Thursday, May 18, 2017

ObedienceWithout our assistance, God developed a plan so we could be delivered from His wrath, and be restored to His fellowship throughout eternity.  It’s called “gospel” or Good News!  Yet the devil steps in and manipulates the truth, turns it into a lie, and peddles it as “Better News.”  He has been doing it since the beginning (Genesis 3:4-5).

Most agree that one cannot buy his salvation with money, property, precious metals, his citizenship, an outstanding personality, good looks, powerful influence, family background, or even good works.  However, the devil steps in and says, “Good works of the Old Testament doesn’t pay off your sin debt, but obedience to New Testament works do.”

Deception says, “Jesus commanded immersion in water.  Obeying that command is necessary to be obedient to the Lord, but it is not essential in becoming a Christian.”  He further says, “If a person refuses to be immersed, he is refusing to obey Jesus.  By refusing to obey Jesus, he proves that he never had a valid faith, and is a pseudo Christian rather than a real one.”  He adds, “So, one is saved by faith prior to his obedience, but baptism to be obedient falls within the realm of finding a convenient time to do it.  It is necessary, but not essential.”

Most recognize that Jesus commanded immersion or baptism, so one must obey or do it.  If he doesn’t do it, it proves to God and man that he is disobedient, is not yet a true Christian, possesses a dead faith, and remains lost.  Since that is the case, a believer who has not yet been immersed is an invalidated one in the sight of God and man?  What validates him in the eyes of both is obeying the command of Jesus to be immersed!

The devil uses “necessary” and “essential” as if they are two different actions unrelated to one another.  Yet, one MUST be immersed because . . .

1) It validates his faith as not being faith only.

2) It validates his faith as being alive, not dead.

3) It validates that he is a “real” Christian rather than a “pseudo” one, and

4) Until he submits to baptism, validation of him being an actual Christian is in a “limbo    state.”

During that “limbo state,” God and man are waiting on the person to manifest his faith to see if it is a living one and if he is a real Christian or not.  What will answer that question?  Isn’t it based upon or validated by his obedience to the command to be immersed!

The devil continues his deception by shouting, “You must obey, it is necessary!  But, it is not essential to being saved, so you may put it off until a time more convenient to you, whether it is weeks or maybe Easter Sunday.”  Is that what first century folks did when they heard the Good News?  Was it this?

“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and six weeks later on Easter Sunday about three thousand souls were added to them”?

Or this?

“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41 NKJV).

Was it this?

“Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them three weeks later and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized three weeks later”?

Or this?

“Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized” (Acts 16:32-33 NKJV).

Deception informs us that we can put off baptism until it is convenient, but why wouldn’t that also be true concerning repentance and confession?  In scripture, when folks heard the good news, they responded the same day, even the same hour (Acts 2:41; 16:33).  An old “invitation song” used during nightly revivals was, “Why not tonight?” not “Why not several weeks from now”?  So, when did man start putting it off until later?  It wasn’t in the first century!