Tag Archives: Salvation

The Great Importance of a Two-Letter Word

Have you ever noticed how much difference one word makes? Take, for example, the word “not.” Insert that word into a sentence, and the meaning is completely opposite! What about the importance of just a single letter or two? There is a writer who once wrote in one of his Bible commentaries, “Jesus is not sitting at the right hand of God.” Do you notice the problem? It was a typographical error, and was instead supposed to read “Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God.” The difference was only one single letter, but it changed the meaning of the entire sentence! One sentence was Scriptural, the other blasphemous!

There is a common false doctrine called “Perseverance of the Saints” or “once saved, always saved” that permeates the religious world, as well as infiltrates the thinking of the Lord’s church. The inspired apostle, Paul, speaks clearly against it. He states “I declare unto you the gospel…By which you are saved” (I Corinthians 15:1-2a). However, he does not end the sentence there. He specifies that Christians are only saved by means of the gospel “if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you” (I Corinthians 15:2b). Do you notice the importance of that one little word: “if”? The gospel saves, but only if it is kept in memory (meaning that one continues to walk in it – see Romans 8:1, Revelation 2:10). When one becomes a Christian, yet does not continue in the gospel, he is not saved. Are you truly keeping the gospel in your memory?

Is Baptism Essential?


By Paul Simon, Minister.

Is baptism essential to the remission of our sins? It is a shame that there is so much confusion over this question on which the Bible is so plain. There are many proofs that baptism is necessary to the remission of sins to the person who has reached the mental age of account­ability. Howbeit, I will not burden your minds with all of these proofs, but rather suffice it with four—any one of which would be conclusive in and by itself.

Condition of Salvation

Baptism is one of the conditions of the remission of sins. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). It must be agreed that this baptism is water baptism and not Holy Spirit baptism, because even those who teach that the Holy Spirit bap­tism is to be sought today, teach that it is not essential to salvation, but is a “blessing to be desired.” Jesus here makes faith and baptism equally necessary to salvation. Do you believe a responsible person can be saved without faith? Why then do you think he can be saved with­out baptism?

For Remission of Sins

Jesus says, through His apostle Peter, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remis­sion of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Jesus here makes repentance and baptism of equal importance. The preposition, for, means the same thing in connection with “be baptized” as it does with “repent,” that is, to obtain. God is here saying, “Re­pent everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins.” Can one be saved without repentance? Then neither can he be saved without baptism.

God Commands It

God commands baptism. “And he com­manded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). (You) repent and (you) be baptized everyone of you (Acts 2:38).

Christ is going to punish those who obey not His commandments. II Thes. 1:7-9: “And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with ever­lasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” Therefore, baptism is essential.

All who obey His commandments are to be saved.Rev. 22:14: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

All agree that to get into Christ is essential. Baptism is one of the acts of obedience which puts us into Christ. Gal.

3:27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” This could not be Holy Spirit baptism, because all agree that Holy Spirit baptism does not put one in Christ. Therefore, water baptism is essential. (Note: Some­one might say, “The preceding verse says that we are saved by faith.” It does, but it does not say “by faith only.”)

Part of The New Birth

Jesus said “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit he CANNOT enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Practically all commentators agree that the birth of water, here mentioned, refers to baptism. See Abbott, Wesley, Milligan, Whitby, Theluck, Olshausen. Alford says, “All attempts to rid this have sprung from doctrinal prejudices.” Even Adam Clarke admits that it refers to baptism, and then tries to argue out of it. Therefore, baptism is essential.

And yet, the church of Christ, the Christian Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Second Adventist Church, Roman Catholic Church, Greek Catholic Church (with possibly some branch of the Holiness Church) are the only religious groups which teach and practice baptism as essential to the re­mission of sins.

General Andrew Jackson

The following article is 170 years old, but speaks to a problem that still plagues many people today.  That is, when someone dies, their friends want them preached into heaven–regardless of how they lived their life on earth.

President Andrew Jackson had recently died, and there were many people claiming that he had been a Christian, and would be awaiting them in heaven.  Here’s how Alexander Campbell and the Millennial Harbinger responded (1845):


That General Jackson was as true a patriot as any living man, ac­cording to his views of patriotism, and of his country’s rights and honor, I never doubted. That he was a great General, and possessed of as great animal courage and decision of character as most other men,—nay, much more than most men,—I have always conceded. That he was also as accomplished a gentleman in his manners as any other man in the nation, and possessed of a great mind of a very particular order, I have always cheerfully admitted.

But that any of these are Christian virtues, or that he during his life exhibited any of the characteristic excellencies of a Christian, has never been demonstrated to my satisfaction. On the contrary, he was characteristically pro­fane, irreverent, and enslaved to passion—even to a proverb. Still, that he may have repented and been forgiven in his last moments, no man can confidently and consistently deny. But that there is any positive evidence of it, I have not as yet learned.

Our worthy and excellent correspondent, Father Henley, now almost in sight of the promised land, feels it his duty to bear a decided testi­mony against the perversion of sacred scripture in the instances speci­fied in connection with the last moments of the Hero of New Orleans. I could not with propriety refuse the privilege he demands, although my great respect to the memory of so distinguished a citizen is such as to induce me to prefer that it had happened in some other case. Still, as the passion and the fashion of the age is to send all great men to heaven despite of all that they may have said or done, with or without a professed repentance, the occasion justifies a remonstrance against such a profanation of things sacred and divine. The more illustrious the name, probably the more necessary and justifiable the remonstrance against such abuses. Were it a case of some mean or contemptible person, the remonstrance might be less effectual than when adminis­tered in relation to one whose public benefits are so generally appreci­ated, and whose fortunes, good or bad, are the fortunes of his country. To reprove sin in the humbler walks of life, and to wink at it in the higher, is too much the fashion of this age—and it is the characteristic of a mean, worldly, and servile spirit. It was not so with Nathan, Elijah, or John the Harbinger, nor with any one with whom God was well-pleased.

I never had much faith in death-bed repentance, and especially in a death-bed repentance in old age. I have less and less as my experi­ence and observation are enlarged. When men, living under the gospel, give their lives to the world, the flesh, and the devil; and when para­lyzed with age, when all their passions, except those of ambition and avarice, have died, stretch out their palsied hand to the Lord and sue for mercy, I am sorry to say that I cannot entertain any well-grounded hope of their salvation. Had they, like the dying thief, never known anything of the gospel till the last scene of life’s drama, and then on hearing the voice of mercy, turned with all their hearts to the Lord, I might have some encouragement to hope that the Lord might gracious­ly forgive and receive them. But he that has often been reproved and still hardens his heart, shall, said King Solomon, “suddenly be de­stroyed, and that without remedy.” Men almost, if not universally, die as they live. No man dies laughing, it is true. “Atheists, men may live, but Atheists, they cannot die,” the poet saith. Still as men live in their general character they die. But we shall hear Father Henley on what he calls


Hillsborough, King & Queen, June21, ’45.

