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Question #283

Please do your best to not copy the Pharisees.

church of Christ MOST IMPORTANT

When people don't share this (or if you hinder people from knowing it) with any Christian possible, then we're like that person in the first century who saw Jesus do a miracle, and then kept it to himself. The root of Greed.

People have every right to make up their own minds as to which church of Christ Doctrine is Truth. To withhold Biblical information from people is exactly the same as the Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus.

To keep information from people is to deny God's plan for this world, that each and every individual study, learn, and choose which church of Christ Doctrine is the Truth.

Please do your best to not copy the Pharisees. Thanks so much.

The Answer:

This is not a question, but a series of comments and a request. Unfortunately, the comments are not exactly clear. For example, is the author charging Thy Word Is Truth with somehow withholding truth? If so, he does not identify any. Is he charging Thy Word Is Truth with making decisions as to what individuals shall believe? If so, he not identified where we have done so. Is he warning Thy Word Is Truth not to engage in such conduct? If so, He has not pointed out any place where he believes it has done so in order that his charge might be understood. Just the same, we will do our best to comment upon this message.

First, there is no such thing as “church of Christ doctrine.” The Bible is the sole source of faith and practice and all doctrine comes from scripture. It is God’s; it is not man’s.

Second, there is no disagreement that it is wrong not to obey the great commission and take the gospel into all the world. It was Christ’s last command on earth of which we have record. It cannot and must not be withheld from any person or in any part.

Third, people do have the right (free moral agency) to decide that which they will believe or not believe. God gave that to them and man cannot take it away. However, each person is responsible for that which he or she believes. God’s truth does not change. Man’s faith does not determine it; man’s disbelief does not destroy or change it. If a man believes and obeys God’s will he will be saved; it a man wrongly believes he is doing God’s will but is not, he will be lost. That is not because of “church of Christ doctrine”: it is because that is God’s truth found in Matthew 7:21-27. Note that those people were so convinced that they were saved that they were arguing their condemnation in the judgment by reciting all the good deeds that they had done in the name of the Lord. Because they had not obeyed God’s will in what they believed and practiced, they heard the words, “I never knew you; depart from me ye that work iniquity.”

Fourth, Thy Word Is Truth is not and does not want to be guilty of Phariseeism. In fact, may of those who make the charge against the church of the Lord are themselves guilty of Phariseeism. The great fault of the Pharisees was that they taught for doctrine the commandments of men. Matthew 15:9. That is precisely what those who argue for doing it “their way” are doing. They are substituting that which they believe for that which the Bible teaches, feeling that their believing it makes it so. They are not so foolish in any other aspect of their life. They know that if, to cure their headache, they take cyanide believing it to Aleve, they will die. Their faith does not save them because it has no validity. Those who follow man’s doctrine instead of God’s will die. Their faith will not save them because it has no validity – it is not based upon God’s Word.

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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

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)