I heard it again the other day. That question that every minister within the churches of Christ and almost every member has heard, especially if you live in the Bible Belt. “I heard that the “Church of Christ” thinks you are the only ones going to heaven. Do you believe that?” Or some variation of that accusation.
I have my prepared answer. So I gave it, “Honestly, I don’t believe all of us are going to make it.”
When I reply that way I get one of two responses.
- A look of shock and disbelief followed by, “What?!?”
- A chuckle that says, “I think I know what you mean.”
Deflecting the question this way or some other way gives me an opportunity to explain what the Bible teaches. (A friend of mine deflects the question with a question saying, “Who told you that, I would like to talk to them. If it was someone in the churches of Christ, I am sorry that they said that. I have never said that.”) This redirection allows me to tell them who the Bible says is going to heaven.
Who are the only ones going to heaven?
Who are the only ones going to heaven? Who will be in heaven? Those are the questions that need to be asked and answered. God’s word answers that question simply. We will get to the answer in a few minutes. but first . . .
- You will not get to heaven because you assemble with the (Insert name) Church of Christ.
- You will not get to heaven because you assemble with the Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, AME, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, CME, Church of God, Assembly of God, need I go on?
- You will not get to heaven because you attend a non-denominational church or attend a small group from the Church of ______________.
- You will not get to heaven because your parents brought you up in a church.
- You will not get to heaven because you are a good person. You may be a good person, but that is not enough.
You can only get to heaven if you are not a candidate for the wrath of God. That is you will only get to heaven if your sins are forgiven. God hates sin and will act in rage toward it and those who practice sin. And the wages of that sin is death (eternal separation from God) Romans 6:23a.
My problem is that I am not perfectly without sin. Your problem is . . . neither are you. Rom 2:23 We have a dilemma!
We have a dilemma!
To enter heaven, I must be free from sin, but I am not perfectly sinless. I cannot make heaven on my own.
There is good news!
Read Rom 6:23 again. The wages of sin is death – BUT the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is the hope! There is the answer. God freely gives eternal life to those who are in Christ. Look at Romans 8:1-4. Through Christ, God answered the sin problem fulfilling the requirement of Law that says only the sinless can enter heaven. Maybe that is why the Apostle Peter says, “But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” (Act 15:11)
That grace is ours when we are in Christ. Paul describes being in Christ in Galatians 3:25ff, “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Through faith we put on Christ when we are immersed into Him.
When we call on the name of the Lord putting our lives in his, our sins are forgiven, “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” (Act 22:16). From that moment on we must continue to live for Christ who is our life (Col 3:1-4). From that moment on whatever we do in life and in worship we do according to His will as authorized by Him (Col 3:17). The standard of our lives and our worship is what Christ instructs (John 12:48).
To give a simpler answer those that make it to heaven are:
- Those who are God’s children
- Those who guide their lives and worship according to what is taught in God’s Word.
Now the question for you and me is two-fold:
- Am I (are you) in Christ?
- Am I following God’s will (His Word – the Bible) as seriously and closely as I can?
* Note: I have turned off comments on this post to allow me to focus on some other writing and topics of study.
52 thoughts on “The Only Ones”
Good morning Scott…
I can sure relate to your thoughts this morning in that I grew up NOT in the Church of Christ. I heard that question / statement asked many times as I was growing up….Having been a member of the Lord’s Church now for more that 53 years and have preached for 15 of those years, I have written on the fly leaf of my Bible the following: “Are you people the only ones going to heaven? Answer; The righteous according to God’s word will be saved in heaven.” When I am confronted with that old question, I simply turn to my Bible’s fly leaf, and read it to them. The conversation then usually gets more calm…(on their part).
Answer; The righteous according to God’s word will be saved in heaven.” That is a good response.
If this is true and they do not believe they are the only ones going to heaven. (Which they are not. It doesn’t matter where you go to church as long as you’re saved and believe in Jesus.) Then why is it such a commons question for people to ask the Church of Christ denomination? Why is a problem in the first place of it isn’t true?
Mary, Thanks for reading and for your comment / question.
1. The truth is it does matter whether where one worships is following God’s will. We must all and we must always make certain we are following what God instructs. that is what I meant by, ” . . . we must continue to live for Christ who is our life (Col 3:1-4). From that moment on whatever we do in life and in worship we do according to His will as authorized by Him (Col 3:17). The standard of our lives and our worship is what Christ instructs (John 12:48).”
