by Tad Lindley
Cut off from the past…
We will not have the benefit of seeing the man Jesus Christ in this life, nor can we see the apostles in the flesh. We will never be able to hear Paul preach. Not a one of us will ever be able to ask Peter, “What must I do to be saved.” They are the elders of Christianity. They are long dead and buried. They will not speak again until the Resurrection.
…but not from the truth
Fortunately for us, the things that they taught, and the salvation that they preached about was recorded by the apostles. They wrote it first in Greek. Across the centuries, it has been translated into many languages. Because of this, we can know exactly what Jesus and the apostles said.
Although many books have been written since the apostles, they are all merely the thoughts of men. The real word of God is contained only in the Bible. It is the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).
The following scriptures discuss things that are essential to salvation. Among them you will not find the expression “accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior.” No such words exist in the Bible, nor did Jesus or his disciples preach that message.
John 8:24 …for if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins.
Romans 10:9 If thou shalt confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
Acts 16:31 And they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house”.
Believing alone is not enough to be saved. If it were, the devils would be saved. They believe. The Bible proves it: You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils believe and tremble (James 2:19).
Repentance means to turn away from sin and to turn towards God. This is why Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
Mark 1:14-15 Jesus came to Galilee…saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel.
II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Mark 6:12 And they [the apostles] went out and preached the men should repent.
Many people have been led to believe that they were saved simply by repenting. The Lord will not save us if we do not repent (see Luke 13:3,5), but there is more. Jesus told his disciples to preach repentance and remission of sins…in his name (Luke 24:47). This means that believing and repentance are not all there is. We need the remission of sins, which comes in water baptism.
Baptism literally means “immersion”. The Yup’ik Bible translates it as anglluq. Sprinkling was never done in the Bible, nor is there any evidence of infant baptism in scripture. It was people who were able to believe and repent. Peter told the people to be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins… (Acts 2:38).
Mark 16:16 Jesus said, He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.
Acts 10:48 And he [Peter] commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.
Acts 16:32 And he [the man who had just been told that they needed to believe in Jesus to be saved] took them [Paul and Silas] at the same hour of the night…and was baptized.
Receive the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost was first poured out on the day of Pentecost in about 29 AD (see Acts 2:1-4). When this happened the apostles began to speak in other tongues. Although some churches actually teach against this experience, it was a normal part of Biblical Christianity.
Matthew 3:11 I [John the Baptist] indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he [Jesus] that comes after me is mightier than I…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and fire.
Romans 8:9 …now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Straight out of the mouth of Peter
We will never see Peter in this life, but his words have been carefully recorded in the Bible. On the day of Pentecost he stood up before a crowd of at least 3,000 people and preached to them. At the end of his preaching, they asked him what they should do to be saved. This is what he said, and it speaks to repentance, water baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, for the promise is to you, to your children. and to all those who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:38-39).
If you want to be saved, obey the word of God.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.