Beloved brother Campbell:

Dear Sir—It is always unpleasant to call to mind the errors and vices of men living; but much more so after their death. But when the friends of the deceased General Jackson have been so imprudent as to publish to the world that which will injure the rising generation, and constitute a prostitution of the Spirit of Truth, as revealed in the Bible, the friends of the deceased cannot, in justice, complain against those who shall step forward and endeavor to disenthrall those sacred principles from the grasp of the errors of sectarianism, which is a hindrance to the salvation of the world.

Was General Jackson looked upon as a common citizen, no notice from me would be taken of his perversions of “the spirit, principles, and statutes of that Holy Book” (which he says) “have been the rule of my life, and I have tried to conform to its spirit as near as possible. Upon that sacred volume I rest my hope of eternal salvation, through the merits and blood of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This was said in answer to “some reverend gentleman’s” inquiries on the 29th of May last. See the Richmond Times, June 20th, 1845.

On the 2nd of June “he read many letters—one from Major Donalson, giving an account of the proceedings of the British Minister Elli­ott to prevent annexation. Mr. Tyack quotes the General as having spoken under the exciting influence of these details in the following characteristic language:”—

“We have made a disgraceful sacrifice of our territory. An impor­tant portion of our country was given away to England without a shadow of title on the part of the claimants, as has been shown by the English Ministers on referring in Parliament to the King’s map, on which the true boundaries were delineated, and of which they were apprized when urging their demands.” See “rimes” as above.

“Right on the side of the American people, and firmness in main­taining it,” he continued, “with trust in God alone, will secure to them the integrity of the possession of which the British government would now deprive them I am satisfied that they will assert and vindicate what justice awards them; and that no part of our territory or country will ever be submitted to any arbitration but of the cannon’s mouth.”

Let us look at, and extract from, “a Biographical Sketch of his (public) Life,” until he was President of the United States, published on his death, in “the Philadelphia U. S. Gazette, furnished for that paper by a young gentleman who had acquaintance with the materials for a biography, with which he had been laboring for a volume.”

This last part is published in the Times. In his first campaign, it is said, “he disobeyed orders from the Secretary of War.” His bio­grapher records five battles he had with the Indians and English, and left dead on the field about four thousand human beings. He says nothing, as I have seen, of his having sacrificed the lives of American citizens, who had been acquitted as not guilty by a regular court mar­tial of his own choice. Neither does he mention the duels and public frays he had been engaged in; nor the tyrannical and despotic course he has pursued towards all those that differed with him upon any sub­ject. We shall say nothing of his private character, than now published, until forced by his friends, in defense of the Bible; nor should we have doubted so much of his salvation, had he recorded his deep repentance, reformation, and immersion for the remission of his sins, and not have breathed the spirit of vengeance towards an enemy, as his last communication to his friends now proves.

Let us now contrast this published sketch of his life by his friends with the words of the Savior and his Apostles, of whom he says he has made their teaching “the principles and statutes the rule of his life,[1] and has tried to conform to its spirit as near as possible.” I ap­peal to every Christian who fears God and keeps the commandments of Jesus, to say whether there is one example or precept of the Savior or his Apostles that authorizes the belief that the above sketch of the character of General Jackson, given by his friends, is in any wise the rule laid down by them for the salvation of sinners; or whether such a life is in any wise conformable to the spirit of the gospel.

Painful as is this subject to me, and may prove to others, I am con­strained to say, from a sense of duty I owe to God and the whole human family, that I have not the least hope of the salvation of any such a character without deep repentance and reformation, though he may be a believer in the Son of God and have been immersed for the re­mission of sins. To an obedient penitent believer, such as “continue in well doing, seeking for glory, honor, immortality,” the Apostle says, “eternal life,” will be given. The Savior says, “Not every one that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.” We call upon these panegyrists[2] of General Jackson to prove from the New Testament, if they can, that in it “eternal salvation” is promised to any but humble, penitent, obedient believers. If this cannot be done, and he died without repenting and confessing his sins, for requesting or hoping “that no part of our territory or country [though he admits it has been given away to England] will be submitted to any arbitration but at the cannon’s mouth;” how can anyone represent him as then pos­sessing the spirit of a Christian! To me this is a horrid, murderous spirit, for a professing Christian at any time, much more so in the hour of death. This proves “the ruling passion strong in, death.” Hear now the spirit he professes he has tried to conform to:— “He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother, is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:14-15. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, [whether General Jackson or any other man] will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4. “But God forbid I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14. “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good among yourselves, and to all men.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15. Again, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” Matthew 6:24. Jesus says to his disciple that drew the sword to defend him, and had cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest, “Put up again thy sword into its place; for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Matthew 26:52.

I ask, are these scriptures in conformity to General Jackson’s rejecting any other arbitration for a disputed claim than that of “the cannon’s mouth”? This, his friends say, is charac­teristic of him. General Jackson being a witness, says “the Bible is true.” Then it clearly appears, as the Bible is true, for him to make a profession of the hope of eternal salvation under the influence of such a spirit and character, “through the merits and blood of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” without repenting of such language as it is said he uttered, is a prostitution of the spirit of truth as far as he is believed. Let it be remembered that the throne of God would cease to exist as being righteous, were he to cast off any im­mersed, penitent, obedient believer in Jesus Christ, who searches his heart daily and hourly in order to find out, confess, and forsake his sins, and devoutly to keep the commandments of Jesus. No, this can never be. But also remember, that without repentance, reformation and obedience, God will not forgive any sinner under the gospel dispensa­tion. (See Luke 13:1-5; 19:8-10.) Thus men and women per­ish because they will not repent and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. To hope for salvation without this change, is what Job calls the “hope of the hypocrite,” and Solomon says, “The hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor.” Proverbs 11:9.

Yours as ever,


[1] Italicizing from the original correspondent.—A..C.

[2] Praisers.—Editor.

Tracts from the Past – Noah’s Salvation and Ours

Continuing our series of “Tracts from the Past” written by Paul Simon (date and location unknown), we now present to you one dealing with types and antitypes that deal with Noah and ourselves.  Enjoy!


By PAUL SIMON, Minister

Noah’s salvation was very simi­lar to ours. Both were spiritual and physical. Although, first em­phasis was placed upon Noah’s physical salvation, he was also saved from the sins of the wicked by their being destroyed in the flood. First emphasis is placed on our spiritual salvation, and yet we are saved physically in that [generally speaking] he who lives a Christian life will live longer than he would have, had he lived an ungodly life.

