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Faith of Christ

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INTRODUCTION

THE GOOD LIFE

Picture this: a house on a beautiful lake, snuggled in a peaceful valley; a winding river that flows through the center of town; a community of people who genuinely care for each other; a governing body whose one desire is to please you and honor you; a police force whose main purpose is to assist you any way they can as there is no crime; streets that glisten in the light because they are so clean; and beautiful music on every street corner; happy sounds everywhere you go, no Mister Scrooge, no locks on your doors, no bills to pay – only serenity!

It’s difficult to believe that there might be a place like that, isn’t it? But there is such a place, only better. There is no way our finite minds can comprehend what God has in store for those of us who love Him and have trusted His Son as our Savior. That is how eternity with God will be, beautiful beyond imagination and comprehension. What is even more amazing is all of this was provided for you and me long before we were conceived in our mother’s womb.

It is difficult to believe that before I was ever born someone would do something for me that would ensure me of a retirement free from all indebtedness, plus guarantee me satisfaction and happiness. However, God has done that and Jesus Christ is our assurance of that reward. As a matter of fact, Christ and Christ alone is the guarantor. You cannot buy this retirement plan, neither can you get it because you know somebody or because you know somebody who knows somebody. You cannot get this retirement because you won the world contest for being the kindest, sweetest, easiest to get along with, most compatible person in the entire world.

Entry into God’s retirement community is free! Jesus Christ paid the price for those who are its inhabitants. He paid the price the gatekeeper of this community, God, demanded. Christ paid for it over 2,000 years ago and he has offered it to all who will accept God’s conditions for occupancy. The conditions are so simple many think they are too good to be true, so they refuse the offer, they refuse the gift.

BAD LIFE

Because people refuse the offer of a good life, their retirement community will be drastically different. Instead of a quiet, peaceful atmosphere; theirs will be one of pain and agony. The people who live in this community will never live in peace and harmony. They will never enjoy the sounds of beautiful music. The sounds they will hear will be those of fellow citizens crying out in torment because all peoples in this community will be in constant pain day and night. The people will cry out and ask God to be merciful and kill them so they can be free from this torment, but their cries will be in vain. They will not die.

People who have journeyed to this retirement community must live here for all eternity without any hope of escaping. They will have to learn to ignore the smell of rotting flesh. They will become indifferent to the decayed bodies of all inhabitants, for all who live here will have the stench of a body unattended by a funeral director. The pain of the people will be so intense they will grind their teeth together, making a noise that is annoying to all who hear, and believe me, all will hear. Sleep will not come here, because the torment is constant. There is no beauty in this place, only ugliness; no joy, only sorrow. This retirement community will be the most disgusting place in all of creation.

The reason someone would choose this kind of retirement is hard for us to understand, but many will choose this life because they refuse to believe in God and want no part of the promises he has in store for all those who do believe in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you might be thinking, “I have never made that choice.” But you have. You made the choice when you refused to accept the free gift Christ offered you. God does not force one to accept His life-style. He does not use media bombardment or crafty sales techniques that his opponents do. God’s Word, The Holy Bible, says, “Here is my Son, Jesus Christ. Accept what He did for you: died for your sins, was buried and then resurrected, and you will inherit life everlasting with Me.”

Refusal to accept what God requires means automatic entrance into the other retirement community.

We want to explore with you what God has required, over the various dispensations of time, to be a participant in the Good Life.

1. God’s Plan

Long before He created the world, God made provisions for man to share eternity with Him: Jesus Christ would come to earth to die for the sins of fallen man. Even though man had not fallen yet, God, who is omniscient (all knowing), knew that He would create Adam, that Adam would disobey the command of God, thus committing a sin, and he would be in need of a Savior. Everyone who would be born into this new world would be the direct descendant of sinful Adam, would be of the seed of Adam, and be born with the sin of Adam.

Even though Adam was created in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1: 27; when he and Eve had their first child, he was born in the image of fallen Adam. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” Genesis 5: 3.

Since God knows all things, he made preparations and provisions for all who would accept Christ:

1. All who would accept Christ as Savior would look like Christ.

2. He would send the Holy Spirit to call those who would accept and draw them unto Him.

3. Once they “heeded” the call, He would justify them (not let their sin be a barrier anymore).

4. Then He would glorify them and they would be like God.

Romans 8: 28-30:

28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

All of these things were provided for mankind but not decided for them. Man must make the choice to choose Christ, but once he does then Romans 8: 28-30 becomes operational: man will be conformed to the image of the Son of God, will be justified and glorified.

In making these provisions, God is not only showing His intentions, but proving to everyone His veracity by following through. God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was and is simple. All God would require of man would be simple faith in the faith of Christ.

Today, man has a choice:

1. To do what God requires and live with Him forever.

2. Not do what God requires and live in another world, apart from God.

Let us explore some of the requirements of God.

2. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

OLD TESTAMENT

ABEL’S FAITH

Rebellion against the command of God was the cause of Adam’s sin and subsequent fall. When Adam sinned, God killed an animal and made Adam and Eve a covering for their nakedness: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3: 21.

This is the first time that a sacrifice was recorded in the Scripture. It established a precedent and a requirement for rebellious and sinful man: THERE MUST BE A BLOOD SACRIFICE PROVIDED FOR REMISSION OF SINS. Eradication of sin must come from the blood of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The blood of animals was for remission of sins for the past year. It was not for the blotting out of sins. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. There is a difference between the temporal remission of sins and those sins being blotted out.

When we get to the fourth chapter of Genesis we are introduced to Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve. There is no question but that these two sons knew the requirement of a sacrifice for their sins.

Genesis 4:

3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Abel brings an animal sacrifice unto God, a blood sacrifice; Cain brings a sacrifice as well, but his was a bunch of fruit. God had established the animal sacrifice when He provided the coats of skin for Adam and Eve. Abel obeyed God and his sacrifice was accepted. Cain did not obey God and his sacrifice was rejected. Cain made an attempt to substitute a non-blood sacrifice and God would not accept it, so Cain got a little upset.

Granted, the fruit was the very best that Cain had to offer, but the simple fact was that God required a different sacrifice. Faith does what God requires, at the time God requires it. Anything else, regardless of how good it may be, is not acceptable to God.

Able offered exactly what God required and his sacrifice was accepted.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11: 4.

God said: “Offer the right sacrifice and you will be accepted (saved; offer the wrong sacrifice and you will be rejected (not saved/lost).”

Cain could have offered the sacrifice God required and God would have welcomed it along with Cain, Genesis 4: 7 is clear about that. Look at it again.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain did exactly what he wanted to do with no regard for what God wanted him to do, and then he got upset with God because the Lord did not think his sacrifice was good enough. Because Cain was stubborn, prideful and unwilling to accept the requirement of God; his sacrifice was refused and Cain became a friend of the god of this world (Satan) and consequently an enemy of God.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4.

Mankind has ignored the lesson taught here in Genesis, for man has been trying to make substitutions, just as Cain did, for what God has required for salvation ever since that notable day of Cain’s failure.

There are “religious systems” built around substitutionary offerings this very day. You may be a part of one of them and not even know it. (We will cover this in detail in later chapters.)

Abel offered the required sacrifice and it was pleasing to God. His faith, in offering the sacrifice which God required, was his salvation. He simply did as God required of him and became acceptable to God. That is what faith does. Faith does whatever God says to do at the time He requires it done.

ENOCH

There is very little written about Enoch, but there is enough for us to see that Enoch was a man that did what God said to do:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5.

Wouldn’t it be great if God could say we pleased Him? That is all he wants from us. Is it too much to ask considering all He has done for us?

Enoch did whatever God said do, and that pleased God. Because he was obedient to what God asked from him, God took Enoch home with Him. In other words, God saved him and transported him to live with Him forever.

NOAH

By the time Noah had reached the ripe old age of 500, the world was a pretty rotten place. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in that every thought of mankind was to do evil things continually, and God would have destroyed all of mankind, but for Noah.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6: 5-8.

God told Noah what He wanted him to do:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11: 7.

We have already said that faith will do whatever God says do. In the case of Noah, God said: “Build me an ark and I will save you and your household.” What did faith do? Faith, moved with fear, built an ark to the saving of his house. Because of this act of faith, the building of the ark as instructed, God declared Noah to be righteous (a child of God).

It should be getting very clear to you by now: “If you want to please God, you need to do what He requires of you for the time in which you live.”

ABRAHAM

God required Abraham to do certain things for his salvation, just as he required it of Able, Enoch and Noah. God established certain things for Abraham to perform in order to test his obedience. The following are but two of those requirements:

1. God said: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1. He left, not knowing where he was going. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11: 8.

2. God said, “I want you to offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice.” Abraham prepared to do so, for he had faith that God would raise him from the dead. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.

Abraham was rewarded for his faithfulness and is known as the father of many, even though he had become a very old man when Sarah conceived Isaac. “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11: 12.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when Isaac was conceived, but he believed God and did what God asked of him. Because of his faith, Abraham was blessed of God and thereby assured that his seed would be many; for through the seed of Isaac and Jacob Jesus was born, in whom all the world would be blessed.

Abraham did all that God asked of him, believing that God would do all that He said He would do. His faith and his actions (works) were pleasing to God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4: 3.

In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews there are many names listed in “The Faith Hall of Fame). But time and space will only permit us to add two more: Moses and Rahab.

MOSES

In the time that Herod was the leader over Israel, he decreed that all male children born of the Hebrew women were to be killed. Moses’ parents knew there was something special about their newborn son, so they hid him for three months after birth before putting him in a place where he was sure to be found. Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the little one while bathing in the river and took him home with her, where he was raised in the house of Pharaoh.

When Moses became a man, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11: 25.

God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Many know a lot about the plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians but the most significant one was when God told Moses to have his people sprinkle the blood of an animal over the door and on the side post of their dwelling place, and if they would do so, the first born male of their household would live rather than die. (Exodus 12). By faith, Moses instructed the people, and those who did as the Lord required, were spared their lives when the death angle passed over the land that night. God spared the lives of all those who obeyed His command.

By faith, Moses and the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry land, but those of Pharaoh’s army were swallowed up by the water. (Exodus 14).

Moses, just like those of faith before him, did whatever God told him to do; and God did for Moses as He had done for those before him – saved him and counted the works he did for righteousness.

RAHAB

The story concerning Rahab is a most interesting one; you will find it detailed in the Book of Joshua – Chapters 2 through 6.

Rahab was a harlot (Joshua 2: 1). Joshua sent two spies to scope out Jericho and they came to Rahab’s house. Even though the King of Jericho had sent messages to Rahab to turn the spies over to him, she did not, choosing to hide them instead and also to lie concerning there whereabouts (Joshua 2: 1-4). Rahab later told the two men that she knew the Lord had already given them the land and asked them to spare her and her family.

The only way she could have known Jericho would be taken was if God had revealed it unto her. So when Joshua gave orders to destroy the city and its inhabitants, he excluded Rahab and her family: “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” Joshua 6: 17.

Rahab and her family were saved because they did as God instructed them to do. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” James 2: 25

SUMMARY

In the old Testament, if one was to be declared righteous, one would simply do what God said do.

1. If God said, “Cain and Able, offer an animal sacrifice.” Faith would offer an animal sacrifice. Abel did and was declared righteous; Cain did not and was not declared righteous, but was cursed of God.

2. If God said, “Enoch, do what I say do.” Faith would do whatever God said. Apparently Enoch did just that, for the Scripture says “He pleased God.” “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5. And we know God took Enoch home with Him.

3. If God said: “Noah, build me an ark and I will save you and your house”; faith would build an ark. That’s exactly what Noah did and God kept His promise.

4. If God said: “Abraham, get thee out of thy country, be circumcised and offer your only begotten son Isaac as a sacrifice”; What would faith do but get out, be circumcised and offer Isaac as a sacrifice? Abraham did all those things and they were counted to him for righteousness.

5. If God said: “Moses, put the blood over your door and on the side post and I will save your first born son; then walk across the Red Sea on dry land and I will save you.” Faith would do it, without hesitation. Moses did all that was asked of Him and God saved him.

6. If God said: “Rahab, hide the two messengers of God and send those looking for them away and I will save you and your house”; faith would hide the men. Rahab did that and God saved her as well as her family.

It is faith and faith alone that saved the Old Testament saints. Faith obeys whatever God requires for the time at hand. The Scriptures are clear about that. There is no better explanation of what we just said than is found in James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Old Testament faith had to be followed with the response of a work being performed by the individual. There is no way to separate one from the other. In Old Testament times there would not have been an evidence of faith apart from works.

Do not be confused by this. We will show in subsequent passages that individual works are no longer a part of the salvation process. But for the period of time under discussion faith must be followed by works.

3. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

IN THE GOSPELS

Webster’s dictionary defines “righteous” as: meeting the standards of what is right and just.

With respect to Israel, the chosen people of God through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one was made righteous if he did as God demanded or commanded him. One’s sins would be taken care of temporarily until the time when those sins would be blotted out permanently by the blood of Christ. This blotting out of sins for Israel and all the saved of the Old Testament and the four Gospels as well, will take place after Christ sets up His 1,000 year millennial reign. It did not happen the moment they confessed Christ as the Messiah. (We will show you when that started later on in the booklet.)

In the Old Testament we saw God demanding certain works in order to be declared righteous. What we must address at this time is: Does all that change with the coming of Christ? The question is: “Are works by man still required in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to be approved of God”? The answer is, yes!

With the coming of John the Baptist we see the introduction of a new work – water baptism. In Luke 3: 3 we see the following: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” The passage is about John the Baptist preaching that one must be baptized in order to have remission of sins.

What does that mean exactly? It means that a new requirement for righteousness is being introduced. It means that God now requires a person to be baptized if they are to be accepted of Him. It is a work that has to be done. It is no different from the work of circumcision, the building of an arc or the offering of an animal sacrifice for the remission of sins.

I want you to examine the word “remission” for a moment. When we say that a particular disease, like cancer, is in remission; does that mean it no longer exists? It generally means the disease has only been arrested momentarily and there is a possibility that it may re-appear. We will discuss this in more detail later, but I want you to think of what I just said as we continue with our commentary.

In the third chapter of the Book of Matthew, we find John the Baptist speaking to a group of people. He tells them that he comes baptizing with water unto repentance, but Christ will come and baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Matthew 3: 11.

Not too long after this event took place, Jesus comes before John, requesting to be baptized. John says, “That should not happen, Lord, you need to baptize me, not I you.”

Look at the Lord’s response: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” Matthew 3: 15.

Now what do you suppose the meaning of the words, “to fulfil all righteousness” means? Jesus tells John it is necessary for Him, the Lord, to be baptized to fulfil all righteous. Just as Old Testament saints were to perform certain works before they were declared righteous, Jesus is saying He must do what is required in order that He might fulfil the righteous command for that day and age.