2. The churches of Christ are not a denomination in the way that many think. Each congregation is autonomous or self-governed. No denominational headquarters tells congregations what to teach or believe. We are undenominational in that way. We are denominated by our name, but even that is not a guarantee that what goes on in worship or the lives of members is according to God’s Word.
3. In my opinion the accusation arose from the debates of a bygone era when debates were both a tool to discuss truth and a form of crowd entertainment. These debates about Bible topics gave off the impression to members of the churches of Christ and other groups that we think we are better than everyone else. I hope that was not the intent of the debates, but is only a disappointing byproduct of them.
4. My desire is for everyone to go to heaven. I think that is God’s desire too. I just want to make certain that I am doing my best to teach people what I am learning from God’s Word. I pray that all who love God will obey the gospel (2Cor 5:1-4), put on Christ (Gal 3:26-27), and to honestly search out what God desires from us as He tells us in His Word and will strive to follow His desire for the way He wants us to serve and worship Him through Christ.
I hope this in someway answers your question.
I agree with everything you said in your response. It makes me so happy to know that you feel this way. I am currently in High School and the community I live in is dominated by church of Christ. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I have dealt with a lot of judgement and hate because if it. I do not attend a church of Christ congregation and I have been harshly accused of going to hell because of it. I’ve always been very confused and saddened as to why they thought this. I follow Gods word and worship as he commands. I do what he says and I love him more than anything. I want to be like him. It’s very hard being around people that do not like me just because of where I attend church. Being judged because of it is even harder because it is no ones place to judge except God. All I can do is pray for these people and love them like Jesus would. I do this because I am in love wit Kesus and the word and want to be Christ like. Thank you for your response. You don’t now how much it means to me that you think the same as me. I pray that one day we all think the same and be like Jesus.
I am so sorry that others treat you this way. High school students can be so cruel, even when they do not mean to be. When we are teens we do not always consider how we would want to be treated if the “shoes were on the other feet” if we were the other person. I know I said some things to my religious friends in upper middle school and high school that I wish I could take back now. I think I meant well, but I was not always kind. Through the years I hope I have learned to speak with more love, kindness, and consideration.
Please keep praying for them and for me. Please keep searching God’s Word and applying what you learn to your life and worship. I will be mentioning you in my prayers.
You have such a gentle way of responding. \\(^_^)//
The bible teaches that it does matter “where one goes to church”. Instead of saying “go to church” I prefer, “assemble with the saints”. Church is not a physical destination, rather it is a body. Colossians 1:18 “He is also the head of the body, the church,…” Colossians 1:24 “Now i rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church…”
Ephesians 4:4 teaches that there is only ONE body “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
Ephesians 1:22 “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says “upon this rock I will build my church”- one church, collective.
How do you know if you are in this body?
As was already mentioned in 1 Corintjians 12:13, we are baptized into His body.
If you care to discuss anything further please contact me! I’m always up for a friendly discussion.
Yes, church is not a physical destination. It is also not about the building. Have you noticed that there is not a single denomination mentioned in the Bible? That’s because denominations are man made. When I say it does not matter where you go to church, I am saying the name on that building does not define your salvation. You have to do that by following Gods word. Yes going to church is great but it does not have anything to do with ones salvation or whether they are going to Heaven.
Have you ever watched a single piece of charcoal or a stick get separated from the main fire? When they do, eventually they cool off while the fire continues. Church is the gathering that keeps us as individual Christians on fire – at least it should be. That is whet I think of when I read what the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Assembling with other Christians helps stoke the flames of the Spirit of Christ within us. Isolating often leads to dying embers and a lack of enthusiasm for God.
The responses following your original comment are gentle nudges to suggest that those who belong to the church of Christ (the group with a collective similar mindset that is organized into local congregations) have more “truth” than other denominations. Therefore, you need be part of, belong to and/or place your membership with one of them in order to not become the “cold coal”. Wolf in sheep’s clothing if you ask me.
I am feeling a bit prejudged here. I do not claim to “have more truth.” I am simply sharing what I am learning / have learned through the years. I am open to correction and have changed my point of view on issues over the years. Thank you for reading and please continue to study as will I.
