one way of escape, as the Bible says, “without shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness)” (Hebrews 9:22). During the Old Testament period God commanded His people to offer animal sacrifices on the altar at the Temple in order to teach us two basic truths: 1. Sin must be punished; 2. The sinner may be freed if somebody else was punished in his place.

The Old Testament sacrifices were a picture of what Jesus, “the Lamb of God,” would do on Calvary. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ, the perfect and sinless One, took upon Himself the sins of His people. He suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty demanded by the Law of God. Freed from sin by the sacrifice of Christ, His disciples can now approach God without fear.

On the day before He suffered, Jesus instituted the “Lord's Supper” so that His disciples would continue to remember Him and His sacrifice until He returns. Sadly, tradition has changed its meaning. The Catholic Church teaches that the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. It is true that Jesus said, “This is My body...This is My blood.” However each time He explained, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” The bread and the wine are a remembrance, a memorial of His sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

A more serious error is taught by the Catholic Church. The Mass is regarded a sacrifice for sin; indeed it is said to be the same sacrifice of Christ because it “perpetuates” and “makes present” the sacrifice of the cross. This teaching contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible:

Christ entered “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; Not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another -- He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:24-28).

The daily sacrifice of the Mass implies remaining sin and guilt. In Biblical Christianity there are no more sacrifices for sin because Christians are assured that all their sins are forgiven forever. The Lord proclaims: “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Now where there is remission (forgiveness) of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:17,18).

Would you continue to rely on a man-made sacrifice, or would you approach God on the merits of the unique, perfect and finished sacrifice of Christ on the cross?

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ONE MEDIATOR

There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:5).

Since God is holy and we are sinners, it is impossible to approach Him on our own. We need a mediator to cleanse us from sin and to present us to God. The mediator is Jesus Christ: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the only mediator because He alone shed His blood to secure the freedom of His people from the slavery of sin.

Sadly, human tradition has obscured the clear teaching of the Bible. Unwilling to follow the Word of God, people have invented other “mediators.”

Mary, the Mother of the Lord

Mary is highly favored among women because she was chosen to be the mother of our Lord according to the flesh; Christians joyfully call her “blessed” for her unique privilege. However, Mary is not the Savior, nor is she the Mediator.

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was conceived without sin; by her suffering she contributed to our salvation; ascended into Heaven and was appointed our mediatrix. She is also called our life and the gate of Heaven. None of this is taught in the Bible. On the contrary the Word of God teaches that Jesus was conceived without sin; He died for our sins; He ascended into heaven and He is the only mediator. He alone is our life and the gate to Heaven. We should therefore look to Jesus Christ.

Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47). Mary desired the Lord’s exaltation, not her own. Moreover she plainly teaches us to look upon God for salvation, and not to herself or anyone else. God is “my Saviour,” she confesses.

We should call upon the name of Jesus, and not upon the name of Mary, because the apostle Peter declares, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The Catholic Priest

The leaders in the New Testament church were called pastors, elders and overseers (bishops); but they are never called priests, and for good reason. The Old Testament priests were replaced by Jesus Christ, the “High Priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1).

The Old Testament priests were sinners; they offered the blood of animals, and entered in a man-made temple on earth. Jesus is much better because He is sinless, offered His own blood, and entered into Heaven itself. “Such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself” (Hebrews 7:26,27).

What need is there for a Roman Catholic priest to offers sacrifices for sin if we have Jesus Christ for our Priest? “He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Do you want to know the way the Heaven? The Lord Jesus gives us a plain answer: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Come to the Father through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator.

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FORGIVENESS

Through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).

God alone can forgive sin, the breaking of divine Law. When David committed a serious sin, he found peace after he confessed to God. “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).

Human tradition has distorted the teaching of the Bible. Catholic priests claim the power to judge sinners and give or withhold absolution (a judicial sentence of forgiveness). Catholics are taught that Jesus instituted the sacrament of penance when He told the apostles: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23).

Undoubtedly Jesus gave them power to forgive. But we must ask: what kind of power did Jesus give them? Did He appoint them judges in God’s place? Or did He commission them to forgive sins by proclaiming the Gospel? The answer is clear if we read the Acts of the Apostles and the rest of the New Testament.

There is no evidence in the Bible that the apostles heard confessions or gave absolution. Rather they preached the Gospel and urged people to repent and believe in Jesus to obtain forgiveness. The apostle Peter preached, “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43); and the apostle Paul said, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him everyone who believes is justified” (Acts 13:38,39).

If you desire God’s forgiveness, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, just as the apostles taught, and you will be saved.

Christians should confess their sins. However they should not confess to a Catholic priest. Confession to a priest is a human invention, unknown in the church for many centuries. Jesus taught us plainly that we should confess directly to the Father, “Our Father in heaven... forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:9,12).

There is another critical mistake in the Catholic religion about forgiveness. The Church teaches that God's forgiveness is incomplete. After a person is “forgiven,” he must perform acts of penance to make satisfaction for his sins. Even after death, most Catholics expect to undergo purification in the fire of Purgatory.

The Bible assures believers that “your sins are forgiven for His name's sake” (1 John 2:12) and “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us form all sin” (1 John 1:7). They need not make satisfaction for the sins that Christ took upon Himself; they need not go to purgatory whose sins were cleansed by His blood.

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THE CHURCH

No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Once Jesus asked what the disciples thought about Him. The apostle Peter answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus commended Peter, saying, “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:16-18).

What is “the rock” upon which the Church is built? Some say it is Peter; others think it is Peter's confession, “Your are the Christ.”

In a sense, the church is built on Peter, the other apostles, and the prophets (as Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:20) because it is founded on their teaching about Christ. The Roman Catholic claim that the church is built on Peter because he was made the universal bishop of the church is false. Even though he was a prominent apostle, Peter was not considered the head of the whole church. The Vatican teaches that Peter is “the Church's supreme pastor (shepherd)” (Catechism paragraph 857); but Peter himself would disagree because he identifies Jesus Christ as “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

The rock could refer to Peter's confession about Christ, the Son of God, as St. Augustine and other Fathers taught. Even the Catholic catechism admits that this meaning is correct. “Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ built his Church” (paragraph 424). In either case, the papacy is not proved from Matthew 16.

We need not be in any doubt on the basic questions about the Church because the Bible gives us clear answers.

1. Who is the head of the Church?
Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23)
2. What is the foundation of the Church?
No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11)
3. Is there any other Rock besides the Lord?
Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock, I know not one (Isaiah 44:8).

The church of Jesus Christ is catholic (universal) because it is composed of all the people purchased with His blood from every nation of the world. The church is holy because its members are sanctified by the blood of Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The church is apostolic because it follows the teaching of the apostles as recorded in the Bible.

Every assembly of Christians, the local church, that believes and obeys the teaching of the Bible form part of the one, holy and catholic church of Jesus Christ.

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BORN AGAIN

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

The words which Jesus originally told Nicodemus, a respected Jewish leader, apply to us as well. Unless we are born again, we will not enter Heaven, even though we may be religious, attend church, read the Bible, pray, and try to live a good life.

Why should a person be “born again”? Why is this radical change necessary? The Bible describes the desperate condition of man’s natural state. He is not just ill or weak -- the natural man is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). His mind is not subject to God’s will, and though he may be religious, he does not seek after the true God. He has no living relationship with the Lord and he can't do anything about it.

Therefore it is not a matter of turning a new leaf or resolving to live better. Religious rites (like circumcision or baptism) cannot help either – Nicodemus was circumcised but he still needed to be born anew. Many baptized people show no signs of spiritual life.

There is no “how to” formula to be born again. It is neither a human work nor is it initiated by the human will. Infants do not induce, or cooperate in, their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” prompt the life-giving operation of God. His children are born “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). God gives life to whoever He wills.

Once a person is born again, he instinctively cries out to God, for now he is a child of the Father. Whereas the new birth is not produced by man, its effects are clearly seen in man. The apostle John gives several tests as evidence that a person is spiritually alive and well.

1.

Faith: Previously he did not think much of Jesus. Now he trusts only in the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, whom the Father sent to accomplish our salvation. “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).
2.

Holiness: The child of God grows to become like his Father. He hates what God hates and loves the things God loves. He fights against sin and temptation and willingly obeys the commandments of God. “Whoever has been born of God does not sin … everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 3:9; 2:29).
3.

Love: The child of God learns love from his Father; he desires to serve all people, especially his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

When you examine yourself in the light of the Word of God, can you honestly say, “Yes, I am born again”?

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RIGHT WITH GOD

Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

How can a person, burdened down with the guilt of his sin, obtain peace with God? According to Scripture there is only remedy: justification by faith in Christ. “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

“Justification” is a legal term; it is the very opposite of “condemnation.” The accused is condemned if the judge pronounces a “guilty” verdict; he is justified if the judge declares him “just, not guilty” and frees him from all punishment.

God, the Judge of the world, would certainly justify us if we were righteous. However the sad truth is that we are far from being righteous. On the contrary, we must plead guilty because we have acted contrary to His Law, and since we are sinners and unjust, God’s sentence must be our condemnation.

How then can a man be just before God? The Catholic religion teaches that God finally justifies a person when the sinner, by the sacraments, good works, penance and purgatory, becomes just and righteous.

Admittedly, God works in the life of His children, changing them to become more and more like His Son. Still, as long as they are on earth, Christians remain sinners (1 John 1:8). The Catholic teaching -- God justifies the righteous -- is bad news to every person on earth.

May God be praised for His unspeakable mercy: the Bible presents a different message! “To him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:4,5).

God does not justify the believer because he is righteous --he is not! God justifies “the ungodly.” Neither does God acquit him because of any credit gained by personal good works. God justifies “him who does not work”! This is the true Gospel, comforting balm for the poor sinner’s soul!

