Question #364

Are we under the great commission today?

You are failing to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). What is the Word of truth? It’s in Eph 1:13, it’s the gospel of your salvation- the gospel of Christ - found in 1 Cor 15:1-4. Your apostle is Paul NOT Peter. Learn how to rightly divide the word of truth and not be confused any longer. You are not under the great commission. If you have questions please email me and we can discuss them.

The Answer:

This is not a question; it is a comment. This dear gentleman is undoubtedly sincere, but he is sincerely mistaken. For those unfamiliar with the teaching, it arises from the recognition that baptism in Acts 2:38 is for (in order to obtain) the remission of sins. That however is unpalatable to those who agree with our writer and they have accepted the teaching that that which Peter preached on the day of Pentecost was only for the Jews. They content that it was not for the Gentiles and that it was never preached to them. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles preached a salvation that required faith only and did not require baptism for (in order to obtain) the remission of sins. Paul supposedly received this “different gospel” at the time discussed in Galatians 1:11-12 and 2:7-9. But was it a different gospel he received? If so, he condemned either himself or Peter in the same letter. Gal. 1:7-9. While our friend would have us look in Ephesians, he would do well to read Eph. 2 and 4:3-6. In Eph. 2 he would learn that in Jesus God broke down the middle wall of partition and made joined Jew and Gentile in one body. Eph. 2 speaks of preaching to both Jew and Gentile but it does not speak of different messages. In Eph. 4 he would learn that there are not different messages – there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of us all. Our friend would have two faiths (one for the Jew and one for the Gentile) and two baptisms (one for the Jews for the forgiveness of sins, and one for the Gentiles because his sins were already forgiven). He will argue that they are not really two baptisms because there was one for the Gentiles and one for the Jews. Even he will have to admit that the argument doesn’t sound convincing because, any way you look at it one plus one always equals two (at least in base 10).

Did Paul ever describe the one baptism of which he spoke in Eph. 2? Read Romans 6:3-7. Read 1 Cor. 12:13. Read Gal. 3:26:27. Paul preached a baptism that preceded being raised to walk in newness of life. Paul preached a baptism by which man came into Christ. Paul preached a baptism by which man “put on Christ” or was “clothed in Christ.” That is no different from Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost. Are not “the forgiveness of sins,” “coming into Christ,” “raised to walk in newness of life,” and “baptized into one body” all speaking of the same thing? The reasonable reader knows that they are.

Our writer’s false doctrine is at the heart and soul of dispensational theology and its pretribulation rapture. Dispensationalism also ‘wrongly divides’ the Word Of God by making Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels, and the writings of the apostles other than Paul, only for the Jews – not the Church. This is the fundamental basis of Dispensational theology, i.e., Israel vs. the Church. It is quite inconceivable to me that anyone could teach that the Gospels and many of the other N.T. books are written for the Jews and not the Church but that is exactly what many leading Dispensational theologians have taught or implied (L.S. Chafer, J. Dwight Pentecost, C. I. Scofield, Miles Stanford, Clarence Larkin, E. W. Bullinger, etc., etc.)!

Much could be said about this false doctrine, but this is enough to demonstrate who is failing to rightly divide the word of truth.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for 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) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)