Would it not stand to reason that if God had some specific requirements for those living in the time period we are now discussing, all who wished to please God would comply? Sure it would. Look at the following passage that elude to that thought.

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4: 34.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5: 30.

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. John7: 16.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8: 29.

These verses spoken by Jesus tell of the Savior seeking only to please God and to do God’s will. So, if the will of the Father was for all to be baptized, Jesus would be baptized, thus fulfilling all righteousness.

Unlike all others of that time period, Jesus was not baptized for the remission of sins, for He had no sin; He was simply doing the will of the Father. God said do it. He did it. God demanded obedience to His commands; Jesus was obedient and was baptized.

Baptism, like circumcision was never intended to blot out one’s sins. Baptism was a temporal cleansing until the blood of Jesus would blot out all sins. If God said: “Be baptized and your sins will be remitted until the time of restitution when they will be blotted out”, faith would be baptized expecting the blotting out of their sins to be forthcoming.

Jesus was baptized simply because God required it for that time period. His purpose was to please God and do His will. That was no difference from the requirements God imposed on Old Testament saints.

But His baptism was for another purpose in the fulfilling of all righteousness also. In Old Testament days the priest would wash the animal sacrifice before offering it on the altar of sacrifice. Jesus’ baptism was in fulfillment of that. It was in preparation for His own sacrifice: His death on Calvary.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE DEATH OF CHRIST?

Were works still operational in order to fulfill all righteousness? Did the requirements of God change once Christ died? No, they did not!. In the command Jesus gave His disciples after His resurrection, we read these words:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28: 1920.

“And he said unto them, 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.” Mark 16: 15-16.

In the following passages, the Lord has already gone back to be with the Father, and there doesn’t appear to be any change in what the apostles are preaching.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 37-38.

There are some who say there was a big change. They will tell you that in Matthew and Mark the command was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whereas in Acts they are commanded to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. The fact remains that baptism was still a requirement and that is the subject we are presently discussing.

What is sad is that there are those that based their entire religious belief over the fact that one must be baptized in Jesus’ name or they will not be saved. They have missed the point entirely that baptism never saved, it was only a temporal thing, a work that must be performed at that time in order to please God.

If God said: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins:; faith would do that. Baptism was as much a work as:
1. The animal sacrifices of Abel.

2. The work Enoch did to please God.

3. The building of the ark by Noah.

4. The getting out of the country, being circumcised, and the offering of Isaac by Abraham.

5. The putting of the blood on the door and walking across the Red Sea by Moses.

6. The hiding of the messengers by Rahab.

There is not one bit of difference. So we can add to our list of works.

7. The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins from John the Baptist up until the Dispensation of Grace.

Baptism is as much a work as the other six were. It is something you must do. It is something people can see. Yet, baptism was not something new, nor was it begun by John the Baptist as some suggest. It only became a requirement for remission of sins when God instructed John to teach it.

The practice of washing (baptizing) the sacrifice was already established under the law.

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9: 1.

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptism), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (by the Law) until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9: 9-10.

Israel, God’s covenant people, had so transgressed against God that John the Baptist was calling them to repentance and back to godly fellowship. Animal sacrificial washing was not good enough, they would now need to present themselves as clean (baptized) vessels before Almighty God. Thus the call of John was to repent and be baptized (cleansed) for the remission of your sins.

This baptism of oneself, taught by John, like the baptism of animals, was never intended to be the answer for salvation. It was a temporal thing. The purpose of John’s baptism was to be cleansed temporarily until the times of refreshing came. (The second coming of Christ.)

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. ….And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash (the same word for baptize), they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” Mark 7: 1, 3-4.

Baptism was an act of cleanliness. The animal sacrifice was washed (baptized) in order to present the sacrifice clean before the Lord. A priest washed (baptized) his hands before he accepted the animal sacrifice, and so on and so forth it goes.

But certain denominations have turned baptism into a religious issue. Let me try to get you to see what Jesus thought about that. Continue to read with me in Mark 7: 4-7: “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen (un-baptized) hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

When an entire denomination is based upon the doctrine of baptism, is this not commandments of men? Religion is destroying Christianity. Religious organizations emphasize their own doctrinal issues rather than teaching people how to understand God’s Word.

FACT: The way a denomination baptizes is not important in this Dispensation of Grace. You can sprinkle, immerse the whole body or just the head, and as far as God is concerned you are nothing more than the hypocritical Pharisees he chastised above. Baptism, like the law it was a part of, has been replaced by the grace of God.

Baptism was a work that men could boast about. “I’ve been baptized, have you? You haven’t? Well if you haven’t you are lost and going to hell.”

Preachers talk to other preachers and say: “We baptized 50 people this quarter, how many baptisms did you have?” Shouldn’t they be saying how many people got saved? Or do you suppose they think baptisms are synonymous with salvation? If so how do you justify the following

Ephesians 2: 8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
4. THE FAITH THAT IS – NOW

Most Christians will tell you that we are living in the age of grace or the Dispensation of Grace, but when asked to define what that is their answer is either weak or rote. For instance, they might say “It is a time when mankind is saved by the grace of God or it is a time that God is dealing graciously with man.”

That is a true saying but a very weak answer in that it does not really cover the depth of God’s purpose for this age. God has always dealt graciously with man in every generation and dispensation. However, this present Dispensation of Grace is the only time God has dealt with man without requiring man’s work to be an integral part of the salvation process. Christ did the work for us when he shed His blood on Calvary. So, we are living in a dispensation where we are saved by grace through faith – NOT OF WORKS.

There are no animal sacrifices needed because God provided the perfect sacrifice – Jesus Christ. There is no baptism needed because we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Many Christians know this but they have limited knowledge about the requirements of faith that came before the Dispensation of Grace and will come again when this dispensation reaches its end.

Question: If works were necessary prior to the law and during the Dispensation of the Law; and if works were necessary immediately after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, when did faith without works start?

Question: If Peter did not preach faith alone apart from works at Pentecost, who started preaching it?

Question: Is it all that important to know who started preaching this message of grace? Does it make any difference who started preaching it?

We think it does make a difference and we want you to know why.

BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS

It is appalling that the majority of Christians do not care enough about the importance of knowing the truth as well as their refusal to study the Bible in order to find the truth.

We have become a complacent society. We get upset more about lying politicians than we do about lying preachers. If we catch a politician in a lie we go to great lengths to make sure they are exposed and removed from office; but we won’t even give one hour a day in studying God’s word to prove what a preacher is teaching is wrong.

Why do you suppose that is true? Could it be there are so many of us who just do not care? Or could it be that we do not know enough about the Bible to even question their veracity? Perhaps both, but I would venture to say it is the latter and that is a most disturbing thought.

I believe that ninety percent of the people attending churches today get ninety-five percent of their knowledge of the Bible from what a preacher said the Scriptures said, not through searching the Scriptures to find what God really said.

Question: How do you know what your preacher is teaching is in fact truth? When the apostle Paul was evaluating two churches, listen to his praise for those at Berea and why he praised them.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they (1) received the word with all readiness of mind, and (2) searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17: 11.

If we would be considered noble, based upon the criteria in Acts 17:11, we would:

1) Listen to what a preacher or teacher says and,
2) But we would not believe what was said without checking our Bibles first.
3) If what the preacher or teacher said is not the same as what the Bible says, do not believe the preacher or teacher.

And I say if the latter is true, you ought to quit listening to that person. He is a false teacher. We should make sure that the Scripture used to prove a point does not contradict with other Scripture. If there is a question as to whether or not there is a contradiction then you need to determine where that Scripture fits and into what dispensation it applies.

You need to get in the habit of asking questions. Such as, 1) To whom is the passage written, those under the law or those under grace. 2) In what time period does this Scripture refer: past dispensations or the present dispensation?

The Bible does not contradict itself, but false teachers will say it does when it does not agree with their doctrinal position, or when they are trying to get you to believe a lie.

Asking questions is a good way to study and to grow in understanding. Questioning a Bible teacher is a great way to determine their knowledge as well as there veracity. If a preacher or teacher will not tell the truth about one particular thing, he will not tell the truth about another and another. One lie leads to another lie.

The Bible warns us about these false teachers in 2 Corunthians11: 13-15:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

If the word of God tells us: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3: 23-25. Why do some preachers tell you that you are still under the law and must keep the ordinances of the law? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

If the word of God says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9; why do preachers say you have to be baptized or speak in tongues (which are works) to be saved? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

Paul was confronted with false teachers coming into an assembly after he had departed. Look what he says about them: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. Galatians 1: 6-8.

There are false teachers in pulpits today masquerading as minister of Christ. Their one objective is to deceive you into believing The Lie. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

1) Some give just enough truth so you will not question them. Remember our training from school when taking a true/false exam? Weren’t you instructed that if one part of the statement was false then the whole statement was considered to be false? Yes!
2) Others act as though they are the sweetest thing this side of fresh honey, in the hope of your thinking they can do no wrong. There is an old saying that goes like this: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Watch out for the sweet ones.
3) Still others deceive you with their eloquence and charisma. Hitler was a charismatic individual and so was Jim Jones. Look at what happened to their followers.
4) Some even get you caught up in their deceit by the music they sing and the excitement it brings. What is their objective, to get you so worked up emotionally in singing you will not know or care what is being said? Now that’s the best one yet.

Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!

I am not saying that every charismatic, eloquent individual is a false person or that everyone who loves to sing is following untruth; nor am I saying that a man of God cannot be a sweet, loving and compassionate individual. I am only showing you the possibilities and the probabilities out there. If you are really interested in knowing the truth, always follow this suggestion from 1 Peter 5: 8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

REGENERATION

In the introduction I stated it was very hard to believe someone cared enough for me to die for my sins; but God did and Jesus Christ was willing to be my sin offering. God cared enough to ask His only begotten Son to die for the sins of man. Jesus Christ cared enough that He was willing to go into hell so my sins would be forgiven.

Christ’s death, and the blood He shed on Calvary, was for the sins of all men: before the law, under the law, under grace and after grace.

However, there is one question that haunts many believers today: when were sins blotted out or atoned for? There are two answers for that one question, but before we examine them we need to get a clearer understanding of the word atonement.

There are seven Jewish feast days, one of them is The Feast of Atonement. The first time it is mentioned is in Leviticus 23: 27-32.

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the children of Israel were to bring their animal sacrifices to the High Priest. The High Priest would receive the sacrificial animal and slit its throat, catch the blood in a vessel and then put the blood on the animal, symbolic for the blood being a covering for sin. Once this ritual was performed, all the sins of the past were “atoned for.” Then the next year, on the Day of Atonement, they would repeat the process. They must do this each and every year of their lives.

When Christ died on the cross, the symbolic animal sacrifice was not needed anymore. That sacrifice was part of Jewish law, and Christ abolished the law in His flesh.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” Ephesians 2: 15.

It is Christ’s blood that atones for sins. The question is: “At what time does this atonement take place?” The answer is two fold.

1). At the conclusion of his Pentecostal address, Peter said the following in Acts 3: 19-21:

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The passage states that the atonement will come when Jesus Christ returns the second time, known as the second coming of Christ. The times of refreshing will come during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ. Christ returns at the end of the seven years of tribulation and then established His 1,000 year earthly reign as King.

Peter is addressing a predominately Jewish crowd. Peter has been preaching “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 38.

What Peter tells the people is they must repent, be cleansed (baptized) so that their sins will be in remission until the time comes when those sins will be blotted out.

2) In Romans 5: 9-11, Paul is addressing a different group of believers, which we will call the Church the Body of Christ. Look at what he tells them:

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

I want you to look at two parts of the passage above. In verse 9 you see the words, “shall be saved from wrath’; and in verse11 the words “we have now received the atonement”.

So, members of the Church the Body of Christ will not go through the wrath, which is the tribulation and the wrath to come, and their sins are atoned for NOW.

Are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 5: 9-11 paradoxes, seemingly contradictory statements that may nonetheless be true? Yes they are! They are both truth, however, they speak to two different groups of people. The passages do not contradict. They are for two different dispensations and two separate time periods and are for two different groups of people.

Acts 3:19-21 is for Israel and all those who were saved under the Kingdom message preached by Peter. Their sins will be atoned when Christ returns to earth the second time. Whereas Romans 5: 9-11 is for the Church the Body of Christ and those who were saved by grace. Their sins are atoned the moment they trust Christ as their Savior.

SALVATION FOR ISRAEL

Let’s look at Acts 3: 21 again: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” What prophets spoke of this event can be seen in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Lets go there.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Let us look very closely at what we just read.

1. V. 31 states there will be a New Covenant established with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Judah is in reference to the two faithful tribes: Judah and Benjamin; and Israel is in reference to the ten unfaithful tribes.

2. V. 32: This New Covenant is different from the Old Covenant made with Israel, through Moses.

3. V. 33 says that God will put His law in their inward parts and write it on their hearts. In this dispensation, Israel’s heart has been hardened because they went a whoring from the presence of God. “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” Hosea 5: 12. God finally “put His foot down” and declared Israel to be Lo-ami, not my people. “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28: 28.

4. V. 33 also says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God will unlock their hardened hearts and bring them from the state of being Lo-ami (Not my people) to the state of being His people. The promised restoration of Israel will be realized. Look at Acts 1: 6: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The restoration of Israel was what they were looking for, but that time did not come. Look at what Jesus said: “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1: 7. The disciples knew about the prophecy of Jeremiah and were anticipating the earthly kingdom. But that did not happen in Acts. It will happen when Christ returns to earth.

5. V. 34: When Christ establishes His earthly Kingdom, all Israel will know the Lord. It is obvious that they do not know Him at this time.

6. V. 34: When the earthly Kingdom is established the lord will blot out Israel’s sins. But for now, they are waiting for that day. All the saved of the Old Testament and all those who believed the Kingdom message that Peter preached are waiting for their Day of Atonement. It is a future event.

Fact: The Church the Body of Christ is not a New Covenant group of believers. The New Covenant is to be made with Israel and Judah. The New Covenant will become operational when Christ returns at the end of tribulation, establishes His 1,000 year millennial reign and sets up His earthly throne.

You have witnessed seemingly contradictory verse of Scripture, but if we learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth, as 2 Timothy 2: 15 states; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can see that the passages under consideration involves two separate dispensations.

SALVATION FOR THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

Our salvation is by grace and not of works. We become a child of God by trusting in the Faith of Christ. What is the Faith of Christ? He believed the father would raise Him from the dead if he was willing to die for the sins of man.

If you or I are saved today, it not because of anything we did.

You/I cannot do anything to earn our salvation.

You/I cannot do anything to make our salvation better or more meaningful.

Your/My faith cannot save us; that would be a work.

You/I cannot add anything to what Christ has already done.

Look at Titus 3: 4-7: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

THE FAITH OF CHRIST

The finished work of Christ means just what it says: “It is finished.” It was finished the moment He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. When we accept the finished work of Christ we die, and yet we are made alive: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20.

