The Truth Concerning Your Salvation


The word gospel means ‘good news.’ It is only through the Gospel of Christ that you can be saved—that is, receive the forgiveness of your sins, and enjoy a right relationship with God. It is only through the gospel of Christ that you can escape from God’s righteous judgment upon sin: hell. The Gospel is good news, and you need it!

The Bible, the word of God, teaches that you are created in the image of God, but that your own sin has separated you from God. Isaiah 59:1-2 (chapter 59, verses 1-2) says:

 

Behold, the LORD’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear. (NASB)


(See also Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 7:9). “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1. John 1:5). Even one sin separates you from God: To receive salvation, it is not enough for you to be honest and good, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).




However, God, who is full of love and grace (1. John 4:8; Romans 5:15), “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1. Timothy 2:4). The gospel of Christ will save you—that is, will renew the right relationship with God, in which you were born. You are not able to do that yourself! (See also Romans 3:20; 9:30-33; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-5.)

God loves you very much: God, in His wonderful love, sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to live a sinless life and to die on a cross; Jesus shed His blood, thereby taking upon Himself all of the sins of the world (1. John 2:2), including your sins. He was buried, but did not remain in the tomb, for on the third day Jesus was resurrected; and God also desires to give you the sure hope of the resurrection to eternal life.

Jesus Christ is your only hope! Though God desires all people to be saved, God’s gift of salvation is found only in Jesus Christ: Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). See also Acts 4:12. On the basis of the Jesus’s sacrifice and through faith in Jesus Christ, God offers you the righteousness that will allow you to enjoy a right relationship with Him, i.e. eternal life (Romans 3:21-26).





You can only enjoy a right relationship with God if you are ready to repent of—that is, turn away from—sin. Jesus said, “… unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). You must become a disciple, i.e. a follower, of Jesus Christ, and must learn from Him as from Your Lord: “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). To make Jesus your Lord, you must give yourself to Jesus Christ unconditionally.

You must always be ready to confess Jesus as Lord in front of other people and not deny Him. Many early Christians paid a high price for this confession—even with their lives. Today, too, there are countries where people suffer socially, financially, and even physically in confessing Jesus. Yet a person cannot be a secret disciple in giving oneself to God, as Mathew 10:32-33 indicates:

Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. (NASB)


The following illustration can help people understand what it means to learn from Jesus Christ as from their Lord: Three categories are depicted, into which all accountable people can be divided. The circles represent people’s lives; the chairs represent the thrones of people’s lives; the cross represents Christ.

The first person (from the left) does not believe in Jesus and does not call himself a Christian. The second person believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, perhaps even attends Christian worship assemblies, and even reads the Bible from time to time, but has not come off of his throne. The third person not only believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but has also stepped down from his throne and allowed Jesus to ascend to it. He has decided to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Though this third person, too, is a sinner and does not live a perfect life, only this person is ready to receive salvation, because he is the only one of the three that has made Jesus his Lord.



Of course, you should count the cost before you decide to follow Jesus (as the Lord Himself counseled in Luke 14:28-32); however, you should remember God’s marvelous grace that is able to clothe a disciple in white garments (Revelation 3:5), even if the disciple has fallen into the dirt. God only asks for your heart—that you rise from the dirt when you have fallen into it. If God has your heart, then a thankful and changed life will follow.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10, NASB)


However, even when you have prepared yourself in this manner to receive salvation, something else must take place for you to enter into Christ and His salvation. You must be baptized.

You see, we live in the time of the New Covenant; the word covenant means ‘agreement’ or ‘pact.’ God designates the terms of the covenant; man can only accept or reject the covenant, receiving salvation or damnation respectively.

The New Covenant is described in the book called the “New Testament;” however, the New Covenant did not begin with the birth of Jesus, but rather, was initiated by Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. In instituting the Lord’s Supper less than a full day before he was crucified, Jesus said: “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:20). See also Hebrews 9:16-18. Accordingly, the Old Covenant, with its law, was nailed to the cross (Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians 2:14-17).

