Christ and our Salvation

The Doctrine of How We Obtain Salvation Through Christ's Death

We know that there is no salvation outside the death of Jesus. On that many religious groups agree. But where many groups err is in their teaching on how we access our salvation. This is a point of doctrine that is very significant.

The Bible is clear about how we access Christ's death. In Romans 6:3-4 the Bible says, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Paul teaches us here that we enter Christ's death by being baptized. In baptism we picture the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This is not the only passage that teaches baptism is the point at which we contact Christ and his saving death. In Galatians 3:27 the Bible says, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." That is a very clear statement. We put on Christ in the act of baptism. Salvation is in Christ and baptism is the way to get in Christ. Therefore, we access salvation when we are scripturally baptized.

Those who teach baptism is not essential to salvation are denying what the Bible says is the point at which we enter Christ, contact his death. One might just as well say there is salvation outside of Christ. Biblical teaching on baptism is an important point of doctrine because Christ is an important point of doctrine.

Look at the importance of this issue from the standpoint of the gospel. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" The gospel can be boiled down to these three basic facts; Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected the third day, all according to the prophecies. We've already learned that baptism is the means by which we picture the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Therefore, there is a connection between the gospel and baptism.

Now consider Mark 16:15-16 where Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Christ tells us to go preach the gospel. He further instructs us to preach he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Therefore, preaching baptism is part of preaching the gospel. Those who deny baptism is part of the gospel plan of saving man are corrupting the gospel as Paul explained it and as Jesus said to preach it.

Now see what the Bible says about those who corrupt the gospel. In Galatians 1:8-9 Paul said, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Clearly, if someone corrupts the gospel, we must "let them be accursed". This proves conclusively that what a religious group teaches about baptism and the gospel makes a difference. The doctrine of how we obtain salvation through Christ is important. Do you know it? Do you believe it? Can you defend it?

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We continue our discussion of pointers on how to study the Bible. Let's look at Psalms 1:1-3 and 1 Timothy 4:13, 15. These passages teach us to meditate on the word. Over and over the Lord teaches us to meditate on his word. Have you been taking notes in your journal? Writing something down helps us remember. As you remember things you've noted in your journal you can meditate on them. You can briefly review a few notes from your study journal at the beginning of your day then meditate on those throughout the day. If there are points that puzzle you, meditate on them. As you meditate on things you understand, this will build your knowledge to unravel the things you don t understand.

You should meditate with purpose. This is not just an obligatory exercise. Meditate to learn. In Psalms 119:97-99 David spoke of learning from his meditation. He learned so much he excelled his teachers. You should meditate on what you ve studied with the expectation it will help you learn more.

You should meditate to be obedient. Note Joshua 1:8. As you meditate, don t just look for truth. Look for things to do. Look for commands to obey. Obedience is the whole point of knowing God s word. And this might help your learning process more than you realize. By now we've uncovered several biblical principles to help you learn more from God's word. But there's more. So keep studying and we'll keep looking at principles that will help you get more from your studies.

So what about these Rechabites? They took the pledge. They didn't drink any alcohol. The Lord commends them because they obeyed their father's command to abstain from alcohol. Does that mean their example is a good one for us? Their example is not just about alcohol. It's about doing what their father said, respect and obedience.

Wonder why their father wanted them to abstain? Could it be that wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging? Do you suppose we could learn a lesson from the Rechabites? Would we be wise to abstain from alcohol altogether or at least approach it with great caution? Think about it.

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Question For This Study

Which one of the gospel records claims to be a chronological recounting of events in Christ's life?

Answer to the Last Question

In Jeremiah 35:2-6 we read of the Rechabites. These people totally abstained from alcoholic beverage because their father instructed them to do so. In Jeremiah 35:18-19 God commends them for obeying their father's command.