This is another paradox: How can one be dead and still be alive? The Bible teaches we become a part of Christ’s body the moment we believe the Gospel of Christ. Christ died; we died too. Christ rose from the dead; we rose from the dead too. By accepting the Faith of Christ we have been made alive spiritually, but dead to sin. That does not mean our flesh will not sin, it does. But it means that since Christ conquered sin, we will too, in resurrection.

If we believe that Christ did everything for our salvation and that we (mankind) can do nothing, and I do believe that; then the following Scriptures are very important for a clearing understanding of what we are saying. These verses of Scripture state our position without the need of a deep theological explanation.

Galatians 2:

16 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 3:

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Romans 3:

23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

What do all of these verses have in common? In a King James Bible, it is the Faith of Christ. They tell me I am justified by the Faith of Christ, I am made righteous by the Faith of Christ, and I live by the Faith of Christ.

So, what exactly was the Faith of Christ? Christ, who left His throne in Glory, had faith that the Father would restore Him to the position He had before he became flesh and blood. He also had faith that if He were to die and go into hell for the sins of the world, God would not leave his soul in hell. That was the faith Christ had. He believed that God would do what He said He would do.

Christ became a human sacrifice for the world’s sins. It was a work that He was willing to perform and it was that work that justified all of mankind. It is His faith that saves me. I can do nothing for my salvation; it was completed when Christ died over 2,000 years ago.

THE GOSPEL UNTO SALVATION

Since salvation was taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago, how can it be mine?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1: 16.

“So what is the Gospel of Christ,” you ask? It is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There are a lot of people who believe that Christ died, was buried and rose again but are as lost as they can be. You might be one of those. The Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2: 19. But it is impossible for the devil to be saved and live with God eternally because God has already condemned him to a life in the lake of fire.

There are many who have spent their entire life going to church. They will tell you they have always been a Christian. They believe in God, Jesus Christ, Easter and Christmas, but that does not mean they are saved and that does not mean they are a Christian.

Every person in this world has to understand that they are sinners. They were born sinners and will die sinners. But if a sinner believes that Christ paid the price for their sins and trust what He did for them on Calvary, then they are Children of God.

Some things you should understand scripturally:

1. You are a sinner: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. You need to understand you are lost before you will understand the need to be saved.

2. The penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6: 23. Since you are a sinner, you should die, but Christ intervened on your behalf, if you will trust what He did.

3. The gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. The free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel of Christ. The gospel is not the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The gospel is Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected.

Satan knew Christ did not die for his sins, for Satan’s sin separated him permanently from God. He knows there is a God and he knows who the Son of God is too. He believes in them and you’d better believe he knows that Christ rose from the dead, because when Christ did that he conquered death and Satan’s power of death. Look at Hebrews 2: 14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

So you see, just believing in God, Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection does not save unless you believe all He did was for you and your sins. Christ died for your sins and you must accept His work for you if you are to be saved.

One other thing, the Gospel is the power of God UNTO salvation. Christ is our salvation. There is nothing you can do to earn this salvation for it is the gift of God. Salvation has always been available to you. Now all you must do is believe the Gospel. Once it become personal for you, you will become a part of Christ’s body and His Spirit will dwell in you.

SECURE: CHRIST LIVING IN ME

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12: 13.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12: 27.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1: 27.

Think about it, Christ living in you! And if He does, that guarantees you eternal life with Him. You are part of Christ’s body and that means that wherever He is, you are. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 4-9.

I underlined the words hath quickened so that you would understand this is “past tense.” That means I have already been raised up into heaven spiritually. My Spirit is already with Christ, who is in heaven.

How can one teach that you can loose your salvation if they read the Scriptures listed above? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ. Beware! Beware!

God knows everything so He would know I was going to sin after I believed, wouldn’t He? Sure He would. So when Christ died for the sins of the world, He died for all those sins I would commit a hundred tomorrows from now as well as for the ones I committed yesterday.

This question remains: “Did Christ die for ALL my sins or not”? And the answer is and always has been a resounding yes. How do I know that? I know that because the Word of God says so.

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2: 10-15.

Christ has already quickened those who trusted Him and has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses. Then how can some preacher say if I sin I will loose my salvation? He must be a false teacher acting as though he was a minister of light. Beware! If you continue to listen to him you will be his roommate in hell.

GOOD WORKS vs. BAD WORKS

Sin does not rob me of eternal life with Christ, but sin does rob me of something. Sin robs me of my reward. A Christian can do things (works) that are bad as well as good. My bad works, things done in my flesh, will be burned and I will suffer loss, but I will not suffer my inheritance. My good works, things done in the Spirit, will stand the test of fire and I will receive a reward. Look at 1 Corinthians 3; 11-16:

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The gold, silver and precious stones of verse twelve are good works. When they are subjected to fire they are purified, not destroyed. The end result is reward. The “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” of 2 Timothy 2: 12 could very well be the reward spoken of in 1 Corinthians.

The wood, hay and stubble of verse twelve are bad works. When they are subjected to fire they burn completely, they are destroyed. The child of God will suffer loss, but he will still be secure in Christ, as verse fifteen states.

There are many skeptics, or false teachers who might wonder why we did not include 1 Corinthians 3: 17 in our commentary. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Fact: This body can be destroyed. It will be before we ascend into heaven, but God may also allow it to be delivered into the hands of Satan at anytime it ceases to be productive. Look at 2 Corinthians 5: 5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Good and bad works are contrasted with the spirit and the flesh. The two are not compatible. There is a war going on between the flesh and the Spirit and often times it is very frustrating for the believer. Look at what God’s Word say on the subject.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5: 17.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7: 18-25.

Paul, the author of both Galatians and Romans, was aware of the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. He had problems with his flesh too. He was constantly fighting to overcome the desires of his flesh. But at least he was trying, unlike the majority of us who call ourselves Christians. We seem to be content with the fact that we are saved and already seated in heavenly places and go about living like children of the devil, rather than walk as children of God. Watch out! God could turn you over to Satan for the destruction of your flesh.

“But don’t we have liberty under grace, as stated in Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” one might say?

Yes! But you need to look at Galatians 5: 13: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We must not abuse the liberty we have or we will prostitute the grace of God.

WHAT REGENERATION IS NOT TODAY

Regeneration in the Dispensation of Grace is not works performed by mankind. Salvation has always been accompanied with works, regardless of the dispensation. That is why proponents of it today quote James 2: 20: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” or James 2: 26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The works James speaks of are those that man can do.

There was a time when this statement applied to the believer. But in the Dispensation of Grace, in which we currently reside, man’s work plays no part in salvation. The work that must be done has already been done by Christ.

1. Able had to offer the right sacrifice or not be accepted of God.

2. Noah had to build an ark before he and his family could be saved.

3. Abraham had to offer Isaac or not be declared righteous.

4. Moses had to put blood over the door so the first born male child could be saved. He also had to walk through the Red Sea to be saved.

5. Rahab had to send those looking for the men of God in another direction so that she and her family would be saved.

6. Those believer in the gospels had to repent and be baptized before they could be saved.

All these works were necessary because God said do them to show your faith. So then BY their faith, plus doing the required work, God saved them. Salvation has always been doing what God required, at the time He required them to be done.

Well, God does not require you to perform any work today. God says that people living in the Dispensation of Grace CANNOT DO ANYTHING that will save them. Let me be more emphatic, you MUST NOT DO ANYTHING in an attempt to be saved or you will frustrate the grace of God.

Salvation in the twenty-first century is a free gift, given by God because of the WORK of His Son. So then, the work that had been necessary for man to perform has been replaced by the work that Christ performed. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Why would God say, “and that not of yourselves” if it had not once been of yourselves? In prior dispensations, salvation was BY faith doing whatever God said do. It was man’s faith doing what God required at the time.

In this present dispensation it is all about Christ’s faith that saves, and Christ has already done what was necessary: He died for the sins of the world; he became the sacrifice for sins. Salvation for this age involves the work of Christ.

Those of us living today cannot perform any work, cannot add anything to Christ’s finished work. Persons in prior dispensations were saved BY their faith, accompanied with works. In the present dispensation, we receive our salvation THROUGH faith believing in Christ’s faith and His work. Look at Romans 3: 30: “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

God has always required a work (by man) to follow an act of faith in every dispensation, with the exception of the dispensation of Grace. In this present dispensation Christ has done the work necessary. We must accept, through faith, the work of Christ for our salvation.

The uncircumcision of Romans 3:30 speaks of the Church the Body of Christ. This body of believers is a unique group of people, chosen in God before the foundation of the world.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1: 4.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 7.

The Bible says that the Church the Body of Christ will be an example to the world of the grace of God. For the first and only time, God is not requiring works of man as a show of faith. He allowed Christ to perform the work for us. That, my friend, is what grace is about. God has given us a precious gift, the gift of life through Christ Jesus our Lord. He died, became the sacrifice for sins, thus performing the work necessary to please God.

Let us look at James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Works WERE necessary to show faith. Without the work there would have been no justification. This has always been the truth and it still is today. But it is the work of Christ that saves today, not the work of man. In other dispensations the work that was required was a work that men did. In the present dispensation it is a work that Christ has done. This is grace.

This teaching is not something that has been known for only a short time. It is not some doctrine that I have espoused on my on. I was taught it by someone who was taught it by someone else. Songs written long ago declared it: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

In past dispensations if a man did not do works he could not be saved. In the present dispensation if man thinks his works saves him he is not saved.

Paul said: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Do you want to frustrate the grace of God? Do not allow some false prophet to hoodwink you into believing you must be baptized or speak in tongues to be saved. That would be frustrating the grace of God. That would be a work you could perform, thus frustrating to God and to Christ who did the work required for your salvation.

WHAT WILL IT BE – HEAVEN OR HELL?

Question: If you were to die today, would you spend eternity in heaven or hell?

If you said heaven, praise God and go and share your faith and your assurance with a lost friend, relative, fellow worker or neighbor.

If you said hell or you do not know, read on.

Would you like to know about heaven? If one is to go there they must be saved, they must trust in what Christ has already done for them. How does one come to that point?

1. Recognize you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3: 23.

2. Understand the penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6: 23.

3. Believe the gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. Accept the free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Everyone who is alive is a sinner. You are, and so am I. Adam was made in the image of God, but Adam sinned, and everyone who has ever been born is born of fallen Adam. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was a sin. Everyone that was born of Adam was born in sin and falls short of the glory of God. Since all who are born are born sinners, what we sinners deserve (wages of sin) is death. This death means to be separated from God eternally. But if I accept the gift of God, which is Christ dying for my sins; I will be saved from the wrath of eternal damnation.

God gives us eternal life with Him because of what Christ did on Calvary. And when Christ was resurrected from the grave he conquered death for all who would accept His gift.

Salvation is accepting the gift that has already been provided for you. It is free for you, but it cost God and Christ a lot in order for you to have it. Christ had to die and spend three days and night in hell before God resurrected Him from there.

When Christ died on Calvary over 2,000 years ago, God placed the sins of man, past, present and future, on His shoulders. Jesus Christ redeemed you from your sins. To redeem is to buy back. Until you accept what Christ did, you remain a salve to sin. That sin has separated you from God. Jesus Christ, in redemption, paid the necessary price (His life) and performed the work God required, the shedding of His blood, to restore fallen man’s standing with God.

Since you are a sinner, you have all been on “Death Row”. The sentence has been handed down by the eternal judge and you have been found lacking. You must die, but you have one last chance to escape eternal death: Accept the gift of Christ. If you do, you will pass from death to life.

ONLY BELIEVE

Most of you reading this will have never met me, but let me speak to you as if I were your closet friend. There is a heaven and there is a hell. When I was a child that was an accepted fact by the majority of the people living in the United States of America, but sadly, it is not the case today.

One day you are going to die. I want you to image that you are in prison and on “Death Row”. You’re only hope of escaping death would be if someone intervened on your behalf. You’ve been informed that that someone, Jesus Christ, is coming today. He enters your cell and speaks:

Jesus: “My child, you are in a precarious situation, are you not?”

Doomed Soul: “Yes Sir, I am. Can you help me?”

Jesus: “Yes, I can.”

Doomed Soul: “Will you?”

Jesus: “I already have. But up until this point you have refused to accept my gift to you. Will you trust that I have already done what is necessary for you to be free? Will you believe that what I have done will give you a get out of jail free card?”

Doomed Soul: “I would like to believe, but how can I be sure that your word is true?”

Jesus: “Because I just told you. I am the way the truth and the life. The words that I speak are truth. I did everything for you to be free.”

Doomed Soul: “What did you do?”

Jesus: I died for your transgressions over 2,000 years ago. Men buried me, but my Father raised me from the dead three days later and I ascended back to my Father. Believe I did that for you and you can walk away from here a free person. Nobody will keep you from walking out of here.”

Doomed Soul: “Do you think I’m crazy? Why would you die for me? I’ve never met you before. There must be something in it for you, so what’s the catch? I’ve always been told you don’t get something for nothing.”

Jesus: “I did it because I loved you and I want you to be a part of my family, but you must trust me. Will you?”

Pause

Jesus: “Will you trust me? If you will, let’s get of here and go home to my Father.”

Doomed Soul: “The minute I walk out of that door those guards will think I’m trying to escape and they will shoot me. You are asking me to put my life in your hands and I do not even know you.”

Jesus: “If you knew me you would trust me. Will you?”

Doomed Soul: “I want to but I am afraid.”

Jesus: “What is there to be afraid of? You are going to die if you don’t trust me, and you’re going to live forever in a place of torment eternally. So what have you got to lose? If I walk out of here and you do not follow after me, you will surely die. I am offering you everlasting life in a wonderful place, all you have to do is trust me to be who I say I am. Will you let me save you or not? Believe in me and you will be free.”

The man slowly, but a little reluctantly, walks out the cell door and past the guard and out the doors to freedom.

Doomed Soul: “I believe He meant what He said so I put my life completely in His hands.”

Jesus: “My words are true, you can believe them.”

Saved Soul: “Thank you Lord, for saving my soul and giving me eternal life with you in heaven.”

If you are a lost sinner, Christ’s words are true and you will find those words in a King James Bible. His Word says believe I died for your sins, was buried and resurrected and you will be saved. Jesus says believe I did that for you and that salvation is by my grace and the work I did on Calvary. Trust my words and salvation is yours. It is God’s gift to all who will believe.

BE CAREFUL

There are many people in pulpits who will tell you that you must do this or that in order to be saved. They want you to add something that you can do to the finished work of Christ. The fact is that if you add anything you will loose everything. Jesus Christ redeemed you by the shedding of His blood. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Circumcision never saved anyone. Keeping the Law could not save anyone. Water baptism will not save anyone, nor will doing good works save anyone. Jesus saves! You do not have to walk down an isle and give a preacher your hand; that does not save you. You might cry or you might not, but crying will not save you. Actions and emotions do not aid in your salvation; they may occur, but they do not save.

