“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” – Galatians 3:27
Hey, friends! It feels like it’s been a while since we last studied together. I just want you to know that I really do appreciate you and the kindness you show to me in reading. It’s so cool to have such supportive people like you in my corner. Much love to you and many thanks!!
This week I heard a preacher on the television broadcast what she thought people needed to do in order to be saved. It broke my heart to hear. She stated that all you have to do is pray a prayer for Jesus to come into your heart and you will be saved. She then added that it’s simple but people try to make it harder than what it really is. Friends, that’s false teaching. That is not what the Bible teaches. Jesus never taught that you pray a prayer to be saved.
There are many false teachers today who are opposing the truth of God’s message, just like there were in Bible times. Recall the false prophet and sorcerer from Acts 13 named Bar-Jesus, which is also translated Elymas. Paul and Barnabas had been sought out by the proconsul Sergius Paulus to hear the word of God (Acts 13:7). But Elymas, the false prophet, opposed them, “seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith” (Ac. 13:8).
Paul questioned him, ““O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord” (Ac. 13:10)? Then Elymas was blinded and the proconsul came to believe on the Lord Jesus.
Friends, a number of teachers today are enemies of all righteousness and pervert the straight ways of the Lord. The Lord said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). That’s what Jesus said. Yet there are some who cut His words short and say that He who believes will be saved. That’s not what Jesus said. Anyone who teaches that is going contrary to what the Lord teaches. It’s deceitful to look at Mark 16:16 and say that all you have to do is believe to be saved because that is clearly not what it says.
And 1 Peter 3:21 is clear when it says, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What does it say saves us? Baptism. Friends, you can’t have belief without being baptized and you can’t be baptized without belief in Christ. They go hand-in-hand.
Baptism is what puts us into Christ (Gal. 3:27). To deny these verses and say all you have to do is believe to be saved is to be dishonest with the Scriptures. One must be baptized in order to be saved. One must also repent (Luke 13:3). You can’t live a life of sin and be a follower of Christ. One must also confess that Jesus is Lord before others (Matt. 10:32-33). And you also must live a faithful life in service to Him (Rev. 2:10).
That’s not me making it difficult for a person to be saved. That’s me saying what the Bible says. If that’s too difficult for someone to do, then they must reconsider the cost of discipleship. No one said it was supposed to be easy, anyway. But how hard is it to confess that Jesus is Lord? How hard is it to be baptized by someone else? Why try to make requirements less stringent than what Christ has imposed? If we are followers of Christ, then we must follow what He says.
Let’s not pervert the straight ways of the Lord, but follow and do just what He says.
“Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.” – Psalm 119:33
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