How to gain eternal salvation
Published 3:42 pm Friday, January 26, 2024
I often think of all the services that churches throughout the area provide. Some provide food too the needy, others provide clothing for the less fortunate. Others provide family services for those with problem children and for couples that are going through marital issues. There are youth activities for the young and activities for the married and the widowed and there are special seasonal activities for the entire congregation. There are so many things that churches do, like those that I have mentioned, and they are no doubt needed and are good services to offer to those in need. But brethren, there is a need that supersedes any physical need of any man or woman. The most important service that the church can provide is to offer scriptural information on how one can be eternally saved from their sins through Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches us that we are all created in the image of God. That is, He gave us an eternal soul and with it God gave us free will to choose whether we would follow Him or not. Paul taught in the book of Romans that all have sinned and came short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The sin we commit is of our own volition. Contrary to the thoughts of some, we do not inherit the sins of our forefathers (Adam, Father, Mother) (Ezek. 18:19-24). So, we find that the penalty for our sins is spiritual death. In our sins we have separated ourselves from God (Romans 6:23, Isaiah 59:1-3). Since the penalty for sin is death, Jesus took on flesh so that He could die in our place, paying that penalty for each of us on the cross. You and I can take advantage of His gift of salvation by putting our faith in Jesus as God’s Son to save us, turning away from our sins, and allowing someone to baptize us into the body (Church) of Christ. Friends, it really is just that simple, and notice, it is exactly what Jesus said: And He said to them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16).
There are many in the religious world that do not like to consider patterns found within the Bible and especially the New Testament. However, there is a pattern seen in the gospel and it goes something like this; (and those who believe it being baptized immediately). This or similar phrases are presented in the Book of Acts multiple times. The first instance is in chapter two. There the apostle Peter preached Jesus to a multitude of Jewish worshippers. He taught how Jesus was crucified, buried, and then was resurrected by God and made Lord of all (Acts 2:22-36).
On that day, many in the crowd believe Peter’s preaching, they are pierced to the heart and ask Him what they should do (Acts 2:37). Peter answers, telling them to repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name (by Jesus’ authority) for the forgiveness of their sins and that they would receive the gift of God’s Spirit (Acts 2:38). Again, and again that same pattern is seen throughout the New Testament. Consider the following: In Acts 8:12, the Samarians hear the gospel of Jesus, believe and are baptized. In Acts 8:13, Simon the sorcerer hears, believes, and is baptized. In Acts 8:26-39, an Ethiopian is taught about Jesus, he believes what he is taught and is baptized. Then in Acts 9:1-19, Jesus appears to Saul of Tarsus, Saul is sent to Damascus where he is taught the gospel, upon receiving the Gospel Saul believes in him and is baptized. In Acts 10:24-48, Cornelius and his family hear the gospel and are baptized. In Acts 16:14-15, Lydia and her family are baptized after hearing and believing the gospel. In Acts 16:25-34, the Jailor and his family hear the gospel and are baptized. Friends this is the simple means for our salvation, that we believe in Jesus, repent of our sins, confess His name, and based on that faith we allow someone to baptize us just as Jesus taught.
The Apostle Paul wrote of salvation and baptism and said, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4 KJV).
Jesus died on the cross, taking our punishment on Himself. Baptism brings us into that death so that our sins are covered by it. We rise from baptism, just as Jesus rose from death, to walk in the new life God gives us, free from our sin. This is how the New Testament teaches us to be saved, this is how we are covered by the blood of Jesus.
(Tony Hoss is minister of the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)