Jesus paid the price for your salvation. He is all you need. If you add anything to His finished work you prostitute the grace of God. All you can do is trust in what He has already done. You can do that wherever you are: riding in a car, in a motel room, in your home or in the woods. The question is, “Will You?”

If you will, you are saved. Go and serve Him. Find a place that teaches the Bible and begin to grow in the knowledge of Him. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15.

You can obtain additional information on the ministry of Obed Kirkpatrick by viewing www.soundwordsministry.com.

Obed Kirkpatrick

INTRODUCTION

THE GOOD LIFE

Picture this: a house on a beautiful lake, snuggled in a peaceful valley; a winding river that flows through the center of town; a community of people who genuinely care for each other; a governing body whose one desire is to please you and honor you; a police force whose main purpose is to assist you any way they can as there is no crime; streets that glisten in the light because they are so clean; and beautiful music on every street corner; happy sounds everywhere you go, no Mister Scrooge, no locks on your doors, no bills to pay – only serenity!

It’s difficult to believe that there might be a place like that, isn’t it? But there is such a place, only better. There is no way our finite minds can comprehend what God has in store for those of us who love Him and have trusted His Son as our Savior. That is how eternity with God will be, beautiful beyond imagination and comprehension. What is even more amazing is all of this was provided for you and me long before we were conceived in our mother’s womb.

It is difficult to believe that before I was ever born someone would do something for me that would ensure me of a retirement free from all indebtedness, plus guarantee me satisfaction and happiness. However, God has done that and Jesus Christ is our assurance of that reward. As a matter of fact, Christ and Christ alone is the guarantor. You cannot buy this retirement plan, neither can you get it because you know somebody or because you know somebody who knows somebody. You cannot get this retirement because you won the world contest for being the kindest, sweetest, easiest to get along with, most compatible person in the entire world.

Entry into God’s retirement community is free! Jesus Christ paid the price for those who are its inhabitants. He paid the price the gatekeeper of this community, God, demanded. Christ paid for it over 2,000 years ago and he has offered it to all who will accept God’s conditions for occupancy. The conditions are so simple many think they are too good to be true, so they refuse the offer, they refuse the gift.

BAD LIFE

Because people refuse the offer of a good life, their retirement community will be drastically different. Instead of a quiet, peaceful atmosphere; theirs will be one of pain and agony. The people who live in this community will never live in peace and harmony. They will never enjoy the sounds of beautiful music. The sounds they will hear will be those of fellow citizens crying out in torment because all peoples in this community will be in constant pain day and night. The people will cry out and ask God to be merciful and kill them so they can be free from this torment, but their cries will be in vain. They will not die.

People who have journeyed to this retirement community must live here for all eternity without any hope of escaping. They will have to learn to ignore the smell of rotting flesh. They will become indifferent to the decayed bodies of all inhabitants, for all who live here will have the stench of a body unattended by a funeral director. The pain of the people will be so intense they will grind their teeth together, making a noise that is annoying to all who hear, and believe me, all will hear. Sleep will not come here, because the torment is constant. There is no beauty in this place, only ugliness; no joy, only sorrow. This retirement community will be the most disgusting place in all of creation.

The reason someone would choose this kind of retirement is hard for us to understand, but many will choose this life because they refuse to believe in God and want no part of the promises he has in store for all those who do believe in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you might be thinking, “I have never made that choice.” But you have. You made the choice when you refused to accept the free gift Christ offered you. God does not force one to accept His life-style. He does not use media bombardment or crafty sales techniques that his opponents do. God’s Word, The Holy Bible, says, “Here is my Son, Jesus Christ. Accept what He did for you: died for your sins, was buried and then resurrected, and you will inherit life everlasting with Me.”

Refusal to accept what God requires means automatic entrance into the other retirement community.

We want to explore with you what God has required, over the various dispensations of time, to be a participant in the Good Life.

1. God’s Plan

Long before He created the world, God made provisions for man to share eternity with Him: Jesus Christ would come to earth to die for the sins of fallen man. Even though man had not fallen yet, God, who is omniscient (all knowing), knew that He would create Adam, that Adam would disobey the command of God, thus committing a sin, and he would be in need of a Savior. Everyone who would be born into this new world would be the direct descendant of sinful Adam, would be of the seed of Adam, and be born with the sin of Adam.

Even though Adam was created in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1: 27; when he and Eve had their first child, he was born in the image of fallen Adam. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” Genesis 5: 3.

Since God knows all things, he made preparations and provisions for all who would accept Christ:

1. All who would accept Christ as Savior would look like Christ.

2. He would send the Holy Spirit to call those who would accept and draw them unto Him.

3. Once they “heeded” the call, He would justify them (not let their sin be a barrier anymore).

4. Then He would glorify them and they would be like God.

Romans 8: 28-30:

28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

All of these things were provided for mankind but not decided for them. Man must make the choice to choose Christ, but once he does then Romans 8: 28-30 becomes operational: man will be conformed to the image of the Son of God, will be justified and glorified.

In making these provisions, God is not only showing His intentions, but proving to everyone His veracity by following through. God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was and is simple. All God would require of man would be simple faith in the faith of Christ.

Today, man has a choice:

1. To do what God requires and live with Him forever.

2. Not do what God requires and live in another world, apart from God.

Let us explore some of the requirements of God.

2. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

OLD TESTAMENT

ABEL’S FAITH

Rebellion against the command of God was the cause of Adam’s sin and subsequent fall. When Adam sinned, God killed an animal and made Adam and Eve a covering for their nakedness: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3: 21.

This is the first time that a sacrifice was recorded in the Scripture. It established a precedent and a requirement for rebellious and sinful man: THERE MUST BE A BLOOD SACRIFICE PROVIDED FOR REMISSION OF SINS. Eradication of sin must come from the blood of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The blood of animals was for remission of sins for the past year. It was not for the blotting out of sins. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. There is a difference between the temporal remission of sins and those sins being blotted out.

When we get to the fourth chapter of Genesis we are introduced to Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve. There is no question but that these two sons knew the requirement of a sacrifice for their sins.

Genesis 4:

3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Abel brings an animal sacrifice unto God, a blood sacrifice; Cain brings a sacrifice as well, but his was a bunch of fruit. God had established the animal sacrifice when He provided the coats of skin for Adam and Eve. Abel obeyed God and his sacrifice was accepted. Cain did not obey God and his sacrifice was rejected. Cain made an attempt to substitute a non-blood sacrifice and God would not accept it, so Cain got a little upset.

Granted, the fruit was the very best that Cain had to offer, but the simple fact was that God required a different sacrifice. Faith does what God requires, at the time God requires it. Anything else, regardless of how good it may be, is not acceptable to God.

Able offered exactly what God required and his sacrifice was accepted.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11: 4.

God said: “Offer the right sacrifice and you will be accepted (saved; offer the wrong sacrifice and you will be rejected (not saved/lost).”

Cain could have offered the sacrifice God required and God would have welcomed it along with Cain, Genesis 4: 7 is clear about that. Look at it again.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain did exactly what he wanted to do with no regard for what God wanted him to do, and then he got upset with God because the Lord did not think his sacrifice was good enough. Because Cain was stubborn, prideful and unwilling to accept the requirement of God; his sacrifice was refused and Cain became a friend of the god of this world (Satan) and consequently an enemy of God.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4.

Mankind has ignored the lesson taught here in Genesis, for man has been trying to make substitutions, just as Cain did, for what God has required for salvation ever since that notable day of Cain’s failure.

There are “religious systems” built around substitutionary offerings this very day. You may be a part of one of them and not even know it. (We will cover this in detail in later chapters.)

Abel offered the required sacrifice and it was pleasing to God. His faith, in offering the sacrifice which God required, was his salvation. He simply did as God required of him and became acceptable to God. That is what faith does. Faith does whatever God says to do at the time He requires it done.

ENOCH

There is very little written about Enoch, but there is enough for us to see that Enoch was a man that did what God said to do:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5.

Wouldn’t it be great if God could say we pleased Him? That is all he wants from us. Is it too much to ask considering all He has done for us?

Enoch did whatever God said do, and that pleased God. Because he was obedient to what God asked from him, God took Enoch home with Him. In other words, God saved him and transported him to live with Him forever.

NOAH

By the time Noah had reached the ripe old age of 500, the world was a pretty rotten place. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in that every thought of mankind was to do evil things continually, and God would have destroyed all of mankind, but for Noah.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6: 5-8.

God told Noah what He wanted him to do:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11: 7.

We have already said that faith will do whatever God says do. In the case of Noah, God said: “Build me an ark and I will save you and your household.” What did faith do? Faith, moved with fear, built an ark to the saving of his house. Because of this act of faith, the building of the ark as instructed, God declared Noah to be righteous (a child of God).

It should be getting very clear to you by now: “If you want to please God, you need to do what He requires of you for the time in which you live.”

ABRAHAM

God required Abraham to do certain things for his salvation, just as he required it of Able, Enoch and Noah. God established certain things for Abraham to perform in order to test his obedience. The following are but two of those requirements:

1. God said: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1. He left, not knowing where he was going. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11: 8.

2. God said, “I want you to offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice.” Abraham prepared to do so, for he had faith that God would raise him from the dead. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.

Abraham was rewarded for his faithfulness and is known as the father of many, even though he had become a very old man when Sarah conceived Isaac. “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11: 12.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when Isaac was conceived, but he believed God and did what God asked of him. Because of his faith, Abraham was blessed of God and thereby assured that his seed would be many; for through the seed of Isaac and Jacob Jesus was born, in whom all the world would be blessed.

Abraham did all that God asked of him, believing that God would do all that He said He would do. His faith and his actions (works) were pleasing to God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4: 3.

In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews there are many names listed in “The Faith Hall of Fame). But time and space will only permit us to add two more: Moses and Rahab.

MOSES

In the time that Herod was the leader over Israel, he decreed that all male children born of the Hebrew women were to be killed. Moses’ parents knew there was something special about their newborn son, so they hid him for three months after birth before putting him in a place where he was sure to be found. Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the little one while bathing in the river and took him home with her, where he was raised in the house of Pharaoh.

When Moses became a man, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11: 25.

God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Many know a lot about the plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians but the most significant one was when God told Moses to have his people sprinkle the blood of an animal over the door and on the side post of their dwelling place, and if they would do so, the first born male of their household would live rather than die. (Exodus 12). By faith, Moses instructed the people, and those who did as the Lord required, were spared their lives when the death angle passed over the land that night. God spared the lives of all those who obeyed His command.

By faith, Moses and the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry land, but those of Pharaoh’s army were swallowed up by the water. (Exodus 14).

Moses, just like those of faith before him, did whatever God told him to do; and God did for Moses as He had done for those before him – saved him and counted the works he did for righteousness.

RAHAB

The story concerning Rahab is a most interesting one; you will find it detailed in the Book of Joshua – Chapters 2 through 6.

Rahab was a harlot (Joshua 2: 1). Joshua sent two spies to scope out Jericho and they came to Rahab’s house. Even though the King of Jericho had sent messages to Rahab to turn the spies over to him, she did not, choosing to hide them instead and also to lie concerning there whereabouts (Joshua 2: 1-4). Rahab later told the two men that she knew the Lord had already given them the land and asked them to spare her and her family.

The only way she could have known Jericho would be taken was if God had revealed it unto her. So when Joshua gave orders to destroy the city and its inhabitants, he excluded Rahab and her family: “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” Joshua 6: 17.

Rahab and her family were saved because they did as God instructed them to do. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” James 2: 25

SUMMARY

In the old Testament, if one was to be declared righteous, one would simply do what God said do.

1. If God said, “Cain and Able, offer an animal sacrifice.” Faith would offer an animal sacrifice. Abel did and was declared righteous; Cain did not and was not declared righteous, but was cursed of God.

2. If God said, “Enoch, do what I say do.” Faith would do whatever God said. Apparently Enoch did just that, for the Scripture says “He pleased God.” “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5. And we know God took Enoch home with Him.

3. If God said: “Noah, build me an ark and I will save you and your house”; faith would build an ark. That’s exactly what Noah did and God kept His promise.

4. If God said: “Abraham, get thee out of thy country, be circumcised and offer your only begotten son Isaac as a sacrifice”; What would faith do but get out, be circumcised and offer Isaac as a sacrifice? Abraham did all those things and they were counted to him for righteousness.

5. If God said: “Moses, put the blood over your door and on the side post and I will save your first born son; then walk across the Red Sea on dry land and I will save you.” Faith would do it, without hesitation. Moses did all that was asked of Him and God saved him.

6. If God said: “Rahab, hide the two messengers of God and send those looking for them away and I will save you and your house”; faith would hide the men. Rahab did that and God saved her as well as her family.

It is faith and faith alone that saved the Old Testament saints. Faith obeys whatever God requires for the time at hand. The Scriptures are clear about that. There is no better explanation of what we just said than is found in James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Old Testament faith had to be followed with the response of a work being performed by the individual. There is no way to separate one from the other. In Old Testament times there would not have been an evidence of faith apart from works.

Do not be confused by this. We will show in subsequent passages that individual works are no longer a part of the salvation process. But for the period of time under discussion faith must be followed by works.

3. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

IN THE GOSPELS

Webster’s dictionary defines “righteous” as: meeting the standards of what is right and just.

With respect to Israel, the chosen people of God through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one was made righteous if he did as God demanded or commanded him. One’s sins would be taken care of temporarily until the time when those sins would be blotted out permanently by the blood of Christ. This blotting out of sins for Israel and all the saved of the Old Testament and the four Gospels as well, will take place after Christ sets up His 1,000 year millennial reign. It did not happen the moment they confessed Christ as the Messiah. (We will show you when that started later on in the booklet.)

In the Old Testament we saw God demanding certain works in order to be declared righteous. What we must address at this time is: Does all that change with the coming of Christ? The question is: “Are works by man still required in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to be approved of God”? The answer is, yes!

With the coming of John the Baptist we see the introduction of a new work – water baptism. In Luke 3: 3 we see the following: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” The passage is about John the Baptist preaching that one must be baptized in order to have remission of sins.

What does that mean exactly? It means that a new requirement for righteousness is being introduced. It means that God now requires a person to be baptized if they are to be accepted of Him. It is a work that has to be done. It is no different from the work of circumcision, the building of an arc or the offering of an animal sacrifice for the remission of sins.

I want you to examine the word “remission” for a moment. When we say that a particular disease, like cancer, is in remission; does that mean it no longer exists? It generally means the disease has only been arrested momentarily and there is a possibility that it may re-appear. We will discuss this in more detail later, but I want you to think of what I just said as we continue with our commentary.

In the third chapter of the Book of Matthew, we find John the Baptist speaking to a group of people. He tells them that he comes baptizing with water unto repentance, but Christ will come and baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Matthew 3: 11.

