Plan of Salvation
Members of the church of Christ believe there are certain steps which must be taken, in obedience to the commands of the New Testament. We believe that these steps bring about salvation and at the same time make one a member of the church.
- These steps are four in number:
1. Faith. The result from hearing the Word of God ( Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.) and is stated as essential to salvation ( Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.) (John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins John 20:30;31-30. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.) (Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.)
a. This too, is commanded (Acts 2:38; 3:19 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.)
b. Repentance is a change of mind which causes one to turn away from sinful practices.
c. It is commanded for everyone (Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:)
3. Confession. This is an outward confession of faith in Jesus as the Son of God. (MATTHEWS 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.) (Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.)
a. Baptism is not taught by member of the church of Christ as a "church ordinance," but as a "command" of Christ.
b. The New Testament teaches baptism to be an act which is essential to salvation (Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.) ( Act 2:38, 22:16 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.)
c. Proper subjects for baptism are
(1) Taught persons (Matthews 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:)
(2) Believing persons (Mark 16:16 He that believe
th and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.)
(3) Penitent persons (Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.)
(4) Persons who have confessed Jesus (Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God)
d. Scriptural baptism must be an immersion in water
(1) The Greek word from which the word baptize comes means "to Dip, to immerse, to submerge, to plunge."
(2) The Scriptures always point to baptism as a burial ( Acts 8:35-39 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.)(Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead:)
e. Baptism is extremely important because the New Testament sets forth the following purposes for it:
(1) It is to enter the kingdom (John 3:3-5 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.)
(2) It is to contact Christ's blood (Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4. 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.)
(3) It is to get into Christ (Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.)
(4) It is for salvation (Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.)
(5) It is for the remission of sins Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.)
(6) It is to wash away sins (Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.)
(7) It is to get into the church (1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.)(Ephesians 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.)
c. Following obedience to these commands we believe it is important that the Christian live faithfully, because the Bible teaches the possibility of falling from the grace of God.
1. Paul said he had to guard himself, lest after preaching to others he himself should be a castaway (1 (Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.)
2. He warned the Christians at Corinth to take heedlest they fall (1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.)
3. He told some of the Galatians they had "fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace".)
4.The Hebrew writer sounds the warning: "Take evel heart of unbelief, in departure from the living God" (Hebrews 6:4-6 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.)
5. The same writer spoke of some who had fallen away and were crucifying the son of God afreah (Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.)
6. Peter urged Christians to constantly add to their lives Christian virtues in order to make their calling and election sure ( 2 Peter 1:5-10 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:)
7. He also spoke of those who had known Christ Jesus, but who had reverted to their old ways...and said it would have known the truth (2 Peter 2:20-21 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.)
1. We cherish the hope that this presentation may aid the reader in his search for the truth.
2. We pray that each reader will be possessed with love for God and a determination to be obedient to the commands of His Holy