Have YOU Followed God's plan?
Or is it "…another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Gal. 1:6-8
As one looks around the world today, they are overwhelmed by the massive choices abounding in religious circles. There seems to be unlimited thoughts and ideas relating to the Bible and the truths therein. And while some parts of the Bible are difficult to understand, these can be interpreted in light of verses more easily understood.
Something that can never be forgotten while studying is the Bible cannot contradict itself. So if there is a doctrine that seems to be found within the pages of the Bible, it must correspond and correlate with all other doctrines that are expressed. There are many churches that have formulated doctrines seeming to be supported by the Scriptures, however these do not correlate with other verses. These doctrines when examined do fit with the overall plan, but when viewed alone they create a conflict. I do not feel that denomination is going to be a factor in some ones salvation. How obedient someone has been to God's plan as he has outlined in his Word is what matters. It's not important which church you belong to, but only if you have been completely obedient to God's plan for our dispensation.
While we know God is love, yet we also know he is a God of judgement. Throughout the Bible God has poured out his judgement, starting with the creation in Genesis until the Book of Revelation. Yes, God is love, but he hates sin and disobedience (or partial obedience) as rejection of his love. After what God has done for us, is anything too much for Him to ask us? Like complete obedience of his plan?
But what if God's plan isn't your plan? Or your churches plan? Or the way your family has always believed? Could you change? Could you accept God's plan if it's different than what you currently believe? Somehow we must lay aside our preconceived notions and keep an open mind to what God wants for us, regardless of what we think or want. Remember God is the reason we have religion in the first place. So pleasing Him should be our only goal!
The first thing one must do before they will ever make a move toward God is, believe. Faith is the common denominator between you and every blessing from God, including salvation.
The Bible offers many verses that stress the importance of believing.
There are so many who take the first two verses mentioned here in Ephesians to say that works cannot be a part of ones salvation. But to take the verse in context with verse 10 we find that works are included. Let us see if there might be something else on this.
Yes, we are saved by grace, which is a gift of God. But believing itself is a work! John 6:29. The only difference between it and repentance or baptism is it occurs in the heart rather than externally. Every belief produces action! If you were told the building you are in is on fire, and you believe it, you would take action! So what we believe will produce action. Notice James 2:14 ask the question, "Can faith save him?" Yes, it can when it is accompanied with works! Believing something without action is vain, the Apostle James tells us. To believe you are clean when you are covered with sin does not make you clean. It takes baptism to wash them away, Acts 22:16. To believe you are an athlete does not make you one, unless you can perform like one. The same is true with being a Christian. If you are one, you will perform like one. And there are some things Christians do just because they desire to be like Christ, (that is what being a Christian is all about). Jesus was baptized. 1 Pet. 2:21 tells us "…that ye should follow his steps:" However, there are those who say that all one needs to do to be saved is believe. They use Rom. 10:9 as a basis for this doctrine.
The important thing to notice about this verse is it does not say that all one must do is believe. Believing will produce action. IF one truly believes, they will be saved. But they will not be saved by their belief alone.
Let's see if this is consistent with the rest of the Bible. If it is indeed God's plan there will not be anything conflicting with it in His Word. Let's start with Acts 17:30.
Well, God commands all men to repent. That sounds like repentance might be important.
Yes, maybe repentance is something God wants us to do. But is that all?
Do you think you can be saved and not be in the kingdom of God? What does water have to do with believing? Born of the Spirit?
The first verse links baptism with believing and for salvation. And the verses following mention tongues and power over the devil and sickness, if you believe. You think… Maybe that's not for us today? Or is it? Well, that's only a couple verses.
Does that mean that all you have to do is be baptized? No, that wouldn't work with Romans 10. But if we follow the same rational used in Romans, you wouldn't even have to believe. As long as you're baptized, you're saved! It's the exact same reasoning. But its starting to look like Romans 10 isn't working like it is often interpreted.
Repentance is mentioned in Acts and 2 Peter. Baptism is mentioned as part of salvation in Mark, John, and 1 Peter. John also mentioned the Spirit birth. Do you suppose this is mentioned anywhere else?
Well, that's just for Jesus' Apostles. Verse 14 mentions Mary and other women, and brethren? Must be a one-time deal.
Why is Peter telling this to all these people? Why didn't he just say, "All you have to do is believe? It would have been simpler, that is if it is true. Repent? Be Baptized? The Holy Ghost? That seems to be coming up a couple of times now? Promise to all… is that for us? I wonder if someone else received this promise?
There's believing and baptism again. What about tongues, or the Holy Ghost?
That's probably about all that we're going to hear about this, right? What about Acts 10? Let's see Cornelius…
Sounds like he might be an all right guy, right? Wait, an angel came and told him to send for Peter…
"Who shall tell thee words wereby thou and all thy house shall be saved." Acts 11:14.
This is probably where it says all you have to do is believe, right? Peter's about to tell this man and his house how to be saved. It must be. Wait?
Wow! Peter commanded them to be baptized! That would be part of what he was going to tell them on how to be saved? Then that's another verse that doesn't coincide with Romans 10:9. But verse 43 does mention believing. So this could be saying believing, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost is what God really wants for his plan. Is there more on this?
So here it pops up again. Believing, baptism, and the Holy Ghost (evidenced by tongues) is what the Apostles preached. The real question is the same one Paul offered the disciples at Ephesus. "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?"
They that believe on Him should receive the Holy Ghost? That's the words of Jesus! Is the plan of salvation you believe consistent with God's plan? There's still time to change to God's plan. Be obedient completely and be a part of the kingdom of God. Be born of water and Spirit!