Not too long after this event took place, Jesus comes before John, requesting to be baptized. John says, “That should not happen, Lord, you need to baptize me, not I you.”

Look at the Lord’s response: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” Matthew 3: 15.

Now what do you suppose the meaning of the words, “to fulfil all righteousness” means? Jesus tells John it is necessary for Him, the Lord, to be baptized to fulfil all righteous. Just as Old Testament saints were to perform certain works before they were declared righteous, Jesus is saying He must do what is required in order that He might fulfil the righteous command for that day and age.

Would it not stand to reason that if God had some specific requirements for those living in the time period we are now discussing, all who wished to please God would comply? Sure it would. Look at the following passage that elude to that thought.

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4: 34.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5: 30.

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. John7: 16.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8: 29.

These verses spoken by Jesus tell of the Savior seeking only to please God and to do God’s will. So, if the will of the Father was for all to be baptized, Jesus would be baptized, thus fulfilling all righteousness.

Unlike all others of that time period, Jesus was not baptized for the remission of sins, for He had no sin; He was simply doing the will of the Father. God said do it. He did it. God demanded obedience to His commands; Jesus was obedient and was baptized.

Baptism, like circumcision was never intended to blot out one’s sins. Baptism was a temporal cleansing until the blood of Jesus would blot out all sins. If God said: “Be baptized and your sins will be remitted until the time of restitution when they will be blotted out”, faith would be baptized expecting the blotting out of their sins to be forthcoming.

Jesus was baptized simply because God required it for that time period. His purpose was to please God and do His will. That was no difference from the requirements God imposed on Old Testament saints.

But His baptism was for another purpose in the fulfilling of all righteousness also. In Old Testament days the priest would wash the animal sacrifice before offering it on the altar of sacrifice. Jesus’ baptism was in fulfillment of that. It was in preparation for His own sacrifice: His death on Calvary.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE DEATH OF CHRIST?

Were works still operational in order to fulfill all righteousness? Did the requirements of God change once Christ died? No, they did not!. In the command Jesus gave His disciples after His resurrection, we read these words:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28: 1920.

“And he said unto them, 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.” Mark 16: 15-16.

In the following passages, the Lord has already gone back to be with the Father, and there doesn’t appear to be any change in what the apostles are preaching.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 37-38.

There are some who say there was a big change. They will tell you that in Matthew and Mark the command was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whereas in Acts they are commanded to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. The fact remains that baptism was still a requirement and that is the subject we are presently discussing.

What is sad is that there are those that based their entire religious belief over the fact that one must be baptized in Jesus’ name or they will not be saved. They have missed the point entirely that baptism never saved, it was only a temporal thing, a work that must be performed at that time in order to please God.

If God said: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins:; faith would do that. Baptism was as much a work as:
1. The animal sacrifices of Abel.

2. The work Enoch did to please God.

3. The building of the ark by Noah.

4. The getting out of the country, being circumcised, and the offering of Isaac by Abraham.

5. The putting of the blood on the door and walking across the Red Sea by Moses.

6. The hiding of the messengers by Rahab.

There is not one bit of difference. So we can add to our list of works.

7. The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins from John the Baptist up until the Dispensation of Grace.

Baptism is as much a work as the other six were. It is something you must do. It is something people can see. Yet, baptism was not something new, nor was it begun by John the Baptist as some suggest. It only became a requirement for remission of sins when God instructed John to teach it.

The practice of washing (baptizing) the sacrifice was already established under the law.

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9: 1.

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptism), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (by the Law) until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9: 9-10.

Israel, God’s covenant people, had so transgressed against God that John the Baptist was calling them to repentance and back to godly fellowship. Animal sacrificial washing was not good enough, they would now need to present themselves as clean (baptized) vessels before Almighty God. Thus the call of John was to repent and be baptized (cleansed) for the remission of your sins.

This baptism of oneself, taught by John, like the baptism of animals, was never intended to be the answer for salvation. It was a temporal thing. The purpose of John’s baptism was to be cleansed temporarily until the times of refreshing came. (The second coming of Christ.)

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. ….And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash (the same word for baptize), they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” Mark 7: 1, 3-4.

Baptism was an act of cleanliness. The animal sacrifice was washed (baptized) in order to present the sacrifice clean before the Lord. A priest washed (baptized) his hands before he accepted the animal sacrifice, and so on and so forth it goes.

But certain denominations have turned baptism into a religious issue. Let me try to get you to see what Jesus thought about that. Continue to read with me in Mark 7: 4-7: “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen (un-baptized) hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

When an entire denomination is based upon the doctrine of baptism, is this not commandments of men? Religion is destroying Christianity. Religious organizations emphasize their own doctrinal issues rather than teaching people how to understand God’s Word.

FACT: The way a denomination baptizes is not important in this Dispensation of Grace. You can sprinkle, immerse the whole body or just the head, and as far as God is concerned you are nothing more than the hypocritical Pharisees he chastised above. Baptism, like the law it was a part of, has been replaced by the grace of God.

Baptism was a work that men could boast about. “I’ve been baptized, have you? You haven’t? Well if you haven’t you are lost and going to hell.”

Preachers talk to other preachers and say: “We baptized 50 people this quarter, how many baptisms did you have?” Shouldn’t they be saying how many people got saved? Or do you suppose they think baptisms are synonymous with salvation? If so how do you justify the following

Ephesians 2: 8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

4. THE FAITH THAT IS – NOW

Most Christians will tell you that we are living in the age of grace or the Dispensation of Grace, but when asked to define what that is their answer is either weak or rote. For instance, they might say “It is a time when mankind is saved by the grace of God or it is a time that God is dealing graciously with man.”

That is a true saying but a very weak answer in that it does not really cover the depth of God’s purpose for this age. God has always dealt graciously with man in every generation and dispensation. However, this present Dispensation of Grace is the only time God has dealt with man without requiring man’s work to be an integral part of the salvation process. Christ did the work for us when he shed His blood on Calvary. So, we are living in a dispensation where we are saved by grace through faith – NOT OF WORKS.

There are no animal sacrifices needed because God provided the perfect sacrifice – Jesus Christ. There is no baptism needed because we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Many Christians know this but they have limited knowledge about the requirements of faith that came before the Dispensation of Grace and will come again when this dispensation reaches its end.

Question: If works were necessary prior to the law and during the Dispensation of the Law; and if works were necessary immediately after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, when did faith without works start?

Question: If Peter did not preach faith alone apart from works at Pentecost, who started preaching it?

Question: Is it all that important to know who started preaching this message of grace? Does it make any difference who started preaching it?

We think it does make a difference and we want you to know why.

BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS

It is appalling that the majority of Christians do not care enough about the importance of knowing the truth as well as their refusal to study the Bible in order to find the truth.

We have become a complacent society. We get upset more about lying politicians than we do about lying preachers. If we catch a politician in a lie we go to great lengths to make sure they are exposed and removed from office; but we won’t even give one hour a day in studying God’s word to prove what a preacher is teaching is wrong.

Why do you suppose that is true? Could it be there are so many of us who just do not care? Or could it be that we do not know enough about the Bible to even question their veracity? Perhaps both, but I would venture to say it is the latter and that is a most disturbing thought.

I believe that ninety percent of the people attending churches today get ninety-five percent of their knowledge of the Bible from what a preacher said the Scriptures said, not through searching the Scriptures to find what God really said.

Question: How do you know what your preacher is teaching is in fact truth? When the apostle Paul was evaluating two churches, listen to his praise for those at Berea and why he praised them.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they (1) received the word with all readiness of mind, and (2) searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17: 11.

If we would be considered noble, based upon the criteria in Acts 17:11, we would:

1) Listen to what a preacher or teacher says and,
2) But we would not believe what was said without checking our Bibles first.
3) If what the preacher or teacher said is not the same as what the Bible says, do not believe the preacher or teacher.

And I say if the latter is true, you ought to quit listening to that person. He is a false teacher. We should make sure that the Scripture used to prove a point does not contradict with other Scripture. If there is a question as to whether or not there is a contradiction then you need to determine where that Scripture fits and into what dispensation it applies.

You need to get in the habit of asking questions. Such as, 1) To whom is the passage written, those under the law or those under grace. 2) In what time period does this Scripture refer: past dispensations or the present dispensation?

The Bible does not contradict itself, but false teachers will say it does when it does not agree with their doctrinal position, or when they are trying to get you to believe a lie.

Asking questions is a good way to study and to grow in understanding. Questioning a Bible teacher is a great way to determine their knowledge as well as there veracity. If a preacher or teacher will not tell the truth about one particular thing, he will not tell the truth about another and another. One lie leads to another lie.

The Bible warns us about these false teachers in 2 Corunthians11: 13-15:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

If the word of God tells us: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3: 23-25. Why do some preachers tell you that you are still under the law and must keep the ordinances of the law? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

If the word of God says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9; why do preachers say you have to be baptized or speak in tongues (which are works) to be saved? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

Paul was confronted with false teachers coming into an assembly after he had departed. Look what he says about them: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. Galatians 1: 6-8.

There are false teachers in pulpits today masquerading as minister of Christ. Their one objective is to deceive you into believing The Lie. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

1) Some give just enough truth so you will not question them. Remember our training from school when taking a true/false exam? Weren’t you instructed that if one part of the statement was false then the whole statement was considered to be false? Yes!
2) Others act as though they are the sweetest thing this side of fresh honey, in the hope of your thinking they can do no wrong. There is an old saying that goes like this: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Watch out for the sweet ones.
3) Still others deceive you with their eloquence and charisma. Hitler was a charismatic individual and so was Jim Jones. Look at what happened to their followers.
4) Some even get you caught up in their deceit by the music they sing and the excitement it brings. What is their objective, to get you so worked up emotionally in singing you will not know or care what is being said? Now that’s the best one yet.

Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!

I am not saying that every charismatic, eloquent individual is a false person or that everyone who loves to sing is following untruth; nor am I saying that a man of God cannot be a sweet, loving and compassionate individual. I am only showing you the possibilities and the probabilities out there. If you are really interested in knowing the truth, always follow this suggestion from 1 Peter 5: 8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

REGENERATION

In the introduction I stated it was very hard to believe someone cared enough for me to die for my sins; but God did and Jesus Christ was willing to be my sin offering. God cared enough to ask His only begotten Son to die for the sins of man. Jesus Christ cared enough that He was willing to go into hell so my sins would be forgiven.

Christ’s death, and the blood He shed on Calvary, was for the sins of all men: before the law, under the law, under grace and after grace.

However, there is one question that haunts many believers today: when were sins blotted out or atoned for? There are two answers for that one question, but before we examine them we need to get a clearer understanding of the word atonement.

There are seven Jewish feast days, one of them is The Feast of Atonement. The first time it is mentioned is in Leviticus 23: 27-32.

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the children of Israel were to bring their animal sacrifices to the High Priest. The High Priest would receive the sacrificial animal and slit its throat, catch the blood in a vessel and then put the blood on the animal, symbolic for the blood being a covering for sin. Once this ritual was performed, all the sins of the past were “atoned for.” Then the next year, on the Day of Atonement, they would repeat the process. They must do this each and every year of their lives.

When Christ died on the cross, the symbolic animal sacrifice was not needed anymore. That sacrifice was part of Jewish law, and Christ abolished the law in His flesh.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” Ephesians 2: 15.

It is Christ’s blood that atones for sins. The question is: “At what time does this atonement take place?” The answer is two fold.

1). At the conclusion of his Pentecostal address, Peter said the following in Acts 3: 19-21:

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The passage states that the atonement will come when Jesus Christ returns the second time, known as the second coming of Christ. The times of refreshing will come during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ. Christ returns at the end of the seven years of tribulation and then established His 1,000 year earthly reign as King.

Peter is addressing a predominately Jewish crowd. Peter has been preaching “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 38.

What Peter tells the people is they must repent, be cleansed (baptized) so that their sins will be in remission until the time comes when those sins will be blotted out.

2) In Romans 5: 9-11, Paul is addressing a different group of believers, which we will call the Church the Body of Christ. Look at what he tells them:

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

I want you to look at two parts of the passage above. In verse 9 you see the words, “shall be saved from wrath’; and in verse11 the words “we have now received the atonement”.

So, members of the Church the Body of Christ will not go through the wrath, which is the tribulation and the wrath to come, and their sins are atoned for NOW.

Are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 5: 9-11 paradoxes, seemingly contradictory statements that may nonetheless be true? Yes they are! They are both truth, however, they speak to two different groups of people. The passages do not contradict. They are for two different dispensations and two separate time periods and are for two different groups of people.

Acts 3:19-21 is for Israel and all those who were saved under the Kingdom message preached by Peter. Their sins will be atoned when Christ returns to earth the second time. Whereas Romans 5: 9-11 is for the Church the Body of Christ and those who were saved by grace. Their sins are atoned the moment they trust Christ as their Savior.

SALVATION FOR ISRAEL

Let’s look at Acts 3: 21 again: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” What prophets spoke of this event can be seen in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Lets go there.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Let us look very closely at what we just read.

1. V. 31 states there will be a New Covenant established with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Judah is in reference to the two faithful tribes: Judah and Benjamin; and Israel is in reference to the ten unfaithful tribes.

2. V. 32: This New Covenant is different from the Old Covenant made with Israel, through Moses.

3. V. 33 says that God will put His law in their inward parts and write it on their hearts. In this dispensation, Israel’s heart has been hardened because they went a whoring from the presence of God. “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” Hosea 5: 12. God finally “put His foot down” and declared Israel to be Lo-ami, not my people. “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28: 28.

4. V. 33 also says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God will unlock their hardened hearts and bring them from the state of being Lo-ami (Not my people) to the state of being His people. The promised restoration of Israel will be realized. Look at Acts 1: 6: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The restoration of Israel was what they were looking for, but that time did not come. Look at what Jesus said: “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1: 7. The disciples knew about the prophecy of Jeremiah and were anticipating the earthly kingdom. But that did not happen in Acts. It will happen when Christ returns to earth.

5. V. 34: When Christ establishes His earthly Kingdom, all Israel will know the Lord. It is obvious that they do not know Him at this time.

6. V. 34: When the earthly Kingdom is established the lord will blot out Israel’s sins. But for now, they are waiting for that day. All the saved of the Old Testament and all those who believed the Kingdom message that Peter preached are waiting for their Day of Atonement. It is a future event.

Fact: The Church the Body of Christ is not a New Covenant group of believers. The New Covenant is to be made with Israel and Judah. The New Covenant will become operational when Christ returns at the end of tribulation, establishes His 1,000 year millennial reign and sets up His earthly throne.

You have witnessed seemingly contradictory verse of Scripture, but if we learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth, as 2 Timothy 2: 15 states; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can see that the passages under consideration involves two separate dispensations.

SALVATION FOR THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

Our salvation is by grace and not of works. We become a child of God by trusting in the Faith of Christ. What is the Faith of Christ? He believed the father would raise Him from the dead if he was willing to die for the sins of man.

