Vol. 12 No. 7 July 2010
(And the start of a faithful life in Christ Jesus our Lord )Donald R. Fox
All believers of the Word of God, the Bible, must consider the need to use the sum of truth on any biblical subject. “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them” (Psalm 139:17). With the biblical principle of using the sum of truth, let us study and consider the examples of conversion in the Book of Acts.
Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). (1) There was preaching. (2) People believed or were “pricked in their heart” (verse 37). (3) Repentance is mentioned (verses 37-38). (4) Confession is not mentioned. (5) Baptism is mentioned (verses 38-41). (6) Remission of sins appears (verses 38-47).
Samaria (Acts 8:5-13) (1) People believed (verse 12-13). (2) There is no mention of repentance or confession. (3) They were baptized (verse 12-13).
Eunuch (Acts 8:35-39). (1) He believed (verses 36-37). (2) There is no mention of repentance. (3) He confessed Christ (verse 37). (4) The eunuch was baptized (verse 38). (5) He rejoiced (verse 39).
Saul (Acts 9:17-18). (1) No mention of belief, repentance or confession appears here. (2) Saul was baptized (verse 18). (3) His sins were washed away (Acts 22:16).
Cornelius (Acts 10:34-46) (1) He believed (verse 43). (2) No mention of repentance or confession appears. (3) Cornelius was baptized (verse 48). (4) Remission of sins was promised (verse 43).
The Jailer (Acts 16:31-34). (1) He believed (verse 31). (2) No mention of repentance or confession appears. (3) The jailer was baptized (verse 33).
Lydia (Acts 16:13-15). (1) Belief and an open heart appear here (verse 14). (2) No mention of repentance or confession appears. (3) Lydia was baptized (verse 15).
Corinthians (Acts 18:8). This verse simply states: “and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”
Friends, did you notice, in all examples of conversion in the Book of Acts, baptism is always mentioned? Further, did you note that when salvation or being saved was mentioned, it was always after baptism?
According to the Scriptures, baptism is that action that brings our obedience to completion. Baptism is the consummating or fulfilling act that transforms us from lost sinners into saved Christians. Most believers understand that the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, cleanses us of our alien sins. The question is: “Where and when do we contact that saving blood?” Let us allow the Scriptures to answer our question.
“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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:3-11).
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
What Must I Do To Be Saved? 1. Hear the Gospel (Romans 10:3-17). 2. Believe the Gospel (Acts 15:7; Mark 16:15-16). 3. Repent of sins (Acts 3:19). 4. Confess faith in Christ (Acts 8:37). 5. Be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). 6. Be faithful (Revelation 2:10). “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart” (Psalm 119:2).
Friends, our essay started with an appeal to consider the sum of truth as we study the Word of God. As we consider the plan of salvation and the sum of truth, no one has the right to single out any one factor and say we are saved by it alone.
Several years ago, I had a dog that was hit by a car. Her leg and hip were broken in the accident. Obviously, she was in a lot of pain. So when I picked her up to take her to the vet, do you know what she did? She bit me! I was only trying to be kind and help, but she bit me. Same song, second verse. Have you ever tried to reach out to someone who was obviously in pain in an effort to help him or her? When you have done so, have you ever been “bitten” by those you’re trying to help? If so, I wouldn’t be at all surprised. You see, I’ve come to realize that hurt people hurt people.
Therefore, here are two challenges. (1) Don’t let your fear of being “bitten” keep you from doing good for others. Seldom does doing good and helping another come without cost. (2) When you’re hurting, and someone tries to reach out to you and offer you help, resist the urge to “bite,” and graciously accept help, understanding that he or she is seeking your good.