How can God justify the believer, seeing that he is still a sinner? The answer to this vital question touches the core of the Gospel. God is perfectly just when He justifies those who believe in His Son because Christ, the Lamb of God, accepted full responsibility for their sins. “The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Sadly many people are too proud to accept God’s gracious pardon. They feel that they must also do something to merit forgiveness. Instead of trusting in Him, they end up trusting in themselves. The Lord Jesus once told a parable in the hearing of some “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous.”

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You, that I am not like other men -- extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other” (Luke 18:9-14).

The first man presented his own righteousness and good works to God; the second approached God empty-handed. The Pharisee considered himself righteous and came confidently forward; the publican was painfully aware of his poverty and shame. Both went up to the temple to pray -- the self-righteous man asked for nothing; the publican pleaded for mercy. One was trusting in himself to be spiritually good, but in God’s eyes, he was not. The other depended solely upon God’s mercy and he went home justified.

We must make a choice between these two alternatives: complete trust in God or reliance on human effort. The Roman Catholic Church pronounces a curse on all those who say that “justifying faith is nothing more than confidence in the divine mercy, which forgives sins because of Christ.” I must admit that for my justification, I have nothing but “confidence in the divine mercy” -- just as the publican had.

Are you seeking to be accepted of God on account of your deeds, or are you leaning by faith upon the all-merciful God? Would you stop trusting in yourself and believe in Jesus Christ alone?

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SALVATION

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

I was brought up in a Catholic home. I heard the Evangelical message for the first time when I was 14 years old: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Evangelicals teach that a person is saved by faith in Christ alone, and not on account of personal good works.

To my mind this teaching was clearly wrong and dangerous. Wrong, because St James says that faith without works is dead; dangerous because it seems to encourage careless living since a person is not saved by works.

I was determined to study the Bible for myself. To my surprise I found that James’ concern is to distinguish between true and counterfeit faith. “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14). That kind of “faith” is worthless; it cannot save anyone. True faith is recognized by the fruit it produces.

The central question was this: “Is a person saved by true faith alone? Or is he saved by faith plus the merit of good works?” The answer of the Bible is clear and surprising: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Saved through faith ... not of works! It is amazing: the same Bible that so emphasizes holy living and good works, also states that salvation is not based on personal works. The Christian does not depend on his “goodness” or his efforts, but trusts completely in another Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the Bible says that we are saved “not of works,” it is referring to our efforts. Certainly it does not imply that salvation is an easy task. In fact the work of salvation is so great that no-one could perform it except God Himself by His Son. It was necessary for the eternal Son of God to humble Himself and become a human being, and having lived a perfect and sinless life, He was crucified. “Christ has redeemed (freed) us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ ” (Galatians 3:13). The payment for my sins was the precious blood He shed; not my works and penance. Certainly that is why God wants me to believe in Him.

One question remained: Why then should I perform good works at all? Immediately after stating that we are saved “not by works,” the apostle Paul writes that we are saved “for good works.” Good works are the result, not the cause, of salvation.

Today I am an Evangelical Christian and I'm sure of heaven. This is not presumption for I'm not depending on myself and my deeds anymore; I trust in Jesus Christ, knowing that His death on the cross is the sufficient payment for the penalty of all my sins. My sole desire is to live worthy of the One who loved me and gave Himself for me.

I am concerned for Catholics (and others) whose life is overrun by sin and yet feel that it would be fine at the end. The Bible warns them that their faith is dead and useless to save them from Hell. On the other hand, I'm also concerned for devout Catholics who are afraid of God’s judgment, and are doing their best to merit forgiveness and grace. They claim to believe in Jesus, but they really don’t because they are relying on their own goodness and righteousness.

I want to share the same Good News I heard in my youth because it is the message of the Bible. If you want to be saved, believe on the Lord Jesus and stop trusting in yourself or anything you do. Stop clinging to your religion, and with empty hands receive the free gift of salvation. Then, for the rest of your life, do good works out of gratitude to our gracious and loving Father.

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THE GOSPEL

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

Dear Friend, the Bible says that it is appointed for men to die once, and after this the judgment. Soon our brief life will be over. Yet death is not the end, for we must stand before the judgment seat of God. One of two destinies awaits us: either everlasting punishment in Hell or everlasting life and joy in Heaven.

Many people ignore this sober reality because they are preoccupied with their business and entertainments. Others think they are “good enough” and therefore have nothing to worry about; while others feel that God will not send anyone to Hell because He is a loving God.

All these futile excuses will be useless when you stand before the Judge of the world. Are you prepared for that day? It all depends on whether you believe or reject the true Gospel of Christ.

The True Gospel and the Counterfeit

The apostle Paul was evidently in great distress and anguish when he penned his letter to the Galatians. The glory of God and the salvation of man were at stake. False teachers had followed him and distorted the Gospel he had preached. They did not openly deny faith in Christ or the grace of God. They simply added the rite of circumcision and obedience to the Mosaic Law as the basis for acceptance with God. The apostle Paul considered their teaching “another Gospel.” He writes:

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-8).

If the apostle Paul considered that the addition of works to faith invalidated the Gospel, what is the biblical verdict on the message of the Roman Catholic Church? The “gospel” of Rome is faith plus works, grace plus merit, Christ plus the church, baptismal regeneration, penance, the sacrifice of the Mass, the rosary, indulgences, Mary, the pains of Purgatory, and so on. The apostle warns those who, in addition to faith in the Lord, seek to be justified by ritual or works, that they are alienated from Christ, and that He could be of no avail to them (cf. Galatians 5:2-4).

Repent and Believe the Gospel

We appeal to you, our dear friend, and implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. Reckon yourself an unworthy sinner and a rebel against the Sovereign God. Plead guilty before the Judge of the Earth; confess that you deserve the everlasting fire of Hell; admit that nothing you do can ever pay for your sins.

Yet do not despair, look to the God of all grace and mercy. Stop trusting in yourself, your works and your merit. Salvation is of the Lord; redemption is His work. Do not rely on a church, Mary, the saints, human priests, the sacrifice of the Mass, or in an imaginary purgatory.

Rather, trust wholly in Christ alone, the Son of God, who is the only mediator, the only high priest, who gave Himself as the all-sufficient sacrifice for the payment of the sins of His people. To those who believe in Christ, the Bible says: “In Him we have redemption (freedom from sin) through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

May the Lord be merciful and grant you the grace of repentance to turn away from the distorted “gospel” of Roman Catholicism. May God grant you the gift of faith, to rest in Christ, His beloved Son, and to serve Him all the days of your life while we anticipate His return to take us home with Him forever.

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PERSONAL WORD

Dear friend, you may still have doubts and questions about the way of salvation. I encourage you to keep praying and searching the Scriptures. We are willing to help you the best way we can. So please don’t hesitate to write and discuss any questions with us.

Perhaps, you now understand the Gospel and the Lord has granted you repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Now you don’t depend on anything you do, your own goodness, any saint or religion. Now you rely by faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; He is your one and only Saviour. I rejoice with you and praise God for His wonderful grace. This is the beginning of an exciting journey -- the end is even better, Heaven! You now desire to follow the Lord and to glorify Him in all things. The Christian life is not a bed of roses. He gives joy unspeakable, but His wise providence will also lead you through much sorrow and pain. That is the way we grow and mature.

I encourage you to read the Bible every day with an attitude of reverence. God is speaking to you -- listen well! Go to a private place, and open your heart to God, our heavenly Father. Thank and praise Him. Confess your sins and pray for yourself and others.

As a member of the body of Christ, the church, it is your privilege to join with a local Christian assembly. We need one another. The Lord wants you to be baptized in the name of the Triune God, and thereafter to partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of His sacrifice for us. The teaching and preaching of the Word is invaluable for every Christian to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord makes His face shine upon you and give you peace.

Joe Mizzi - Email

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SoftTouch

Prophetic Realist
Here are a couple of other sites that examine the official RCC teachings and compare them to Scripture. I pray this will be a Blessing to any and all who are seeking the Truth in God's Holy Word:

Understanding Roman Catholicism by Rick Jones
http://www.chick.com/reading/books/160/160cont.asp

Smokescreens by Jack Chick
http://www.chick.com/reading/books/153/153cont.asp

In fact, there’s a whole list of online reading at Chick’s site on Catholicism:
http://www.chick.com/reading/?wpc=reading/default.asp
(Foxes book of Martyrs is on there as well)

UnMasking Catholicism by Mary Ann Collins (a former Nun)
http://www.unmaskingcatholicism.com/
 

omalley7997

New Member
I love how you all - similar to the Mormoms - think the Holy Spirit abandoned the church for almost 1200 years (from the Council of Nicaea in 325 to the Posting of the 95 Theses in 1517), as if - oops! - Jesus didn't build His church on a rock and the gates of Hell did prevail against it. I guess Jesus was mistaken. Or, maybe that's just how those who create their own religion think.

Read "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating. Then, form an opinion. It's easy to base your judgment on books by people of the same ilk. How about getting a balanced view, or does that intimidate you?
 

Andrew

Well known member
The Holy Spirit has never abandoned the Church. He has indwelt every real believer from the beginning of the Church. What you will find, if you care to research it, is that many real Christians were persecuted by the RCC. Bear in mind that the Church is not a religious system of man, it is every real believer wherever they are (indeed, there are some in the RCC also).

Make no mistake, God has maintained a thread of what is true at all times.
 

BuzzardHut

Bird Mod
I love how you all - similar to the Mormoms - think the Holy Spirit abandoned the church for almost 1200 years (from the Council of Nicaea in 325 to the Posting of the 95 Theses in 1517), as if - oops! - Jesus didn't build His church on a rock and the gates of Hell did prevail against it. I guess Jesus was mistaken. Or, maybe that's just how those who create their own religion think.

