Forward: Salvation and the Individual

It was the great English poet Kipling who pointed out that "the sins we do two by two, we  must answer for one by one." Solomon, the wisest of the wise, in summarizing the issues we call life stated, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Paul, in addressing the Greek philosophers in Athens pointed out that although God had overlooked man's ignorance concerning Him, they must now repent (Acts 17:22-31). Paul then states the reason: "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead (verse 31).

 Although sin and salvation are probably considered politically incorrect by our worldly friends, they are just as vital to our sin sick culture today, in the 21st century, as they were in the 1st century. The Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation because it reveals the righteousness of God that we may live by faith (Romans 1:16-17). Jesus stated, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). To the Bible believing Christian - "the Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it." Not to put too fine a point in it - If Christianity is true, and it is, all other religions are false! To disagree is to say Christianity is false and Jesus is not the Son of God but rather a false prophet (Cf. Deuteronomy 18:15-22).

 Recognizing the divisions in Christendom was a hindrance to belief in God, His Son, and the Bible as God's word, an indigenous unity movement took place in the 1800s. The leaders of this ecumenical were men like B. W. Stone and Thomas and Alexander (father and son) Campbell. As Believers in the Bible, their movement was based on the concept that what they believed and practiced must be sanctioned by the Scriptures. Their studies led a restoration of the New Testament church as is was in the 1stcentury. Embracing biblical language, they referred to this new movement as disciples of Christ and churches of Christ.

 Progress was not without controversy. However, with mutual faith in the Bible and open hearts and minds, progress was made toward the restoration of the New Testament church. As Presbyterians, they had practiced "infant baptism." Finding no sanction in the Scriptures, they abandoned the practice. Discovering that the Greek word for baptize was immersion, they (like their Baptist neighbors) embraced immersion. When their studies revealed the Lord's Supper (Communion) was observed on the first day of each week rather than quarterly or annually, they incorporated the practice into their public worship services.

 The process of becoming a Christian (the Plan of Salvation) was a matter of gathering all the facts from the NT and arranging them in their logical order. Upon hearing the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Son of God, do I believe it? When we believe Jesus is indeed the Christ, we are faced with the next decision - am I willing to change my personal life style to conform to God's Word? In other words, am I willing to repent of sin and service to Satan?

In the 1st century, they were baptized upon a simple confession that one believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. The final act was being baptized into Christ for the remission of sins. This act of submission is symbolic of submission to God in living the Christian life.


Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK