Just how does God save a person from their sins?
by Robert Randle 10/27/2011 / Salvation
In nearly every Christian Church at some point in time a person will attend worship services who has not received salvation, and in numerous instances will make it known what their reason is for being in the audience [by raising their hand or writing down the information on a card], and they have come because they believe in God and that Jesus [Yeshua] died for their sins and want to know what to do to have their sins forgiven. The sad thing is that many preachers have not taught them the plan of salvation perfectly and they leave the house of God still in their sin; no matter how tearful and heartfelt their public act of contrition might be. So, to begin with, is there any precedent in the New Testament Scriptures [since we are dealing with the Church Age] where a preacher thought he was teaching the truth but was in error and had to be corrected? See the following below:
Acts 18: 24-26
Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born in Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures came to Ephesus. This man having been instructed in the way of the LORD; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the LORD, although he knew "only" the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue [Church]. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him they took him aside and explained to him the way of God "more accurately [perfectly]."
NOTE: Can anyone really imagine any modern Preacher, Apostle, Bishop, Pastor, Elder, Minister or Priest that is humble enough to receive instruction from an ordinary worshipping couple or individual, especially when they are right and have been teaching a certain doctrine or theological perspective for any length of time; or even if they are just starting out in their vocation? It is not an embarrassment if you make mistakes and don't know everything because only the Word of God is infallible (Cp. 2 Timothy 3: 16), and man is prone to err (Cp. Jeremiah 10: 23; Proverbs 16: 2, 25). The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4: 7, which says: We have this treasure [the gospel] in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
Now, it is time to explore the matter a little further.
Ephesians 2: 5b, 8a
. . . by grace you have been saved. For by grace you have been saved through faith.
NOTE: The message from the pulpit is you are saved by grace or you are saved by faith and all you have to do is just "believe" and God will save you; but is that really all the Bible says on the matter?
Romans 10: 17
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God?
Romans 6: 17-18
But God be thanked that though you were the slaves of sin, yet you have obeyed [not just 'believed'] from your heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all which I also received; that Christ [Moshiach] died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the first day, according to the Scriptures.
Question: So how did the apostle Paul, and those that he penned this letter to receive the Gospel and being saved in such a way that it connects them to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus [Yeshua]?
Romans 6: 1-4, 6-7
What shall we [including the apostle Paul] say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace [Cp. Ephesians 2: 5b, 8a] may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us [including the apostle Paul] as were baptized into Christ Jesus [Moshiach Yeshua] were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ [Moshiach] was raised from the dead by the glory [power] of the Father, even so we also should [must] walk in the newness of life. Knowing this, that our old man [sin nature] was crucified with Him, that the body of sin [fleshly desires] might be [is] done away with, that we should [are] no longer slaves to sin. For he who has died [symbolically through baptism in Christ Jesus] is freed from sin.
NOTE: This question is more for the preachers, namely; "When does someone die to sin; like is it the moment they 'believe' or is it when they repent, or is it when they say, 'LORD Jesus come into my heart and save me right now?' " Perhaps some will contend it is really a "spiritual" baptism that is being talked about as evidenced by receiving the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. SEE BELOW.
Acts 10: 43-44, 46-47
To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name [Jesus-Yeshua], whoever believes in Him will [not has already] receive remission of sins. While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard [and believed] the word. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
Question: So why does the apostle Peter use water and is it important? Some preachers teach that the rite of "baptism" is just an open confession [profession] among many witnesses of your faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior because you have already been saved the moment you believed. SEE BELOW.
1 Peter 3: 20-21
Who formerly were disobedient, when one the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls were saved through water. The like figure which now saves us-baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach]. (Cp. Romans 6: 1-7)
1 Peter 1: 22a
Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth. . .
NOTE: Some Scriptures for further study are referenced in the following:
Romans 10: 9-10
That if you confess with your mouth the LORD Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Cp. 1 Timothy 6: 12).
Acts 8: 36-37, 38b
Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and he [Philip] baptized him [the eunuch].
Matthew 28: 18-120a
And Jesus [Yeshua] came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority [power] in heaven and earth has been given to Me. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you [including this injunction].
NOTE: You cannot even be a disciple of the LORD if you don't obey Him or have not received His doctrine. SEE BELOW.
2 John 1: 9a
Whoever transgresses and does not abide [receive] the doctrine of Christ [Moshiach] does not have God [no matter how sincere you might be].
Mark 16: 15-16a
And he said unto them, "Go into the entire world and preach the gospel to every creature [person]. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.
COMMENTARY: The LORD did "NOT" say, "He who believes is saved already" nor did He mention anything about praying to God for forgiveness of sins. Out of all the people who should have understood what Jesus [Yeshua] said it should have been the apostle Peter, and interestingly enough, he is the only one of the original disciples who is involved with and writes about water baptism specifically being connected with being saved or receiving remission of sins. The apostle Paul writes to a young minister of the gospel in 2 Timothy 2: 15, which reads: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The implication here is that in order to be acceptable to God one has to correctly interpret and apply the meaning of Scripture. Even the prophet had understood the concept in Isaiah 28: 9-10, which also says: Whom will He teach knowledge and whom will He make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, and precept upon precept. Line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little. Sometimes to better understand a particular doctrine it is prudent to study several passages for specific examples or necessary inferences and comparing spiritual things with spiritual (Cp. 1 Corinthians 2: 13b), and as the apostle Paul said in Acts 27: 20, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God [everything that the Spirit of God has revealed in the matter so that one can get a complete picture of the gospel and things that pertain to life and godliness]."
Matthew 15: 9
And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
Matthew 22: 29
Jesus [Yeshua] answered and said to them, "You do greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures [Bible] or the power of God (Cp. Romans 1: 16a)."
John 4: 23-24
The hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.