Read "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating. Then, form an opinion. It's easy to base your judgment on books by people of the same ilk. How about getting a balanced view, or does that intimidate you?
Holy Spirit never left God's true church of individual believers, never will
and the Holy Spirit is not in catholicism
the Catholic church is more like the Mormons than you realize

catholic.jpg


you need to leave the mary worshiping program and meet the real Jesus! :thumbup
 

Dizzy Mom

Dizzy Mom
Hi, I was introduced to this site by a friend who is non-denominational and we kind of butted heads on some things pertaining to faith, but we came to a friendly and christian agreeance with each other. I have looked at the rapture descriptions and other content and they have intrigued me although it has caused me more to want to read the scriptures more in depth. A good thing. What confuses me about this site is that 1) Your rules clearly state no judging of others, name calling, putting people down especially for their faith and belief, that it is for Christ to determine...why do you have such a huge section for anti-catholic propaganda? It is discouraging as a loving Christian with so many multi religious including Catholic friends to digest it. 2) BuzzardHut you need to do more research in books and your heart my friend...your statement "Holy Spirit never left God's true church of individual believers, never will
and the Holy Spirit is not in catholicism
the Catholic church is more like the Mormons than you realize". Can you tell me where it directly says this in the scriptures? Although I no longer have many of their viewpoints or beliefs, I was once Mormon and know what they practice. I cannot say everything they teach is false because not everything is. I believe Christ loved all and is with ALL...he dined with tax collectors and lawyers and forgave the sinner on the cross...he was with him too. I feel we should open our hearts to love and forgiveness and give up this pettiness before we find ourselves at judgement trying to explain our actions....
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
Hi, I was introduced to this site by a friend who is non-denominational and we kind of butted heads on some things pertaining to faith, but we came to a friendly and christian agreeance with each other. I have looked at the rapture descriptions and other content and they have intrigued me although it has caused me more to want to read the scriptures more in depth. A good thing. What confuses me about this site is that 1) Your rules clearly state no judging of others, name calling, putting people down especially for their faith and belief, that it is for Christ to determine...why do you have such a huge section for anti-catholic propaganda? It is discouraging as a loving Christian with so many multi religious including Catholic friends to digest it. 2) BuzzardHut you need to do more research in books and your heart my friend...your statement "Holy Spirit never left God's true church of individual believers, never will
and the Holy Spirit is not in catholicism
the Catholic church is more like the Mormons than you realize". Can you tell me where it directly says this in the scriptures? Although I no longer have many of their viewpoints or beliefs, I was once Mormon and know what they practice. I cannot say everything they teach is false because not everything is. I believe Christ loved all and is with ALL...he dined with tax collectors and lawyers and forgave the sinner on the cross...he was with him too. I feel we should open our hearts to love and forgiveness and give up this pettiness before we find ourselves at judgement trying to explain our actions....

Cults mix a little good in with a lot of bad. And that is why they are deceptive.

The RCC teaches a works based salvation during the age of grace thru faith. Either Jesus paid the price for your salvation and that is it period. And you accept that. Or you follow Rome and do good works to HELP earn your salvation.

Mormons worship another Jesus. He is not the one in the Bible. He does not have a brother named satan. :doh: :ohno

In this day and age it is important to stand up for biblical truth. There is very little biblical truth in cults. :ohno
 

BuzzardHut

Bird Mod
Hi, I was introduced to this site by a friend who is non-denominational and we kind of butted heads on some things pertaining to faith, but we came to a friendly and christian agreeance with each other. I have looked at the rapture descriptions and other content and they have intrigued me although it has caused me more to want to read the scriptures more in depth.
We are non denominational and encourage in depth reading of scripture
A good thing. What confuses me about this site is that 1) Your rules clearly state no judging of others, name calling, putting people down especially for their faith and belief, that it is for Christ to determine...why do you have such a huge section for anti-catholic propaganda?
Propaganda?
What do you mean anti catholic?
You prefer we become pro catholic?
We have studied scripture in depth and determined salvation is in Jesus, not religion
It is discouraging as a loving Christian with so many multi religious including Catholic friends to digest it. 2) BuzzardHut you need to do more research in books and your heart my friend...your statement "Holy Spirit never left God's true church of individual believers, never will
and the Holy Spirit is not in catholicism
the Catholic church is more like the Mormons than you realize".
After deeply studying Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc... I remain firm in my position and stand strong in my faith in the true Jesus alone for salvation
Religions are man made, true Christianity is from scripture alone through Jesus alone

Can you tell me where it directly says this in the scriptures? Although I no longer have many of their viewpoints or beliefs, I was once Mormon and know what they practice. I cannot say everything they teach is false because not everything is. I believe Christ loved all and is with ALL...he dined with tax collectors and lawyers and forgave the sinner on the cross...he was with him too. I feel we should open our hearts to love and forgiveness and give up this pettiness before we find ourselves at judgement trying to explain our actions....
Jesus will not be dining with tax collectors at the second coming, the age of grace is ending soon, the door is open for all to forsake religion and turn to the historical Jesus of scripture, not a traditional christ of religion and myth, a big difference

Truth and discernment is not pettiness
welcome to the board :hat:
 
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Dizzy Mom

Dizzy Mom
So I guess I'm confused...I've done some reading and I'm definitely not perfect or knowledgeable, but all I have to do is believe Jesus is my savior and I'm saved? No baptism? I can cheat, steal, lie, kill, not be a productive member of society, not give to the homeless, and other things Christians would consider wrong (sin) and not have to repent because I already believe in Christ's salvation so I'm saved..that is pretty neat. For those who don't like people and don't do as Christ asked...Here is only an idea from James chapter 2:

14 How does it help, my brothers, when someone who has never done a single good act claims to have faith? Will that faith bring salvation?
15 If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on,
16 and one of you says to them, 'I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,' without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that?
17 In the same way faith, if good deeds do not go with it, is quite dead.
18 But someone may say: So you have faith and I have good deeds? Show me this faith of yours without deeds, then! It is by my deeds that I will show you my faith.
19 You believe in the one God -- that is creditable enough, but even the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear.
20 Fool! Would you not like to know that faith without deeds is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by his deed, because he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22 So you can see that his faith was working together with his deeds; his faith became perfect by what he did.


I can understand what you may say by organized religion...but I will not bash my fellow worshipers in God. I do not believe there is one true church on this earth, but I have faith in the followers of Christ, let us work together.
 

BuzzardHut

Bird Mod
So I guess I'm confused...I've done some reading and I'm definitely not perfect or knowledgeable, but all I have to do is believe Jesus is my savior and I'm saved?
No baptism? I can cheat, steal, lie, kill, not be a productive member of society, not give to the homeless, and other things Christians would consider wrong (sin) and not have to repent because I already believe in Christ's salvation so I'm saved..that is pretty neat.
I can now see what you and your friend were arguing and why she sent you here,
If you were a new creation in Jesus you would want to cheat, lie, kill, and steal? Have you read Acts to see what the disciples and followers did after salvation?

True Christianity is not a club you join after a sprinkling of some magic water, you give your soul, heart, and spirit to Jesus and walk disciplined with the Holy Spirit daily
For those who don't like people and don't do as Christ asked...Here is only an idea from James chapter 2:
we already studied James 2 and learned James is talking about works after salvation, not works for salvation
I can understand what you may say by organized religion...but I will not bash my fellow worshipers in God. I do not believe there is one true church on this earth, but I have faith in the followers of Christ, let us work together.
what a bashing display you performed upon us, accusing us of setting up to lie, cheat, kill, and steal, your over protection of religion is blinding to what the true message of the gospel really is. There is no one true church group, organization, religion, or building, only the saved bride of Jesus - individuals who have personally placed their full trust upon the shed blood of Jesus for eternal salvation. This act can only be made outside religion and mythology
 

Dizzy Mom

Dizzy Mom
Hmmm....I think you missed my sarcasm as much as I have misunderstood you. I apologize, let me rephrase.

I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but...

My miscommunication I think was that the responses I was reading told me that after I had faith in Christ's salvation, I am saved and do not need to do anything else but believe. If this is correct than it goes against scripture teaching. If this was not what was being said, I apologize. Let me say what I believe or rather what road has led me to salvation (or at least I hope salvation lol)

I believe that you must proclaim Christ as the one true savior born of the virgin Mary who was crucified, suffered and died, rose again to save us from our sins.

Once I proclaimed this, I was baptised in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and became a new creation in Christ.

I now follow Christ's teachings in the scriptures and do works like he did (or at least try to) so that I may receive his blessings as he promised.

It really doesn't go too much deeper than that, sometimes I will delve deeper but that is only for my own meditation and wonder.

From what I have come to understand, this is what was being taught to those interested in joining the Catholic church. I have attended a RCIA class and didn't hear anything about doing some type of works in order to receive salvation. Maybe I didn't pick apart the lesson enough but that was pretty much the jyst of it. I guess it depends on the church maybe. You are right when you say man put churches together....men are not perfect, but Christ did talk about building his church on a rock which I take to mean the scriptures...

Another thing I believe: reading the scriptures will give you the truth. I have been three different religions and have come to understand that all people are trying to do for the most part is worship how they feel is right. A lot of people are confused, we all need to read the scriptures and that is what is lacking. I'm trying to read into the scriptures more lately because I notice how drastically the world is changing.

Please don't jump on me because you feel I'm bashing, I'm really not, I just felt that for a site that had a lot of good insight into scripture, it was sad to see so many different religions on here feeling your wrath instead of asking them questions and maybe asking for their scripture references, that would get people reading more and maybe pondering more.

Yours trully

P.S. A side note: one other thing I took out of that RCIA class because I was curious and confused...why do they pray to and worship Mary and dead saints? I was informed by the instructor that worshipping anyone other than God was blasphemy. People can pray and ask saints and Mary to help pray to God on the individuals behalf. Kind of like how I would ask someone to pray to God for me or my family. But never pray to them, because they are not God. At least that is what that class was being instructed. Sort of made sense to me. I would appreciate your insight on this.
 