Scott, an older co-worker of mine once shared his response to the question and I’ve incorporated it into my response. When asked this question he said, “I probably believe the same thing you believe.” Of course, this answer will cause them to ask, “What do you believe?” And his response was, “I believe those who follow God’s will are the only ones going to heaven, don’t you?.” It’s a perfect segue to opening up a good Bible discussion.
Jason, I may have to use that reply as well.
That is the answer I always give Jason. If everyone would study God’s word and follow it, we could know for sure we are going to heaven. When we obey His will, God will add us to the church He established. That is the church To Which I want to belong. I cannot judge for others.
That is the goal of what I do – getting people to study God’s Word and becoming like the Bereans in that they searched the scriptures daily. (Act 17:11)
Read a book called MUSCLE & SHOVEL, by Michael Shank. It is a gripping book about his search for the truth as he went about his job. He spoke with various ministers as his job took him to many churches as a copy supply salesman. Hear, believe, repent, confess Jesus, and be baptized (Immersed). This is how you put on Christ. Many preachers could not give him answers to some questions he raised. This word baptism was transliterated as King James was sprinkled, not immersed. The Ethopian eunoch in Acts chapter 8, went down into the water and came up rejoicing. Search the scriptures and see the simplicity of the plan of salvation. God is not the author of confusion.
Susan, M&S is a good book because the author tells his story of his search for truth and that he found Truth in God’s Word. I am certain Michael Shank would say something very similar.
That is a great book!
As long as the CoC cannot clearly and unequivocably admit that they are just one more Christian denomination, and that believers attending other denominations are just as much “in Christ” as they are, they will never escape that “we are the only ones” label. Because, deep down, it will continue to be true.
There may be a big difference in perception and reality, both for those who are members of the Church of Christ and those who are members of other groups. Those inside sometimes treat themselves and fellow congregations as one denomination among many and yet claim not to be. Those outside see the Church of Christ as one among many. What I want to be is an independent body of Christians who strive to teach and follow the Bible. And most of the congregations I have worshipped with and worked with feel the same. That is one reason I do not consider myself part of a denomination in the classical sense. Each congregation is 100% autonomous governed only by elders at the congregational level.
However, I understand where you are coming from. Our tendency to isolate ourselves from other groups and the tendency of some to look down their noses at others communicates a feeling of superiority and a judgmental attitude. I wish I could apologize for them. I can only ask that you try to understand the independent nature of each congregation and not accuse every group displaying the name church of Christ as being the same as the ones you describe.
I also pray that all churches, no matter the name that they wear, will break away from institutions, organizations, synods, councils, or headquarters and each become independent groups that strive only to follow God’s word and not the interpretation handed down by some hierarchy.
We are not the only Christians, but we are Christians only is a slogan that many congregations of the churches of Christ and Christian churches built their stance on with regard to others in the denominational world. There are just as many who have forgotten this old standard within our brotherhood. While I do agree that we are the most correct on the subject of salvation and many other areas, I would in no way say we are the only one going to heaven. That I totally leave in the creators very capable hands. I just try to teach God’s word as best I can.
The statement, “Christians only but not the only Christians” was and is a great way to define what I am trying to teach and live. I was 16 years old ad had the freedom of a driver’s license and a car. At the same time I had met “Steve” at High School. Steve did not attend a church like any other. They had no name or building. They met in a home. My dad was a minister for the deaf, a deacon, and would within the year become an elder at the congregation where he still serves as an elder (34 years later).
Steve and I had religious discussion. He live in my neighborhood and I would either ride my bike or drive to his house or he to mine. We would also go fishing or to the bay to skip rocks while we had these discussions. I learned that his church participated in communion every 1st Day of the week, used the Bible as their only source of doctrine, they had what he called a board of elders that included the minister who helped guide the congregation, and they tried to be do things in Bible ways. There were some differences between what they did in worship and in some terminology from what we did, but I do not recall all those differences.
What I do recall is that our conversations and learning about this group was the first time I recall thinking there could be others not associated with the CoC that are part of God’s family. One evening I approached my dad and boldly stated, “I have been talking to Steve, and I want am going to learn more about what they do and what the Bible says, and if they or any other group is following the Bible more closely than we are, that is where I am going to worship.” I braced myself for Dad’s reply.
He put down his book and said, “When you find a group that is doing that, let me know, that is where I want to be.”
That set in motion a life-long desire to be a leader in striving to be a New Testament Christian and only a Christian, who tries to always base his life and worship on what God commands.
