Are You Free From Sin?
Salvation is something that is on people’s minds today. Certainly, the salvation of one’s own soul ought to be our concern (II Cor. 4:16; Ecc. 12:7). When Paul wrote the Romans, he told them that they were “set free from sin” (Rom. 6:18). When did this happen? Paul explains: “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin which leads to death, or of obedience which leads to righteousness? 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” (Rom. 6:16-18).
Notice that the Romans WERE the servants of sin, but NOW have been made free from sin. What happened? They were “obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching.” What is this? The standard of teaching can be found in Romans 6:3-5. Here, Paul talks about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who are Christians have been “united with him in a death like his” to be raised “in a resurrection like his” (Rom. 6:5). When is one “planted” and “raised”? This happens when one is baptized for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 8:35-39; 16:30-34)!
Therefore, when one is “obedient from the heart” to the “standard of teaching” (not merely an “outward sign”); and is baptized for the remission of sins, he is THEN made free from sin. Are you free from sin?
Morality Alone Won’t Save You
Many have the mistaken idea that so long as one is a good person, then he is in a right relationship with God. This is not true. While morality and honest, clean living is acceptable with God, that alone will not save. One man who understood this was Cornelius. Acts 10 and 11 record his conversion to the Lord. We find him described as a “devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, … gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway” (Acts 10:2). Was he saved? No, for an angel spoke to him in a vision telling him to send for Simon Peter, “who shall tell you what you must do” (Acts 10:6). Notice that the angel did not save him, nor tell him what to do. This angel merely got the sinner in contact with the preacher.
When Peter arrived, among other things he told Cornelius “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35). The Holy Spirit fell on them, not to save them, but to show that God had granted to the Gentiles “repentance unto life” (Acts 11:15-18). Peter, seeing these things, taught Cornelius and his household the truth and “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). Why be baptized? Let Peter answer. Peter said baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Morality alone will not save. Being saved requires one come to Christ in faith, repent of sins, confess Him before men and be buried with Him in baptism for the remission of sins. Perhaps this is something you need to do. Why not let us help you? Tomorrow may be too late (II Cor. 6:2).
Can One Do Anything To Be Saved?
The above question can be difficult to answer if we do not first explain what we mean. What do we mean when we ask, “Can one do anything to be saved?”
If we mean can one do something to be saved wherein that act alone saves him, then the answer is “no.” If we are asking whether or not one can be saved based upon somehow earning salvation, the answer is “no.” If one is asking whether or not one can be saved independently of the blood of Christ, the answer is “no.”
However, if we are asking whether or not God has commanded man to obey something in order to be saved, then the answer is “yes.” God has told man that he needs to believe that Christ is the Son of God or die in his sins (Jn. 8:24). One must repent of his past sins (Lk. 13:3). One must also confess Christ before men (Rom. 10:10). Then, one must be baptized in order to have his sins remitted (Acts 2:38).
Yet, when one obeys, he has not “earned” anything, but has simply done what God said to do (Lk. 17:10). Man is not justified by “faith only” (Jas. 2:24). It not only takes faith but also doing what God has said to do (Godly works, I Jn. 3:7). God has sent His Son (Jn. 3:16); Jesus Christ died for us (Matt. 20:28); and the Holy Spirit has revealed God’s will to us (II Pet. 1:20-21). God has done all He is going to do. It is now up to us to follow God’s revealed will so that we might be saved. Yes, we have something to do. Let’s get busy!
Which Church Do I Choose?
Have you noticed the “church listings” in newspapers? It is pretty confusing, isn’t it? The groups listed claim that what they are doing is approved of God. In considering the listings, one might ask such questions as, “Are all these churches right?” or, “Are all these churches wrong?” or, “Can anyone ever know the truth?”
Since these groups wear different names and teach conflicting doctrines many times, we know they all cannot be right. All of them cannot be right any more than 2+2 can equal anything other than 4! 2+2 = 4 and can only equal 4. If we took a poll and asked people their “feelings” about what 2+2 equals, it would not change the fact that it equals 4! Therefore, which church is right? This is not determined by what I like. Nor is it determined by which church is “popular” or “big”. It is not determined by which church has been in the area the longest. The way we can know which church is right is revealed in the Bible.
The church approved of God is the one that adheres to Bible doctrine, not merely in word, but in practice (I Pet. 4:11; I Thess. 1:3). It is the one that wears Christ’s name (Rom. 16:16) and worships God “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24; Acts 2:42, 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2). It is the one that promotes Christ and His word above everything (Rom. 1:16; Gal. 1:6-9; II Tim. 4:2; Col. 3:17). It preaches the Bible plan for salvation (Acts 2:36-38). With these things in mind, let me encourage our dear readers to put down the “church listings” and pick up a Bible and choose the church of God’s choice (Acts 20:28; Matt. 16:18)!
How Will God Feel When You Die?
God is not oblivious to the goings-on of men. He knows who we are, and what we are doing (Prov. 15:3). Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31). We know that God is aware of us, and knows when we leave this earth. How will God feel when YOU die? Will He be...
SAD? “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11). “Have I any pleasure in death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (Ezek. 18:23)
GLAD? “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Ps. 116:15). “He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood be in his sight” (Ps. 72:13-14).
The difference in God’s response to a man’s death is seen in what that man’s relationship was with God in life. Which are you, a sinner or a saint? Become a saint by believing in Christ as God’s Son (Jn. 8:24), repenting of your sins (Lk. 13:3), confessing Christ as the Son of God (Matt. 10:32), and being baptized for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16). Have you done this?