How Can We Be Saved? Part 1: The Gospel and Water Baptism

 

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Describes what the gospel of Jesus Christ is, and how it can be received (Part 1)

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How Can We Be Saved? Part 1: The Gospel and Water Baptism To be saved means to be ʻin Christ.ʼ Jesus Christ is the savior. WE CAN ONLY BE SAVED THROUGH HIM. The bible says that there is not “salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). JESUS SAVED US THROUGH

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WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US. This is called the gospel, the good news of Jesus. So what is the GOSPEL? Paul the apostle defines the gospel for us in 1 Corinthians 15: 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I PREACHED unto you, which also YE HAVE RECEIVED, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also YE ARE SAVED, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures; 4 And that HE WAS BURIED, and that HE ROSE AGAIN the third day according to the scriptures …. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) So the gospel is the good news that Jesus died for us, he was buried for us, and he rose for us. Jesus died all this as our representative. He did it on our behalf. This means that when he died, we DIED WITH HIM; when He was buried, we WERE BURIED WITH HIM; and when He ROSE FROM THE DEAD, we were raised from the dead with Him. That is why Paul tells us that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul also says that God “hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In his life, Jesus never committed any sins. But when he hung on the cross, Jesus became sin. Our sins were place on him. He received the ʻgiftʼ of our

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sins without every having committed any sins of his own. When we come into Christ, we are made the righteousness of God. We receive the gift of Christʼs perfect righteousness without every having done any righteous deeds of our own. The righteousness that we receive from Christ is a gift. It is perfect. It is something that we cannot add unto. Only through what Christ has done through HIs death, burial, and resurrection, a person can be ʻborn againʼ which means to transition from being ʻin Adamʼ to being ʻin Christʼ. We cannot be born again through what we have done. We can only be born through what Christ has done. Now Paul says something very important. He says, we preached the gospel to you and “YOU HAVE RECEIVED” it, and by it you are saved (1 Corinthians 15:1). This shows us that the good news about Jesus substitutionary death, his substitutionary burial, and his substitutionary resurrection has to be RECEIVED. Today many would say that the way we receive the gospel is by receiving Jesus into our heart. All over the world people have been taught that when they receive Jesus into their heart, then they are saved. But is this really the practice we find in the bible? When Peter on the day of Pentecost preached the good news of Jesus death, burial and resurrection, the people asked him: “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) Peter then said: 38 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. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And

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with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (Acts 2:38-40) Next we read, “Then THEY THAT GLADLY RECEIVED HIS WORD WERE BAPTIZED: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). So here we read that when the people believed the gospel, they RECEIVED IT BY GETTING BAPTIZED. This shows us that in the bible ʻbelievingʼ the gospel is not an intellectual exercise. Itʼs not something that you do in your head. This is were many churches today have gone wrong. They have told people who believe that they just need to ʻreceive Jesus into their heart.ʼ But from the scriptures in Acts we can see very, very clearly that whenever people had heard and believed the gospel, they got straightaway baptized. Letʼs look at a few examples from scripture: The jailor and his household after hearing the gospel from Paul and Silas after midnight: “And they [Paul and Silas] spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he [the jailor] took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and WAS BAPTIZED, HE AND ALL HIS, STRAIGHTWAY” (Acts 16:32-33). The Samaritans: “WHEN THEY [the people in the city of Samaria] BELIEVED Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, THEY WERE BAPTIZED, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN (Acts 8:12).

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Believers In Corinth: “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians HEARING BELIEVED, AND WERE BAPTIZED” (Acts 18:8) Paul, the apostle himself: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and WAS BAPTIZED” (Acts 9:17-18). The eunuch who heard the gospel from Phillip: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and PREACHED UNTO HIM JESUS. 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?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. 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” (Acts 8:35-38). The Ephesians: “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that THEY SHOULD BELIEVE ON HIM WHICH SHOULD COME AFTER HIM, THAT IS, ON CHRIST JESUS. WHEN THEY HEARD THIS, THEY WERE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS” (Acts 19:4-5). Can it be that the modern church today got this vital point wrong? New believers normally do no get baptized straightaway after they have heard the

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gospel. Could it be that today the modern church misunderstands what believing in Jesus really is? Many think that it is an intellectual exercise. But itʼs not. In Acts, we always see that when people believed the gospel, they acted on it: they got baptized BY FULL IMMERSION IN WATER. You might say why do you say that baptism is so important? Because thatʼs how we receive the gospel of Jesus death and burial. Baptism is a faith action that connects us to the gospel of Jesusʼ death and burial. Paul writes: 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 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. 5 For IF WE HAVE BEEN PLANTED TOGETHER IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:1-7) But that is NOT ALL. The gospel is also that the Holy SPIRIT rose Jesus from the dead. Thatʼs why believers today can receive the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. This is what connects us to the resurrection of Jesus. Thatʼs why we read in the scriptures that in Acts believers receive the Holy Spirit. And when they received the Holy Spirit there was always a sign (speaking in tongues). I will talk more about the gospel and receiving the Holy Spirit in one of our next blogs.

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If youʼd like to get more detailed information on this issue (the gospel, getting baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit) see also our free online book ʻDid You Receive the Holy Spirit When You Believed? An Experience That Will Empower Your Lifeʼ at http:www//oberdorferministry.com. *

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