BuzzardHut

Bird Mod
one other thing I took out of that RCIA class because I was curious and confused...why do they pray to and worship Mary and dead saints? I was informed by the instructor that worshipping anyone other than God was blasphemy. People can pray and ask saints and Mary to help pray to God on the individuals behalf. Kind of like how I would ask someone to pray to God for me or my family. But never pray to them, because they are not God. At least that is what that class was being instructed. Sort of made sense to me. I would appreciate your insight on this.





Mary Crying

The Gospel for Catholics


Catholicism Defined

Catholicism Revealed

What Every Catholic Should Know

Understanding Roman Catholicism

Dangers within Roman Catholicism

The Sacraments

Modern Catholicism

Sun Worship

Sun Blinded

Sharing Jesus with Catholics

after I had faith in Christ's salvation, I am saved and do not need to do anything else but believe. If this is correct than it goes against scripture teaching. If this was not what was being said, I apologize. Let me say what I believe or rather what road has led me to salvation (or at least I hope salvation lol)
There is one important message with many methods applied and it's in fully trusting in Jesus' shed blood for your sin covering, if you fully trust you are acceptable to God because Jesus has washed you in His sacrificial blood and you trust in nothing else for your salvation, then God will count it unto you as righteousness

I believe that you must proclaim Christ as the one true savior born of the virgin Mary who was crucified, suffered and died, rose again to save us from our sins.
Do you trust this same historical Jesus as paying the penalty for your sin? that Jesus was sacrificed in your place? that you exchanged your life with His so that when God looks at your soul your sins have been stained with the blood of Jesus, dipped and washed, cleansed and purified by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit?
Once I proclaimed this, I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and became a new creation in Christ.
true salvation is a spiritual cleansing, baptized in the blood of Jesus, not water, it is an internal work,
your external water baptism is a testimony for others, not for yourself

Another thing I believe: reading the scriptures will give you the truth. I have been three different religions and have come to understand that all people are trying to do for the most part is worship how they feel is right. A lot of people are confused, we all need to read the scriptures and that is what is lacking. I'm trying to read into the scriptures more lately because I notice how drastically the world is changing.
Reading the scriptures is where you will find truth, and it will set you free from the bonds of religion.
 

Dizzy Mom

Dizzy Mom
Are you saying that if I have the knowledge and ability to be baptized as Jesus was...I shouldn't?

Am I better than he is?

1 Peter Ch 3:

21 It is the baptism corresponding to this water which saves you now -- not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience given to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22 who has entered heaven and is at God's right hand, with angels, ruling forces and powers subject to him


We are no better than Christ...I do not believe we need to be baptized to be saved, but if we have the knowledge and ability, we should.

One last passage that tells us how to trully be Christian:


Ephesians Ch 4:

1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to lead a life worthy of the vocation to which you were called.
2 With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love.
3 Take every care to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together.
4 There is one Body, one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God.
5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 and one God and Father of all, over all, through all and within all.
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ allotted it.
8 That is why it says: He went up to the heights, took captives, he gave gifts to humanity.
9 When it says, 'he went up', it must mean that he had gone down to the deepest levels of the earth.
10 The one who went down is none other than the one who went up above all the heavens to fill all things.
11 And to some, his 'gift' was that they should be apostles; to some prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers;
12 to knit God's holy people together for the work of service to build up the Body of Christ,
13 until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.
14 Then we shall no longer be children, or tossed one way and another, and carried hither and thither by every new gust of teaching, at the mercy of all the tricks people play and their unscrupulousness in deliberate deception.
15 If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow completely into Christ, who is the head
16 by whom the whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love.
17 So this I say to you and attest to you in the Lord, do not go on living the empty-headed life that the gentiles live.
18 Intellectually they are in the dark, and they are estranged from the life of God, because of the ignorance which is the consequence of closed minds.
19 Their sense of right and wrong once dulled, they have abandoned all self-control and pursue to excess every kind of uncleanness.
20 Now that is hardly the way you have learnt Christ,
21 unless you failed to hear him properly when you were taught what the truth is in Jesus.
22 You were to put aside your old self, which belongs to your old way of life and is corrupted by following illusory desires.
23 Your mind was to be renewed in spirit
24 so that you could put on the New Man that has been created on God's principles, in the uprightness and holiness of the truth.
25 So from now on, there must be no more lies. Speak the truth to one another, since we are all parts of one another.
26 Even if you are angry, do not sin: never let the sun set on your anger
27 or else you will give the devil a foothold.
28 Anyone who was a thief must stop stealing; instead he should exert himself at some honest job with his own hands so that he may have something to share with those in need.
29 No foul word should ever cross your lips; let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers, and do good to your listeners;
30 do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with his seal, ready for the day when we shall be set free.
31 Any bitterness or bad temper or anger or shouting or abuse must be far removed from you -- as must every kind of malice.
32 Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.


Peace be with you and all of us in Christ Jesus

P.S. Another side track note: The part about never letting the sun set on your anger...my husband and I never go to bed angry..it works and is awesome.
 

BuzzardHut

Bird Mod
Water Baptism

1. The Bible teaches that to be saved a person must “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.”

In Acts 16:30 the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas this crucial question: “What must I do to be saved?” What answer did these men give to this needy jailer? Did they say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized and thou shalt be saved”? If baptism is necessary for salvation, then why is nothing said about baptism in Acts 16:31? It’s true that this man was baptized (verse 33), and yet this does not change the fact that Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” If water baptism was a condition of salvation, then this would have been the perfect place for Paul to have said so.

2. The Bible teaches throughout the New Testament that FAITH and FAITH ALONE is necessary for salvation.

I would urge you to read carefully and prayerfully the following verses of Scripture:

John 1:12-13

John 3:15

John 3:16

John 3:18

John 3:36

John 5:24

John 6:35

John 6:40

John 6:47

John 7:38-39

John 11:25-26

John 20:31

Acts 2:21

Acts 10:43

Acts 11:17

Acts 13:38-39

Acts 15:11

Acts 16:31

Acts 20:21

Romans 1:16

Romans 3:22

Romans 3:26

Romans 3:28

Romans 3:30

Romans 5:1

Romans 10:9

Romans 10:11

Romans 10:13

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Galatians 2:16

Galatians 3:2-9

Galatians 3:14

Galatians 3:24

Galatians 3:26

Ephesians 2:8-9

2 Thessalonians 2:10

2 Thessalonians 2:12

1 Timothy 4:10

2 Timothy 3:15

Titus 3:8

1 John 5:1

1 John 5:11-13

In all of these passages FAITH is mentioned as being essential for salvation. In none of these passages is water baptism mentioned. If baptism is a necessary part or an essential part of salvation, then why is nothing said about baptism in these passages? If a man must be baptized to be saved, then why do all these verses fail to say so? For example, in Acts 10:43 why didn’t Peter say, “whosoever believeth in Him and is baptized shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins”?

3. EPHESIANS 2:8-9 is a passage which God has given to answer this key question: HOW IS A PERSON SAVED? This important doctrinal verse says nothing about water baptism.

How is a person saved? “For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Why is there no mention made of baptism? Why didn’t Paul say, “For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH AND BAPTISM . . .”?

4. Water baptism is a WORK (something that man does to please God), and yet the Bible teaches again and again that a person is not saved by works.

Here are some examples:

Titus 3:5—“Not by WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS which WE HAVE DONE, but according to His mercy He saved us.”

2 Timothy 1:9—“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS.”

Ephesians 2:8-9—“For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Romans 3:28—“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith WITHOUT THE DEEDS OF THE LAW.”

Romans 4:5—“But to him that WORKETH NOT, but BELIEVETH on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

In other words, salvation is not DOING something; it is KNOWING someone (John 17:3). Salvation is not based on what we might do; it is based on what Christ has ALREADY DONE (John 19:30). Salvation is not TRYING; it is TRUSTING (John 6:47). If salvation could be earned by anything we do, then Christ’s death was a waste (Galatians 2:21). Salvation is not WORKING; it is RESTING on the WORK of Another (Romans 4:5). Good works are not what a man DOES in order to be SAVED; good works are what a SAVED MAN DOES (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5-8). God’s holiness utterly condemns the best man (Romans 3:10-23); God’s grace freely justifies the worst (1 Timothy 1:15)!

5. The key question is this: When is a person saved? Is a person saved at the moment he believes on the Lord Jesus Christ or is a person saved the moment he is baptized in water? Is a person saved when he believes or is he saved when he is baptized in water (at a time subsequent to initial faith)?


If a person is saved at the point of faith, then this means that faith alone is necessary for salvation and that water baptism is something that is done after a person is saved. This would also mean that the requirement for salvation is simple faith in Christ. It is not faith plus baptism. The salvation formula would be this:


FAITH + NOTHING = SALVATION


If a person is saved at the point of water baptism, then this means that faith in Christ is not enough for salvation. This means that faith in Christ is part of the requirement but it is not the total requirement. To be saved a person must not only believe in Christ but he must also be baptized in water. The requirement for salvation is faith plus water baptism. This would also mean that it is possible for a person to be a believer in Christ and yet still be unsaved until he is baptized. The person’s sins are not washed away until the water baptism takes place. The salvation formula would thus be as follows:


FAITH + WATER BAPTISM = SALVATION


Let us now go to the Scriptures to determine whether a person is saved at the point of faith or at the point of water baptism.



A) Acts 16:31—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (this statement was made in answer to the question of verse 30, “What must I do to be saved?”). This is a conditional promise. God promises to do something if the sinner does something. If the sinner does his part, God will do His part. So the meaning of Acts 16:31 is this: “If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall be saved.” Notice that nothing is said about water baptism being a requirement for salvation. The clear implication is that if a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he will be saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 is a key passage which tells us how a person is saved: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Water baptism is not mentioned. Salvation takes place at the point of faith. The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to all who believe” (Romans 1:16), clearly implying that all who believe are saved.