Noah was saved by grace.

And the Lord said, ‘‘I will destroy man whom I have created from off the face of the earth, for it hath re­pented me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Gen. 6). We, too, are saved by grace. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves.” — Eph. 2:8.

Noah was saved by faith.

By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with Godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house” (Heb. 11:7). We are saved by faith. “Wherefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:1). “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). Although these passages state that we are saved by faith, they do not say that we are saved by faith only.

Noah was saved by obedience.

By faith Noah being warned of God, concerning things not seen as yet, moved with Godly fear pre­pared an ark (obeyed) to the sav­ing of his house” (Heb. 11:7). We too are saved            by obedience. “Though he were a son, learned he obedience through the things which he suf­fered, and being made perfect he became the author of eternal sal­vation unto all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:8-9). “To you who are troubled rest with us. When the Lord Jesus Christ shall be re­vealed from heaven with his migh­ty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 1:7-9). “Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have a right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev 22:14).

Noah was saved by water.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins: the just for the unjust that he might bring us unto God; being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which some­time were disobedient when once the long suffering of God waited in the day of Noah while the ark was a preparing, wherein few: that is, eight souls were saved by wat­er” (I Peter 3:18-20). Likewise we are saved by water in baptism. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us” (I Peter 3:21).

Noah was saved in the ark.

We are saved in the spiritual ark, the church. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). “Wives sub­mit yourselves unto your own hus­bands as unto the Lord; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ also is the head of the church and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject to Christ so let the wives be to their own hus­bands. Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word that he may present it unto himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:22-27). “Take heed therefore unto yourselves and unto all the church over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers to feed the church of God which he pur­chased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

More examples:

  • Noah built the ark. Christ built the church.
  • Noah built but one ark. Christ built but one Church.
  • The ark was Noah’s ark. The Church is Christ’s Church.
  • There was only one family in the ark, Noah’s family. There is but one family in the Church, God’s fami­ly.
  • All of Noah’s family was in the ark. All of God’s family is in the church.
  • All in the ark were Noah’s family. All in the church are God’s family.
  • Only Noah’s children were in the ark. Only God’s children are in the Church.
  • All of Noah’s children were in the ark. All of God’s children are in the church.
  • All in the ark wore one name, Noah’s. All in the church wore one name, Christ’s.
  • All the righteous were in the ark. All the righteous are in the church.
  • All out of the ark were disobedient to God. All out of the church are disobedient to God.
  • All in the ark were saved. All in church are saved.
  • All out of the ark were lost. All out of the church will be lost.
  • Had Noah and his family not entered the ark, or left the ark before God told them to, they would have been lost. All who refuse to enter the church, having obtained unto the age of accountability, will be lost and those who enter the church but refuse to remain faithful to the church will be lost.
  • There was but one entrance into the ark: the door. There is but one entrance into the Church: Christ.
  • There was but one source of light in the ark, the window. There is but one source of spiritual light in the church, the Bible.

You see how understanding our salvation is made simple by com­paring it with Noah’s salvation by the flood.

Calling on the Name of the Lord

When kids misunderstand things, we think it is cute.  In fact, people share these adorable misunderstandings with their friends and anyone else who wants to know (look at Facebook for a few days and you’ll see them).

But when adults misunderstand things, it’s not the same, is it?  Adults are rightfully expected to put some effort into understanding things.  A wife isn’t going to post on Facebook about how cute it was that her husband misunderstood what she wanted.  Instead, it’s often times the basis of a (ahem) “discussion” (if you’re married, you know what I mean).

Today, we will consider one of the biggest misunderstandings in the religious world today: Calling on the name of the Lord.

The majority of so-called “Christian” denominations teach that to call on the name of the Lord is to ask Jesus into your heart, praying for salvation from sin.  It’s interesting that if you just take the sheer number (not groups, but individuals) of people claiming to be Christians, the overwhelming majority actually REJECT this doctrine.  However, it has been popularized by televangelists and others who twist God’s word to their own destruction (II Peter 3:16).  Salvation through prayer is “another gospel”, and all those who bring such doctrines will be cursed by God (Galatians 1:8-9).

But what does “calling on the name of the Lord” actually mean?

What is calling on the name of the Lord?

Though this phrase appears in the New Testament, it also appears in the Old Testament.

Seth had his son, Enos, THEN men began to call on the name of the LORD (Genesis 4:26).

This is generally referred to as the “Godly line.” This isn’t saying that no one prayed to God until Enos was born. But it was this line that obeyed God (see Enoch and Noah for examples).

Abraham built an altar and “called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8).

This “calling on the name of the LORD” could have included prayer, but that isn’t all that it entailed.  It involved praise to God, worship to God, and doing what was acceptable to God – in short, it was obedience.

Isaac built an altar and “called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 26:25).

This is not an instance of Isaac praying, because in the previous verse, GOD APPEARED UNTO HIM.

Calling on the name of the LORD was the expression of a life lived for God in thankfulness and obedience.

Elijah, on Mt. Carmel, made the challenge to the prophets of Baal,

“you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD. And the God that answers by fire, let him be God.” (I Kings 18:24).

As you will well remember, the prophets of Baal cried out long and loud and nothing happened.  Elijah then prayed,

“LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.” And of course God answered him (I Kings 18:36-38).

So, see, calling on the name of the Lord means praying! Not so fast…

It is true that Elijah prayed, but notice that in his prayer, the answer was requested completely based upon Elijah’s obedience.  His calling on the name of the LORD was turning to God for help based on his–Elijah’s–obedience.

Psalm 116:12-19 describes calling on the name of the Lord.

What shall I render unto Jehovah For all his benefits toward me?  I will take the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of Jehovah.  I will pay my vows unto Jehovah, Yea, in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of Jehovah Is the death of his saints.  O Jehovah, truly I am thy servant: I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid; Thou hast loosed my bonds.  I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of Jehovah.  I will pay my vows unto Jehovah, Yea, in the presence of all his people, In the courts of Jehovah’s house, In the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye Jehovah.

As you read through this passage, you will notice that calling on the name of the Lord is the equivalent of living right before God, taking the salvation that God offers, and keeping your vows to God.

In short, calling on the name of the Lord is a life of obedience and thankfulness to God.

That they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent (Zephaniah 3:9).

Here, calling on the name of the Lord is described as serving God.

In the New Testament, the concept of calling on the name of the LORD only appears three times.

Two of those times (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13) are quotations from Joel 2:32.

Acts 2

In Acts 2:21, Peter mentions it at the beginning of his Pentecost sermon (those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved).  In 2:38, Peter tells the people there to “repent and be baptized.”  In 2:41, those who gladly received his words were baptized and added to their number.  In 2:47, Those who were being added were the ones being “saved.”  Therefore, calling on the name of the Lord involved obedience to His word (including repentance and baptism).

