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Question #322

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are? What gives you, A MERE MAN, to interpret the Bible for everyone else. That's the elders job. When it comes to subjects like clapping, instrumental music, one cup, WHAT SONG BOOK TO USE...these are elder issues! The website is a very good ministry, don't get me wrong, but subjects like these that the Bible doesn't clearly state, to take verses out of context to make them say what you want them to say in wrong. That'd be like me taking my music history book and pulling out certain things to make it say that Mozart never lived...what's the deal?

The Answer:

Who are we? Admittedly we are mere men. God gave us, and all others (except the unaccountable), the responsibility to read, understand, and follow His word which is truth. John 17:17. Moreover, he gave each of his children the responsibility to spread and defend that truth. You may trust all of this to elders, but history shows this may not always be true. Read the history of the falling way of the early church. See what is happening in some congregations today as elders lead congregations astray and congregations blindly follow. You may think that elders will answer for any misconceptions you have or that you cannot be blamed for any misconceptions you do have if you have followed the elders blindly. While it is true that the elders will give an account for the souls that they shepherd, Hebrews 13:17, it is still true that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2Co 5:10 KJV). It will do you little good to say, “But the elders said . . . .” Christ may well ask you what He said and it is by His word, not that of the elders that you will be judged. John 12:48.

That said, may this humble Christian off a little free advice. The next time you “fly off the handle” and accuse someone of taking something out of context, you would do well to provide information concerning what and how something is taken out of context and why you think it is so. Conclusions supported by rational arguments are worthy of consideration, whether they be right or wrong. They can be rationally and logically discussed. Conclusions, especially broad sweeping conclusions, having no specificity and unsupported by rational argument, are not worthy of consideration or response.

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)