B) 1 Corinthians 1:21—“It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” God saves those who believe! God would never fail to save someone who believes.



C) Luke 8:12—“Then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” The devil knows God’s simple plan of salvation! He does not want people to BELIEVE AND BE SAVED! To foil the devil, the sinner simply needs to believe. If he does that, he will be saved! The devil’s strategy has always been to add certain requirements in order for man to somehow work for and earn God’s salvation. Here’s a simple test to prove this: Ask any member of a religious cult this simple question: “What must I do to be saved?” and then compare his answer with Paul’s answer found in Acts 16:31. You will find that the two answers are not the same! The cultist will invariably add at least one additional requirement.



D) Hebrews 7:25—“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” He saves all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. In John 6:35 we learn that COMING TO GOD is synonymous with BELIEVING ON HIM. Thus, God saves to the uttermost all who believe (compare also John 6:37).



E) John 3:16; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:47; John 11:25-26 and other passages clearly teach that those who believe on Christ HAVE eternal LIFE as a present possession (compare also 1 John 5:12). If a person has eternal life the moment he believes on Christ, then this person is saved. It’s unthinkable to speak of a person who has eternal life and yet who is unsaved! All those who receive Jesus Christ by faith have received God’s free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23), and this free gift becomes theirs at the moment of faith, not at the moment of water baptism.



F) Acts 10:43—“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins.” If a person believes on Christ and does not receive forgiveness of sins, then God is a liar! There is no such thing as a true believer whose sins are not forgiven. Those who refuse to believe on Christ will die in their sins (John 8:24), but those who believe in Him will not. Complete forgiveness of all my sins becomes a reality the moment I believe on Christ, not the moment I am baptized in water. If your sins have not been forgiven prior to being baptized in water, then you should not be baptized (because this would mean you are an unbeliever and hence unsaved).



G) “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39). All who believe are forgiven and justified from all things! In verse after verse we learn that FAITH is the one condition, the one requirement for salvation and for forgiveness. If you can find a true believer who is not justified from all things, then God would be a liar. God forbid!



H) Romans 4:3 and 4:5. In Romans 4 we learn how Abraham was saved. Keep in mind that Abraham lived prior to the time of water baptism. In verse 3 we learn that “Abraham believed God and it was counted (imputed) unto him for righteousness.” At the moment Abraham believed, God’s righteousness was put to his account. At the moment of faith Abraham was justified. As we come to verse 5 we find that the very same thing happens to a person living today: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). If justification takes place at the point of water baptism, then Paul could have clarified this. He could have said something like this: “Even though Abraham received God’s righteousness at the moment he believed, things are different in our day. Today a person does not receive God’s righteousness when he first believes, but he is justified only when he is baptized in water. There is no salvation, no justification, no forgiveness until the believing sinner takes this initial step of obedience and submits to water baptism.” But Paul says nothing of the sort. Paul consistently taught that those who believe are blessed just as Abraham was (Galatians 3:9). God’s Word teaches that “the righteousness of God . . . is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:22).” No believer lacks God’s righteousness. Every believer has been justified.



I) In John 1:12-13 we learn that a person is born of God (is regenerated) and becomes a child of God when he receives Jesus Christ and believes on His Name. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born (regenerated), not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). Nothing is here said about baptismal regeneration. It does not say that water brings about this new birth, but it does say that these wonderful things happen when a person believes on Him.



J) How does a person become adopted by the Father and entitled to all the privileges and benefits of being God’s son? “For ye are all the children [literally “sons”] of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). Once again we see that simple faith in Christ is the key.



K) How is a person purified and made fit for God’s kingdom? “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). Notice that is does not say that their hearts were purified by faith and water baptism. Keep in mind that some people claim to believe in Christ when they really don’t believe in Him at all. They profess Him but they don’t actually possess Him (1 John 5:12). Some of these false professors (mere pretenders) are even baptized in water, but this does nothing to purify their hearts. Only true faith in Jesus Christ can do this. The person must have his heart purified by faith before he or she ever gets into the water, or else water baptism is nothing but a meaningless ritual.



L) We have already seen that people are saved by faith and forgiven by faith and justified by faith and regenerated by faith, and in Acts 26:18 we learn that people are also SANCTIFIED (set apart unto God) by faith—“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18). In 1 Corinthians 6:11 we learn of those who are washed, justified and sanctified, and all of these blessings are conditioned on simple faith in Christ. It is impossible to find a true believer in Christ who is un-washed, un-justified and un-sanctified. Such a thought would be Biblically absurd! But according to those who believe in baptismal regeneration, there is a period of time, albeit short, where a person is a believer in Christ and yet is not yet saved and not yet forgiven and not yet cleansed. In their view, this would be the time between when the person believed in Christ and when the person was baptized in water. Remember, no one is baptized immediately after putting faith in Christ. Some amount of time elapses between the two events, whether it be very short or long.



Thought question: What happens if the person dies after he believes in Christ but before he is baptized in water? If this person is safe with God and among the redeemed, then it is very clear that it was not the water baptism that saved him. [The thief on the cross is often used as an example of this. Here was a man who trusted Jesus Christ and had no opportunity to be baptized in water (even though we recognize that Christian baptism did not begin historically until the Day of Pentecost, about 53 days later). If any additional requirements for salvation had been laid on this man, apart from simple faith in Christ, he would have been in trouble].



M) The New Testament consistently teaches that a person receives the Spirit by faith. Those who believe in Christ receive the Spirit (according to John 7:37-39). In Galatians chapter 3 we learn that we receive the Spirit, not by any kind of works, but by faith (Gal. 3:2,14). In Romans 8:9 we learn that if a person does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is “none of His” (meaning he is not a Christian, he does not belong to Christ). This implies that all those who have the Spirit belong to Him and are Christians. Indeed a Christian can be defined as one who has received the Spirit by faith. If a person is not indwelt by the Spirit, then this person is not a Christian and is not saved. Since every believer is indwelt by the Spirit and since everyone indwelt by the Spirit is saved, then this strongly points to the fact that a person is saved at the moment of faith. Nowhere in the New Testament does it teach that the reception of the Spirit is contingent upon being baptized in water. We also learn in Ephesians 1:13 that a person is sealed with the Holy Spirit when he believes in Christ [the KJV of this verse can lead to confusion; Darby’s translation: “in whom also, having believed, ye have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”]. You can’t be securely saved unless you are sealed, and this sealing takes place at the moment of faith, not at the moment a person is baptized in water.



N) Salvation is the work of God from beginning to end, as summarized by 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Faith is mentioned in this passage (“belief of the truth”) but there is no mention of water baptism.



O) In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Paul sets forth the content of the gospel. He tells us what the gospel really is. He mentions Christ’s death for our sins (v.3) and Christ’s resurrection (v.4) and the necessity of genuine faith (v.1-2), but he says absolutely nothing about water baptism. If water baptism were an essential requirement for salvation, then how could Paul have omitted this from his explanation of the gospel? Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 1:14-16 Paul was thankful that he did not personally baptize the Corinthians, except for a few people. He then made this remarkable statement—“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (1 Cor. 1:17 and compare 1 Cor. 1:21). How could Paul say such a thing if water baptism were essential for salvation? The clear implication here is that water baptism, though clearly practiced by the apostles, was not part and parcel of the gospel message. But if water baptism were essential for salvation, then we would expect it to be at the very heart of the gospel message. But water baptism is not something that a person does to be saved; it is something that a saved person does. This is a crucial distinction. [See also 1 Corinthians 4:15. The Corinthians owed their regeneration to Paul, the human instrument, and to the gospel (Eph. 1:13) but not to water baptism. Paul did not say, "I have begotten you through the gospel and through water baptism."]



P) In the early church there were legalistic false teachers who were saying, “Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). This teaching was strongly condemned by the apostles and the Jerusalem council. Today there are those who teach this: “Except ye be baptized in water, ye cannot be saved.” Should this teaching be likewise condemned?



Q) Conclusion to this section: In the book of Acts we have frequent examples of water baptism. As we study the book of Acts we learn that the order was always this: 1) First, the person heard the gospel and believed on Christ; 2) Then, the person was baptized. According to the Bible, a person is saved when he believes on Christ (Acts 16:31; 1 Cor. 1:21), and therefore those who were baptized in the book of Acts were already saved before they entered the water.



We just studied numerous passages of Scripture showing that a person is saved and justified and forgiven and sanctified and purified and regenerated and sealed and indwelt the moment he believes on Christ. We also looked at numerous salvation verses under Section 2 of this study. All of these verses declare that a person is saved the moment he believes on Christ. The Lord Jesus Himself said, “He that believeth on Me HATH (HAS) everlasting life” (John 6:47). If a person confesses that Jesus is Lord and believes in his heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, that person is SAVED (Romans 10:9). If he is not saved, then God is a liar. God saves those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). Saved people have their sins forgiven and forgiveness is something that a person receives the moment he believes (Acts 10:43). Therefore, baptism is not something that a person does to be saved; baptism is something that a saved person does. It is something that a believing person does after he is saved and after he is forgiven. An unsaved person should never be baptized. There is no such thing as an UNSAVED BELIEVER. The Bible knows of only two groups of people: BELIEVERS (those who are saved) and UNBELIEVERS (those who are not saved). See John 3:18; 3:36; 1 John 5:12. Only saved believers should be baptized in water, in obedience to Christ’s command. [Note: A "saved believer" is a redundancy but we use it here to over-emphasize our point].

6. Is water baptism essential? The answer is both NO and YES. It is not essential for salvation, as we have already studied. God’s single requirement for salvation is FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling!” On the other hand, water baptism is essential for OBEDIENCE once a person is saved. How can we not obey the Lord who died to save us? Water baptism is one of the first things that God tells a believer to do after he is saved. It is Lesson Number 1 in God’s School of Obedience. It is something that God has commanded that his believers should do (Acts 10:48; Acts 2:38; Matthew 28:19-20). We should gladly obey our Lord and not be ashamed to publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ our Saviour and with other believers who love and honor Him.