Romans 10

In Romans 10:8-18, Paul discusses salvation.  10:17 – faith comes by hearing.  10:10 – belief and confession = salvation.  10:13 – Calling on the name of the Lord = salvation.  10:16 – but some have NOT obeyed the gospel. Therefore, hearing, belief, confession, and calling on the name of the Lord are requirements for salvation.

Acts 22

The other passage in the New Testament that discusses “calling on the name of the LORD” is Acts 22:16.

And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the LORD.

Calling on the name of the Lord is NOT baptism.  Let me say that again, calling on the name of the Lord is NOT baptismIf it were, then Abraham, Isaac, David, and Elijah all got baptized…and more than once.

Calling on the name of the Lord means the same thing in the New Testament as it did in the Old Testament – OBEDIENCE to God.

The “name of the LORD.”

In Matthew 28:18-20, we read Jesus instructing the eleven apostles to baptize people in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  When something is done “in the name of” someone, it means it is done by their authority.

There is a big argument in some religious circles about whose name you are to baptize in.  Some say you have to recite the three names (citing Matthew 28:18-20).  Others say that we are only supposed to baptize in the name of Jesus (citing every example in the book of Acts).  People are having massive arguments over this, and it is all because they don’t understand what “in the name of” means.  If something is done by the authority of Jesus Christ, then BY DEFINITION it is by the authority of the Father, as delivered by the Holy Spirit.

The “name of the Lord” is the authority of the Lord.  Just like “stop in the name of the law” means “by the authority of the law.”

How do we call on the name of the Lord?

When a doctor called on someone (back when they did that kind of thing), they went to where the patient was.  When a boy went to call on his girl, he went to where she was.  It involved action and a need to be where the one being called on was.

Calling on the name of the LORD is going to where God is.  Calling on the name of the Lord is doing what is necessary to be with Him.

For Abraham and Isaac, this involved living properly under the laws God had given them.  For David and the Israelites, it involved living properly under the Law of Moses.

It is interesting to note that all of the Old Testament examples of people calling on the name of the Lord WERE ALREADY children of God.  They weren’t calling on the name of the Lord to become a child of God.  That didn’t take place until the New Testament.

Calling on the name of the Lord is this:

Turning yourself over to God’s authority in faithful obedience.

For those on the Day of Pentecost, and everyone since then who want to be saved, calling on the name of the Lord involves hearing the gospel, believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, repenting of their sins, confessing Christ with their mouth, and being baptized.

Calling on the name of the Lord isn’t baptism, but is sure includes it!

Turn your life over to God, submit yourself to His authority, and enjoy the blessings of salvation!

Tracts from the Past – Can a Person be Saved Outside of the church of Christ?

In going through my office (which needs a thorough cleaning anyway), I ran across a hand-full of old, short tracts written by a preacher named Paul Simon.  I honestly don’t know anything about him outside of the fact that he wrote these tracts.

Previous “Tracts from the Past” posts have been very well-received, so we decided to post these here as well.  If you happen to know some background on Mr. Simon, please add it in the comments section or send us a message via our contact page.

Can A Person Be Saved Outside Of The Church Of Christ?

By PAUL SIMON, Minister.

Let us forget about denominationalism, and ask, “Can one be saved outside of the church?”

Some cannot see beyond “de­nominational Christiani­ty.” Some cannot conceive of the non-denominational New Testament Church. A defini­tion of the church will help us to arrive at the correct answer to our question. The church is a spiritual institution, com­posed of every Christian in the world. To say that one can be saved outside of the church is to say, “One can be saved with­out becoming a Christian.”

Christ is the Savior of the church. “Wives, submit your­selves unto your husbands as unto the Lord: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the church, and he is the savior of the body” (Eph. 5:22). To say that one can be saved outside of the church is to say, “One can be saved without being saved.” “And the Lord added unto the church, daily, such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

Christ gave Himself for the church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25; see also Acts 20:28; 2 Pet. 1:18). To say that one can be saved outside of the church is to say, “One can be saved without being purchased by the blood of Christ. Christ is no thief. He will receive unto Himself only that which He has purchased with His blood — the church.

The church is the bride of Christ. “Wherefore, my breth­ren, ye, also, are become dead to the law by the body of Christ: that ye should be mar­ried to another: even unto him that is raised from the dead, that ye should bring forth fruit unto God.” — (Rom. 7:4; see also 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 21:9-11).

The church is the kingdom of Christ. “Upon this rock will I build my church; and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom” (Matt. 16:18; see also Col. 1:13-14). To say that one can be saved outside of the church is to say, “One can be saved outside of the kingdom of Christ— without permitting Christ to reign over him.”

The church is the house, or household of God. “The house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15; see also Heb. 3:6; Isa. 2:2-3). To say that one can be saved outside of the church is to say, “One can be saved outside of the household of God.”

One cannot be saved without being born again (John 3:3, 5). One cannot be born again with­out being born into the family of God. To say that one can be saved outside of the church is to say, “One can be saved with­out being born again.”

One cannot be saved outside of Christ. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made night by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13). To be in Christ is to be in His spiritual body. His spiritual body is the church – “the church, which is his body” (Eph. 1:22-23; see also Col. 1:18, 24). To say that one can be saved outside of the church is to say, “One can be saved outside of the spiritual body of Christ” (see Eph. 1.3, 7; 11 Tim. 2:10; 11 Cor. 5:17; Acts 4:12; John 15:1-8), and apart from His blood.

A responsible person cannot be saved without obeying from the heart the form of doctrine. “But God be thanked, that ye were the ser­vants of sin, but ye have obey­ed from the heart that form of doctrine which was deliv­ered unto you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). To say that a responsible per­son can be saved outside of the church is to say, ‘‘A respon­sible person can be saved with­out becoming a servant of God.”

A responsible person cannot be saved without eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53). The supper of His flesh and blood is in His kingdom for His chil­dren. “That ye may eat and drink at my table in my king­dom” (Luke 22:30).

You cannot be saved outside of the family of God. “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Eph. 3: 15). To say that one can be saved outside of the church is to say that one can be saved out of the family of God, com­posed of His children.

The word, church, comes from a Greek word, ekklesia, which means the called out. “God hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). To say that a respon­sible person can be saved outside of the church is to say that a responsible person can be saved in the kingdom of dark­ness.

Can A Person be Saved Outside the Church?

In the light of God’s word, can one be saved outside of the church? Saved out of which church? Whose church? About whose body, bride, kingdom, family, household, ekklesia, and church have we been Studying? Can a responsible person be saved outside of the church of Christ? This ques­tion you must answer before God.