If you or I are saved today, it not because of anything we did.

You/I cannot do anything to earn our salvation.

You/I cannot do anything to make our salvation better or more meaningful.

Your/My faith cannot save us; that would be a work.

You/I cannot add anything to what Christ has already done.

Look at Titus 3: 4-7: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

THE FAITH OF CHRIST

The finished work of Christ means just what it says: “It is finished.” It was finished the moment He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. When we accept the finished work of Christ we die, and yet we are made alive: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20.

This is another paradox: How can one be dead and still be alive? The Bible teaches we become a part of Christ’s body the moment we believe the Gospel of Christ. Christ died; we died too. Christ rose from the dead; we rose from the dead too. By accepting the Faith of Christ we have been made alive spiritually, but dead to sin. That does not mean our flesh will not sin, it does. But it means that since Christ conquered sin, we will too, in resurrection.

If we believe that Christ did everything for our salvation and that we (mankind) can do nothing, and I do believe that; then the following Scriptures are very important for a clearing understanding of what we are saying. These verses of Scripture state our position without the need of a deep theological explanation.

Galatians 2:

16 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 3:

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Romans 3:

23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

What do all of these verses have in common? In a King James Bible, it is the Faith of Christ. They tell me I am justified by the Faith of Christ, I am made righteous by the Faith of Christ, and I live by the Faith of Christ.

So, what exactly was the Faith of Christ? Christ, who left His throne in Glory, had faith that the Father would restore Him to the position He had before he became flesh and blood. He also had faith that if He were to die and go into hell for the sins of the world, God would not leave his soul in hell. That was the faith Christ had. He believed that God would do what He said He would do.

Christ became a human sacrifice for the world’s sins. It was a work that He was willing to perform and it was that work that justified all of mankind. It is His faith that saves me. I can do nothing for my salvation; it was completed when Christ died over 2,000 years ago.

THE GOSPEL UNTO SALVATION

Since salvation was taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago, how can it be mine?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1: 16.

“So what is the Gospel of Christ,” you ask? It is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There are a lot of people who believe that Christ died, was buried and rose again but are as lost as they can be. You might be one of those. The Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2: 19. But it is impossible for the devil to be saved and live with God eternally because God has already condemned him to a life in the lake of fire.

There are many who have spent their entire life going to church. They will tell you they have always been a Christian. They believe in God, Jesus Christ, Easter and Christmas, but that does not mean they are saved and that does not mean they are a Christian.

Every person in this world has to understand that they are sinners. They were born sinners and will die sinners. But if a sinner believes that Christ paid the price for their sins and trust what He did for them on Calvary, then they are Children of God.

Some things you should understand scripturally:

1. You are a sinner: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. You need to understand you are lost before you will understand the need to be saved.

2. The penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6: 23. Since you are a sinner, you should die, but Christ intervened on your behalf, if you will trust what He did.

3. The gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. The free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel of Christ. The gospel is not the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The gospel is Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected.

Satan knew Christ did not die for his sins, for Satan’s sin separated him permanently from God. He knows there is a God and he knows who the Son of God is too. He believes in them and you’d better believe he knows that Christ rose from the dead, because when Christ did that he conquered death and Satan’s power of death. Look at Hebrews 2: 14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

So you see, just believing in God, Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection does not save unless you believe all He did was for you and your sins. Christ died for your sins and you must accept His work for you if you are to be saved.

One other thing, the Gospel is the power of God UNTO salvation. Christ is our salvation. There is nothing you can do to earn this salvation for it is the gift of God. Salvation has always been available to you. Now all you must do is believe the Gospel. Once it become personal for you, you will become a part of Christ’s body and His Spirit will dwell in you.

SECURE: CHRIST LIVING IN ME

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12: 13.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12: 27.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1: 27.

Think about it, Christ living in you! And if He does, that guarantees you eternal life with Him. You are part of Christ’s body and that means that wherever He is, you are. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 4-9.

I underlined the words hath quickened so that you would understand this is “past tense.” That means I have already been raised up into heaven spiritually. My Spirit is already with Christ, who is in heaven.

How can one teach that you can loose your salvation if they read the Scriptures listed above? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ. Beware! Beware!

God knows everything so He would know I was going to sin after I believed, wouldn’t He? Sure He would. So when Christ died for the sins of the world, He died for all those sins I would commit a hundred tomorrows from now as well as for the ones I committed yesterday.

This question remains: “Did Christ die for ALL my sins or not”? And the answer is and always has been a resounding yes. How do I know that? I know that because the Word of God says so.

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2: 10-15.

Christ has already quickened those who trusted Him and has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses. Then how can some preacher say if I sin I will loose my salvation? He must be a false teacher acting as though he was a minister of light. Beware! If you continue to listen to him you will be his roommate in hell.

GOOD WORKS vs. BAD WORKS

Sin does not rob me of eternal life with Christ, but sin does rob me of something. Sin robs me of my reward. A Christian can do things (works) that are bad as well as good. My bad works, things done in my flesh, will be burned and I will suffer loss, but I will not suffer my inheritance. My good works, things done in the Spirit, will stand the test of fire and I will receive a reward. Look at 1 Corinthians 3; 11-16:

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The gold, silver and precious stones of verse twelve are good works. When they are subjected to fire they are purified, not destroyed. The end result is reward. The “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” of 2 Timothy 2: 12 could very well be the reward spoken of in 1 Corinthians.

The wood, hay and stubble of verse twelve are bad works. When they are subjected to fire they burn completely, they are destroyed. The child of God will suffer loss, but he will still be secure in Christ, as verse fifteen states.

There are many skeptics, or false teachers who might wonder why we did not include 1 Corinthians 3: 17 in our commentary. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Fact: This body can be destroyed. It will be before we ascend into heaven, but God may also allow it to be delivered into the hands of Satan at anytime it ceases to be productive. Look at 2 Corinthians 5: 5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Good and bad works are contrasted with the spirit and the flesh. The two are not compatible. There is a war going on between the flesh and the Spirit and often times it is very frustrating for the believer. Look at what God’s Word say on the subject.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5: 17.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7: 18-25.

Paul, the author of both Galatians and Romans, was aware of the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. He had problems with his flesh too. He was constantly fighting to overcome the desires of his flesh. But at least he was trying, unlike the majority of us who call ourselves Christians. We seem to be content with the fact that we are saved and already seated in heavenly places and go about living like children of the devil, rather than walk as children of God. Watch out! God could turn you over to Satan for the destruction of your flesh.

“But don’t we have liberty under grace, as stated in Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” one might say?

Yes! But you need to look at Galatians 5: 13: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We must not abuse the liberty we have or we will prostitute the grace of God.

WHAT REGENERATION IS NOT TODAY

Regeneration in the Dispensation of Grace is not works performed by mankind. Salvation has always been accompanied with works, regardless of the dispensation. That is why proponents of it today quote James 2: 20: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” or James 2: 26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The works James speaks of are those that man can do.

There was a time when this statement applied to the believer. But in the Dispensation of Grace, in which we currently reside, man’s work plays no part in salvation. The work that must be done has already been done by Christ.

1. Able had to offer the right sacrifice or not be accepted of God.

2. Noah had to build an ark before he and his family could be saved.

3. Abraham had to offer Isaac or not be declared righteous.

4. Moses had to put blood over the door so the first born male child could be saved. He also had to walk through the Red Sea to be saved.

5. Rahab had to send those looking for the men of God in another direction so that she and her family would be saved.

6. Those believer in the gospels had to repent and be baptized before they could be saved.

All these works were necessary because God said do them to show your faith. So then BY their faith, plus doing the required work, God saved them. Salvation has always been doing what God required, at the time He required them to be done.

Well, God does not require you to perform any work today. God says that people living in the Dispensation of Grace CANNOT DO ANYTHING that will save them. Let me be more emphatic, you MUST NOT DO ANYTHING in an attempt to be saved or you will frustrate the grace of God.

Salvation in the twenty-first century is a free gift, given by God because of the WORK of His Son. So then, the work that had been necessary for man to perform has been replaced by the work that Christ performed. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Why would God say, “and that not of yourselves” if it had not once been of yourselves? In prior dispensations, salvation was BY faith doing whatever God said do. It was man’s faith doing what God required at the time.

In this present dispensation it is all about Christ’s faith that saves, and Christ has already done what was necessary: He died for the sins of the world; he became the sacrifice for sins. Salvation for this age involves the work of Christ.

Those of us living today cannot perform any work, cannot add anything to Christ’s finished work. Persons in prior dispensations were saved BY their faith, accompanied with works. In the present dispensation, we receive our salvation THROUGH faith believing in Christ’s faith and His work. Look at Romans 3: 30: “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

God has always required a work (by man) to follow an act of faith in every dispensation, with the exception of the dispensation of Grace. In this present dispensation Christ has done the work necessary. We must accept, through faith, the work of Christ for our salvation.

The uncircumcision of Romans 3:30 speaks of the Church the Body of Christ. This body of believers is a unique group of people, chosen in God before the foundation of the world.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1: 4.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 7.

The Bible says that the Church the Body of Christ will be an example to the world of the grace of God. For the first and only time, God is not requiring works of man as a show of faith. He allowed Christ to perform the work for us. That, my friend, is what grace is about. God has given us a precious gift, the gift of life through Christ Jesus our Lord. He died, became the sacrifice for sins, thus performing the work necessary to please God.

Let us look at James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Works WERE necessary to show faith. Without the work there would have been no justification. This has always been the truth and it still is today. But it is the work of Christ that saves today, not the work of man. In other dispensations the work that was required was a work that men did. In the present dispensation it is a work that Christ has done. This is grace.

This teaching is not something that has been known for only a short time. It is not some doctrine that I have espoused on my on. I was taught it by someone who was taught it by someone else. Songs written long ago declared it: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

In past dispensations if a man did not do works he could not be saved. In the present dispensation if man thinks his works saves him he is not saved.

Paul said: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Do you want to frustrate the grace of God? Do not allow some false prophet to hoodwink you into believing you must be baptized or speak in tongues to be saved. That would be frustrating the grace of God. That would be a work you could perform, thus frustrating to God and to Christ who did the work required for your salvation.

WHAT WILL IT BE – HEAVEN OR HELL?

Question: If you were to die today, would you spend eternity in heaven or hell?

If you said heaven, praise God and go and share your faith and your assurance with a lost friend, relative, fellow worker or neighbor.

If you said hell or you do not know, read on.

Would you like to know about heaven? If one is to go there they must be saved, they must trust in what Christ has already done for them. How does one come to that point?

1. Recognize you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3: 23.

2. Understand the penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6: 23.

3. Believe the gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. Accept the free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Everyone who is alive is a sinner. You are, and so am I. Adam was made in the image of God, but Adam sinned, and everyone who has ever been born is born of fallen Adam. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was a sin. Everyone that was born of Adam was born in sin and falls short of the glory of God. Since all who are born are born sinners, what we sinners deserve (wages of sin) is death. This death means to be separated from God eternally. But if I accept the gift of God, which is Christ dying for my sins; I will be saved from the wrath of eternal damnation.

God gives us eternal life with Him because of what Christ did on Calvary. And when Christ was resurrected from the grave he conquered death for all who would accept His gift.

Salvation is accepting the gift that has already been provided for you. It is free for you, but it cost God and Christ a lot in order for you to have it. Christ had to die and spend three days and night in hell before God resurrected Him from there.

When Christ died on Calvary over 2,000 years ago, God placed the sins of man, past, present and future, on His shoulders. Jesus Christ redeemed you from your sins. To redeem is to buy back. Until you accept what Christ did, you remain a salve to sin. That sin has separated you from God. Jesus Christ, in redemption, paid the necessary price (His life) and performed the work God required, the shedding of His blood, to restore fallen man’s standing with God.

Since you are a sinner, you have all been on “Death Row”. The sentence has been handed down by the eternal judge and you have been found lacking. You must die, but you have one last chance to escape eternal death: Accept the gift of Christ. If you do, you will pass from death to life.

ONLY BELIEVE

Most of you reading this will have never met me, but let me speak to you as if I were your closet friend. There is a heaven and there is a hell. When I was a child that was an accepted fact by the majority of the people living in the United States of America, but sadly, it is not the case today.

One day you are going to die. I want you to image that you are in prison and on “Death Row”. You’re only hope of escaping death would be if someone intervened on your behalf. You’ve been informed that that someone, Jesus Christ, is coming today. He enters your cell and speaks:

Jesus: “My child, you are in a precarious situation, are you not?”

Doomed Soul: “Yes Sir, I am. Can you help me?”

Jesus: “Yes, I can.”

Doomed Soul: “Will you?”

Jesus: “I already have. But up until this point you have refused to accept my gift to you. Will you trust that I have already done what is necessary for you to be free? Will you believe that what I have done will give you a get out of jail free card?”

Doomed Soul: “I would like to believe, but how can I be sure that your word is true?”

Jesus: “Because I just told you. I am the way the truth and the life. The words that I speak are truth. I did everything for you to be free.”

Doomed Soul: “What did you do?”

Jesus: I died for your transgressions over 2,000 years ago. Men buried me, but my Father raised me from the dead three days later and I ascended back to my Father. Believe I did that for you and you can walk away from here a free person. Nobody will keep you from walking out of here.”

Doomed Soul: “Do you think I’m crazy? Why would you die for me? I’ve never met you before. There must be something in it for you, so what’s the catch? I’ve always been told you don’t get something for nothing.”

Jesus: “I did it because I loved you and I want you to be a part of my family, but you must trust me. Will you?”

Pause

Jesus: “Will you trust me? If you will, let’s get of here and go home to my Father.”

Doomed Soul: “The minute I walk out of that door those guards will think I’m trying to escape and they will shoot me. You are asking me to put my life in your hands and I do not even know you.”

Jesus: “If you knew me you would trust me. Will you?”

Doomed Soul: “I want to but I am afraid.”

Jesus: “What is there to be afraid of? You are going to die if you don’t trust me, and you’re going to live forever in a place of torment eternally. So what have you got to lose? If I walk out of here and you do not follow after me, you will surely die. I am offering you everlasting life in a wonderful place, all you have to do is trust me to be who I say I am. Will you let me save you or not? Believe in me and you will be free.”

The man slowly, but a little reluctantly, walks out the cell door and past the guard and out the doors to freedom.

Doomed Soul: “I believe He meant what He said so I put my life completely in His hands.”

Jesus: “My words are true, you can believe them.”

Saved Soul: “Thank you Lord, for saving my soul and giving me eternal life with you in heaven.”

If you are a lost sinner, Christ’s words are true and you will find those words in a King James Bible. His Word says believe I died for your sins, was buried and resurrected and you will be saved. Jesus says believe I did that for you and that salvation is by my grace and the work I did on Calvary. Trust my words and salvation is yours. It is God’s gift to all who will believe.