7. If a person is not baptized in water, is he saved? This question needs to be answered carefully. There are different reasons why a person may not be baptized. He may be a new believer and perhaps no one has taught him the importance and the significance of water baptism. Remember, Philip had to teach the Ethiopian Eunuch about baptism (Acts 8). There may also be unusual circumstances which would make water baptism very difficult. For example, a man could come to know Christ on his hospital death-bed, and be physically unable to be baptized in water. God certainly understands the circumstances.



I knew a Pastor who was sound in the faith in almost every area. He had a heart for the lost and was an excellent Bible teacher. But he had a doctrinal quirk. For some strange reason he believed that water baptism was not for today (even though he was not ultradispensational) and thus he never baptized those who got saved. This man led many precious souls to a saving knowledge of Christ and I have no doubt that they were genuinely saved. Had they been correctly taught about baptism, I’m sure they would have submitted to the ordinance. This pastor will have to give an account to Christ for his incorrect teaching concerning water baptism, but we can thank God that he preached Christ and many were saved through this man’s ministry (compare Philippians 1:18).



What about the person who is correctly taught about baptism, knows that he should be baptized, understands its significance and yet refuses to obey Christ in this area? Would not this indicate a major spiritual problem? Our Lord asked this searching question: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Obedience is the fruit of saving faith. We are not saved because we obey, but we obey because we are saved. As blood bought believers, it is sadly true that there are times when we fail to obey our Lord and Master and we need to confess this sin of disobedience (1 John 1:9). But the general pattern of our new life in Christ should be one of obedience. It was said of the original disciples that “they kept His Word” (John 17:6) even though we know that they did not always keep His Word (think of Peter’s denial, as an obvious example). If you took a snapshot of Peter denying Christ, you would have a picture of his terrible sin and disobedience. But if you watched a video of his entire life as a believer, it would show a general pattern of obedience and faithful service to Christ. In spite of times of failure, the overall pattern of a saved person’s life should be one of obedience. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4). If a person knows and understands the importance and significance of water baptism and refuses to obey Christ’s command in this regard, then it would not be wrong of us to seriously question this person’s salvation.
8. Passages That Seem to Teach that Water Baptism Saves


We have examined the mass of Biblical evidence which clearly teaches that a person is saved at the moment of faith, and not at the moment of water baptism. The verses we looked at were simple and clear and unmistakable in their meaning. How can it be put any more simply or any more clearly than this: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31); “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47); etc. ?


We now want to look at a few verses which at first glance may seem to teach that water baptism saves. Do these verses really teach baptismal regeneration or do these verses actually harmonize with the scores of passages which we have already looked at?


Mark 16:16



“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).



In light of this verse consider the following groups of people:



1) Those people who have believed on Christ and who have been baptized in water. According to Mark 16:16, these people are saved.



2) Those people who have believed on Christ but who have not been baptized in water. Nothing is said about this group of people in Mark 16:16. If this verse had said, “He that believeth and is not baptized is not saved,” then this would be a strong argument for those holding to baptismal regeneration. But it doesn’t say this. Actually unbaptized believers were practically unheard of in the days of the early church. According to the book of Acts, when people believed on Christ they were baptized in water, and this usually took place without much delay. So it is not surprising that this verse in Mark has nothing to say about unbaptized believers. The believers of the first century were willing to go so far as to die for Christ, and they were certainly willing to be baptized. I can find no example in the book of Acts of true believers who refused to be baptized in water after they learned its importance and its symbolism.



3) Those people who have not believed in Christ and who have not been baptized. According to Mark 16:16 such people are damned (condemned, judged).



4) Those people who have not believed in Christ and yet have been baptized. These people will be damned also. Mark 16:16 clearly implies that all unbelievers will be damned whether they have been baptized or not. This is in harmony with John 3:18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:12 and other passages which teach that men are condemned because of their unbelief. In Acts 8:9-24 we have an example of an unbeliever who was baptized. He is known as Simon the Sorcerer. Even though it says he believed (v.13), verses 20-23 indicate that his faith was not genuine saving faith. He was a professing believer but not a true believer. Does water baptism save? One thing we know for sure! Water baptism has never saved an unbeliever. Those who do not believe will die in their sins (John 8:24).


One final word about Mark 16:16. It is absolutely true that the person who believes and is baptized shall be saved. This is true in my own life. I believed in Christ and I was baptized in water, and I am saved. But the Scriptures teach, as we have previously established, that the essential ingredient and requirement of salvation is not baptism, but faith. Faith is essential for salvation. Water baptism is essential for obedience because as a believer I must be careful to observe to do all things whatsoever Christ has commanded me (Matthew 28:19-20), and water baptism is one of the first things He has told me to do. However, the water did not save me, Christ did (Matthew 1:21)

8. Passages That Seem to Teach that Water Baptism Saves (continued)


John 3:5



“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).


This passage is talking about how a person is born again or how a person is regenerated. Those who believe in baptismal regeneration believe that the “water” mentioned in this verse refers to water baptism. But is this really the case?


First, we should remember that when Jesus said these words, Christian baptism had not yet been instituted. Christian baptism was first mentioned by Christ in Matthew 28:19-20 and it was not practiced until Acts chapter 2 (the day of Pentecost, see especially verse 41). That there was a clear difference between the baptism of John and Christian baptism is obvious from Acts 19:1-7 (compare also Acts 18:25). So Jesus in John 3:5 could not have been referring to Christian baptism because such did not exist at that time.


If He was not referring to baptism, then what was our Lord referring to when He taught that a person must be “born of water”? The main point that Jesus was making is this: You cannot enter God’s kingdom unless you are CLEAN. Filthy disciples (those who are unclean, unforgiven, uncleansed) will not be allowed to enter. Our Lord was not talking about physical water which can only cleanse a person on the outside. In John 3:5 Jesus was talking about SPIRITUAL CLEANSING (something that must happen on the inside of a person). To be clean on the outside a person must take a bath and use soap and water! To be clean on the inside there is another kind of bath that is needed. Soap and water can never remove the filth of sin! God must do something on the inside of a person. Let us now see what the Bible says about being born of water and of the Spirit.



John 3:3 says that if a person is going to see the kingdom he must be born again. John 3:5 says that if a person is going to enter the kingdom he must be born of water and of the Spirit. Therefore, being born again means the same thing as being born of water and of the Spirit. If a person has been born again, then this person has been born of water and of the Spirit.


[Note: Some think that “water” refers to our natural birth when we were born as a baby and “Spirit” refers to our spiritual birth when we are born again. But this view does not fit the context. Since every person has been born physically, it would be stating the obvious to say that to enter the kingdom a person must be born of water. This would be like saying, A person cannot enter the kingdom unless he is a person.]


Water is the one thing we use whenever we wash something. Water is the universal cleansing agent. If you wash your car, water is used. If you wash your face, water is used. To make your clothes bright and clean, you use water. To make your teeth clean, you not only use toothpaste, but water as well. Whatever we wash, water is somehow involved. It is easy to see how WATER can be symbolic of CLEANSING (making something clean)!


Sinners need to be washed and made clean. Jesus wanted Nicodemus to know something very important: No unclean person can enter God's kingdom! Paul says it this way: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:5 and see also Galatians 5:21 and Revelation 21:27). To enter the kingdom a person must be CLEAN and WASHED on the inside (sins forgiven!). No unwashed people will be admitted! No unclean person will enter the kingdom of God. Only cleansed sinners will be allowed! Compare Psalm 24:3-4. You must be born of water! You must be washed!


Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Will any unclean or unrighteous people inherit the kingdom? Will washed sinners enter the kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:11)? There is hope for the filthy, but only if they get washed, and this washing does not refer to water baptism. It refers to an inner work that only God can do. In verse 11 we have the two ingredients of John 3:5 mentioned: the WATER (“washed”) and the SPIRIT (“by the Spirit of our God”).


Whenever you think of John 3:5 you should also think of Titus 3:5. The latter explains the former. Both of these verses are found in chapter 3 verse 5, so they are easy to remember! Both of these verses talk about being BORN AGAIN (the word "REGENERATION" in Titus 3:5 means "born again"). Both of these verses talk about the WATER and the SPIRIT. Look at Titus 3:5: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration (the WATER) and renewing of the Holy Spirit (the SPIRIT)." The born again person is the person who has been thoroughly cleansed and renewed by the Spirit of God!


All of these verses are talking about that wonderful work which God does on the inside of a person, making it possible for him to enter God's kingdom!


Notice the water in John 13:5. Jesus was using this water to be a symbolic picture of an important spiritual truth. Was Peter a "washed" disciple? Was Peter CLEAN on the inside (see John 13:9-10)? Who was the disciple who was never born of water? Judas was the disciple who was unwashed and unclean and who had never been born again (John 13:10-11 and compare John 13:2)? This man would never enter the kingdom.



The WATER is also mentioned in Ephesians 5:25-26: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:25-26). How is a person washed? BY THE WORD! The WORD OF GOD is an essential part of the cleansing process. The WORD OF GOD is the mirror that shows us how dirty we really are (because of sin). Not only does the Bible show us our sin, but it also points out the only Saviour and His many promises to save those who truly believe on Him. Without the Word of God a person could never be saved and could never be born again. The following verses show how important God's Word is when it comes to salvation and regeneration and cleansing:


1) Psalm 119:9 -"Wherewithal (how) shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”


2) John 15:3 - "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”


3) 1 Peter 1:23-25 - "Being born again (regeneration!) not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever."


4) James 1:18 - "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth." “Begat” is another term that relates to regeneration.


God's Word does two things: 1) It shows man how great a sinner he is (Romans 3:10-23) and 2) It show man how great a Saviour Christ is (Romans 3:24-26)!


