Arguments & Explanations!
Some of the whys and wherefores - is near enough good enough? Find out the answers to some common questions on salvation.
Some of the Whys and Wherefores. Is Near Enough Good Enough?
Common Stumbling Blocks
Firstly! The basis of our stand is that we believe that to receive biblical salvation we must repent, be baptized (by full immersion) and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues (praying in the Spirit) as set out in MARK 16:16-18 and ACTS 2:38.
1. "Why should I get baptised? I go to church and never do any harm to anyone!"
Answer: Baptism is an act of obedience to the Lord (MARK 16:16; ACTS 2:38 and ACTS 10:44-48) and is an outward show before men of an inner desire to follow the Lord. Jesus was baptized by John to
"fulfil all righteousness" (MATTHEW 3:15; LUKE 3:21; MARK 1:9). Simply going to church is not enough, for Jesus said we must be
...born of water and of the Spirit... (to)
...enter into the kingdom of God" (JOHN 3:3-7).
"There is none righteous, no, not one... For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (ROMANS 3:10,23). Again, it is essential that we remember that Jesus died for all of us and that we are saved by grace (God's unmerited favour), and not by any "good works" (EPHESIANS 2:7-8).
2. "But I've been baptised already."
Answer: Many of today's apostate religions claim that sprinkling an infant (generally too young to even comprehend the meaning of the Gospel) with water is baptism. The English word "baptize" comes from the Greek "baptizo" meaning to be dipped in, fully immersed or sunk like a ship in water. Anything less is not good enough. Jesus said,
"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men... Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition." (MARK 7:7,13).
3. "I don't believe in God!"
Answer: Many people are saying it as a type of plea. In fact it is childishly simple to prove God's existence. The Bible promises that if any person asks God for His Spirit He will give it without exception (LUKE 11:9-13). The only requirements God specifies are repentance and sincerity; anything less will not be acceptable to Him. The attitude to adopt is
he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (HEBREWS 11:6). All the early Christians knew from personal experience what it was like to receive God's Spirit; read ACTS 2:4,38; 10:44-48 and 19:2-6. If a person will not believe God's promises and at least give it a try the biblical way, then they are damned (MARK 16:16 and JOHN 3:18).
4. "I believe in God!" (Stated as a form of self-justification.)
Answer: Many do not understand the deeper meaning of Bible "believing" and equate it with some day to day believing. What they really mean is that they have a mental acceptance of God's existence. If we understood the classic Greek of the Bible we would know that the Greek word translated as "believe" - "pisteuo" - means to adhere to, trust, rely on. The Bible says that
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe (conscious acceptance of His existence),
and tremble." (JAMES 2:19). The Greek word for tremble means to shudder, have the hair on end. They know that their "believing" only brings a knowledge of God's terrible judgment on them. Jesus said,
If ye love me, keep my commandments (ways)
" (JOHN 14:15). Believing the Bible produces results; people are filled with God's Spirit and speak in new tongues, and the other signs mentioned in MARK 16:17-18 follow.
5. "Why do I have to speak in new tongues?"
Answer: Jesus said that
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (JOHN 4:24). The Apostle Paul (who spoke in tongues) said
"If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth." Read 1 CORINTHIANS 14:14,2 . Jesus also said that one of the signs following or identifying "believers" would be that
"they shall speak with new tongues" (MARK 16:17). The Bible says that
the tongue... is an unruly evil
" which no man can tame. Read JAMES 3:1-13 (and verse 8 in particular). We need a new form of worship and praise to God, which cannot be corrupted and is according to His will. ROMANS 8:26-27 tells us the advantages of speaking in tongues or praying in the Spirit.
6. "But my dear old aunty (uncle, grandmother, etc.) is a wonderful person; you're not going to tell me she (or he) is not a Christian."
Answer: This whole statement revolves around one word: "Christian". The word in the Greek means "anointed one", i.e. anointed with the power of God's Holy Spirit (as in ACTS 10:38 and 2 CORINTHIANS 1:21). The Bible says that
"all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (ISAIAH 64:6), and that we are saved by the grace of God by His gift of the Holy Ghost,
"Not of works, lest any man should boast.