Sermon Wednesday – A Wonderful Savior

This week (since we’re back home now), we will be continuing our series of sermons dealing with songs that we sing.  This series is called “Singing with the Understanding.”  Enjoy and use to God’s glory!


If you look through your songbook at the names of the songwriters, you’ll notice that some people appear semi-frequently.  L.O. Sanderson and Tillet S. Teddlie are two that come immediately to my mind.  Another one that you are probably more familiar with is Fanny J. Crosby.

Mrs. Crosby wrote hundreds of hymn lyrics, and others put them to music.  One thing that you might not know about her is that she was blind.  One of the things that stands out in her songs is that in most of them, she mentions seeing.  For example, in the song “To God be the Glory,” the last verse says “our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.”

Today, we will be taking a look at another song she wrote, and the Biblical truths expressed in it.  The song is “A Wonderful Savior.”

Verse 1 – In Jesus we have safety.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord.

Jesus died to rescue people from sin.  His is the only sacrifice with any true power—power enough to cover the sins of all those before Him and all those after Him (Hebrews 9:15).  He died for the sins of the whole world! (I John 2:2)

Truly, there is no other Savior like Jesus.  And there is no other Savior BUT Jesus (Acts 4:12).

A wonderful Savior to me.

He is not just the general savior of the whole world; He is our personal Savior as well.  He didn’t get a huge net and gather up everyone at once to safety—He saves people individually.

He’s my Savior. He saved me.  He can save you too. He’s waiting at the water to save you.  There ain’t nothin’ like being saved—freed from the sins that were holding you down and trying to kill you.

Jesus is my wonderful Savior. Is He yours?

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock

This is safety. This is protection.  It’s as though you are in the midst of a storm of sin, and there is a crevice cut into the side of a mountain—a place of refuge—a place of safety from the storms of life.

God is our refuge—Jesus is the one who brings us to that place of safety.

Where rivers of pleasure I see

Joys indescribable can be ours if we are in Jesus.  Only in Jesus can we have salvation.  Only in Jesus can we get to heaven, for He has blazed the trail for His people (Hebrews 6:20). Only those in Christ can answer “yes” to the question “shall we gather at the river that flows from the throne of God?”

In Christ, we can see the glories of heaven and the joys that can be ours here and in the world to come!

Verse 2 – In Jesus we have strength.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, He taketh my burden away.

You’re walking around, carrying a burden of sin.  It’s overwhelming, and it drags you down to the point where you can’t even move—you’re trapped.  Then Jesus comes and removes the weight—suddenly you’re free! You’ve been liberated!

My friends, that’s what Jesus does for you when you are baptized into Him.  He washes away all of your sins (Acts 22:16).  The burden is gone!

He holdeth me up

It’s as though we are walking side by side with Jesus; and He’s supporting us, holding us up.  We don’t have strength on our own to walk right—we can’t get to heaven on our own strength.  Jesus is there helping us along—when we stumble, He’s there to keep us from falling (Jude 24).

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

The problem comes when someone lets go of Jesus, quits leaning on His everlasting arms, or even pushes Him away.  But so long as you are holding on to Christ, trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, He will keep you from falling.

And I shall not be moved.

When we are walking with Jesus, nothing has the power to knock us over.  More powerful is He that is in you than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).

If we are in Christ and walking in the Light, then “like a tree planted by the waters,” we can say “I shall not be moved!”

He giveth me strength as my day.

We lean on Jesus for our strength, for we have none on our own.  He is the one who gives us strength.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)!

Verse 3 – In Jesus we have reason to sing.

With numberless blessings, each moment He crowns.

Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!

We are given constant blessings from God—from Jesus Christ our Savior.  We have access to God in prayer, we have the confidence of our salvation, we have the fantastic family of God—the church—to help us through each and every day.  Numberless blessings given to us every day!

And they only come through Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

And filled with His fullness divine.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16).  When we fill ourselves with the word of God, then the power of Christ is in us.  And when Christ shall come again, we shall be changed as He was and ascend to our heavenly home!

I sing in my rapture, o Glory to God

When we examine the great blessings that God has given us, and the even better things that await us, it causes us to be overjoyed.  We sing “Hallelujah, praise Jehovah!

We sing “Thank you Lord for loving me and thank you Lord for blessing me, thank you Lord for making me whole and saving my soul!

Even when things aren’t going well for us here on earth, we can still sing, joyfully remembering what awaits us up there (remember Paul and Silas in Acts 16:22-25—singing in prison).

For such a redeemer as mine.

We sing glory to God because “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Glory to God for sending the One who paid the price to save our souls from eternal damnation!

Verse 4 – In Jesus we have eternal salvation.

When clothed in His brightness,

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory (I Corinthians 15:51-54).

We will be clothed in glory, clothed in brightness!

Transported, I rise to meet Him in clouds of the sky.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (I Thessalonians 4:16-18).

When Christ comes back, all of His people will meet Him in the air, and be escorted to heaven!

His perfect salvation

When Christ comes again, salvation is completed!  When Christ comes again, our battles will all be over, and heaven will be our eternal home!

His wonderful love

He loved us enough to die for us, and “greater love hath no man that to lay down his life for a friend” (John 15:13).

I’ll shout with the millions on high!

There will be an innumerable amount of people surrounding the throne of God in heaven, singing praises to God the Father, and Jesus the Christ throughout eternity.

When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all get to heaven, we’ll sing and shout the victory!


Do you want to be one of those joyful millions who can’t help but singing in heaven?  Jesus invites you to join Him, to become one of His people.

He said, “come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy-laden (carrying a heavy burden) and I will give you rest…for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30).  And when you do that, it’s as though—even though you are in a dry desert—Jesus has given you shade and protection, and provides all the water you could ever need.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry, thirsty land. He hideth my life in the depths of His love, and covers me there with His hand, and covers me there with His hand.

The words here seems to be taken from when God allowed Moses to see Him from behind as He walked by (Exodus 33:20-23), where God showed His love and respect for Moses by letting him see His glory as He passed by.  But the idea in the chorus is that Jesus holds us close and protects us.

For the great invitation to have any power, you have to first hear it, and believe that it is real.  Then make that decision to take Jesus up on His offer, leaving your past sins in the past.  Confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and be baptized, washing away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Jesus invites you, and so do we.

-Bradley S. Cobb

Bible Q&A – The Thief on the Cross–Does it Matter?

Question: Last week, you posted a question and showed that the thief on the cross lived and died under the Old Testament. My question is why does that even matter? Why post an entire article on something so trivial?–Anonymous.

First, thank you for taking the time to read our article. Second, thank you for taking the time to drop us a note asking this question. There’s two answers to your question: the short answer and the slightly longer answer.

