Historic Christian Theology
This work details the basics of the Christian faith.
A reading of the text gives clarity to the evangelical focus therein.
Revelations of God:
O. General, or natural, revelation- The Creation
(Romans 1:19 and 20, World English Bible, or WEB. This theology almost exclusively uses the WEB version)
O. Special, or Scriptural, revelation- The Bible
Inspiration of the Scriptures:
2 Peter 1:21-"For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke,
being moved by the Holy Spirit."
2 Timothy 3:16- "Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for
teaching, for reproof, for correction,
and for instruction in righteousness."
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the
fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be
with you all..."
-2 Corinthians 13:14
The One true God manifest in Three eternal, equal Persons- Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit:
Three distinct Persons, yet One God in Essence and Being. The phrases "Tri-Unity" and "Three-Oneness" are
good ways to describe the Trinity of God.
O. One God
Deuteronomy 6:4- "Hear, Israel: Yahweh [the LORD] is our God..."
Romans 3:30- "...there is only one God..."
James 2:19- "You believe that God is one. You do well..."
O. Three distinct Persons
Matthew 3:16 and 17- "Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly
from the water: and behold, the heavens were
opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, 'This is my beloved Son,
with whom I am well pleased.' "
O. God, the Person of the Father
Jude 1- "to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father..."
O...God, the Person of the Son
John 1:1- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Hebrews 1:8 and 9- "But of the Son he [the Father] says, 'Your throne,
O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter
of your Kingdom. You have loved
righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.' "
In John 20:28, the disciple Thomas states to Christ, "My Lord and my God."
O. God, the Person of the Holy Spirit
Acts 5:3-6- "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit...You haven't lied to men, but to God."
Acts 13:2- "As they served the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, 'Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them.' "
O. Yet, One God in Essence and Being
Jesus states, in John 10:30, "I and the Father are one."
-In Greek, the word in this passage for "one" means "one thing" [that is, "one essence"]-
Matthew 28:18 and 19- "All authority has been given to me [Jesus] in
heaven and on earth. Go, and make disciples of all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."
-Notice the singular reference in this verse: "in the name of", which implies unity of essence-
Christ has two distinct, though not separate, natures united in His Person: Christ is fully God and Christ is fully man. He is the God-man. This reality is called the Incarnation. He is God in the flesh: "The Word became flesh, and lived among us." (John 1:14) He is also human: "Since then...[we] children have shared in flesh and blood, he [Christ] also himself in the same way partook of the same..." (Hebrews 2:14) There is his God nature (the eternal Word, which is God, the Son: "For in him [Christ] all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily..." -Colossians 2:9). There is his acquired human nature ("...the man, Christ Jesus." -1 Timothy 2:5, c). See Philippians 2:6 to 8- "[Christ] who, existing in the form of God, didn't consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross." The Son took the second nature of man, and was born human, so as he could act as the "...one mediator between God and men..." (1 Timothy 2:5, b) It should be noted that Christ, in taking on his human nature, was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He did not inherit sin (neither the imputed sin of Adam nor a sinful nature) as the rest of humanity does. "...and in him there is no sin." (1 John 3:5) He was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20 and 21).
The Law and Sin:
The Law, or the Ten Commandments-
God's will manifest to Israel. The Law was revealed to Moses. See Deuteronomy 5:1 to 22. Through the Law, God's Character is explicitly manifest.
In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus states, "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
O. Sin, definition
1 John 3:4- "Everyone who sins also commits lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness."
Natural, or Moral law-
Gentiles, those other than Jews, are under a moral law unto themselves. God's Character is implicitly manifest in one's conscience.
Romans 2:14- "...for when Gentiles who don't have the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts..."
O. Sin, definition
James 4:17- "To him therefore who knows to do good, and doesn't do it, to him it is sin."
O. The sin of mankind
"For until the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not charged when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those whose sins weren't like Adam's disobedience..." (Romans 5:13 and 14)
Genesis 2:15-17- "Yahweh God took the man [Adam], and put him
into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Yahweh God
commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely
eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not
eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.' "
This command was also extended to
See Genesis 3:2 and 3-
Read Genesis 3:1 to 10: Adam and Eve disobeyed God-
Both chose to disobey. The narrative details the first account of human will in conflict with God's will.
O. The result is death:
Physical and spiritual alienation from God
Genesis 3:19- "...For you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Romans 6:23- "For the wages of sin is death..."
O. Death through sin
All are sinners:
Φ. The imputation of Adam's sin
Because of the fall of Adam and Eve, God declared the human race fallen
through imputing the sin
of Adam to the account of all mankind. Adam and posterity are seen as an organic unit.
Since one man has fallen, all mankind has fallen.
1 Corinthians 15:22- "for as in Adam all die..."
Romans 5:15 and 16- "...For if by the trespass of the one [Adam] the
the judgment came by one to condemnation..."
Romans 5:19- "through the one man's disobedience many were made sinners..."
