Summary of God’s Teaching Concerning Immersion When a person is immersed, God places him into Christ. In this way immersion saves him by the resurrection of Christ - there he is born again as he is buried with Christ to be resurrected to walk in newness of life. He is regenerated as he receives the Holy Spirit in the washing. There is only one immersion as far as God is concerned - into Christ. God will not accept any other.
Many people do not choose to serve God in God’s way because God’s way is not made clear to them or the consequences of their choice is not made clear to them. In the above section I hope I have made God’s way clear. I hope in this following section to make the consequence of choosing not to serve God clear.
II Thessalonians 1:8-10 In II Thessalonians 1:8-10, Paul points out that when Jesus returns, He is going to deal out “retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day...”
It is plain that punishment is going to be meted out, and that the punishment is going to be eternal destruction (a condition of extreme anguish) away from the presence of the Lord. The punishment is coming upon two groups of people:
Those who do not know God.
Those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The natives of the African jungles, the Chinese behind the Bamboo Curtain, and the dwellers of American city slums are all destined to burn forever if they do not know God. And all the people who fill the pews in Catholic churches, in Protestant churches, and in Jewish synagogues are destined to burn in hell forever unless they obey the gospel by repenting of their sins and by being immersed into Christ. God requires that we both know Him, and obey His gospel.
Revelation 20:15 Revelation 20:15 states: “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” How do you get your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? The Bible does not state explicitly, but we can make a good guess that your name is written there when you are born again. And if you refuse to be born of water and Spirit, then it’s the lake of fire for you.
Romans 8:9 “But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Unless an individual has repented and been immersed in the name of Jesus, he does not have the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38. For more detail see the study The Holy Spirit). This is true regardless of how sincere he is in what he believes, how moral and upstanding he is, how much he loves his children, or any other consideration. Unless he has received the Holy Spirit by being immersed into Christ, Christ does not recognize him at all.
John 3:17-21 The question comes to mind: why do many good, moral, religious people refuse to yield themselves to God’s plan of salvation? In John 3:20 comes the answer: “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed.” If a person refuses to see things God’s way, God’s word is designed to separate him from the Christian (see Hebrews 4:12,13).
Am I saying that anyone who refuses to repent and be immersed for the forgiveness of sins is evil? I’m not saying that. Jesus said that!
And remember, man only looks at the outward appearance - God looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7).
In contrast, “he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (John 3:21). Sincere people from all backgrounds, cultures, and ages will come to Jesus when the truth of the gospel is presented to them, and they will not rebel at the terms of His plan of salvation. Neither will they stiffen their necks at the demands which He makes on them following their entrance into Christ.
Matthew 7:21 Finally, I ask this question: “Does a person have to do exactly what God says in order to enter the kingdom of heaven (which is the body of Christ, and its eternal habitation)?” Another way of asking the same question is: “What if a person is sincerely doing the best he knows how but he, for example, has been sprinkled instead of immersed, will he be saved?” Let Jesus answer the question: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, you have to do the will of God. Doing what you think is right will not get you into heaven; you have to do what God thinks is right!
Summary This is your choice (and mine) - obey or disobey the gospel. Obedience results in eternal life; disobedience results in eternal death.
THE NEED TO OVERCOME
Over the years there have been many discussions as to whether a Christian can lose his salvation. We will, as on other sections, let God answer through His sufficient word - the Bible.
After giving us a comforting picture of the love and fellowship in heaven after we, as the bride of Christ, have been made ready, John carries us on into a warning from Him who sits on the throne: “I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral person and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:6).
The test of trust is obedience. If a person trusts Jesus for his salvation, these abominable qualities will be left behind. But if the Christian continues to practice these following his immersion into Christ, or if he slips into them later, his part will be in the lake of fire.
Hebrews 6:4-8 The writer of Hebrews warns us: “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame” (Hebrews 6:4 -6).
This is a warning for Christians - those who have actually been made partakers of the Holy Spirit. Christians can fall away, and when they reach a certain point it is impossible for them to repent and return to God, having been hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). God has created Christians to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), but when all we yield is brambles and thorns instead of the peaceable fruit of righteousness, we shall be burned.
II Peter 2:20-22 Christians are warned of the dangers of this world by Peter: “For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them” (II Peter 2:20,21).
The world has many forms of entangling alliances whose net awaits the unwary Christian pilgrim. When one of God’s saints becomes overcome by one of these myriads of death traps, the Scripture is very plain - it would have been better for him not to have known the way of righteousness. Dogs who return to their own vomit, clean pigs to their mire - pity the Christian who turns back to his former way of life.
