Saved By Grace – But When? The Role of Obedience in Salvation
Thanks to many… • Including all my teachers, some of whom are here • Mark Wilhelm • David Gibson • For ideas and thoughts to help this lesson.
Numerous Passages Teach Salvation By Grace • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. • “boast” – Paul refers to works that accrue credit or merit to the doer.
Not By Works • Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5not by works of righteous-ness which we have done, but accord-ing to His mercy He saved us… 7that having been justified by His grace…. • “works of righteousness” – human deeds will never suffice to save.
...But Not Without Them Either! • James 2:14-24 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?.... 22Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? ... 24You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Wrong Kinds of Works • Works to Earn Salvation – Romans 4:1-6 • Works of an Obsolete Law – Rom 3:21 • Works that nullify Christ -- Gal 5:1-4
Necessary Works • Works that bring faith to life – James 2:26 • Obedience to the Gospel – 2 Thess 1:8 • Walking in the Light – 1 John 1:7 • These are necessary, though not sufficient, to save. • Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse the guilt of sin!
Baptism is not a work of merit • Colossians 2:12-13 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13And you… He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Baptism is not a work of merit • Colossians 2:12-13 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13And you… He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, • In baptism you are buried, raised, made alive, and forgiven, by faith in the working of God.
Baptism is not a work of merit • Galatians 3:26-27For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. • 1 Cor 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…. • Through baptism we come into Christ, into His body (church), by grace.
Objections to Biblical Baptism • Primary logic: This can’t be true, so we have to find a reason why. • Primary method: eliminate, minimize, or change the meanings of the words used by the Holy Spirit. • So how do opponents of the gospel try to do away with the connection between baptism and salvation?
#1 – It isn’t taught that much • By their count, 7 verses, (.0002% of Bible), even ‘appear’ to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. • How many does it take? • Judgment: “I told you seven times!” • Virgin birth: 3 verses • Baptism saves: actually 12
#1 – It isn’t taught that much • About 40 different verses teach about Christian baptism (excluding John’s) • These verses show consistently: • A connection with salvation • Done when responding to the gospel • Because of the power of the cross • Assumed universal among Christians.
#2 – 1 Cor 1:17 • 1 Cor 1:17 for Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…. • This refers to the physical act… • 1 Cor 1:13-16 …were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas…. (see also John 4:1-2) • This is an extreme example of a “proof text” without a context!
#3 – Mark 16:16 • Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. • Their explanation leaves “and is baptized” meaning nothing. Compare the same wording in: • Acts 18:8 …And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
#3 – Mark 16:16 • Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. • Their explanation: only the last half matters: • “It should be noted that in the second half of this verse the only basis for condemnation is a refusal to believe…. Therefore the only basis for salvation is belief, not baptism plus belief.”
#4 – Acts 2:38 • Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins….” • They contend that “for” here means “pointing into,” not “in order that.” • In this they differ with every standard Greek lexicon, and every major “committee” translation. They have invented a meaning to support their belief.
#4 – Acts 2:38 • Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. • Jesus’ words are the same as those used by Peter. • If baptism follows salvation, then so does the shedding of Jesus’ blood.
#5 – 1 Peter 3:21 • 1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism…. • Because the context is about the flood, they say that Noah was saved by staying out of the water. • Thus they go from “baptism saves us” to “baptism does not save us.” • The Spirit said what He meant!
#6 – Acts 22:16 • Acts 22:16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. • Their abuse of this verse is appalling. • 1. Contend that Saul was already saved because Ananias called him (22:13) “Brother.” – but Paul addressed the crowd in 22:1 the same way. “Brother” here means “fellow Jew.”
#6 – Acts 22:16 • Acts 22:16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. • They give a “literal Greek” translation that turns “arise” into “having arisen” and “calling” into “having called.” • Grammatically, these are commands, as every translation shows. I hope this is nothing but ignorance.
#6 – Acts 22:16 • Acts 22:16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. • 3. They misquote from Matthew Henry, adding “(not our baptism)” to his words. He neither wrote nor believed that baptism was not connected to salvation. • They were informed and agreed, but never retracted the words. They did ask the paper to retract a misprint.
If God wanted to teach baptism was essential, could He… • - put a passage in the Bible that says, “baptism saves us?” He did – 1 Peter 3:21 • - make it clear that baptism is the point at which our sins are washed away? He did -- Acts 22:16 • - make sure that in every mention of baptism in conversion, baptism is always immediate? He did – Acts 2:41, 8:12, 8:36, 9:18, 10:48, 16:15, 16:33, 18:8, 19:5, 22:16,
If God wanted to teach baptism was essential, could He… • - give an example of someone hearing the gospel and then asking immediately to be baptized? He did – Acts 8:36. • Give an example of improper baptism being corrected?. He did -- Acts 19:5. • God has spoken – it is up to us to listen.
We are saved… • By grace, • Through faith, • On the basis of the blood of Christ, • By the power of His resurrection, • When we hear and obey the gospel, • Through:belief, • confession, • repentance, • and baptism.