Amen to what you just stated! I was 22 yrs Old when I obeyed the gospel and I’m now 70. I met a young man who asked me to go for a cup of coffee after I got off work. He was the only man who wanted to talk about my thoughts about God, Jesus and church. I was brought up not attending church very often and it was a denominational church when I did attend. I married that young man who ended up being an elder for 27 years, an adult bible class teacher and we raised our three children in the Lord’s church who are now raising their children in the church. I thank God for meeting a man that taught me the truth of the gospel and that Jesus died for me and through faith and obedience to Him I can spend eternity in heaven one day. Thank you for your blog Scott McCown
Diane, what a great story. We never know the influence our lives can have on others. I am glad that young man asked you for a cup of coffee. I think you might be too!
Muscle and a Shovel actually states that a “personal relationship with Jesus is the greatest hoax of this century “The indoctrinated love the book since it condemns everyone, but them.
I need to reread M&S. I would partially agree that the “personal relationship” idea as many see it is dangerous. Dangerous in that it eliminates the corporate aspect of Christianity. That we are as Christians are in a fellowship of like believers and that worshipping together stirs up the fire of love and good works. Not dangerous in that my relationship with God is personal, that is my responsibility to study and grow in my walk with God. I am not certain how M. Shank meant it as a hoax.
Like any book or blog post written by man, we need to balance what the author says with scripture. I am guilty of reading books and not remembering what I disagree with because of the truth I find in them.
Jason has the best answer. I heard it & shared it with others. However, when I 1st heard it, preacher Mid McKnight, also gave some very helpful advice with it. He said “”” practice””” it until you have it down pat. He. said when we hear it we think we know it. It really makes sense, we believe it; however; when we get excited to share this truth we can mess it up. So if a group of adults get together to Study the Word of GOD include learning the correct answer.Ck up on each other, call another member of the class on the phone & ask him if he “”thinks only members of the church of Christ are going to heaven?”” When he says ” “I believe just what you believe about that ect.. . . And he rattles that off just as he learned it in class with you; You can say thank you, have a good day. That is when you two have learned it well enough to be convincing with it in your teaching. It has to come to your mind, plus flow peacefully to be convincing.
Yes, we must know what we believe and be comfortable is sharing it with others in a natural way.
Where have you been all my life That is exactly what I have believed and did not say anything. Thank you Scott for saying what you said.
I have been here for the last three years and just up the road for 15 years before that. . . Thanks
All of creation was made by the spoken word, God spoke and it was so. Language has come so far down the road and has seemingly turned backwards in many regards.
Who makes it to heaven?
1. Those who are God’s children.
2. Those who guide their lives and worship according to what is taught in God’s Word.
So from my perspective in those two points it is me being His child + how well I guide my life.
It is not enough to be His child?
Where is the hope? I hope I’m His, I hope I make it! I’ll try my best. Is He requiring my best for me to make it? The Pharisees “tried their best” Jesus made it clear they were not good enough! Can I know for sure I am His?
Biblical hope is not wishing or longing, but a confident assurance. We can know. 1 John 5:13 – “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Being His child includes doing our best to be faithful to His will. Not simply saying we are His child and living however we want too.
We will make mistakes. We will and do fall short of perfection. That is why Paul exclaims, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:15-25)
Paul was a human like we are and had his struggles. But he learned to do live for God as best he could and strive to become more godly in his walk, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient and that God’s power is shown in our weakness.
Scott, you have explained so clearly how we can know we are saved even when we are weak and sin either by commission or omission. Explaining we are saved by grace through faith of an obedient heart.
I understand that Heaven will be constant worshipping God. If we don’t enjoy it now, example, attending Church meetings, why do we think we will enjoy Heaven. You can’t make it to Heaven, simply to avoid Hell. I do believe you have to attend worship services, under the direction of the Elders. If you choose to sleep in, or go to the lake, or shopping or whatever, you are not putting the Lord first. I think that is important in being a Christian.
We must always keep a check on our own heart and motives. We must be careful about judging the motives of others. I think this is much of what Jesus meant in the Sermon on the Mount in Matt 7:1 when he talks about judging others. We may see that their actions seem inconsistent with scripture, but we do not know the reason why.
This always makes me sad. Why do you think Jesus died on the cross? Grace, grace, grace. You can’t behave your way into heaven. It is only Jesus and He is more than all we will ever need.