" (EPHESIANS 2:9). We are insufficient within ourselves. The individual person in question may be a moral living person to the worldly standard, but God demands a new birth (JOHN 3:5) and a new heart which obeys Him, for the heart of man is
"deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (JEREMIAH 17:9). Additionally, we are warned of those that have
"a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." (2 TIMOTHY 3:5).
7. "What do you do for charity?"
Answer: Charity these days refers to good works or (usually financial) assistance to needy persons. Jesus never condemned the genuine acts of kindness and money-giving which He encountered or spoke of, and in fact encouraged it. However, the original Greek word for love - "agape" - means love as produced by the inward workings of the Holy Spirit,
"because the love (same word as "charity" in the Greek)
of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (ROMANS 5:5). The story of Cornelius (ACTS 10:1-48) and his household and their conversion is an interesting one. He was a
"devout man, and one that feared ("reverential trust and respect" in the Greek)
God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway." (ACTS 10:2). The apostle Peter was summoned to
"tell thee (Cornelius)
words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (ACTS 11:14), because
"Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God." (ACTS 10:4). God saw the sincerity of his actions, but it was not until he and his household received the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues, and were baptized that they were saved (ACTS 10:44-48). We never earn our salvation; it is a free gift and an unmerited favour on God's behalf (EPHESIANS 2:9).
8. "There are a thousand and one different religions but we're all heading for the same God; you do it your way, I'll do it my own. Live and let live."
Answer: The Word of God is able to answer this in many ways, but perhaps Jesus sums it up best when He said,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (JOHN 14:6) and
"For 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). Jesus also said,
"If ye love me, keep my commandments" (JOHN 14:15). It is not our job to convince people that we preach the truth; God is the one that works in their hearts by His Spirit, and the scriptures say that His
sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out
" (JOHN 10:3). This parable is recorded in John chapter 10 and is explained by the Lord Jesus Himself. There are many antichrists in the world today, as warned of in 1 JOHN 2:18, and these antichrists are opponents of the anointed believers of God.
9. "The Bible is just a collection of fairy tales, myths and history of the Jews."
Answer: The Bible does not set out to record history, but where history is involved in God's plan of redemption for mankind, it is accurately recorded as historians and archaeologists now confirm in great abundance. It is true that many Bible stories seem like fairy tales because supernatural occurrences are recorded, and these tend to boggle the mind, but bear in mind that we are dealing with a supernatural being who created heaven and earth by speaking "the Word", and who still identifies His people, the church or body of Christ, with signs and wonders today (MARK 16:17-20) and (1 CORINTHIANS 12:8-11, etc. )There is also the overwhelming evidence of thousands of definite and accurate fulfilments of specific biblical prophecies, often despite some men's frenzied efforts to avoid or alter God's pre-written history. A vast subject! Finally, in the 1890's, a Russian atheist, Ivan Panin, discovered that the original texts of the Bible (consisting of 66 books written in ancient Hebrew, Greek and some Aramaic, by 44 authors over a period of approximately twenty centuries), all have a numerical pattern of the most incredibly intricate order running through them from beginning to end, tying them all together as if some mastermind "guided" each author. The system's basis is simple. Each letter in the original texts' alphabets represented a number, so a written word also represented a number, and a place value number. The key is simple and yet God's intricate pattern is beyond the design of any mere man's mind. Every word can be weighed in the balance of the numerical pattern to establish whether or not it existed in the original, as translations (even the best) only appear as black and white photographs of the original; good resemblances but lacking the three dimensions of the original and, at times, misleading on vital issues. As the scripture says:
"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." (PROVERBS 18:13)
The foregoing questions, arguments, and opinions, etc., represent only a very small cross-section of situations on which the Word of God throws light, and which may be beneficial to either the unsaved or the newly saved - not yet having encountered such situations. It is good to remember our Lord's advice to "open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" (PSALM 81:10) when witnessing, and to lean on the promises of JOHN 14:26:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
And 2 TIMOTHY 3:16:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
In 2 TIMOTHY 2:23-25 we are also advised to avoid
foolish and unlearned questions... knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth."
Revival Centres Australia