The short answer:

Someone asked us the question, so we took the time to answer it.

The slightly longer answer:

The Bible states that we are to “rightly divide” or “handle properly” the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15). There are many good, sincere people who have mishandled the story of the thief on the cross–and some people will lose their souls over it!  This is not a trivial thing.

Let me explain.

There are several religious groups–prominent, well-known religious groups–that try to tell people that they can be saved just like the thief on the cross was: By simply acknowledging Jesus as the Christ.

When it’s pointed out that Jesus said “he that believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16), they frequently run to the thief on the cross, and say “He wasn’t baptized, therefore baptism isn’t required for salvation.” It doesn’t matter how many times baptism is shown in Scriptures to be connected with salvation and sin-removal (see I Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38, 22:16, and several others), they still point to the thief on the cross as their proof.

The problem with their stance–with their sincerely-held belief–is that the thief on the cross isn’t an example of someone being saved during the New Testament. The thief lived and died under the Old Testament. It’d be just as logical to appeal to the examples of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Job, and David for the answer to “what must I do to be saved” as it is to appeal to the example of the thief on the cross. All of them lived and died before the New Testament ever came into existence.

The thief on the cross lived and died during a time when forgiveness was based on obedience to the Law of Moses and the system of animal sacrifices. If we appeal to his being saved on the cross, then logically–to be consistent–we also have to argue that we can be forgiven today by means of animal sacrifices.

One other thing to consider regarding the thief on the cross is that his salvation, as promised by Jesus, was not the same as becoming a child of God. In other words, the thief was already a child of God. He was an Israelite, born into the family of God by means of his ethnic heritage–by means of being a Jew. He was like the Prodigal Son–someone who was already part of the family of the Father, but who had gone astray and needed to be brought back.

Yet whenever the thief on the cross is brought up as an example of how to be saved, people use it as an example of how to become part of the family of God. The thief didn’t become a child of God while on the cross. He simply came back home to God.

God Himself (speaking through Peter) answered the question “What must we do?” with the following words: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37-38).

When someone–regardless of how well-meaning and sincere they may be–teaches that all you have to do to become a child of God is to do what the thief on the cross did, they’re teaching a false salvation.

The thief on the cross is an example of how an erring child of God can come back in repentance. He is not an example of how someone becomes a child of God.

Tracts from the Past – The World’s Greatest Question


(No. 8 of The Gospel Tract Series)

By Eugene S. Smith

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” This question, asked in Acts 16:30 by a man in Philippi nineteen hundred years ago, has never been equaled in importance. In substance this same question is asked in two other places in the Book of Acts. In the inspired answer to this question, asked three times, we have an infallible answer. To this we do well to give heed in these days.

The importance of this question stems from the fact that it deals with the salvation of our souls. Nothing in this world, no, not even the world itself, can be compared in value to our souls. The soul of man, your soul or mine, is the most important thing in the universe and the question concern­ing its salvation is the greatest and most important that we can ask.

It Is of Doing

Please note in beginning this study that the question is, “What Must I Do?” We know that “God so loved the world that He gave his only begot­ten son” (John 3:16). We know that Christ so loved the souls of men that He “tasted of death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). We also know that the Holy Spirit, through the Apostles, revealed unto us “the way of salvation” (Acts. 16:17). These, therefore, having done their part in our salvation, we are now interested in what we should do.

Further, it is not a question of what one should be, how one should feel, where one should live, or the language that one should speak. This is a ques­tion of doing, and the answer that is given by inspiration (as the question was asked these three times) is evi­dence that there is something for us to do and that everyone must do these same things.

Acts 16:30-34

In the sixteenth chapter of Acts when the question was asked the im­mediate reply of Paul was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house” (Acts. 16:31). A great many people want to stop here, thinking that this is all the answer that was given to the question. However, an examination of the verses fol­lowing reveals that this is not all of the answer and that to stop here is to stop short of a complete answer.

The remainder of the answer of Paul is indicated by the words of the fol­lowing verse: “And they spake the word of the Lord to him, with all that were in his house” (Acts 16:32). This was necessary for even faith could not come to the man or his house apart from the hearing of the word. Paul has said, “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). The word had to be spoken to produce the faith and faith could not come till the word was spoken. However, when the word was spoken we find that the jailer had learned that he must do more than be­lieve and this he did. Verse 33 says that “he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, im­mediately”. Here repentance and bap­tism are definitely shown to have been included in the word of the Lord, the answer given by Paul and Silas to the man’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” The washing of their stripes indicates repentance and it is definitely stated that the man was bap­tized, Therefore, these things were in­cluded in the answer given him or he would have known nothing of them. These are as much a part of the word of the Lord as belief and have as much to do with our salvation from sin.

Therefore, we must remember that in answer to this man’s question he was taught to, 1. Believe on the Lord Jesus, 2. Repent of his sins, and, 3. Be baptized unto the remission of his sins. When he had done these things, the record says that he “rejoiced great­ly, with all his house, having believed in God”. By his obedience his faith was made perfect and he became a Son of God and could rejoice in that rela­tionship.

Acts 2:37-42

In the second chapter of Acts the question again is asked. This time, however, those who ask are believers in the Christ. Although only a few days previously they had denied the Christ and condemned him to be cruci­fied they are now convicted of their sins and realizing that he is the Christ cry out to Peter and the others of Christ’s apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

With all directness the Apostle Peter gave answer to these inquiring souls as he said, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:38). This answer of inspiration is too plain to need ex­planation and “They then that received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41). Here again sinners were taught to: 1. Believe on the Lord Jesus, 2. Repent of their sins, and 3. Be baptized unto the remission of their sins.

Having done this they “continued steadfastly in the Apostles teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and prayers” (Acts 2:42). That is they “walked in the newness of life” (Rom. 6:4) and were acceptable in the sight of God as his children.

Acts 22:10-16

In the twenty-second chapter of Acts, Paul gives an account of his own con­version. On the Damascus road he be­lieved in the Lord and confessed that faith, calling him Lord. He repented of his sins and desired to know and do the will of the Lord. This is all evi­denced by his asking the question, “Lord, what shall I do?” (Acts 22:10). This question shows the faith and the repentance of Saul of Tarsus yet he was not saved.

The Lord, in answer, told him to go into the city and there it would be told him all things appointed for him to do. When in that city Ananias came to him he said, “Why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on His name.” (Acts 22:16). This is Paul’s own account of the matter and one I am sure we can trust. Paul realized that his sins were not re­moved by faith or repentance but only when his faith was expressed in obe­dience to the Lord’s command to be baptized.

