Lost Believers

Man at Sunset

Some passages in the Bible are lifted out of context, isolated, oversimplified, and misinterpreted in order to make a point that is not at all what the passage is teaching. At times this may be done by sincere individuals, but that does not change the fact that they are not accurately representing what the Scriptures teach.

The following passage is a common example of one that is used to make a point that does not accurately represent what the Bible teaches:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

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God’s Provisions in the Plan of Salvation

Wedding Feast

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast”’” (Matthew 22:1-4).

Salvation is impossible without the Lord. Peter said, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said that He is “the way” and that “no one comes to the Father but through [Him]” (John 14:6). As He explained in the parable above, He has made everything ready for us to be part of His kingdom and enjoy salvation (Matthew 22:4).

What has God done to make salvation ready for us? From before “the foundation of the world,” God “chose” to save us (Ephesians 1:4). This “eternal purpose [has been] carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11). Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). By sending Jesus to the earth, we can be “reconciled to God through [His] death” and “be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). We cannot earn salvation (cf. Luke 17:10). The reason is because “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Therefore, it was necessary for God to provide a plan by which we could be saved.

In His word, we can read about the plan the Lord has given for us to follow in order to be saved – hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and be faithful. In each of these steps, God has provided what is necessary for us to do what He requires of us. In this article, we are going to discuss these provisions that He has given in relation to the plan of salvation.
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What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Question Mark Sign

This is the most important question one may ask. We know that all who are of accountable age “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Many disregard sin as being an inconsequential matter. Others mock the very concept of sin. Yet the Scriptures paint a grave reality. Sin makes “a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2). Paul plainly affirmed, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
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Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16-17).

When Paul wrote to the saints in Rome, he said he was “not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16). Because of the confidence he had in Christ’s message, he was “eager to preach the gospel” (Romans 1:15) and do many other things in the cause of Christ.

We need to have the same confidence as Paul so that we can also say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16). Can we say this? To answer that question, we need to consider what we would be willing to do with and for the gospel.
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Who Calls You a Christian?

Thinking young man

If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? That question, or a variation of it, has been asked many times in order to remind us all of the importance of letting our lights shine (Matthew 5:16), being ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15), and defending the truth (Philippians 1:16-17). We need to live in such a way that others can see Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20).

However, while the question raised in the first paragraph is good, there is another point that is just as important for us to consider. Just because the world sees you as a Christian, that does not necessarily mean that God sees you that way, too. To illustrate this point, notice what Paul said about the adulteress in his letter to the Romans:
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How to Become a Christian

Paul before Agrippa

As Paul was provided time to make a defense before Agrippa, he took advantage of the opportunity to teach the king and all those who were present about the gospel. When Paul asked him if he believed the Prophets, Agrippa replied, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). The wording of Agrippa’s response may be different in your Bible, depending on which translation you have. Another version says, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (KJV). Regardless of which translation you use, it is plain to see that Agrippa understood Paul’s intention. He was trying to persuade the king to become a Christian.

Paul replied to the king, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains” (Acts 26:29). Paul was a Christian. He wanted all those around him to also be Christians. But how does one become a Christian? We can look and see how Paul became one and learn what we must do to become such as he is.
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What Is Baptism?

Baptism

Baptism is discussed numerous times throughout the New Testament. There are also different baptisms that are mentioned. John the Baptist mentioned three baptisms – the baptism of John, the Holy Spirit, and fire (Matthew 3:11). In his letter to Corinth, Paul made reference to baptism for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29). There is also the baptism that is done in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38). It is this baptism that is repeatedly referred to in the New Testament as being applicable to men today (Matthew 28:19; Acts 10:48; 19:5).

Many people have various opinions about baptism. Some believe baptism is unnecessary because they believe we are saved by faith alone. Others believe baptism is merely a confession of faith – an outward sign of an inward grace. Some see baptism as necessary for gaining membership into a local church, but that one is already saved before being baptized. Still others believe that baptism is for the remission of sins and through it one gains entrance into the universal church. It is important that we understand what baptism is. Part of our “platform for unity” is the “one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). Let us consider what the New Testament teaches about baptism so we can unite around that teaching.
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