No we cannot behave our way into heaven. However Paul the apostle would ask, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died in sin still live in it?” Rom 6:1-2. We do need to grow more like Him as we mature.
As a member of the Church of Christ…aka…a Christian, I have always believed that anyone the believes and is baptized, follows the Word will go to heaven, no matter what religion….I was baptized at 19, and have made many mistakes and have sinned more than anyone but God can count. As I get older and study the word more, my perception is different. I find myself fearing that I won’t make it there because I’ve fallen so many times. Yes, I repent but is that enough??!!?? I try to do better, I’m not out killing, cheating, etc but a sin is a sin….so, I just worry about myself even making the cut and I’m COC, so I would never tell anyone they’re going/not going when I’m not even sure about my eternity. I knew what I was doing and why I got baptized and I’m a firm believer in baptism, but it says there will be 2 and only 1 will go….that just terrifies me!!!
Consider 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” And 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
He has forgiving you, please learn to forgive yourself.
Thank you!! I do need to work on that. I guess sometimes I just don’t feel worthy of his love and forgiveness. But, I do know that I wouldn’t give up my son for a stranger or anyone, for that matter, and he did…he gave up his son for me and that says a lot about how he feels about ME…little ol’ ME =)
Thank you for your response, I really appreciate it!
If you are believing that anything besides Christ has saved you, then doubting your salvation might be legitatmate. Not to be harsh, but rather someone be truthful and allow you to truly accept Christ than to die believing you already are if in fact you arent. I have lots of doubts myself or have in my past, however, you must believe in your heart that Christ died for you, that He is the ONLY way to heaven and ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to live in your heart. He will! Being baptized is a beautiful and wonderful symbolism to show your church family that you have accepted Christ, but is not a requirement to enter heaven. CHRIST said, no man can pluck you from my hand. None! So what man does, doesn’t have any say so in your salvation. Only you and Christ have anything to do with it. Its a personal relatuonship, just the two of you, no one else gets to decide. If you have doubts, pray, ask for guidance. He will be there to listen. We just have to remember what the Bible says and what men say and not confuse the two! Prayers for you friend, may you find peace in your decision and relationships ship.
Thank you for your comment. Your are correct when you say point out that nothing but Christ saves us. He is the way the truth and the life. There is not other name under heaven by which mankind can be saved (John 14:6, Acts 4:12.
I disagree with you about baptism only being a symbol of our salvation. Please allow me to explain why I understand scripture to teach differently.
I think you would agree with me that our salvation is because of the good news of Christ – the gospel. The apostle Paul defines that gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” Please notice that Paul defines what saved them and what they obeyed as the DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION of the Christ. Again, I think you agree.
Now please notice the similar language of obedience Paul uses in Romans 6:17-18 “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” But what is it that the Romans obeyed? IT must be the same gospel. That is the teaching (doctrine) they obeyed. Again, I think you agree.
Now notice how Paul describes their faithful obedience to the standard of teaching, doctrine, the gospel that saved them earlier in Romans 6 (the same chapter and context), “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:3-6). Would you agree with Paul that this is how one obeys the gospel?
Would you agree with Him when he shows how faith puts on Christ in Galatians 3:26-27, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”?
Take a look at theses passages as well. 1. Acts 22:16 – Paul equates calling on the name of the Lord with immersion that obeys Christ. 2. Peter tells those gathered on Pentecost to “repent and be baptized for the remission of sin (Acts 2:38).
Again, thank you for you comment and I will keep studying scripture and pray that you will too.
Emma, I 100% know that Christ died for my sins, for me. I have no doubt in my beliefs and faith. From what you are saying about baptism appears that you are Baptist or Non-demonational. I believed that way too(was raised in a Baptist Church, Grandpa was a preacher), up until I turned 19 and understood more about what Christ is telling us to do with his word. It doesn’t say believe and be baptized to show others you accepted Christ. I believe we have to take the bible literally and not what we have been taught. If a preacher tells you something, you should be able to go to the word and find it, research it for yourself. That is also why I get worried at times about my eternity, there are plenty of verses in the Bible that are terrifying when you read them.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. – Hebrews 10:26
You can’t tell me that isn’t a little on the scary side….That is all I was saying in my original post. I can’t, in no way, tell anyone where they are going when I struggle with sin daily. I am in no place to judge anyone. Thank you for your response, I have no doubt that Christ died for me and saved me.