Sins resulting from sin nature
Similarly, humanity is also born into a state of Adamic, or original sin;
all have inherited sin nature from Adam, the propensity to sin.
Psalms 51:5- "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. In sin my mother conceived me."
Ephesians 2:3- "...we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh,
doing the desires of the flesh
and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath..."
Romans 3:23- "...for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God..."
1 John 1:10- "If we say that we haven't sinned, we make him [God] a liar..."
O. God will Judge sinners:
God, Holy and Just, cannot tolerate sin. He must punish sin or compromise His Nature.
Hebrews 9:27- "...as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment..."
Isaiah 13:9- "Behold, the day of Yahweh comes, cruel, with wrath
and fierce anger;
to make the land a desolation, and to destroy its sinners out of it."
Revelation 20:15- "If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire..."
Revelation 14:11- "The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night..."
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father,
except through me."
(Christ to His disciples in John 14:6)
The Gospel, or "Good News", for Mankind:
We are all spiritually dead sinners. Jesus Christ, Who is God in the
Flesh, sacrificed Himself on the cross for
the sins of the world to reconcile
mankind to God the Father. In victory over death, He rose physically from the dead. Salvation comes by God's grace through faith in the Person of Christ.
O. Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. He is the Son of God: God in the Flesh. He is Lord and One with the Father in Deity
Isaiah 9:6 and 7- "For to us a child is born, to us a son is
given...His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God...Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his
kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever."
Matthew 1:23- "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring
forth a son. They shall call his name Immanuel;
which is, being interpreted, 'God with us.' "
In John 8:24 Jesus states, "I said therefore to you that you will die
in your sins;
for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins."
Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross
for the sins of the world to reconcile
mankind to God the Father. His blood [and death] on the cross is called
Colossians 1:19-22- "For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him [Christ]; and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross. You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and blameless before him..."
Romans 5:10 and 11- "For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled
to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we
will be saved by his life.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."
O. Jesus Christ rose physically from the dead. This is called the Resurrection
1 Peter 1:3-5- "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living
hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an
incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn't fade away,
reserved in Heaven for you, who by the power of
God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
In John 2:20 and 21, the Apostle John writes, "The Jews therefore said, 'It took forty-six years to build this temple! Will you raise it up in three days?' But he [Jesus] spoke of the temple of his body."
John 20:26 and 27 testifies to the Resurrection of Christ: "Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, 'Peace be to you.' Then he said to Thomas, 'Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don't be unbelieving, but believing.' "
In Luke 24:39, the Risen Christ states, "See my hands and my feet, that it is truly me. Touch me and see, for a spirit doesn't have flesh and bones, as you see that I have."
1 Corinthians 15:17, 20 and 22- "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins...But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive."
O. Salvation comes by God's grace through faith in Christ. Grace is God's unmerited favor bestowed upon the sinner, which is appropriated by faith in the Person of Jesus Christ
Ephesians 2:8 and 9- "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast."
Titus 3:4-7- "But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Romans 11:6- "And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work..."
In Romans 1:16 and 17, the Apostle Paul writes, "For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. For in it is revealed God's righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, 'But the righteous shall live by faith. ' "
In 2 Timothy 1:8-10, Paul writes, "Therefore don't be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News."
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul also writes, "Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..."
John 3:16-18- "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn't believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God."
The two births. Read John 3:1 to 21-
Then, return to "born of water and spirit" in verse 5.
O. Born of Water
Born of water is the natural birth; The water breaks and the child is
born. It precedes the second, new, birth:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..." (1 Peter 1:3) The new birth is entirely different from the natural, or first birth. As a child born in the world has its first existence on the earth, so a child born of God, now "born of water and spirit", receives its new existence into the family of God. As the first birth is essential to a natural existence, in the natural world, so the second birth is essential to a spiritual
existence in the kingdom of God.
O. Born of Spirit
Born of Spirit, then, is the second, or new birth, realized through
believing the gospel
(Galatians 2:16, 1 Peter 1:23)
Recall Titus 3:5: "...he [God] saved us, through
the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit..."
The phrase "renewing of the Holy Spirit" clarifies the expression that precedes it. The Spirit washes away sins,
while renewing unto eternal life. "It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing." (John 6:63)
The two terms are extensions of the same event.
Φ. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6)
-In this context, the flesh represents the corruptibility of the first birth: i.e. man's sin nature. Accordingly, sin nature begets sin. The Spirit represents the incorruptibility of the new birth. The new nature given by the Spirit begets the fruits of the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:17- "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new."
Φ. "You must be born anew" (John 3:7)
To be born anew, or born again, is the second birth: i.e. born
of the Spirit. See verse 3:
"Unless one is born anew, he can't see the Kingdom of God."
wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know
where it comes from
and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (verse 8)
-Empowerment in the Holy Spirit is one of the fruits of spiritual regeneration. The Greek word for "wind" is the same for the word "spirit", and represents God's power to change the life of the believer. People hear the wind, but do not know where it comes from. The unrepentant realize the change in the life of the born again believer, but in themselves cannot understand the power of the Holy Spirit, who brought this change about-
In Romans 8:5 and 6 the Apostle Paul writes, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace."