Thus, again we have the question and the answer is the same, 1. Believe. 2. Repent. 3. Be baptized unto the remis­sion (washing away) of your sins. This brought him “into Christ” and in Christ he was a new creature.

Therefore, the question is asked and answered. You can see the answer as given by inspiration. You can walk in the same way to your own salvation.

Tracts from the Past – Salvation by Grace?

Today’s offering is a “Tract from the Past.”  This one is called “Salvation by Grace” and is written by Eugene Smith.  Mr. Smith was a proficient writer during his life, authoring several tracts.  We hope you enjoy it!


Of all the great doctrines of the Bible, none is more capable of arous­ing the appreciation of man than the idea suggested by the words of the apostle Paul in Eph. 2:8, 9, where he says, “for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of your­selves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.” In this statement the kindness and love of God is revealed to such extent that we should be eternally grateful to God and in our appreciation should humbly sub­mit to His will in all things.

Christ, of course, is the manifesta­tion of the grace of God. In him the love of God is shown as he was present­ed as the perfect sacrifice for sin. This sacrifice was “not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy” (Tit. 3:5). Nothing good that we had done was or could be sufficient to merit the sacri­fice of Christ upon the cross. This was the unmerited favor of God to lost and dying man. This was “the kindness of God our Saviour, and His love toward man” (Tit. 3:4), that appeared for our redemption from a curse which was too great for us to lift.

This grace of God was not bestowed on “the few” but rather on “the many.” Paul said in Tit. 2:11, “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salva­tion to all men.” All were in need of a Saviour and when God gave His Son He made him a “propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (I John 2:2). When we look upon Jesus today we behold the one whom God “crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man” (Heb. 2:9).

Therefore by the unmerited mani­festation of the goodness and kindness of God our love for him is born and kept alive. John said, “We love, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19). The great love of God which was manifest to the world in the death of Christ is enough to ever keep us humble and grateful before the throne of God for the great gift was made while we were yet sinners and was therefore strictly by the grace and love of God. Paul said of this in Rom. 5:8, “God commendeth His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Enough has been said, therefore, to cause us to realize that it is by grace we are saved.

An Oft-Made Mistake

However, in thinking of the doctrine of Salvation by Grace there is a mis­take often made that leads to the wrong conclusion. Some have supposed that the fact that salvation is by grace has precluded and excluded all re­sponse on our part. Some have argued that since it is by “grace” there is nothing we can do in any way in the matter of our salvation. These argu­ments are usually summed up under three headings which are erroneously based on the text of Eph. 2:8. They are: (1) Salvation being of grace there is nothing we can do toward that salva­tion; (2) It being the gift of God there is nothing we can do to receive it; and (3) It being “not of works” we are ex­cluded from doing anything whatso­ever to receive it. Believing the above thoughts to be entirely wrong and based upon a mistaken understanding of the text we want to examine them very carefully in the light of God’s word.

Does Grace Exclude Obedience?

Some have supposed that grace ex­cludes obedience to the commandments of God but this cannot be for it would make of God’s word a mass of contra­dictions and we know this is not so. Christ said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Christ in this verse and in the illustration of the two builders (Matt. 7:24-27), which fol­lows, makes clear to all that obedience to God’s will is an essential pre-requi­site of salvation.

The apostle Paul, in speaking along this line, has very clearly said, “He (Christ) became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salva­tion” (Heb. 5:9). Peter said, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth” (I Pet. 1:22) and the beloved John said “This is the love of God that we keep his command­ments” (I John 5:3). Therefore it is impossible to suppose that grace ex­cludes obedience. Nay, rather grace de­mands obedience for in view of the wonderful manifestation of the love of God we should gladly humble our hearts before Him and do His will, obeying His commandments which are given to us in His word. Any course other than this would be contrary to the scriptures and to common sense. We must obey God, obey the truth, or keep His commandments for thus we show our love for Him.

Does A Gift Exclude Obedience?

Some have likewise supposed that since salvation is a gift we can do nothing to receive it. Now to say we can do nothing to merit it is one thing and to say that we can do nothing to receive it is quite another thing. I realize that nothing we can do will ever give us merit enough to make God owe us salvation as a debt He must pay. It is not in this respect that we speak of our obedience. It is not that we are to do a thing or things to merit salva­tion but we must, according to the word of God, do certain things that we may receive salvation.

Christ says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). If we are to receive the “gift of God” we must then “believe and be baptized.” Some will accept the idea that we must believe but will reject the companion thought that we must be baptized. These two, belief and bap­tism, are joined together by the con­junction “and.” One of the elementary rules of the English language is that this conjunction joins words or phrases of equal rank or importance. Therefore when it is used to join belief and bap­tism it makes them of equal import­ance.

The gift of salvation from Christ is held forth to man and he says it will be bestowed upon the man who “be­lieveth and is baptized.” If anyone an­swers that to believe and be baptized is to make it no longer a gift he is surely mistaken about that for the Bi­ble cannot be a book of contradictions. But think one moment about this. If I were to say to you, “Write me a letter and I will give you a book,” you could understand the meaning of my words. If you then wrote me the letter would that in any way show that you had earned the book. No, for when you had complied with my request the book would still be received as a gift and not something you had earned.

A Bible Illustration

To illustrate the fact that one can obey the commands of God and still re­ceive his blessings as a gift we turn to the sixth chapter of Joshua to study the illustration set forth. These things “happened unto them by way of ex­ample; and they were written for our admonition” (I Cor. 10:11). They are given that in them we may see and learn God’s way of dealing with the sons of men in the earth. Paul tells us this again in Rom. 15:4, where he says, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learn­ing.” Therefore we can, by studying the examples of Israel in the Old Testa­ment, learn of God’s dealing with man even today. Not that the Old Testa­ment is to be considered our law but the examples thereof are valuable to us as warnings.

“Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in” (Josh. 6: 1). This was the condition of the city as the children of Israel under Joshua’s leadership encamped before the city. Then in verse 2 God talks with Joshua in the following words, “See, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor.” The city of Jericho was a gift of God to Joshua and the children of Israel.

However God did not end His speak­ing with His statement that He would give them the city. He went on to say, “And Ye shall compass the city, all the men of war, going about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And it shall be, that, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall go up every man straight before him” (Josh. 6:3-6).

Now if Joshua had been like some people today he would have said “Not so Lord for if we do all that thou hast commanded we shall earn the city and it will not and cannot be a gift.” That is the way people sometimes talk to­day when obedience to the command­ments of God is emphasized by gospel preachers. People are wont to cry, “If we do anything it cannot be a gift.” In this they make a serious mistake that will finally result in the condemnation of millions for failing to do the will of the Lord.