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A personal relationship with Christ is ALL you need to go to heaven, nothing more, nothing less. Although, as you mature in your Christian walk, you learn & begin to follow the Lord. And He never leaves us nor for sakes us. That’s a promise He makes to His people, meaning those who are saved. You don’t have to live perfectly to maintain your salvation, we obviously cannot. We’re human and as humans are sinners. We must repent and follow the Holy Spirits direction to be in fellowship with Christ, but He doesn’t take away our salvation if we go astray. He loves us and wants us to come back to Him. And yes, He hates sin, but He loves sinners. We are all sinners and His love for each of us is unmeasurable!
I plan to write about our eternal security next week. I agree that God will not yank our salvation away from us, but we can walk away from the Father. The prodigal son is an example. He left his father, and his father considered him lost and dead. He never gave up on the prodigal’s return, but did consider him lost and separate from the blessings of the father’s house.
Paul warns the Galatians that those who return to their old lives are “severed from Christ, . . . fallen away from grace.” (Gal 5:4)
God will not forsake us. He will always be faithful to His promises. You and I however, must never turn our back on God, such would separate us from Him by our own choice.
I respectfully also feel led to show you another scripture taken out of context.
Paul was certainly not suggesting that the Galatians had “lost their salvation,” because throughout this letter he dealt with them as believers. At least nine times he called them brethren, and he also used the pronoun “we” (Gal. 4:28, 31). Paul would never do this if his readers were lost. He boldly stated, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father’” (Gal. 4:6). If his readers were unsaved, Paul could never write those words.
No, to be “fallen from grace” does not mean to lose salvation. Rather, it means “fallen out of the sphere of God’s grace.” You cannot mix grace and law. If you decide to live in the sphere of law, then you cannot live in the sphere of grace. The believers in Galatia had been bewitched by the false teachers (Gal. 3:1) and thus were disobeying the truth. They had removed toward another gospel (Gal. 1:6–9) and had turned back to the elementary things of the old religion (Gal. 4:9). As a result, they had become entangled with the yoke of bondage, and this led to their present position: “fallen from grace.” And the tragedy of this fall is that they had robbed themselves of all the good things Jesus Christ could do for them.
I do believe your heart is pure and what you write is inspired by the Holy Spirit. But the entire context of scripture is there for these purposes and the settings of who, what, when, where, and how much be taken into consideration before basing an opinion on what one verse says. God bless!
I plan to post about eternal security next week. I will add this to my study pile as I prepare. Thank you for sharing.
The scriptures you sited to Emma above have been taken out of context. Please allow me to show you why.
Historians agree that the mode of baptism in the early church was immersion. The believer was “buried” in the water and brought up again as a picture of death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism by immersion (which is the illustration Paul is using in Rom. 6) pictures the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
It is an outward symbol of an inward experience. Paul is not saying that their immersion in water put them “into Jesus Christ,” for that was accomplished by the Spirit when they believed. Their immersion was a picture of what the Spirit did: the Holy Spirit identified them with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
Paul’s illustration is baptism. The Greek word has two basic meanings: (1) a literal meaning—to dip or immerse; and (2) a figurative meaning—to be identified with. An example of the latter would be 1 Corinthians 10:2: “And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” The nation of Israel was identified with Moses as their leader when they crossed the Red Sea.
It appears that Paul had both the literal and the figurative in mind in this paragraph, for he used the
readers’ experience of water baptism to remind them of their identification with Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To be “baptized into Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:3) is the same as “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). There is a difference between water baptism and the baptism of the Spirit (John 1:33).
When a sinner trusts Christ, he is immediately born into the family of God and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. A good illustration of this is the household of Cornelius when they heard Peter preach (Acts 10:34–48). When these people believed on Christ, they immediately received the Holy Spirit. After that, they were baptized. Peter’s words, “Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” gave to them the promise that they needed. They believed—and they were saved!
The rule in translating Greek or any language is to take a word at its most common definition unless context demand otherwise. Nothing in the context suggests to me to take baptizo in any other definition than to immerse.
You did not address Galatians 3:26-27 where Paul equates faith that makes us a child of God with immersion into Christ.
I know that you understand that I respectfully disagree with your conclusions about the necessity of baptism. But I will keep studying and hope that you will too.
The simple truth is that neither of us are saved without the grace of God.
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