What Were You Told

AIAWR series

What Were You Told

hat were you told concerning the Bible's explanation of how to receive salvation?

Please read the following:

Paul and Silas found themselves in prison for preaching the gospel.  At midnight, they began to pray and worship.  As they did, the earth quaked causing the prison to fall off its foundation flinging the doors open and breaking the prisoner's chains off.

The commotion woke the prison guard out of his sleep and he thought that the captives had fled.  He was about to take his own life when Paul saw him and stopped him by telling him no one had ran, then the following happened:

"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.  And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house."  Acts 16:30-34

Let's break this down:

To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Paul meant requires it be done according to Scriptural formula.  Many believe in God but their belief is in vain according to the 2nd chapter of James and this is due to unfulfilled Biblical commandments.  If we are going to believe on Him, it has to be done "as the scripture hath said."  (John 7:38)

The guard asked a legitimate question & he was told to "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."  Obviously what that meant would have to be explained to the man for how did he know who Jesus was?  It was not the initial statement by Paul that educated the guard on salvation, but rather what followed:

1.They had to tell him about Jesus first
2. They had to tell him about Jesus' teachings, which the account in Acts 16 calls the word of the Lord

The message led him to repentance, this was exemplified when:

1. He abandoned his job as their prison guard
2. He did not stop them from leaving
3. He doctored their wounds and fed them
4. A Bible lesson took place at his home
5. Alongside his family, he was baptized

The fact that he was baptized harmonizes with Mark 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."  His faith was demonstrated by being baptized which is a Biblical commandment.  It expressed his faith in the conditions of the gospel, of which one is Baptism.

We may conclude he received Holy Ghost baptism as well, because Acts 16:34 says he believed in God.  What's the standard for valid belief in God?  There is one - in John 7:38-39 it says:

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

This verse qualifies a Biblical standard for true belief in God.  1 Corinthians 12:3 qualifies a standard as well: ". . .no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."

1. So does Acts 16:34 says he believed in God? –Yes
2. Had Jesus been glorified at this point in time? – Yes
3. Had the Holy Ghost been given at this point in time? – Yes
4. The conclusion is that in deed must have been filled with the Holy Ghost

What have you been told about these next Scriptures?

"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.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

It is incorrectly said by some that these Scriptures declare the necessary components for Biblical salvation.  This is a very inaccurate interpretation of Scripture and doesn't coordinate with the overall Biblical plan of salvation.  It can't be literally applied as a prescriptive formula.  Why?

1. There is nothing definitive or instructive about Paul's statement
2. It does not reveal the declared method for forgiveness of sins
3. It does not reveal how to be Born-Again.
4. Taken literally, we are prescribed a formula for vocalized or spoken salvation

Not only could this be done with insincere lip service, but this concept is dealt with in Scripture.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." - Matthew 7:21

"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Luke 6:46

Among the many denominal churches the Scripture "we are not saved by works we do . . . lest any man should boast" is quickly quoted.  This is usually countered as a rebuttal to some of what I've wrote in this article.  Their premise is usually to argue that declaring baptism, speaking in tongues, et-cetera as necessary in order to be saved is a salvation based on our own works.

Well, vocally uttering a profession of faith in a public setting is by that definition a "works based salvation" too.  When Paul spoke of works not being sufficient to attain salvation, he meant works that originate in man's designs.  Furthermore, Paul declared in Titus 3:5 that the two essential components of Spirit and Water Baptism are not works originating under man's designs.  They are provisions of God.

Consider these thoughts in regards to Romans 10:9-10:

1. Paul's letter was addressed to the Saints in Rome (Romans 1:7) which means they knew how to be saved
2. The KVJ renders Homologeo as "confess" which means to agree with in a covenant
3. A covenantal confession of Jesus Christ's Lordship begins

a. At repentance of sins
b. At baptism in Jesus name
c. This is when His name and blood are applied to lives (Luke 24:47)

Remember confession in the sense Paul expressed is only possible after receiving the Holy Ghost (1 Cor.12:3)  Belief in the Resurrection of Jesus isn't what expressly saves us, but the application of it to our lives does;  Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection is the essence of the gospel and our individual fulfillment of this is typified by:

Our personal repentance (death); Our personal baptism (burial);  Our personal regeneration . . . (resurrection)

And Romans 10:13 . . .

This verse declares God's impartiality as to who can be saved with the emphasis on "whosoever."

John 3:15-16 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Salvation is available to all but unfortunately people are still perishing without God.  If Romans 10:13 is a mechanical formula for salvation, the above verses need to be canceled out.  The verse in John emphasized belief, which includes the Biblically related parts to true belief.  The words of Peter emphasized repentance & we know what must accompany repentance.

Peter said God wasn't desirous of people perishing - but they still are, right?  John said the basis for the gift of the Incarnation was towards none perishing - but they still are, right?  Yes.

Matthew 7:21-23 shows that merely calling on the Lord verbally does not authenticate salvation;  it's what the definition of calling means.  To call on Jesus means to pray to Him, it means to cast ones-self totally upon Him for mercy, and to depend solely on Him for salvation.  Genuinely calling on the Lord requires faith (verse 14), and genuine faith includes obedience (verse 16).  Calling on the name of the Lord will include calling His name at baptism (Acts 22:16).

But that's not where it stops when we read the other verses:

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?  and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?  and how shall they hear without a preacher?

1. Calling on the Name is preceded by believing in the Name first
2. Believing is preceded by hearing about the Name first
3. How do we hear?  A God-called preacher

So, what did you say you were told?


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What Were You Told