BE CAREFUL

There are many people in pulpits who will tell you that you must do this or that in order to be saved. They want you to add something that you can do to the finished work of Christ. The fact is that if you add anything you will loose everything. Jesus Christ redeemed you by the shedding of His blood. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Circumcision never saved anyone. Keeping the Law could not save anyone. Water baptism will not save anyone, nor will doing good works save anyone. Jesus saves! You do not have to walk down an isle and give a preacher your hand; that does not save you. You might cry or you might not, but crying will not save you. Actions and emotions do not aid in your salvation; they may occur, but they do not save.

Jesus paid the price for your salvation. He is all you need. If you add anything to His finished work you prostitute the grace of God. All you can do is trust in what He has already done. You can do that wherever you are: riding in a car, in a motel room, in your home or in the woods. The question is, “Will You?”

If you will, you are saved. Go and serve Him. Find a place that teaches the Bible and begin to grow in the knowledge of Him. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15.

You can obtain additional information on the ministry of Obed Kirkpatrick by viewing www.soundwordsministry.com.

Obed Kirkpatrick

INTRODUCTION

THE GOOD LIFE

Picture this: a house on a beautiful lake, snuggled in a peaceful valley; a winding river that flows through the center of town; a community of people who genuinely care for each other; a governing body whose one desire is to please you and honor you; a police force whose main purpose is to assist you any way they can as there is no crime; streets that glisten in the light because they are so clean; and beautiful music on every street corner; happy sounds everywhere you go, no Mister Scrooge, no locks on your doors, no bills to pay – only serenity!

It’s difficult to believe that there might be a place like that, isn’t it? But there is such a place, only better. There is no way our finite minds can comprehend what God has in store for those of us who love Him and have trusted His Son as our Savior. That is how eternity with God will be, beautiful beyond imagination and comprehension. What is even more amazing is all of this was provided for you and me long before we were conceived in our mother’s womb.

It is difficult to believe that before I was ever born someone would do something for me that would ensure me of a retirement free from all indebtedness, plus guarantee me satisfaction and happiness. However, God has done that and Jesus Christ is our assurance of that reward. As a matter of fact, Christ and Christ alone is the guarantor. You cannot buy this retirement plan, neither can you get it because you know somebody or because you know somebody who knows somebody. You cannot get this retirement because you won the world contest for being the kindest, sweetest, easiest to get along with, most compatible person in the entire world.

Entry into God’s retirement community is free! Jesus Christ paid the price for those who are its inhabitants. He paid the price the gatekeeper of this community, God, demanded. Christ paid for it over 2,000 years ago and he has offered it to all who will accept God’s conditions for occupancy. The conditions are so simple many think they are too good to be true, so they refuse the offer, they refuse the gift.

BAD LIFE

Because people refuse the offer of a good life, their retirement community will be drastically different. Instead of a quiet, peaceful atmosphere; theirs will be one of pain and agony. The people who live in this community will never live in peace and harmony. They will never enjoy the sounds of beautiful music. The sounds they will hear will be those of fellow citizens crying out in torment because all peoples in this community will be in constant pain day and night. The people will cry out and ask God to be merciful and kill them so they can be free from this torment, but their cries will be in vain. They will not die.

People who have journeyed to this retirement community must live here for all eternity without any hope of escaping. They will have to learn to ignore the smell of rotting flesh. They will become indifferent to the decayed bodies of all inhabitants, for all who live here will have the stench of a body unattended by a funeral director. The pain of the people will be so intense they will grind their teeth together, making a noise that is annoying to all who hear, and believe me, all will hear. Sleep will not come here, because the torment is constant. There is no beauty in this place, only ugliness; no joy, only sorrow. This retirement community will be the most disgusting place in all of creation.

The reason someone would choose this kind of retirement is hard for us to understand, but many will choose this life because they refuse to believe in God and want no part of the promises he has in store for all those who do believe in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you might be thinking, “I have never made that choice.” But you have. You made the choice when you refused to accept the free gift Christ offered you. God does not force one to accept His life-style. He does not use media bombardment or crafty sales techniques that his opponents do. God’s Word, The Holy Bible, says, “Here is my Son, Jesus Christ. Accept what He did for you: died for your sins, was buried and then resurrected, and you will inherit life everlasting with Me.”

Refusal to accept what God requires means automatic entrance into the other retirement community.

We want to explore with you what God has required, over the various dispensations of time, to be a participant in the Good Life.

1. God’s Plan

Long before He created the world, God made provisions for man to share eternity with Him: Jesus Christ would come to earth to die for the sins of fallen man. Even though man had not fallen yet, God, who is omniscient (all knowing), knew that He would create Adam, that Adam would disobey the command of God, thus committing a sin, and he would be in need of a Savior. Everyone who would be born into this new world would be the direct descendant of sinful Adam, would be of the seed of Adam, and be born with the sin of Adam.

Even though Adam was created in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1: 27; when he and Eve had their first child, he was born in the image of fallen Adam. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” Genesis 5: 3.

Since God knows all things, he made preparations and provisions for all who would accept Christ:

1. All who would accept Christ as Savior would look like Christ.

2. He would send the Holy Spirit to call those who would accept and draw them unto Him.

3. Once they “heeded” the call, He would justify them (not let their sin be a barrier anymore).

4. Then He would glorify them and they would be like God.

Romans 8: 28-30:

28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

All of these things were provided for mankind but not decided for them. Man must make the choice to choose Christ, but once he does then Romans 8: 28-30 becomes operational: man will be conformed to the image of the Son of God, will be justified and glorified.

In making these provisions, God is not only showing His intentions, but proving to everyone His veracity by following through. God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was and is simple. All God would require of man would be simple faith in the faith of Christ.

Today, man has a choice:

1. To do what God requires and live with Him forever.

2. Not do what God requires and live in another world, apart from God.

Let us explore some of the requirements of God.

2. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

OLD TESTAMENT

ABEL’S FAITH

Rebellion against the command of God was the cause of Adam’s sin and subsequent fall. When Adam sinned, God killed an animal and made Adam and Eve a covering for their nakedness: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3: 21.

This is the first time that a sacrifice was recorded in the Scripture. It established a precedent and a requirement for rebellious and sinful man: THERE MUST BE A BLOOD SACRIFICE PROVIDED FOR REMISSION OF SINS. Eradication of sin must come from the blood of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The blood of animals was for remission of sins for the past year. It was not for the blotting out of sins. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. There is a difference between the temporal remission of sins and those sins being blotted out.

When we get to the fourth chapter of Genesis we are introduced to Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve. There is no question but that these two sons knew the requirement of a sacrifice for their sins.

Genesis 4:

3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Abel brings an animal sacrifice unto God, a blood sacrifice; Cain brings a sacrifice as well, but his was a bunch of fruit. God had established the animal sacrifice when He provided the coats of skin for Adam and Eve. Abel obeyed God and his sacrifice was accepted. Cain did not obey God and his sacrifice was rejected. Cain made an attempt to substitute a non-blood sacrifice and God would not accept it, so Cain got a little upset.

Granted, the fruit was the very best that Cain had to offer, but the simple fact was that God required a different sacrifice. Faith does what God requires, at the time God requires it. Anything else, regardless of how good it may be, is not acceptable to God.

Able offered exactly what God required and his sacrifice was accepted.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11: 4.

God said: “Offer the right sacrifice and you will be accepted (saved; offer the wrong sacrifice and you will be rejected (not saved/lost).”

Cain could have offered the sacrifice God required and God would have welcomed it along with Cain, Genesis 4: 7 is clear about that. Look at it again.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain did exactly what he wanted to do with no regard for what God wanted him to do, and then he got upset with God because the Lord did not think his sacrifice was good enough. Because Cain was stubborn, prideful and unwilling to accept the requirement of God; his sacrifice was refused and Cain became a friend of the god of this world (Satan) and consequently an enemy of God.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4.

Mankind has ignored the lesson taught here in Genesis, for man has been trying to make substitutions, just as Cain did, for what God has required for salvation ever since that notable day of Cain’s failure.

There are “religious systems” built around substitutionary offerings this very day. You may be a part of one of them and not even know it. (We will cover this in detail in later chapters.)

Abel offered the required sacrifice and it was pleasing to God. His faith, in offering the sacrifice which God required, was his salvation. He simply did as God required of him and became acceptable to God. That is what faith does. Faith does whatever God says to do at the time He requires it done.

ENOCH

There is very little written about Enoch, but there is enough for us to see that Enoch was a man that did what God said to do:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5.

Wouldn’t it be great if God could say we pleased Him? That is all he wants from us. Is it too much to ask considering all He has done for us?

Enoch did whatever God said do, and that pleased God. Because he was obedient to what God asked from him, God took Enoch home with Him. In other words, God saved him and transported him to live with Him forever.

NOAH

By the time Noah had reached the ripe old age of 500, the world was a pretty rotten place. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in that every thought of mankind was to do evil things continually, and God would have destroyed all of mankind, but for Noah.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6: 5-8.

God told Noah what He wanted him to do:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11: 7.

We have already said that faith will do whatever God says do. In the case of Noah, God said: “Build me an ark and I will save you and your household.” What did faith do? Faith, moved with fear, built an ark to the saving of his house. Because of this act of faith, the building of the ark as instructed, God declared Noah to be righteous (a child of God).

It should be getting very clear to you by now: “If you want to please God, you need to do what He requires of you for the time in which you live.”

ABRAHAM

God required Abraham to do certain things for his salvation, just as he required it of Able, Enoch and Noah. God established certain things for Abraham to perform in order to test his obedience. The following are but two of those requirements:

1. God said: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1. He left, not knowing where he was going. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11: 8.

2. God said, “I want you to offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice.” Abraham prepared to do so, for he had faith that God would raise him from the dead. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.

Abraham was rewarded for his faithfulness and is known as the father of many, even though he had become a very old man when Sarah conceived Isaac. “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11: 12.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when Isaac was conceived, but he believed God and did what God asked of him. Because of his faith, Abraham was blessed of God and thereby assured that his seed would be many; for through the seed of Isaac and Jacob Jesus was born, in whom all the world would be blessed.

Abraham did all that God asked of him, believing that God would do all that He said He would do. His faith and his actions (works) were pleasing to God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4: 3.

In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews there are many names listed in “The Faith Hall of Fame). But time and space will only permit us to add two more: Moses and Rahab.

MOSES

In the time that Herod was the leader over Israel, he decreed that all male children born of the Hebrew women were to be killed. Moses’ parents knew there was something special about their newborn son, so they hid him for three months after birth before putting him in a place where he was sure to be found. Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the little one while bathing in the river and took him home with her, where he was raised in the house of Pharaoh.

When Moses became a man, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11: 25.

God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Many know a lot about the plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians but the most significant one was when God told Moses to have his people sprinkle the blood of an animal over the door and on the side post of their dwelling place, and if they would do so, the first born male of their household would live rather than die. (Exodus 12). By faith, Moses instructed the people, and those who did as the Lord required, were spared their lives when the death angle passed over the land that night. God spared the lives of all those who obeyed His command.

By faith, Moses and the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry land, but those of Pharaoh’s army were swallowed up by the water. (Exodus 14).

Moses, just like those of faith before him, did whatever God told him to do; and God did for Moses as He had done for those before him – saved him and counted the works he did for righteousness.

RAHAB

The story concerning Rahab is a most interesting one; you will find it detailed in the Book of Joshua – Chapters 2 through 6.

Rahab was a harlot (Joshua 2: 1). Joshua sent two spies to scope out Jericho and they came to Rahab’s house. Even though the King of Jericho had sent messages to Rahab to turn the spies over to him, she did not, choosing to hide them instead and also to lie concerning there whereabouts (Joshua 2: 1-4). Rahab later told the two men that she knew the Lord had already given them the land and asked them to spare her and her family.

The only way she could have known Jericho would be taken was if God had revealed it unto her. So when Joshua gave orders to destroy the city and its inhabitants, he excluded Rahab and her family: “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” Joshua 6: 17.

Rahab and her family were saved because they did as God instructed them to do. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” James 2: 25

SUMMARY

In the old Testament, if one was to be declared righteous, one would simply do what God said do.

1. If God said, “Cain and Able, offer an animal sacrifice.” Faith would offer an animal sacrifice. Abel did and was declared righteous; Cain did not and was not declared righteous, but was cursed of God.

2. If God said, “Enoch, do what I say do.” Faith would do whatever God said. Apparently Enoch did just that, for the Scripture says “He pleased God.” “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5. And we know God took Enoch home with Him.

3. If God said: “Noah, build me an ark and I will save you and your house”; faith would build an ark. That’s exactly what Noah did and God kept His promise.

4. If God said: “Abraham, get thee out of thy country, be circumcised and offer your only begotten son Isaac as a sacrifice”; What would faith do but get out, be circumcised and offer Isaac as a sacrifice? Abraham did all those things and they were counted to him for righteousness.

5. If God said: “Moses, put the blood over your door and on the side post and I will save your first born son; then walk across the Red Sea on dry land and I will save you.” Faith would do it, without hesitation. Moses did all that was asked of Him and God saved him.

6. If God said: “Rahab, hide the two messengers of God and send those looking for them away and I will save you and your house”; faith would hide the men. Rahab did that and God saved her as well as her family.

It is faith and faith alone that saved the Old Testament saints. Faith obeys whatever God requires for the time at hand. The Scriptures are clear about that. There is no better explanation of what we just said than is found in James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Old Testament faith had to be followed with the response of a work being performed by the individual. There is no way to separate one from the other. In Old Testament times there would not have been an evidence of faith apart from works.

Do not be confused by this. We will show in subsequent passages that individual works are no longer a part of the salvation process. But for the period of time under discussion faith must be followed by works.

3. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

IN THE GOSPELS

Webster’s dictionary defines “righteous” as: meeting the standards of what is right and just.

With respect to Israel, the chosen people of God through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one was made righteous if he did as God demanded or commanded him. One’s sins would be taken care of temporarily until the time when those sins would be blotted out permanently by the blood of Christ. This blotting out of sins for Israel and all the saved of the Old Testament and the four Gospels as well, will take place after Christ sets up His 1,000 year millennial reign. It did not happen the moment they confessed Christ as the Messiah. (We will show you when that started later on in the booklet.)

In the Old Testament we saw God demanding certain works in order to be declared righteous. What we must address at this time is: Does all that change with the coming of Christ? The question is: “Are works by man still required in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to be approved of God”? The answer is, yes!

With the coming of John the Baptist we see the introduction of a new work – water baptism. In Luke 3: 3 we see the following: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” The passage is about John the Baptist preaching that one must be baptized in order to have remission of sins.

What does that mean exactly? It means that a new requirement for righteousness is being introduced. It means that God now requires a person to be baptized if they are to be accepted of Him. It is a work that has to be done. It is no different from the work of circumcision, the building of an arc or the offering of an animal sacrifice for the remission of sins.

