Where faith should lead
The way of salvation that we should follow is that which the Savior Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, taught as written in the Bible.
By LLOYD RUBEN I. CASTRO
AS MANY AS THERE are religions or churches, so too are the ways they teach on how one can be saved on Judgment Day. But, it cannot be that all of those ways lead to salvation. It cannot be that salvation is found in all of those religions or churches since what they teach not only vary from but also oppose one another.
And, even if those religious groups or churches all agree on one and the same teaching yet it contradicts the Holy Scriptures, such churches and their teachings will definitely not guarantee salvation. One such teaching is that having faith in Jesus Christ is the only means necessary to receive His salvific grace and nothing else. It is ironic that such teaching, upheld by many faith groups, downplays, if not totally denies, the need to be in any religious group or church.
Faith in Christ is truly vital, but is it all that is needed to merit His grace? Was that all that He taught and commanded? Is faith all that the Savior requires?
Needless to say, the way of salvation that we should follow is that which the Savior Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, taught as written in the Bible. That was what His apostles instructed and implemented on those who wanted to be saved.
One incident that shows this is when Apostle Paul and Silas won their jailer over to Christ:
“And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household’.” (Acts 16:30-31 New King James Version)
This occurred when Apostle Paul and Silas were jailed by authorities for proclaiming the Christian faith. Christ’s disciples at the time faced persecution.
The jail warden asked Apostle Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved. They told him to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ, indeed, is essential to attaining salvation.
But salvation comes from more than just believing. Faith should lead to baptism, such as what was received by the jail warden from the apostles:
“Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” (Acts 16:32-33 NKJV)
The jail warden and his family believed. They were first taught the “word of the Lord” because it is from listening to and understanding it that one comes to have faith in the Lord (Rom. 10:14-15, 17).
Only when the jail warden and his family heard and believed the gospel that they were baptized.
By Christ’s order
This process that the apostles taught and put into effect was not their own. They were following the order of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’.”
(Mark 16:15-16 NKJV)
Christ Himself taught what should be done to people who believe in Him and His gospel for them to be saved—they should be baptized.
Thus, one can only benefit from faith for his salvation if he receives baptism.
It is not just any baptism though. It should be the kind that the apostles taught.
Into Christ’s body
Speaking with his fellow Christians, Apostle Paul specified which baptism they received and where:
“We have been baptized into Christ’s body by the one Spirit, and have all been given that same Holy Spirit.” (I Cor. 12:13 The Living Bible)
One must be baptized into Christ’s body, which is the Church:
“And He is the head of the body, the church, …” (Col. 1:18 NKJV)
The baptized believers are in the Church headed by Christ. They are the ones who will be saved because they fulfill this command of Christ:
“I am the door: anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe. …” (John 10:9 Revised English Bible)
Those who obey this command are the ones baptized in Christ’s Church. This is because the fold or flock He referred to is none other than the Church Of Christ:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.”
(Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation)
It is necessary to become a member of the Church Of Christ to have the hope of salvation because it is in obedience to the Savior’s command to enter through Him to be saved.
The Church Of Christ is the one Christ redeemed with His blood and, thus, forgiven of sin (Col. 1:13-14). Its members are the ones assured of salvation on Judgment Day.
Have faith in Christ, join His Church
Faith in Christ and membership in the Church Of Christ are both essential to attaining salvation. Neither should be missing.
For, faith is needed in joining the Church (Rom. 5:2). And, it is the Church that the Savior will save (Eph. 5:23).
The Church Of Christ is the means by which Christ saves the people who truly believe in Him. Those people prove their faith by obeying His command to enter the flock—they receive baptism to become members of the Church Of Christ.
Hence, faith in Christ is not the only requisite to salvation. He also requires obeying God’s will, which includes joining the Church Of Christ through baptism inspired by belief in the gospel. This shows obedience to Christ’s command, which in turn proves acceptance and faith in Him as Lord and Savior.
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