Please notice the importance of being baptized the proper way. Paul re-baptized the disciples at Ephesus in the name of the Lord Jesus. Baptism is another way the devil sidetracks well meaning people from the way God actually intended for his plan. Yes, Matthew 28:19 does say to baptize "…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." But does this verse coincide with the other Scriptures on baptism? Can it fit the other way without contradicting? Notice that Matthew mentions one name that can refer to the titles, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.**(Additional verses are at the end of Document) We know the name of the Son is Jesus, so that would be the place to start. Yes, that is the name referred to in Acts 2:38, 4:12, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16. And Col. 3:17 says,
But what happens if you try to reverse this formula. If you try to insert Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as the name of the Lord (Acts 10:48), it just doesn't work that way because those are only titles of positions, and it calls for a name. So to prevent a contradiction one must use the name of Jesus. This is refereed to in 2 Tim. 2:15, as "rightly dividing the word of truth."
As mentioned earlier, God is not willing that any should perish. He did not try to make his plan so difficult that one has to be a theologian to understand. But he gave us real people, names, and places where people were saved, so you can say you have the same thing Cornelius got in Acts 10, or any of the Apostles. And you can say you have obeyed the same Gospel the Apostles preached! Gal. 1:6-9.
Romans mentions believing. If you read there starting with 10:6-21, you find that you don't have to go up to get God, you don't have to go down to find him, because he dwells in the heart of a true believer. And when someone truly believes, they will be saved because of the actions believing produces. But remember, can faith alone save? James 2:14.
So when one feels believing is all that is necessary, they are overlooking Mark 16:16, 1 Pet. 3:1, Acts 10:48 (11:14), John 3:5, and the list goes on. These verses emphatically mention baptism as part of the salvation plan! Not to mention Acts 2:38, 8:12-17, 8:35-39, 9:17-18, 10:44-48, 19:1-6, 22:16, Matt. 28:19, Luke 24:46-49, that all mention baptism, and some refer to the Holy Ghost as being a part of salvation. If believing is all one needs to do then the Bible certainly waste a vast amount of print on other matters, (like baptism and the Holy Ghost) when the simple phrase "all you have to do is believe" could have been said! If baptism is not for us today, then why was it so important to the people in the Bible? The eunuch was baptized out in the desert. Was it for a public confession of his faith? The Phillipian jailer was baptized at midnight, Acts 16:30-34. Is "just believe" what the Apostles preached? There are sermons where believe, repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost are preached! Not just a verse in a letter to a church (to saints, people already saved, Rom. 1:7). So did the Apostles preach "just believe?" Not as the complete gospel although it is the start.
The devil knows God pays strict attention to detail. And it is the devil's plan to thwart well-meaning people by distorting God's plan ever so slightly so they could be lost. A good example of God's attention to detail is in the Old Testament Tabernacle plan. He gave extremely intricate instructions to detail, size, weight of gold or silver, and how it was to be engraved. So much detail makes for tedious reading for us, but it lets us know we should be very careful to fully obey God's plan.
God does not offer multiple choices. He had one plan for Adam and Eve in the garden, one Ark for Noah and his generation, one plan for Lot and his family to escape Sodom. One tabernacle for Israel, and one plan for transporting the Ark of the covenant. It is our challenge to search the Scripture (John 5:39) until we know His plan for us. Obeying what the Apostles preached is the most important thing. They were the men He personally chose to start his church. Remember Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom in Matt. 16:19.
Jesus also prayed for those who would believe on Him because of His Disciples' words, John 17:20. It sounds as if we should pay close attention to the words Peter said, as well as the words of Jesus and the others contained in the Bible. But one must be careful not to pick up a Scripture that does not coincide with the rest of the Bible when standing alone! We must study and search and be very careful to follow God's plan!
Jesus is the name of the Father
Isaiah9:6 "…his name shall be called… the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father…"
John 5:43 "I am come in my Father's name…"
John 10:30 "I and my Father are one."
John 14:7 "…know me (Jesus)…know the father…"
John 14:9 "…he that hath seen me (Jesus) hath seen the Father."
John 17:6 "I have manifested thy name…"
Jesus was the image of the invisible God
John 4:24 "God is a Spirit…"
Hebrews 1:3 "…who is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person…"
2 Cor. 4:4 "…Christ, who is the image of God…"
2 Cor. 5:19 "…God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself."
Col. 1:15 "Who is the image of the invisible God…"
Col. 2:9 "…in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."
God will have one name
Zech. 14:9 "…in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one."
Jesus is the name above every name!
Phil. 2:10&11 "That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, …that Jesus Christ is Lord…"
Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Eph. 1:20-21 "…wrought in Christ…and set him… far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:"
Jesus is the Holy Ghost
John 14:17-18"he that dwelleth with you, shall be in you, I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name…"
Rom. 8:9-11 "have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, …and if Christ be in you…the Spirit is life.
Hebrews 9:14 "Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself…"
1 Pet. 1:11 The prophets prophesied by "…the Spirit of Christ which was in them…"
1 Pet. 1:21 "For the prophecy came… as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
Eph. 4:4 "There is one Spirit…"
John 4:24 "God is a Spirit…"
Mark 1:4 "…the baptism of repentance for remission of sins."
Acts 2:38 "…be baptized… for the remission of sins…"
Acts 22:16 "…be baptized, and wash away thy sins…"
Jesus said to Baptize in His Name
Luke 24:46-47 Jesus is speaking. "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and rise from the dead the third day. And that repentance and remissions of sins should be preached in his name (his name in vs. 47 refers back to Christ in vs. 46)
The Disciples obeyed Jesus!
Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16
Have you obeyed?
©Copyright 1992 Randall D. Hughes
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