Luke records in Acts chapter 2, that a s hort time later, on the day of Pentecost, people entered into the life of the New Covenant by being obedient to the words of the apostle Peter in verse 38: “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Peter’s Holy Spirit inspired words are in accord with what Jesus commanded His apostles after His resurrection: see Mathew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16.)

Therefore, under the New Covenant, water baptism is the occasion at which you will receive the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit. Baptism saves (1. Peter 3:21; Acts 22:16; John 3:3-5), because at that instant God will connect you to the saving power of Christ’s sacrificial death (Romans 6:3). You will be buried with Christ through baptism into death, in order that, as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so you, too, might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:10-12).

Water baptism is a work of God, not of man. In its execution, it is the complete immersion into water of the person who is being baptized. The New Testament was written in the Greek language of the first century, and in this language the verb bapto (βαπτω) means ‘to immerse.’ However, baptizo (βαπτιξω), which has given rise to the English verb ‘baptize,’ is the intensive form of bapto and means ‘to dip completely,’ therefore: ‘to immerse.’ Similarly, the noun ‘baptize’ is a translation of the very similar, if not identical, New Testament Greek words baptisma (βαπτισμα) and baptismos (βαπτισμος). Baptisma and baptismos both mean ‘immersion.’ The meaning of these words always contains the idea of immersion. These definitions are in accord with the physical administration of baptism in the New Testament: Mathew 3:13-16; John 3:23; Acts 8:38-39; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12.

Water baptism is meant only for those with their own personal faith in Christ. Paul writes the following to Christians in Colossae:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (Colossians 2:9-12, NASB)


A baby is not able to be baptized, believing in the working of God, who raised Jesus from the dead. Babies are not baptized in the Bible. See also Galatians 3:26-27; 1. Peter 3:21; Acts 8:12.

Therefore, biblical baptism is immersion into water in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (see Acts 2:38), available to anyone who has a personal faith in Him. Sprinkling and pouring, the baptism of infants, as well as the disconnection of baptism from the forgiveness of sins is wrong. These deviations entered Christendom as time went by, but they did not belong to the teaching of Christ and His apostles.

The will of God is that after baptism, in thankfulness to Him and in His grace, you travel up the road of sanctification, realizing holiness in your life in a practical way: reading and doing the teaching of the New Testament, living and worshipping in the Holy Spirit—in that way remaining in the salvation of God. “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord,” as Hebrews 12:14 says. God’s will is for this to occur in practical fellowship and cooperation with other Christians (Hebrews 10:23-25). God bless you!

© Victor Barviks, 2011




God's work:  the enactment of the gospel

1. Corinthians 15:1-4






God's work:  the reenactment of the gospel in baptism

Romans 6:3-7

Colossians 2:9-12





An Invitation

The overshadowing of the Bible for centuries by human religious tradition has created a distorted religion. Only obedience to the word of God can bring about true nondenominational Christianity. You also can choose this simple, but true path. We invite you to come along with us.

The Riga Center Church of Christ is a spiritual family that believes in God’s message of grace for sinners in Jesus Christ. The foundation of faith for the congregation is the Bible – the word of God. In the first century, the word of God saved souls (James 1:21), determined membership to the church (Acts 2:41,47), governed the church (Titus 1:9) and was able to protect the church from error (Acts 20:28-32). The word of God is the imperishable, living seed that “abides forever” (1. Peter 1:23-25). The word of Christ will produce the same in the twenty-first century as in the first century – Christians in Christ’s church.

 

Dr. Michael C. Armour's Brochure: "Introducing the Churches of Christ"

Dr. Michael C. Armour's Brochure: "Introducing the Churches of Christ"

 

 

Assemblies

You are invited to the Sunday worship assembly of the Riga Center Church of Christ
at Akademijas laukums 1, room 305 (3rd floor), not far from the Central Train Station. The assembly is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.

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