1 In Galatians 5:24 Paul also writes, "Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts."
O. One is born again through believing the gospel
Believing the gospel entails repenting from sin and calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in faith to receive Him as Savior and Master of one's life. At this moment, the believer is given God's Gift of eternal life and is now a Christian.
Mark 1:15- "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News."
Acts 3:19- "Repent therefore, and turn again [to God], that your sins may be blotted out..."
Acts 16:31- "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved..."
Isaiah 55:6- "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Romans 10:9-13- "that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed'. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him. For, 'Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.' "
John 1:12- "But as many as received him [Christ], to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name..."
In Philippians 3:7-11, the Apostle Paul writes, "However, what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
O. The Nature of Repentance and Saving Faith
Φ. Due to our fallen natures, we in ourselves, cannot come to God in repentance (John 3:20, Romans 3:11, 5:6 and 10, Ephesians 2:8 and 9). None comes to the Father unless He draws them: "All those who the Father gives me [Christ] will come to me..." (John 6:37) Repentance is the gift of God, for only God bestows it. See Timothy 2:25: "God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth..." Repentance, translated, means "after thought" or "change of mind" ...
The Scripture clarifies the nature of repentance. See 1 Thessalonians 1:9: "You turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God." Repentance involves the intellect (Psalms 51:3, Romans 3:20), emotions (Psalms 51:1 and 2, 2 Corinthians 7:9 and 10), and the will (Psalms 51:5, 7 and 10, Matthew 13:15, Luke 17:4 and 22:32). Repentance is a "change of mind", a redirection of the will; a desire to forsake sin and seek the Lord Jesus Christ.
Φ. Now see Acts 20:21: "...testifying both to Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus." Repentance and faith should not be seen as separate responses to God's call. The Acts 20 verse presents repentance as turning toward God, to faith in Christ. Repentance, then, is joined to faith. Again see Mark 1:15: "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe the Good News." Repentance and faith can be understood as two sides of the same coin. Salvation comes solely from God's grace (Ephesians 2:8 and 9). As with repentance, God is the Author of the believer's faith: "looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith..." (Hebrews 12:2) Faith is the gift of God. See Philippians 1:29: "Because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him ..." Peter wrote to his fellow believers as "to those who have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ..." (2 Peter 1:1) Saving faith, being the gift of God, can be classified as having three elements ...
Φ. The first element of saving faith consists of an intellectual affirmation, which is a positive notion of the truth; i.e. one intellectually understands that Christ died for him. See John 2:22 and 23, John 3:2, and contrast with James 2:16- There is also an element of emotional assent, which includes a deep conviction of the truth. Consider Matthew 13:20 and 21, Psalms 106:12 and 13, Ezekiel 33:32, and John 8:30-45. The third element of saving faith entails the will, which embraces Jesus Christ, and, thus, trusts Him as Savior and Master of one's life. See John 6:37, 6:53-58, Acts 15:11, 16:31, 20:21, and Romans 10:9. Again, recall: "But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children." (John 1:12) At the point of conversion, one's desire to turn in repentance toward God and embrace, in faith, the Savior as Lord emerges because it has been granted by God (John 1:13)-
The Gospel- A Summary
God in His perfection will not tolerate sin (Isaiah 13:9). God will
condemn those who sin against Him
(2 Peter 2:16, Hebrews 9:27). Yet, all are sinners and warrant death (Romans 5:12). Furthermore, man cannot merit, or earn, his salvation (Philippians 3:8 and 9). What hope is there? There is hope. God, in His love, gave mankind the way to salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16). The Son of God: fully God, yet fully man (Philippians 2:6-8), became the sacrifice for our sins. Christ is sinless (Hebrews 4:15). His blood [and death] on the cross is a sufficient sacrifice for fallen mankind (Ephesians 2:16). In victory over the grave, Christ rose from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). Salvation is entirely the gift of God's grace (Ephesians 2:8 and 9). When someone repents of his sins (Mark 1:15), and calls upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-13), he receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 1:12).
Promises to the Christian Convert:
O. When one receives Christ-
He has redemption; accordingly, his sins are
forgiven: He is also justified before God
(Ephesians 1:7, Acts 10:43). See section below on justification-
He is sanctified (positionally), declared 'holy' in the eyes of
(1 Corinthians 6:11, Hebrews 10:10 and 14). See section below on sanctification-
He is born again (1 Peter 1:23, 1 John 5:1),
for he has been regenerated and renewed by the Spirit (Titus 3:5),
resulting from Spirit baptism into Christ's death and
(1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3)
Φ Having been baptized by the Holy Spirit unto new birth, he is indwelt with the Holy Spirit, to be empowered by Him (1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 1:13, Romans 8:9 and 10)
is an adopted son of God by faith in Christ
(Galatians 3:26), heir of God to
share in Christ's sufferings, so as to share in Christ's glory (Romans 8:17), with the promise of a resurrected, glorified, body
(See Philippians 3:21)
Φ He receives the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) that comes from God's grace, by the redemption of Christ Jesus
on the cross (Romans 3:24), through Christ's resurrection from the dead (Romans 5:9-11).