Joshua, however, being a man of faith, did not so speak. He immediately marshalled his forces as God had com­manded and began to fulfill those com­mandments of Jehovah. All that the Lord had said was done in just the way that the Lord had said it should be done. When they came to the seventh day of their obedience we hear Joshua speaking again to the children of Israel as the priests blew the ram’s horn trumpet according to God’s command­ment. He said, “Shout; for Jehovah hath given you the city” (Josh. 6:16). Therefore it must be forever settled and known that men can obey God’s commandments and still receive the promised blessing as a “gift of God.”

More than this in our contemplation of God’s gift to man we must remem­ber that Paul said it was “By grace through Faith” (Eph. 2:8). This is God’s gift and it is received “through faith.” Now let us note another simi­larity between this gift of God and the one we have been studying in Joshua. We read in Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the wall of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days.” Here then is a further confirma­tion of the necessity of our obedience of God’s commandments if we are to be saved by grace.

The salvation by grace is through faith. The falls of Jericho fell down by faith. However they did not fall by faith till God’s commandments were obeyed and therefore we do not receive the blessing of God’s grace till our obedience to God’s will of today is com­plete. Then, and then only, can we re­ceive the blessing by faith. For until our obedience is rendered before God, our faith is dead and vain and can never bring the blessing of God.

Does Grace Exclude Works?

Now we come to the final objection of those who would reject obedience to God as having anything to do with our salvation. They cry “it is not of works” and thus would turn many away from doing the will of God. Let me say first of all that this limitation cannot be un­derstood in an absolute sense, that is to say, prohibiting all works of any kind, for that would cause the apostle to contradict himself in the two verses with which we began this study.

Paul says of this salvation by grace that it is “through faith” and then goes on to say it is “not of works.” Now I know that he does not mean by this that all works are excluded for to do that would even exclude faith. The Christ himself hath said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (John 6:29). God has commanded men to believe and Christ says this is a work that is com­manded of God; a work that men are to do. Therefore as salvation is “through faith” we cannot exclude all works or we would thereby even ex­clude faith. This we know cannot be.

Moreover, we know that “works of righteousness” are not excluded by Paul’s statement for we hear the apos­tle Peter speaking to Cornelius and his household in the city of Caesarea and these were to be the first converts from among the gentiles. As he preached to them we hear him say, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no re­specter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34, 35). Therefore the “works of righteousness, do have something to do with our being accepted of God. In Titus 3:5 as we have already noted they had nothing to do with God send­ing His son but now that the grace of God has been manifested to the world in the son we are acceptable in the sight of God as we “work righteous­ness.”

Working righteousness is obeying the commandments of God for the com­mandments of God are His righteous­ness. We read this in Psa. 119:172, where David says, “All thy command­ments are righteousness.” Therefore it is evident that to “work righteousness” is to “work God’s commandments.” Therefore it is on the basis of our obedience to the commandments of God that we are acceptable in the sight of God and our obedience to God’s com­mandments is not the thing under con­sideration by Paul when he said in Eph. 2:9, “Not of works.”

Moreover Christ has said that our “works of righteousness,” that is our obedience to God’s commandments, is nothing about which we can boast or glory. He says, “Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, we are un­profitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). In obeying God’s commands and receiving His blessing we have noth­ing to boast about. The children of Is­rael could not boast about their capture of Jericho. God’s way was not the way that would create boasting on their part but rather a way that would in­crease their faith in and respect for Him.

Had the children of Israel captured the city by force of arms they might have later boasted about it; but taking it as they did they could never glory in it but must always give glory to God. Likewise in our obedience to Christ’s commandments we can never glory for who could say that believing in the Christ, repenting of our sins, confessing our faith in Christ and be­ing baptized could ever be enough to “earn” for us the glory of heaven. Nay, rather, it only emphasizes our depend­ence upon the mercy and grace of God. Therefore as we obey and when we have done all things commanded we are unprofitable and it is still by God’s grace that we are saved. However it is evident that his grace does not ex­clude the “works of righteousness” which he has commanded us to do.

What then can be the meaning of Paul’s statement, “not of works.” It is very simple, and as usual in God’s word, we find it in the very sentence we are considering. Notice, please, that Paul says, “not of works, that no man should glory” (Eph. 2:9). The King James version says “boast” instead of “glory” as we find it in the American Standard Version. This is the key of the entire matter, it is not of works that we can glory in or boast about. It is not by works that we earn salvation or place God in debt to us. This is the en­tire meaning of the apostle’s words and when we thus consider the matter we can see that some works are ex­cluded but that the “works of right­eousness” are not excluded but are the obedience of faith by which we are to receive the “gift of God.” Therefore it is important that we obey the com­mandments of Jesus that he may be the author of eternal salvation to our souls as he is to all them that obey him (Heb. 5:8, 9).

The Ephesian Example

Now in conclusion we want to re­member that our text for this study was written to members of the church in Ephesus. These were said to be saved by “grace through faith” so if we can learn what they did and how they were saved it will be of great im­portance to us in our study. Let us therefore turn our attention to the nineteenth chapter of Acts where we read of the establishment of this church and in this record learn of the conversion of the Ephesians.

“And it came to pass, that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disci­ples: and he said unto them, Did ye re­ceive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given. And he said, Into what then were ye baptized ? and they said, Into John’s baptism. And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is on Jesus. And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:1-5).

In this account we have the begin­ning of the church in Ephesus. These are the people to whom Paul wrote, “By grace have ye been saved through faith.” Therefore it is evident that Paul’s conception of salvation by grace did not exclude obedience to God’s commands. Nay, contrary to that, it so emphasized obedience to Christ that when he found these who had been one time baptized but with an improper faith he taught them the truth and they were baptized again. Therefore these were baptized twice, once wrong and once right, and still were saved by grace.

There are hundreds of thousands in this land of ours who are like those at Ephesus. They have been baptized but did not understand the true signifi­cance and meaning of it at the time. Their baptism is invalid and they like the Ephesians should be baptized with the baptism commanded by Christ. That is they should be baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to receive the remission of their sins for this is the baptism commanded by the Lord and therefore the baptism in His name (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16: 15, 16).

There are other hundreds of thou­sands who have never been baptized. These need to believe in Christ with all their hearts (Acts 8:36, 37), repent of their sins (Acts 17:30), confess their faith in the Christ (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3) unto the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38). Thus they would in their obedi­ence to the commands of the Christ have him become the author of eternal salvation to their souls. Thus they would “work righteousness” and be­come acceptable in the sight of God. Thus they would “by faith” receive “the gift of God” the salvation of their souls and as children of God “by faith in Christ Jesus” rejoice in the sweet assurance of salvation by and through the grace of God for “as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27) and since “in Christ” the grace of God is made known and bestowed they would be saved “by grace through faith.”