Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Volume 02, Number
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
In this issue:
How does one become a Christian?
Do you really want to be a Christian? If so, it is a very simple procedure,
and yet there is much confusion as to how in the world today. One popular
church discipline says that the doctrine of Faith only is a most wholesome
doctrine and very full of comfort. But listen to what the Bible says, “You
see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James
2:24). There’s quite a difference in the two. There is no question
whatsoever that salvation is by faith, all admit that. The question is, IS
SALVATION BY FAITH ONLY? To answer that question, we must define faith. What
kind are you talking about? Are you saved by a vain faith? Are you saved by
a dead faith? Are you saved by an active faith? Isn’t it noteworthy that in
the book of conversions (Acts), that each person saved was saved when their
faith led them to be baptized. There was never a saved person in the New
Testament dispensation who had not been baptized. Baptism was then, and is
now, the consummating act that puts one into Christ. In fact, the Galatian
letter tells us just that. “For you are all sons of God through faith in
Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on
Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
How do we gain faith? The Bible answers that
question in Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by
the word of God.” For an example of grace, faith, and works read Joshua,
chapter 6 and 2 Kings 5. You will gain a clear understanding of how these
three tie together. The first two things that every soul must do is to hear
about God and the gospel of Christ, and then believe God and the teaching of
Christ and the inspired apostles as they direct us in what we must do in
order to gain salvation.
Repent or Perish
Surely people do not think when they say
that faith alone will save, that this is really true. If so, this would mean
we would be saved while in sin, for it would mean they could be saved
without repenting. Repentance is a change of heart, determining to change
our life. Can a person be saved without a change of heart or mind? The very
idea of conversion demands it. Then if repentance is necessary, then
salvation is not by faith only. There are three specifics necessary to
remission of sins and becoming a child of God. Faith is necessary. This is
the mental assent of mind, or faith in the savior, a deep trust. Then there
is repenting or turning away from sin and turning to God. Jesus said,
“unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). The process of
salvation is climaxed by the faithful act of baptism which Paul says in
Galatians 3:27 puts us INTO Christ. Therefore, faith alone is not enough.
James said the demons believed (James 2:19). Will the demons be saved? We
should all agree that the Bible says no!
If you came to me and demanded to be
baptized, I would ask you a simple question. “Do you believe that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God?” I would not ask: “Do you believe that God for
Christ’s sake has pardoned your sins?” I would not because I find no such
command or example in the Bible. But over in Acts, chapter 8, I do note that
the Eunuch demanded baptism after hearing Jesus preached to him. What did
Philip say when the Eunuch asked? “If you believe with all your heart, you
may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God.” Then what happened? The next verse of scripture says, “So he commanded
the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into
the water, and he baptized him.” An important point here is that Philip and
the eunuch went down INTO the water. That eliminates sprinkling and pouring
because Bible baptism is immersion.
The reason I would not ask if one believes
that God for Christ’s sake had pardoned his sin, is that pardon comes, not
when one believes, but when one is baptized unto the remission of sins (Read
Acts 2:38). But if we confess Christ as Lord, we are saying that He is the
Son of God and is the master of my life, and if one believes that, baptism
is no problem. Confession of faith is outward profession of the inward trust
one has in Christ.
Believing in Christ is so very important
because if one truly believes in Jesus, then they will have no problem
keeping the commandments of Jesus. Baptism is a commandment of Jesus. It is
a commandment not to the Christian to be baptized but to the alien sinner.
Cornelius, an alien, though he was a good moral man, was commanded to be
baptized in Acts 10:48.
Is baptism really commanded? Listen to what
the Bible says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark
16:16); “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); “The like figure whereunto
even baptism doth also now save us” (1 Peter 3:21); “Go therefore and make
disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19); “And now why are you
waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name
of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16). These scriptures are but a few from the Word of
God that clearly shows that faith must be accompanied with action on our
part. Baptism is necessary for remission of sins and the hope of everlasting
life. Have you been baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?
10 Promises of Peace
When we worry, our minds get an unnecessary workout. We run through all the
possible outcomes of our situation. We jump to conclusions before getting
all the facts. We weigh ourselves down with all the “what-ifs”. Truly,
worrying is an exercise in futility. Worry leads to fear and stress instead
of faith and rest.
As Jesus talked about worry, He redirected
our focus to God. Our worries do not change the character of God.
Ultimately, grasping God’s character changes how we handle our worries.
Perhaps the most poignant phrase Jesus said to those who worry is “your
heavenly Father knows” (Matt. 6:32).
Worry steals your peace and joy, but the
Lord gives peace and joy abundantly. He knows what’s going on in your life.
David, in Psalm 34:4-5 wrote, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and
delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and
their faces were not ashamed.” The following are ten truths that can help
you find freedom and joy from worry.
1. God wants you to remember that He is good
and gracious and has compassion for you (Ps. 145:8-9).
2. God wants you to remember that He can
meet your needs (Phil. 4:19).
3. God does not want you to live in a state
of worry (Matt. 6:34).
4. God is with you when you’re worried and
afraid (Is. 41:10).
5. God wants you to look to Him when you’re
filled with worry (Ps. 94:19).
6. God wants you to look to His Word when
you worry (Ps. 119:143).
7. God wants you to trust Him when you’re
worried - to have faith and not fear (Ps. 56:3).
8. God wants you to give Him your worries
because He cares (1 Pet. 5:7).
9. God wants you to encourage others when
they worry (1 Thess. 5:11).
10. God wants you to tell Him your worries
and thank Him for all He’s done for you (Phil. 4:6-7).
How do you let go of worry? First, identify
what worries you - every issue, every situation. Second, go to God in all
humility and surrender the situation and yourself to the Lord. Although you
may feel completely powerless, you have the ability to let go of worry and
trust God, always aware that you’re doing His will. Psalm 55:22 exhorts,
“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never
permit the righteous to be moved.”
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149