God keeps him through faith- He is kept by Christ
(1 John 5:18, b and Jude 1)
Φ He will grow and mature as a Christian throughout his life. He will continue to be sanctified, becoming, in practice, holier: "conformed to the image of his [God's] Son". This aspect of sanctification is called practical, or progressive, sanctification (2 Corinthians 7:1, Romans 8:29)
Φ He is eternally secure in his salvation. God will preserve the believer. The Christian will persevere until the end (John 10:27 and 28, Romans 8:28-30)
Φ He will go to Heaven (Philippians 3:14 and 20, Revelation 7:13-17)
He will eventually receive a resurrected, glorified, body (Romans 8:23
and 30, b and Philippians 3:21). Glorification
is the final state of the believer. In glorification, there is no sin or death (Revelation 21:4 and 27)
He will be with the Triune God, in the kingdom, forever
(Revelation 1:4, b to 5 and 22:1-5, New International Version)
Justification and Sanctification:
Old Covenant Jewish priests ceremonially cleansed the faithful with water and blood. This symbolism foreshadowed the actual cleansing of the believer through the Atonement of Christ on the cross. The gospel, in proclaiming the fulfillment of Old Covenant anticipation, describes the ways the believer is cleansed through Christ. The cleansing of the new Covenant is total and full; the Atonement is the completed work of God (Hebrews 9:11-15, WEB Version). From the Atonement comes redemption to the sinner; offering the cleansing (forgiveness) from sin and justification of the sinner. Forgiveness of sin is given through faith upon condition of repentance. Justification is the declaration of 'righteous standing' before God.
Ephesians 1:7- "In whom [Christ,] we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses..."
Romans 3:24- "...justified freely by his [God's] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
Romans 5:9- "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God's wrath through him."
1 John 1:7- "...the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin."
Hebrews 10:22- "...Let's draw near [to God] with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience..."
2 Peter 1:9- "For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins."
O. Forgiveness of Sin and Justification
Forgiveness of sin is appropriated by faith upon condition of repentance. Justification is the 'declaration of righteousness', which is given to the believer through faith in Christ. When one has redemption, he is forgiven of sin. The sins of the believer are imputed to Christ on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21, cf. Colossians 2:13 and 14). Furthermore, the believer is then declared righteous in the eyes of God, for all of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ is declared to him (imputed to the sinner's account, Romans 3:21 and 22). This declaration is objective. It does not make one personally righteous, but declares one as such in a legal sense (Romans 4:3), and brings him into a right relationship with God (Romans 5:1 and 2, and verse 11). Forgiveness of sin and justification are necessarily joined together in the sinner's salvation (See Romans 4:4-8).
Φ. Forgiveness of sin through faith upon condition of repentance
Acts 10:43- "All the prophets testify about him [Jesus], that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins."
Luke 24:47- "...and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations..."
Acts 5:31- "God exalted him with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins."
Φ. Declared righteous (justification)
Acts 13:38 and 39- "Be it known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man is proclaimed to you remission of sins, and by him everyone who believes is justified from all things..."
-Again, faith is the way to receive justification; it is not its basis. The blood of Jesus [and His death on the cross] is the basis of justification-
Galatians 2:16- "yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ..."
Romans 3:21 and 22- "But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe."
Romans 4:3- "For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' "
Romans 4:5- "But to him who doesn't work, but believes in him [Christ] who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness."
Φ. Appropriated through believing the Word of God- by faith in Christ
1 Peter 1:23- "having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever."
The 'setting apart' of the believer by God at salvation, and the ongoing spiritual maturity of the Christian. More precisely, sanctification is the setting apart of the believer, by God, in order that the believer may serve God. It is the initial declaration (positional) and progressive 'holiness' of the Christian.
1 Thessalonians 5:23- "May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely..."
Hebrews 10:10- "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Hebrews 13:12- "Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate."
1 Peter 1:2- "...according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with his blood..."
2 Thessalonians 2:14- "...God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth."
Positional sanctification is appropriated
through "belief in the truth"
i.e. in the promises of the Word of God.
At salvation one is cleansed (positionally sanctified) through belief in the Person of Christ,
Who is revealed in the Word of God
1 Corinthians 1:6- "to the assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours..."
Jesus states to His disciples, "You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you." (John 15:3)
Ephesians 5:25- "even as Christ also loved the assembly [that is, the church], and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish..."
Sanctification is also ongoing (progressive or practical
continuing throughout the Christian's life
2 Peter 3:18- "...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 7:1- "Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
Hebrews 2:11- "For both he [Christ] who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers."
Assurance of Salvation:
The Word of God gives assurance of salvation to those who trust in Christ.
John 3:36- "One who believes in the Son has [present tense]
but one who disobeys the Son won't see life,
but the wrath of God remains on him."