Galatians 5:4 “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
There are those who contend today that once a person is in God’s grace, he cannot fall from it. Galatians 5:4 ought to be plain enough to prove to anyone who accepts the Bible as God’s final word that one can be a part of Christ, and then sever that relationship. Such severance is plainly called “falling from grace.”
Summary A Christian must remain faithful until death. He must meet the obstacles in his path and overcome them. “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10).
SUMMARY OF ENTIRE LESSON In our study of God’s plan of salvation, we have covered these main points:
Our problem is that our own sins condemn us to hell.
The good news - the gospel - is that Jesus died for our sins.
We answered the question “What must I do?” and found that we must:
Believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that He was raised from the dead.
Confess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord.
Be immersed (in water) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.
Repentance includes an actual change in behavior.
Baptism is immersion in water, and it is essential to salvation. There is only one acceptable immersion - that is immersion into Christ through the medium of water as a result of an individual’s own desire to obey the gospel.
If a person refuses to do God’s will, he will burn forever; if he does God’s will, he will live forever!
The Christian must remain faithful until death.
GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION Instructions: This set of questions is divided into two sections Specific Questions and General Questions. The specific questions bring out many details in the study, and help you to understand many of the important points, and where in scripture to find answers to many common questions. The general questions help you pick out the major ideas and concepts in the study. You may use your Bible and study booklet for the Specific Questions, but try to answer the General Questions from memory.
Each section is divided into subsections, each of which has its own type of questions and its attendant instructions.
Specific Questions True or False?
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: however, one may come to the Father other than by Me.”
Paul proclaimed that the times of ignorance were past.
God has proven that He will judge the world in righteousness by raising Jesus from the dead.
When Jesus is revealed from heaven, He will deal out punishment to those who do not obey the gospel, but He will have mercy on those who didn’t know about God.
Each of us must have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Multiple choice. More than one answer may be correct; show all correct answers.
The problem that all men face is:
They have sinned.
The devil made me do it.
Man’s sins separate him from God.
Eternal fire is the punishment for committing sin.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Shut up in a jailhouse
The day that you eat, you shall surely die
Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God
Small children are innocent of sin
Will broken to Savior’s
Sin brings forth death
Sin is not inherited
The way to the Father
a) Romans 7:9 b) Matthew 21:44 c) Ezekiel 18:20
d) John 14:6 e) Genesis 2:16,17 f) James 1:13-16
g) Matthew 25:46 h) Isaiah 59:1,2 i) Romans 3:23
j) Galatians 3:22
Explain how Romans 7:9 shows that small children are innocent of sin
Fill in the blanks.
The word gospel means __________ ____________ or ________ __________. Its Greek equivalent is _________________.
Paul said that the basic elements of the gospel were that _____________ _________ ___________ ___________ according to the Scriptures, and that he was _____________, and that He was ___________ ________ ________ __________ ________ according to the Scriptures.
The instructions for the Jewish Passover are given first in _____________ 12. Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb according to __________________ 5:7. The Passover represented God’s passing _________ the houses where the blood of a ___________ had been sprinkled when God destroyed the _________ _________ of man and beast in the land of Egypt.
The Day of _____________________ was a major Israelite religious rite. On this day the ___________ Priest sprinkled the blood of __________ for his own sins, followed by the blood of a ____________ for the sins of the people in the back room of the tabernacle (called the Holy of Holies). Then he confessed the sins of the people as he laid his hands on the head of another _____________. This animal was then led into the wilderness and turned loose, and it was given the name ______________. This is recorded in Leviticus 16:1-34.
It is made clear in _____________ 10:4 that the blood of bulls and goats cannot forgive sins. For this reason it was necessary that Jesus shed His blood on the cross as described in _______________ ___________.
According to Law, ___________ ____________ ____________ of blood _____________ ___________ ___________ ____________. Therefore it was necessary for the ____________ of the things in the heavens (the Israelite tabernacle and instruments of service) to be cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves (all things connected with the church) with ____________ ____________ than these. The blood of _______________ is the offering of better sacrifices than these Old Testament offerings.
Christ appeared as a ________ _____________ of the good things _____ ________ and He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, _________ __________ ___________ __________, that is to say, not of this creation (the church, in other words, which is a spiritual building, not a physical building - Ephesians 2:19-22). Not through the _____________ of goats and calves, but through ________ ______ __________, He entered the holy place ____________ ______________ ________________.
The blood of Christ can ________________ ___________________ ______________ from dead works to serve the living God.
Christ became a __________________ for us to redeem us from the curse of the Law. The curse of the Law is _______ ______________. _________ ___________ kept the commandments of the Law, except Jesus, so He ______________________ us from the curse by ___________ on the tree for us.