Nicodemus was a Jew who should have been familiar with the Old Testament. In John 3:9 we see that Nicodemus still did not understand what Jesus was talking about. In John 3:10 Jesus told Nicodemus that he should have known these things! He should have understood about the WATER and the SPIRIT! He should have been familiar with EZEKIEL 36:25-29. Does this passage talk about the WATER? Does this passage talk about being CLEAN and being CLEANSED? Does this passage talk about the SPIRIT? In this passage God promised to do a wonderful work ON THE INSIDE (see Ezekiel 36:26-27)! See also Jeremiah 4:14 and Isaiah 1:16.


My friend, based on these many passages, if God has not cleansed you on the inside, then you will not enter the kingdom. You must be born again! Water baptism is not the answer. You need to be cleansed before you ever get baptized in water. You need to have your heart purified by faith (Acts 15:9).

8. Passages That Seem to Teach that Water Baptism Saves (continued)

Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).


This passage has become one of the favorite verses of those who teach baptismal regeneration. In a motel room there was a Gideon Bible and near the front it had a section with John 3:16 written out in many different languages. In this particular Bible someone had crossed out all of the John 3:16 verses and in big letters had written ACTS 2:38. The person who had defaced this Bible was communicating something like this: “You are deceived if you think that John 3:16 presents the true gospel. It doesn’t present the true gospel at all. It’s not enough to believe in Christ. To be saved and to be forgiven a person also needs to be baptized in water. The true gospel is much better presented in ACTS 2:38!”


When it comes to having sins forgiven, what must a person do? The Bible teaches that it is faith and repentance that brings about forgiveness. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have true repentance without having true faith. You can’t have true faith without having true repentance. They go together. The Bible sometimes mentions repentance as the only condition of salvation. One example of this would be Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” See also Luke 15:7,10 and Acts 17:30. A few times both repentance and faith are mentioned in the same verse (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21). There are many, many verses which mention only faith as the condition of salvation (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; Acts 16:31; etc.). When only repentance is mentioned, faith is implied or assumed. When only faith is mentioned, repentance is implied or assumed. Where you have one you must have the other.


What is repentance? The word means “a change of mind.” It means to change your mind about sin, self and the Saviour. It especially has to do with one’s recognition of his true condition before God. One Biblical definition of repentance is found in Job 42:4. Job said, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” According to this verse, to repent is to abhor oneself, to discover how vile we are (see Job 40:4), to discover our utter wretchedness and sinfulness. No one can be saved unless he changes his mind about sin and self and recognizes how sinful he really is in God’s sight.


Harry Ironside explained repentance as follows: ““Repentance is just the sick man’s acknowledgment of his illness. It is simply the sinner recognizing his guilt and confessing his need of deliverance....(repentance) is judging oneself in the presence of God; turning right about-face, turning to God with a sincere, earnest desire to be completely delivered from sin. And when a man takes that attitude toward God and puts his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he finds salvation” (Luke, pp. 253-254).


In another place Ironside said, “Literally [repentance] means ‘a change of mind.’ It actually implies a complete reversal of one’s inward attitude. To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ....So to face these tremendous facts is to change one’s mind completely, so that the pleasure lover sees and confesses the folly of his empty life; the self-indulgent learns to hate the passions that express the corruption of his nature; the self-righteous sees himself a condemned sinner in the eyes of a holy God; the man who has been hiding from God seeks to find a hiding place in Him; the Christ-rejector realizes and owns his need of a Redeemer, and so believes unto life and salvation” (Except Ye Repent, pages 15-16).


True faith requires repentance because to be saved a person must recognize his lost estate and see himself as lost and helpless and vile and wicked and utterly sinful. True repentance requires faith because the man who repents believes what God has said about his true condition (Romans 3:10-23) and he also believes that God has provided a perfect solution in the person of His Son, God’s only Saviour.


Now let us return to our discussion of Acts 2:38. We have already seen that faith (which would include repentance), not baptism, is essential for the forgiveness of sins. This is clearly seen in Peter’s very next sermon, found in Acts 3:19—“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” Notice that in this verse Peter says nothing about water baptism. If water baptism is essential for the forgiveness of sins, why did Peter say nothing about this in Acts 3:19? If water baptism is essential for forgiveness of sins, why did Peter say nothing about this in Acts 10:43 (“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins”). If water baptism is an essential part of the preaching of salvation, then why does Luke 24:46-47 mention repentance and the remission (forgiveness) of sins but say nothing about water baptism? Even in the days of John the Baptist, it was repentance that was for the remission of sins, not water baptism (see Mark 1:4). John's baptism was an outward demonstration to show publicly that repentance had already taken place.


Forgiveness is received at the point of repentance/faith, not at the point of water baptism. Those who are not forgiven should not be baptized. They are yet in their sins. One simple parenthesis helps us to understand what Acts 2:38 is really saying, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent (and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ) for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

The real question centers on the meaning of the preposition eis (translated "for" in the KJV). It is possible to show examples where eis can mean "because of" (Matthew 12:41--"at") or "on the basis of" or "with reference to," and all of these are certainly grammatically possible. However, it seems more natural and more probable that in Acts 2:38 this preposition indicates purpose or result. Peter was preaching to unsaved Jews who were guilty of crucifying Christ. They desperately needed the forgiveness of sins (as we all do). Peter was telling them what they must do in order to have forgiveness (see Acts 2:37---"What shall we do?").

The translations seem to support this meaning. The KJV, NASB, Amplified, NEB, RSV all give the rendering "for." The Revised Version has "unto." The NIV has "so that your sins will be forgiven" (although in later editions this was changed to "for"). You can see how a person believing in baptismal regeneration could easily use all of these translations to support his view.

The lexicons seem to support this meaning. Arndt & Gingrich say that the preposition here denotes purpose ("in order to") and they render the phrase: "for forgiveness of sins, so that sins might be forgiven." Thayer has a similar rendering "to obtain the forgiveness of sins" (his discussion under baptizo). Thus those who believe that a man is saved by water baptism would gladly appeal to these authorities.

Acts 3:19 seems to support this meaning. This is the very next sermon that Peter gives, and again he tells the Jews what they must do to have forgiveness. We would expect that what Peter told the Jews in Acts 3 would be similar to what he told them in Acts 2. In both cases he was preaching to unsaved Jews under similar circumstances. In Acts 3:19 once again the preposition eis is used, and the KJV translates it "so that your sins might be blotted out." Of course, those who teach baptismal regeneration do not make much of this verse because water baptism is not even mentioned.


The grammarians also concede that the preposition may be translated "for the purpose of' or "in order that" (see Dana & Mantey, p. 104). Those such as A.T.Robinson and Julius Mantey who render it “because of” or “on the basis of” do so primarily on the basis of theology, not grammar. They suggest a rare usage for the term in order to make the verse not teach baptismal regeneration. But are we really forced to depart from what seems to be the more natural and more common rendering?


Most commentators, regardless of the view they hold, understand the prepositional phrase ("for the remission of sins") as belonging with the verb "be baptized." It is possible, however, that the phrase is actually part of a chiasmus (inverted parallelism) and should be connected not with the command "Be baptized" but with the command "Repent." The verse contains two commands and two prepositional phrases which can be represented by the following chiasmus:



A Repent


B Be Baptized


B In the Name of Jesus Christ


A For the remission of sins

In English we would best represent this structure by using a parenthesis: "Repent (and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ) for the remission of sins." This is exactly what Acts 3:19 teaches (only Peter there omits the parenthesis). In Acts 3:19 Peter could have said, "Repent (and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ) so that your sins may be blotted out!"

Indeed, the Bible consistently connects "repentance" with "the forgiveness of sins" (see Luke 24:47 where Peter received his commission; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 5:31). On the day of Pentecost the Jews would have understood this because the only baptism that they knew about was the baptism of John which was a baptism of repentance UNTO (eis) the remission of sins.

The strengths of the view which sees "for the remission of sins" as part of a chiasmus are as follows: 1) it is theologically sound and avoids the error of making water baptism a condition for forgiveness; 2) it harmonizes with the other passages which speak about repentance and the forgiveness of sins; 3) it understands the preposition eis in its most natural meaning (though other meanings are possible); 4) it agrees with the parallel passage of Acts 3:19; 5) it best suits the context of Acts 2:38 where Peter is offering forgiveness to Christ-rejecting Jews. Peter was not speaking "with reference to" or "because of" or "on the basis of" a forgiveness which they did not yet have! 6) it employs a figure of speech (chiasmus) that was not uncommon or unusual to the Semitic mind, though in English it may seem somewhat awkward. For a detailed study of Chiasmus, see our study entitled Englishman's Greek.


Stanley D. Toussaint (The Book of Acts in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 359) gives several reasons why the parenthetical view is the correct view:


Several factors support this interpretation: (a) The verb makes a distinction between singular and plural verbs and nouns. The verb "repent" is plural ["repent ye"] and so is the pronoun "your" in the clause, "so that your sins may be forgiven" (lit., "unto the remission of your sins," (eis aphesin ton hamartion humon). Therefore the verb "repent" must go with the purpose of forgiveness of sins. On the other hand the imperative "be baptized" is singular, setting it off from the rest of the sentence. (b) This concept fits with Peter's proclamation in Acts 10:43 in which the same expression "sins may be forgiven" (aphesis harmartion) occurs. There it is granted on the basis of faith alone. (c) In Luke 24:47 and Acts 5:31 the same writer, Luke, indicates that repentance results in remission of sins.

8. Passages That Seem to Teach that Water Baptism Saves (continued)

1 Peter 3:20-21

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:20-21).


Water baptism does not save a person, but there is a baptism which does. The moment a person believes in Christ he is baptized (immersed) or placed into Christ. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Being baptized or placed into Jesus Christ is not something that man can do but it is something that only God can do for the believing heart. The result of this baptism is that the believer has a brand new position. Having been placed into Jesus Christ he is now “in Christ” (a phrase that is found repeatedly in the New Testament Epistles). “If any man be IN CHRIST, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). How did we get to be “in Christ”? God, in His grace, placed us into His dear Son the moment we believed on Him.