John 3:1 and 2- "Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on
us, that we should be called children of God! For this cause the world
doesn't know us, because it didn't know him.
Beloved, now we are children of God..."
In John 6:40, Jesus states, "This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
In John 6:47, the Lord proclaims, "Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life."
Romans 8:14-17- "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. For you didn't receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him."
1 John 5:1- "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God..."
1 John 5:4 and 5- "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world: your faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
In 1 John 5:13, the Apostle John writes,
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son
that you may know that you have eternal life..."
Preservation of the Saints:
The Scriptures teach that God preserves the believer's salvation.
In John 5:24, Jesus teaches, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."
Hebrews 7:25- "Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them."
Hebrews 10:14- "For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."
John 10:27 and 28- "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
Psalms 37:23 and 24- "A man's goings are established by Yahweh. He delights in his way. Though he stumble, he shall not fall, for Yahweh holds him up with his hand."
2 Timothy 4:18- "And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen"
Ephesians 1:13 and 14, "...in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation- in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of his glory..."
Romans 8:28-30- "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Whom he predestined, those he also called. Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified."
God wishes all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slow concerning his promise...but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." But God knows they are those who will reject Him (Luke 10:16). The key to understanding Romans 8:28-30 is the word "foreknew" in verse 29. From eternity past, God foreknew who would receive Him. God accordingly prepared the way for these repentant sinners to live in His will. Ephesians 1:4 and 5: "even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love; having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire." More specifically, Romans 8:29 goes on to tell the believer he was predestined, or marked out beforehand, to be conformed to the image of God's Son. God is the Author of our works after salvation. Again, in the Romans 8 passage: "Whom he predestined, those he also called. Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified." Notice the certainty of God's purpose: in verse 30, the word "glorified" is in the past tense. Compare this passage with Romans 4:17. As far as God is concerned, the saved are already in heaven, for "...God, who gives life to the dead...calls the things that are not, as though they were." Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:5 and 6 that the saved -in God's eyes- are already in heaven: "God...made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus..." In Romans, 8:28-30, God in His purpose foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. These five words bind the eternal security of the believer, for "There are many plans in a man's heart, but Yahweh's counsel will prevail." and "Yahweh has made everything for its own end..." (Proverbs 19:21 and Proverbs 16:4)
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faith,
gentleness, and self-control."
Apostasy, Can one Lose Salvation?
There are various Scriptures that condition the security of the believer's salvation: i.e. "if it is so that you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast..." (Colossians 1:23) and "if we endure we will also reign with him [Christ]..." (2 Timothy 2:12)
Once one is justified, he is completely justified (Hebrews
10:14). Colossians 1:23 and similar passages describe salvation as an
action. God is the Author of works, yet it is
believers who do works. A Christian's behavior gives evidence to
salvation through producing works and enduring in the Faith. If one is
a believer in Christ, his faith (being a gift from God) will endure
to the end
The Apostle Paul writes, "I thank my God whenever I remember you...for your partnership in furtherance of the Good News from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:3, 5 and 6) As God continues His good work in the Christian, so they will manifest this salvation by continuing to believe and endure. In doing so, Christian behavior conforms to the conditioned verses in Colossians and Timothy. If Christians resist God in their lives, God may discipline them to bring them to repentance. See section below on the discipline of God.
O At the Judgment Seat of Christ many will appeal to Him as their Lord (Matthew 7:15-23), only to be cast away because their habitual evil deeds showed they were never saved
Calling to Christ in prayer as Lord and Savior is useless unless one simultaneously believes from the heart (Romans 10:10 and 11). Perhaps the unsaved 'professors of Christ' did not understand God's grace (Matthew 13:19) or they merely had an emotional attachment to Christianity (Matthew 13:20 and 21). Perhaps these individuals never gave up the love of this world in repentance (Matthew 13:22). Genuine believers in Christ will produce ample fruit to testify to their salvation (Matthew 13:23).
O. Colossians 1:23 and similar passages are meant to:
A.) Admonish genuine believers to further maturity through progressive sanctification-
B.) Force unsaved 'professors of Christ' to reveal the nature of
their unredeemed state through
the absence of spiritual fruit in their lives
(cf. Hebrews 6:7-9, 10:39)-
Unsaved professors of Christ will fall into apostasy, to forever reject the Faith (John 6:66), while genuine Christians will "continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast" and will "endure" to the end.
O. Some within orthodox Christianity hold that other passages teach one can lose their salvation
Upon closer inspection, this shows not to be the case: Hebrews 6:4-6
refers to Jews who had knowledge of the truth of Christ but
were never saved (See verses 7-9). Hebrews
10:26-31 refers to professing Messianic Jews who considered going back
to the sacrificial system, after proclaiming faith in Christ.
Similarly, 2 Peter 2:20-22 refers to those
who had knowledge of the truth of Christ but permanently returned to
their old ways, because they were not saved to begin with (See verse
22). John 15:4-6 teaches that one shows himself to be in Christ by
remaining in Christ, proving he was one of Christ's genuinely saved
disciples- who was predestined by God to produce spiritual fruit (See
verses 8 and 16). The latter part of 2 Timothy 2:12 refers to those who
were never saved- while verse 13 refers to those, like Peter, who
temporarily disowned Christ yet were not lost. Peter went on to endure
in the Faith until the end, for "Who is he who overcomes the world, but
he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:5)
Types of Baptism:
O. Figurative language for persecution of Christ and Christians
Christ laments in Luke 12:50, "But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!"
Jesus spoke of the persecution of the disciples that lay before them:
"You shall indeed drink the cup that I drink, and you shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with..." (Mark 10:39)
O. Water baptism of John the Baptizer, which called the Jews to repentance in anticipation of the Messiah
Mark 1:5- "John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins."
-John's message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins only
anticipated the coming of the Holy Spirit-
He notes: "I baptized you in water, but he [Christ] will baptize you in the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:8)
O. Baptism in the Holy Spirit: God the Spirit unites the believer into Christ
Acts 1:4 states: "For John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
Φ. Spirit Baptism, through faith in Christ, was foreshadowed in the Mosaic, or Old, covenant
"Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)
Φ. The Spirit manifest Himself at Pentecost. Spirit baptism joins believers to Christ
"For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Galatians 3:26-28- "For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Romans 6:2 and 3- "We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?"
O. Christian Water Baptism
One can distinguish between water baptism and Spirit baptism in the
Passages that reference the word "baptize" use the phrase "in (or into) the name of" to address the
rite of water baptism.
Acts 2:38- "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ..."
Matthew 28:19- "Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."
1 Corinthians 1:13- "Is Christ divided?...were you baptized into the name of Paul?"
Acts 19:5- "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Φ. Christian water baptism is not part of the salvation process
Water baptism is separate from the gospel- 1 Corinthians 1:17, Romans 1:16 and 17, Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8 and 9-
Water baptism is a work of righteousness and necessarily cannot be the means of acquiring God's grace. Contrast Matthew 3:15 with Titus 3:5-7 and John 6:63- The salvation of the penitent thief crucified next to Christ demonstrates that baptism is not part of the salvation process (Luke 23: 40-43). Those that erroneously maintain that the division of the Old and New Testament occurred at Christ's death will concede Christ died before the penitent thief on the cross. Even under this division of time, the first Christian in the New Testament was not baptized (John 19:32 and 33, consider Luke 2:25-30). All are saved after calling upon the name of the Lord, whenever that may be (Acts 2:21, 8:12 and 13:48). Baptism is to be administered following the remission of sins; resulting from repentance. In Acts 2:38, the Greek word "eis", which is translated as "for" [in order to] may be also translated as "because of". The proper translation is dependent on the passage context; Consider the close proximity of Acts 2:21. This verse equates salvation with calling on the Lord in faith. Similarly, recall Acts 3:19, 5:31, 10:47, 13:38 and 39-
Φ. Water baptism symbolizes the washing away of sin by the blood of Christ
Contrast Acts 22:16 and Hebrews 10:22 with Jeremiah 4:4, 1 John 1:7,
Rev 1:5, 7:14, Hebrews 9:14,
and Ephesians 1:7- After viewing these passages, it becomes evident that baptismal water does not wash away sins but only testifies to the washing away of sins by the blood of Christ, which is appropriated through faith in the Lord. See Romans 5:9, Acts 13:38 and 39-
A literal translation of the Greek in Acts 22:16 suggests that Paul had already called upon the name of the Lord, because the phrase is in the past tense. Thus, water 'washing away' sins signifies the forgiveness of sins Paul had already experienced (through the blood of Christ- cf. Psalm 51:2 and 14, Ephesians 1:7). Acts 22:16 translates: "Having arisen, be baptized; and wash away your sins, having called on the name of the Lord." (Charles Ryrie, The Acts of the Apostles, 112) This is the proper translation of the verse, for In 1 Corinthians 15:8 (WEB Version), Paul describes himself as an Apostle, a "child born at the wrong time". The 1 Corinthians reference suggests Paul had called upon the name of the Lord three days earlier -on the road to Damascus.
Water baptism symbolizes the believer's death and burial to sin through
baptism of the Spirit into Christ's death unto spiritual regeneration and renewal, into a new life, as a Christian.
Romans 6:3 describes Spirit baptism- "baptized into Christ Jesus"- The Apostle Paul concludes the symbolism of water baptism in verse 4: "We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life."
Colossians 2:11 and 12- "in whom [Christ] you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead."
Colossians demonstrates, in an anaolgy, that the putting off the sinful nature
is only signified in the rite of circumcision:
"you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands". Physical circumcision points to the spiritual circumcision of Christ.
Likewise, "having been buried with him in baptism"
signifies the putting off of the sinful nature through Spirit baptism.
One's old nature is changed "through faith in the working of God, who raised him [Christ] from the dead". In the Colossians 2 passage, the redeemd
are carried through the waters of baptism, which as with the parallel rite of circumcision, testifies to God's work in them.
As the means of making Christians into disciples (Matthew 28:19), water
baptism is a manifestation of
Christian growth in sanctification
See 1 Peter 3:20 thru 22- Noah was saved through the waters of the Flood. Did the floodwaters spiritually save, or justify, Noah? No, they did not. By paralleling the floodwaters with water baptism (verse 21, a: "This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you") one sees that the ritual does not spiritually justify. Rather, the floodwaters represented the end of an old existence amidst evil. As God used the waters of the Flood to set apart Noah from the evil of the world, so He too uses the waters of Christian baptism to set apart Christians from the evil of the world. In both cases water signified a setting apart and sanctification unto God (See the broad context of surrounding passages). In both cases believers were carried through water holding to the promises of God. Water baptism's significance lies "not [in] the putting away of the filth of the flesh but is the answer of a good conscience toward God". This citation is from verse 21- firstly, section b, and then section c. In this citation, note that recipients of baptism already have a "good conscience toward God" i.e. they have already been justified (that is, spiritually saved). Accordingly, baptism is the answer, or pledge, of that good conscience. In the pledge of baptism, the Christian publicly manifests (amidst other symbolic testimony) his desire to be set apart by God from the evils of the old life through growth in progressive sanctification under the Lordship of Christ.
Notice again the phrase: "baptism, which now saves you." (verse 21, a) The phrase is in the present tense, typifying the ongoing growth of Christian sanctification. Compare with 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Also notice baptism saves "through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him." (1 Peter 3:21, d and 22) The reference to Christ's Resurrection and Ascension in Authority emphasizes His Lordship. One can see the connection to progressive sanctification. The more one applies the Lordship of Christ over his life, the more one is to become progressivelly sanctified. Remember being saved in sanctification means maturing as a Christian. It is completely different from when one was saved, in justification, and, thus, became a Christian. The pledge of baptism is one of the Christian's first signs of spiritual growth through application of the Lordship of Christ over his or her life. That is, the Christian becomes baptized because he is commanded by the Lord to do so. Inwardly, the Christian is being saved in terms of his progressive sanctification under Christ. Engaging in the outward pledge of baptism is only a manifestation of inward spiritual growth.
Water Baptism- A Summary
When one believes on the Lord Jesus Christ he is spiritually saved, or justified. His sins are washed away by the sufficiency of Christ's blood as he is simultaneously buried into Christ's death by baptism of the Holy Spirit to be raised born again through Christ's Resurrection from the dead (Jeremiah 4:1, 1 John 1:7, Rev 1:5, 7:14, Hebrews 9:14, Ephesians 1:71, and 1 Corinthians 12:13). The new Christian therefore manifests the first fruits of a good conscience toward God through the pledge of water baptism, which powerfully symbolizes his recent washing away of sins concurrent to his union with Christ into death unto new birth by the Spirit (Romans 6:3, Colossians 2:11 and 12). The rite also affirms before the world the Christian's perseverance to the ongoing application of the Lordship of Christ over his life in order that he may live out his salvation set apart from the evils of the world as a disciple of Christ (1 Peter 3:20-22).
Water Baptism, the Means to Discipleship and Church Empowerment:
As stated in the first section on water baptism, the rite is the means to enter into discipleship. Furthermore, in Matthew 28:19 and 20, Christ commands: "Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you."
Church leaders make disciples by baptizing Christian converts i.e. those anticipated in "all nations". Leaders facilitate spiritual growth in converts through extensively teaching them. That is, "teaching them to observe all things". One becomes a disciple through the act of baptism, learning extensively from another over a period of time. In the Gospels, the word is used for disciples of Moses (John 9:28), John the Baptizer (John 3:25), and of the Lord. In the book of Acts, the word is often used as synonymous for believers. However, one must not conclude the association of disciples to believers as absolute. Recall, in the Gospel of Luke, the penitent thief on the cross was saved; he obviously was not baptized. He was not a disciple (Chapter 23:40-43).
There were also disciples who ultimately fell away from Christ, demonstrating that they had never received Him in faith. Consider John 6:66 and 1 John 2:19. Judas is an example of an unsaved disciple of Christ who never received him as Lord and Savior (The Lord called him a "devil". [John 6:70-71]). Simon the magician professed faith and was baptized and had become a disciple (Acts 8:13). Yet, Peter proclaimed that his heart was not right with God (Acts 8:21). Again, one is justified, or made a Christian, in the heart, through faith in Christ: Romans 10:10- "For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
-These are simultaneous occurrences: one inward (belief in the heart)
and the other outward
(confession of the mouth to God; calling upon the name of the Lord)-
It has been established that baptism is separate from the gospel ("For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News..." [1 Corinthians 1:17]). The gospel has been defined in 1 Corinthians 15:2 and 4: "by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day..." Paul also states, " For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. For in it is revealed God's righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, 'But the righteous shall live by faith.' " (Romans 1:16 and 17)
Prior to the Resurrection, the disciples of Christ literally followed the Lord about and learned from Him. Over time, Christ revealed to them the gospel in order that they may become Christians (John 6:68 and 69). Yet, again, during Christ's ministry, there were those who heard His message, and believed, without first becoming disciples (John 2:11, 4:39-42, 53, 6:47, Matthew 8:19, Mark 2:5, 5:18-20, and Luke 23:40-43). This suggests the initial discipleship (baptism and tutelage) of the Apostles was not a prerequisite for their spiritual salvation. Rather, the Apostles were taught as disciples, under Christ, so as to prepare them for later roles in the church. After the Resurrection and the consequent fullness of Christ's revelation to mankind, new Christian converts, already having the "words of eternal life" (John 6:68), were commanded to become disciples, to mature in their salvation. These new converts, now under the tutelage of the experienced Apostles, and aided by the Spirit, could emulate Christ, empowering the collective identity and missionary outreach of the Christian church.