In the days of Noah, eight people were saved. The rest of the world perished. They were saved because they were in a location which was absolutely safe and secure. They were in the ark. Everyone outside of the ark perished. Today Jesus Christ is our Ark of safety. There is no safer place to be than “in Christ”—“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Those outside of Christ are in great danger. How did we get into Christ our Ark of safety? We were baptized into Jesus Christ the moment we were saved. God placed us into His Son, and in Him we are safe and secure forever. Water baptism is meant to be a picture of the real baptism (sometimes referred to as spiritual baptism or Spirit baptism) that took place the moment we were saved. Water baptism is meant to be a picture of this new position and new relationship we now have in Christ, having been totally identified with Him, with His Person and His work.
9. Mistakes That Baptismal Regenerationists Often Make


1) They Confuse real baptism with ritual baptism (water baptism).


They assume that whenever the New Testament speaks of baptism that it means water baptism. However, this is not always the case as discussed above. The following passages refer to REAL BAPTISM (spiritual baptism or Spirit baptism) which happens to a person the moment he is saved. It involves being placed into Christ or into His body:


Matthew 3:11

Acts 1:5

Acts 11:16

Romans 6:3-5 (notice it doesn’t say, “baptized into water”)

1 Corinthians 12:13 (notice it doesn’t say, “baptized into water”)

Galatians 3:27 (notice it doesn’t say, “baptized into water”)

Ephesians 4:5 (water baptism is a picture of this one real spiritual baptism)

Colossians 2:12


Water baptism is a symbolic representation of the real baptism that is described in the above verses, but the picture should not be confused with the real thing.

2) They misunderstand the grace of God by teaching that salvation, at least in part, is something that we must do.

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:28-29).

If salvation is based (at least in part) on what I do, then my salvation can never be secure because I may do something to lose my salvation. If I am responsible to keep myself saved, then I may fall short, lose my salvation and be lost forever. Thus we are not surprised to discover that people in the “Church of Christ” do not believe in eternal security but believe that a person can do certain things to forfeit salvation. It would be very rare to find someone who believes in baptismal regeneration who also believes in eternal security.

3) They err when it comes to faith because they confuse the root with the fruit.

When those who believe in baptismal regeneration are shown the multitude of verses which condition salvation on faith alone, they usually say something like this: “You need to understand what 'believe' really means. True faith involves obedience. This means that believing in Jesus Christ also includes obedience to the Lord’s command to be baptized. If a person really believes, then he will obey.”

We will not deny that obedience to Christ is the fruit of saving faith, but we need to be very careful not to confuse faith with its fruit. Faith results in many things, but it is terribly wrong to then make these things the requirements of salvation. Faith results in love (Galatians 5:6), but we are not saved by love, but by faith. Faith results in good works (Ephesians 2:8-10), but we are not saved by good works, but by faith. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

10. Conclusion.

The conclusion to our paper on Lordship salvation (Saved By Grace Alone) is appropriate at this point also:

My obedience to His Word does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My obedience to water baptism does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My commitment to Jesus Christ does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My surrender to His Lordship does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My love for the Saviour does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My ability to fulfill all the demands of discipleship does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My behavior and my conduct do not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE.

God’s saving grace is to be found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ WHO ALONE CAN SATISFY GOD’S HOLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS and be to the believing heart God’s “so great salvation”! “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12; all verbs are in the present tense).

Have you been justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus? Is your hope based upon what you have done or is your hope based upon Jesus’ blood and righteousness? “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but WHOLLY LEAN ON JESUS’ NAME!” May we be standing fully on Christ the solid Rock, not upon the sinking sand of our own fragile commitment.
9. Mistakes That Baptismal Regenerationists Often Make

1) They Confuse real baptism with ritual baptism (water baptism).

They assume that whenever the New Testament speaks of baptism that it means water baptism. However, this is not always the case as discussed above. The following passages refer to REAL BAPTISM (spiritual baptism or Spirit baptism) which happens to a person the moment he is saved. It involves being placed into Christ or into His body:


Matthew 3:11

Acts 1:5

Acts 11:16

Romans 6:3-5 (notice it doesn’t say, “baptized into water”)

1 Corinthians 12:13 (notice it doesn’t say, “baptized into water”)

Galatians 3:27 (notice it doesn’t say, “baptized into water”)

Ephesians 4:5 (water baptism is a picture of this one real spiritual baptism)

Colossians 2:12

Water baptism is a symbolic representation of the real baptism that is described in the above verses, but the picture should not be confused with the real thing.

2) They misunderstand the grace of God by teaching that salvation, at least in part, is something that we must do.

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:28-29).

If salvation is based (at least in part) on what I do, then my salvation can never be secure because I may do something to lose my salvation. If I am responsible to keep myself saved, then I may fall short, lose my salvation and be lost forever. Thus we are not surprised to discover that people in the “Church of Christ” do not believe in eternal security but believe that a person can do certain things to forfeit salvation. It would be very rare to find someone who believes in baptismal regeneration who also believes in eternal security.

3) They err when it comes to faith because they confuse the root with the fruit.

When those who believe in baptismal regeneration are shown the multitude of verses which condition salvation on faith alone, they usually say something like this: “You need to understand what 'believe' really means. True faith involves obedience. This means that believing in Jesus Christ also includes obedience to the Lord’s command to be baptized. If a person really believes, then he will obey.”

We will not deny that obedience to Christ is the fruit of saving faith, but we need to be very careful not to confuse faith with its fruit. Faith results in many things, but it is terribly wrong to then make these things the requirements of salvation. Faith results in love (Galatians 5:6), but we are not saved by love, but by faith. Faith results in good works (Ephesians 2:8-10), but we are not saved by good works, but by faith. Don’t put the cart before the horse.
10. Conclusion.

The conclusion to our paper on Lordship salvation (Saved By Grace Alone) is appropriate at this point also:

My obedience to His Word does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My obedience to water baptism does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My commitment to Jesus Christ does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My surrender to His Lordship does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My love for the Saviour does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My ability to fulfill all the demands of discipleship does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My behavior and my conduct do not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE.

God’s saving grace is to be found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ WHO ALONE CAN SATISFY GOD’S HOLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS and be to the believing heart God’s “so great salvation”! “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12; all verbs are in the present tense).

Have you been justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus? Is your hope based upon what you have done or is your hope based upon Jesus’ blood and righteousness? “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but WHOLLY LEAN ON JESUS’ NAME!” May we be standing fully on Christ the solid Rock, not upon the sinking sand of our own fragile commitment.


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Dizzy Mom

Dizzy Mom
Whew take a breath...that was a lot to say, but like I said..you didn't want to hear what I said:

We are no better than Christ...I do not believe we need to be baptized to be saved, but if we have the knowledge and ability, we should.

I'm not saying must....I'm saying should...Christ was baptized so why couldn't I be...I want to be more like him...that is one of the ways I can be more like Christ here on this earth.

I understand you want me to understand...at great length even...to just believe what you say (and man do you like to say a lot).

Even so, not telling you that you have to be baptized to be saved, but what do you make of John Ch 3:
5 Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit;
Mark Ch16?
16 Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Matthew Ch 28?
19 Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.'


Just giving you a few readers...I won't overload you lol.
It has also been proposed by another non-denom friend that baptism could also refer to the waters at birth....interesting the things you can hear and learn in this world. My mind is open, but my heart is in the scriptures.


LISTEN-we said the same thing-stop preaching and communicate.
 

Dizzy Mom

Dizzy Mom
Also I think you are reading too much into everything...you say:

We are not saved because we obey, but we obey because we are saved.

But did Christ not say believe in him and we shall be saved....we have to obey him in that way in order to be saved.

You don't need to tear that apart I'm just saying..stop reading so much into everything...you sound like you're going round and round in circles.
 

BuzzardHut

Bird Mod
Whew take a breath...that was a lot to say, but like I said..you didn't want to hear what I said:

We are no better than Christ...I do not believe we need to be baptized to be saved, but if we have the knowledge and ability, we should.

I'm not saying must....I'm saying should...Christ was baptized so why couldn't I be...I want to be more like him...that is one of the ways I can be more like Christ here on this earth.

I understand you want me to understand...at great length even...to just believe what you say (and man do you like to say a lot).

Even so, not telling you that you have to be baptized to be saved, but what do you make of John Ch 3:
5 Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit;
Mark Ch16?
16 Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Matthew Ch 28?
19 Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.'


Just giving you a few readers...I won't overload you lol.
It has also been proposed by another non-denom friend that baptism could also refer to the waters at birth....interesting the things you can hear and learn in this world. My mind is open, but my heart is in the scriptures.


LISTEN-we said the same thing-stop preaching and communicate.
If you are dependent upon water for salvation, which catholicism teaches, then don't do it. I already said it's an external picture of what happened internally, if you read my posts you would see baptism is permissible, but if you're doing it in a church that teaches it's a part of salvation then don't do it there.

Also I think you are reading too much into everything...you say:

We are not saved because we obey, but we obey because we are saved.

But did Christ not say believe in him and we shall be saved....we have to obey him in that way in order to be saved.

You don't need to tear that apart I'm just saying..stop reading so much into everything...you sound like you're going round and round in circles.
I'm running in circles to wrap up your thoughts but not spinning my wheels.
Our obedience comes after salvation
you still see salvation as levels of works, the sacraments are false teachings, I said to trust in the blood of Jesus, no water, no obedience for salvation
Do you fully trust in Jesus' blood to cover all your sin(s), past, present, and future?
 

Dizzy Mom

Dizzy Mom
God shone his spirit in my heart when I was eight...he has never ceased to be with me...he has saved me...he has blessed me in multitudes of ways...I know Jesus' sacrifice and what it means to me...what it means for the world. I do not doubt God, I will never deny him.
 
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