By realizing the principle (and possible) distinction between a Christian and a disciple one can better understand Christ's command in Mark 16:15 to "Go into all the world, and preach the Good News to the whole creation..." In comparing Mark's account of the Great Commission command with Matthew 28:19 and 20 one sees that believers are to:
A.) "Preach the Good News to the whole creation." (Mark 16:15)-
B.) Make disciples through baptism in the anticipation of extensively
(Matthew 28:19 and 20)-
Water baptism serves to reinforce the individual commitment of newly converted believers, as well as to reinforce the collective identity of the Christian church. Baptism becomes a powerful testimony, an outreach to unbelievers. The gospel is preached; sinners believe and are saved. Converts are baptized, under the tutelage of other believers..
In this comparison of Mark and Matthew's accounts of the Great Commission, one sees that Mark couples believing the gospel with a command to make disciples: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved..." (verse 16) Many conservative scholars maintain Mark's gospel was taken from information collected from the Apostle Peter. It is argued that Mark, having secondhand knowledge of Christ's ministry, constructed a history of Jesus in a condensed or paraphrased form. Though short of a Gospel of Peter, it has been established in Peter's pastoral letters (1 Peter 3:20-22) that baptism is not related to justification. This insight lends itself to a paraphrase interpretation of Mark's account, for in examining the latter part of verse 16, Mark writes: "but he who disbelieves will be condemned." It is the lack of belief and not the absence of baptism that brings condemnation. By inference, one concludes Mark's narrative must be a paraphrased account of Christ's commands in the Great Commission, of which Peter was witness to (Mark 16:14, Matthew 28:16 and 17), for Mark testifies it is by belief alone that one comes to spiritual salvation, or justification.
Judgment of Works and Doctrine:
God will judge the teachings and works of believers (Revelation 22:12).
Based on merit, believers shall receive
reward or loss of reward (e.g. the level of stature in heaven; Consider Matthew 5:19). This judgment is not
related to salvation, for "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus..." (Romans 8:1)
Corinthians 5:9 and 10- "Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at
home or absent, to be well pleasing to him.
For we must all be revealed before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
Corinthians 3:11-15- "For no one can lay any other foundation than that
which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.
But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble; each man's work
will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of
work each man's work is. If any man's work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. If any
man's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire."
1 Corinthians 3:8- "Now he who plants and he who waters [to build up
the church- bringing in
converts and edifying those already there] are the same, but each will receive his own reward
according to his own labor."
Corinthians 9:24-27- "Don't you know that those who run in a race all
run, but one receives the prize?
Run like that, that you may win. Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do
it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I fight like
that, as not beating the air, but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached,
to others, I myself should be rejected."
In 2 Timothy 4:7 and 8 Paul writes, "I have
fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the
From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge,
will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing."
The Discipline of God:
. God may discipline believers as a means to ensure their maturity as Christian disciples.
Hebrews 12:7-11- "It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with
you as with children, for what son is
there whom his father doesn't discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have been made
partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not children. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten
us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?
For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may
be partakers of his holiness. All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous;
yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those
who have been exercised thereby."
Proverbs 3:11 and 12- "My son, don't despise Yahweh's
neither be weary of his reproof: for whom Yahweh loves, he reproves; even as a father reproves
the son in whom he delights."
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)
Calling upon the Name of the Lord:
If you do not have peace with God and wish to become a Christian, then
call upon the Name of the Lord.
-Repeat this prayer or call to God in your own words-
I am a sinner. Sin separates me from God, the Father. You are God in
the flesh, Who lived a sinless life to
become the sacrifice for my sins on the cross. In victory over death, You rose from the dead on the third day.
I cannot merit or earn my salvation. It is the gift of God's grace. I turn from my sins. In calling upon Your Name,
I give my life to You in faith. I know I have forgiveness of sin through Your Name. I have eternal life.
If this prayer reflects the desire of your heart, rejoice! You are born
again. The Spirit of God resides in you.
Find a biblically sound church and unite with fellow believers through
baptism. Study the Scriptures and grow
as a disciple. Give witness to your faith. The Lord will be with you always.