I want you to examine the word “remission” for a moment. When we say that a particular disease, like cancer, is in remission; does that mean it no longer exists? It generally means the disease has only been arrested momentarily and there is a possibility that it may re-appear. We will discuss this in more detail later, but I want you to think of what I just said as we continue with our commentary.

In the third chapter of the Book of Matthew, we find John the Baptist speaking to a group of people. He tells them that he comes baptizing with water unto repentance, but Christ will come and baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Matthew 3: 11.

Not too long after this event took place, Jesus comes before John, requesting to be baptized. John says, “That should not happen, Lord, you need to baptize me, not I you.”

Look at the Lord’s response: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” Matthew 3: 15.

Now what do you suppose the meaning of the words, “to fulfil all righteousness” means? Jesus tells John it is necessary for Him, the Lord, to be baptized to fulfil all righteous. Just as Old Testament saints were to perform certain works before they were declared righteous, Jesus is saying He must do what is required in order that He might fulfil the righteous command for that day and age.

Would it not stand to reason that if God had some specific requirements for those living in the time period we are now discussing, all who wished to please God would comply? Sure it would. Look at the following passage that elude to that thought.

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4: 34.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5: 30.

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. John7: 16.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8: 29.

These verses spoken by Jesus tell of the Savior seeking only to please God and to do God’s will. So, if the will of the Father was for all to be baptized, Jesus would be baptized, thus fulfilling all righteousness.

Unlike all others of that time period, Jesus was not baptized for the remission of sins, for He had no sin; He was simply doing the will of the Father. God said do it. He did it. God demanded obedience to His commands; Jesus was obedient and was baptized.

Baptism, like circumcision was never intended to blot out one’s sins. Baptism was a temporal cleansing until the blood of Jesus would blot out all sins. If God said: “Be baptized and your sins will be remitted until the time of restitution when they will be blotted out”, faith would be baptized expecting the blotting out of their sins to be forthcoming.

Jesus was baptized simply because God required it for that time period. His purpose was to please God and do His will. That was no difference from the requirements God imposed on Old Testament saints.

But His baptism was for another purpose in the fulfilling of all righteousness also. In Old Testament days the priest would wash the animal sacrifice before offering it on the altar of sacrifice. Jesus’ baptism was in fulfillment of that. It was in preparation for His own sacrifice: His death on Calvary.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE DEATH OF CHRIST?

Were works still operational in order to fulfill all righteousness? Did the requirements of God change once Christ died? No, they did not!. In the command Jesus gave His disciples after His resurrection, we read these words:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28: 1920.

“And he said unto them, 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.” Mark 16: 15-16.

In the following passages, the Lord has already gone back to be with the Father, and there doesn’t appear to be any change in what the apostles are preaching.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 37-38.

There are some who say there was a big change. They will tell you that in Matthew and Mark the command was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whereas in Acts they are commanded to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. The fact remains that baptism was still a requirement and that is the subject we are presently discussing.

What is sad is that there are those that based their entire religious belief over the fact that one must be baptized in Jesus’ name or they will not be saved. They have missed the point entirely that baptism never saved, it was only a temporal thing, a work that must be performed at that time in order to please God.

If God said: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins:; faith would do that. Baptism was as much a work as:
1. The animal sacrifices of Abel.

2. The work Enoch did to please God.

3. The building of the ark by Noah.

4. The getting out of the country, being circumcised, and the offering of Isaac by Abraham.

5. The putting of the blood on the door and walking across the Red Sea by Moses.

6. The hiding of the messengers by Rahab.

There is not one bit of difference. So we can add to our list of works.

7. The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins from John the Baptist up until the Dispensation of Grace.

Baptism is as much a work as the other six were. It is something you must do. It is something people can see. Yet, baptism was not something new, nor was it begun by John the Baptist as some suggest. It only became a requirement for remission of sins when God instructed John to teach it.

The practice of washing (baptizing) the sacrifice was already established under the law.

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9: 1.

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptism), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (by the Law) until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9: 9-10.

Israel, God’s covenant people, had so transgressed against God that John the Baptist was calling them to repentance and back to godly fellowship. Animal sacrificial washing was not good enough, they would now need to present themselves as clean (baptized) vessels before Almighty God. Thus the call of John was to repent and be baptized (cleansed) for the remission of your sins.

This baptism of oneself, taught by John, like the baptism of animals, was never intended to be the answer for salvation. It was a temporal thing. The purpose of John’s baptism was to be cleansed temporarily until the times of refreshing came. (The second coming of Christ.)

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. ….And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash (the same word for baptize), they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” Mark 7: 1, 3-4.

Baptism was an act of cleanliness. The animal sacrifice was washed (baptized) in order to present the sacrifice clean before the Lord. A priest washed (baptized) his hands before he accepted the animal sacrifice, and so on and so forth it goes.

But certain denominations have turned baptism into a religious issue. Let me try to get you to see what Jesus thought about that. Continue to read with me in Mark 7: 4-7: “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen (un-baptized) hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

When an entire denomination is based upon the doctrine of baptism, is this not commandments of men? Religion is destroying Christianity. Religious organizations emphasize their own doctrinal issues rather than teaching people how to understand God’s Word.

FACT: The way a denomination baptizes is not important in this Dispensation of Grace. You can sprinkle, immerse the whole body or just the head, and as far as God is concerned you are nothing more than the hypocritical Pharisees he chastised above. Baptism, like the law it was a part of, has been replaced by the grace of God.

Baptism was a work that men could boast about. “I’ve been baptized, have you? You haven’t? Well if you haven’t you are lost and going to hell.”

Preachers talk to other preachers and say: “We baptized 50 people this quarter, how many baptisms did you have?” Shouldn’t they be saying how many people got saved? Or do you suppose they think baptisms are synonymous with salvation? If so how do you justify the following

Ephesians 2: 8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

4. THE FAITH THAT IS – NOW

Most Christians will tell you that we are living in the age of grace or the Dispensation of Grace, but when asked to define what that is their answer is either weak or rote. For instance, they might say “It is a time when mankind is saved by the grace of God or it is a time that God is dealing graciously with man.”

That is a true saying but a very weak answer in that it does not really cover the depth of God’s purpose for this age. God has always dealt graciously with man in every generation and dispensation. However, this present Dispensation of Grace is the only time God has dealt with man without requiring man’s work to be an integral part of the salvation process. Christ did the work for us when he shed His blood on Calvary. So, we are living in a dispensation where we are saved by grace through faith – NOT OF WORKS.

There are no animal sacrifices needed because God provided the perfect sacrifice – Jesus Christ. There is no baptism needed because we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Many Christians know this but they have limited knowledge about the requirements of faith that came before the Dispensation of Grace and will come again when this dispensation reaches its end.

Question: If works were necessary prior to the law and during the Dispensation of the Law; and if works were necessary immediately after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, when did faith without works start?

Question: If Peter did not preach faith alone apart from works at Pentecost, who started preaching it?

Question: Is it all that important to know who started preaching this message of grace? Does it make any difference who started preaching it?

We think it does make a difference and we want you to know why.

BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS

It is appalling that the majority of Christians do not care enough about the importance of knowing the truth as well as their refusal to study the Bible in order to find the truth.

We have become a complacent society. We get upset more about lying politicians than we do about lying preachers. If we catch a politician in a lie we go to great lengths to make sure they are exposed and removed from office; but we won’t even give one hour a day in studying God’s word to prove what a preacher is teaching is wrong.

Why do you suppose that is true? Could it be there are so many of us who just do not care? Or could it be that we do not know enough about the Bible to even question their veracity? Perhaps both, but I would venture to say it is the latter and that is a most disturbing thought.

I believe that ninety percent of the people attending churches today get ninety-five percent of their knowledge of the Bible from what a preacher said the Scriptures said, not through searching the Scriptures to find what God really said.

Question: How do you know what your preacher is teaching is in fact truth? When the apostle Paul was evaluating two churches, listen to his praise for those at Berea and why he praised them.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they (1) received the word with all readiness of mind, and (2) searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17: 11.

If we would be considered noble, based upon the criteria in Acts 17:11, we would:

1) Listen to what a preacher or teacher says and,
2) But we would not believe what was said without checking our Bibles first.
3) If what the preacher or teacher said is not the same as what the Bible says, do not believe the preacher or teacher.

And I say if the latter is true, you ought to quit listening to that person. He is a false teacher. We should make sure that the Scripture used to prove a point does not contradict with other Scripture. If there is a question as to whether or not there is a contradiction then you need to determine where that Scripture fits and into what dispensation it applies.

You need to get in the habit of asking questions. Such as, 1) To whom is the passage written, those under the law or those under grace. 2) In what time period does this Scripture refer: past dispensations or the present dispensation?

The Bible does not contradict itself, but false teachers will say it does when it does not agree with their doctrinal position, or when they are trying to get you to believe a lie.

Asking questions is a good way to study and to grow in understanding. Questioning a Bible teacher is a great way to determine their knowledge as well as there veracity. If a preacher or teacher will not tell the truth about one particular thing, he will not tell the truth about another and another. One lie leads to another lie.

The Bible warns us about these false teachers in 2 Corunthians11: 13-15:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

If the word of God tells us: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3: 23-25. Why do some preachers tell you that you are still under the law and must keep the ordinances of the law? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

If the word of God says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9; why do preachers say you have to be baptized or speak in tongues (which are works) to be saved? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

Paul was confronted with false teachers coming into an assembly after he had departed. Look what he says about them: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. Galatians 1: 6-8.

There are false teachers in pulpits today masquerading as minister of Christ. Their one objective is to deceive you into believing The Lie. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

1) Some give just enough truth so you will not question them. Remember our training from school when taking a true/false exam? Weren’t you instructed that if one part of the statement was false then the whole statement was considered to be false? Yes!
2) Others act as though they are the sweetest thing this side of fresh honey, in the hope of your thinking they can do no wrong. There is an old saying that goes like this: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Watch out for the sweet ones.
3) Still others deceive you with their eloquence and charisma. Hitler was a charismatic individual and so was Jim Jones. Look at what happened to their followers.
4) Some even get you caught up in their deceit by the music they sing and the excitement it brings. What is their objective, to get you so worked up emotionally in singing you will not know or care what is being said? Now that’s the best one yet.

Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!

I am not saying that every charismatic, eloquent individual is a false person or that everyone who loves to sing is following untruth; nor am I saying that a man of God cannot be a sweet, loving and compassionate individual. I am only showing you the possibilities and the probabilities out there. If you are really interested in knowing the truth, always follow this suggestion from 1 Peter 5: 8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

REGENERATION

In the introduction I stated it was very hard to believe someone cared enough for me to die for my sins; but God did and Jesus Christ was willing to be my sin offering. God cared enough to ask His only begotten Son to die for the sins of man. Jesus Christ cared enough that He was willing to go into hell so my sins would be forgiven.

Christ’s death, and the blood He shed on Calvary, was for the sins of all men: before the law, under the law, under grace and after grace.

However, there is one question that haunts many believers today: when were sins blotted out or atoned for? There are two answers for that one question, but before we examine them we need to get a clearer understanding of the word atonement.

There are seven Jewish feast days, one of them is The Feast of Atonement. The first time it is mentioned is in Leviticus 23: 27-32.

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the children of Israel were to bring their animal sacrifices to the High Priest. The High Priest would receive the sacrificial animal and slit its throat, catch the blood in a vessel and then put the blood on the animal, symbolic for the blood being a covering for sin. Once this ritual was performed, all the sins of the past were “atoned for.” Then the next year, on the Day of Atonement, they would repeat the process. They must do this each and every year of their lives.

When Christ died on the cross, the symbolic animal sacrifice was not needed anymore. That sacrifice was part of Jewish law, and Christ abolished the law in His flesh.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” Ephesians 2: 15.

It is Christ’s blood that atones for sins. The question is: “At what time does this atonement take place?” The answer is two fold.

1). At the conclusion of his Pentecostal address, Peter said the following in Acts 3: 19-21:

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The passage states that the atonement will come when Jesus Christ returns the second time, known as the second coming of Christ. The times of refreshing will come during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ. Christ returns at the end of the seven years of tribulation and then established His 1,000 year earthly reign as King.

Peter is addressing a predominately Jewish crowd. Peter has been preaching “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 38.

What Peter tells the people is they must repent, be cleansed (baptized) so that their sins will be in remission until the time comes when those sins will be blotted out.

2) In Romans 5: 9-11, Paul is addressing a different group of believers, which we will call the Church the Body of Christ. Look at what he tells them:

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

I want you to look at two parts of the passage above. In verse 9 you see the words, “shall be saved from wrath’; and in verse11 the words “we have now received the atonement”.

So, members of the Church the Body of Christ will not go through the wrath, which is the tribulation and the wrath to come, and their sins are atoned for NOW.

Are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 5: 9-11 paradoxes, seemingly contradictory statements that may nonetheless be true? Yes they are! They are both truth, however, they speak to two different groups of people. The passages do not contradict. They are for two different dispensations and two separate time periods and are for two different groups of people.

Acts 3:19-21 is for Israel and all those who were saved under the Kingdom message preached by Peter. Their sins will be atoned when Christ returns to earth the second time. Whereas Romans 5: 9-11 is for the Church the Body of Christ and those who were saved by grace. Their sins are atoned the moment they trust Christ as their Savior.

SALVATION FOR ISRAEL

Let’s look at Acts 3: 21 again: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” What prophets spoke of this event can be seen in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Lets go there.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Let us look very closely at what we just read.

1. V. 31 states there will be a New Covenant established with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Judah is in reference to the two faithful tribes: Judah and Benjamin; and Israel is in reference to the ten unfaithful tribes.

2. V. 32: This New Covenant is different from the Old Covenant made with Israel, through Moses.

3. V. 33 says that God will put His law in their inward parts and write it on their hearts. In this dispensation, Israel’s heart has been hardened because they went a whoring from the presence of God. “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” Hosea 5: 12. God finally “put His foot down” and declared Israel to be Lo-ami, not my people. “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28: 28.

4. V. 33 also says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God will unlock their hardened hearts and bring them from the state of being Lo-ami (Not my people) to the state of being His people. The promised restoration of Israel will be realized. Look at Acts 1: 6: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The restoration of Israel was what they were looking for, but that time did not come. Look at what Jesus said: “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1: 7. The disciples knew about the prophecy of Jeremiah and were anticipating the earthly kingdom. But that did not happen in Acts. It will happen when Christ returns to earth.

5. V. 34: When Christ establishes His earthly Kingdom, all Israel will know the Lord. It is obvious that they do not know Him at this time.

6. V. 34: When the earthly Kingdom is established the lord will blot out Israel’s sins. But for now, they are waiting for that day. All the saved of the Old Testament and all those who believed the Kingdom message that Peter preached are waiting for their Day of Atonement. It is a future event.

Fact: The Church the Body of Christ is not a New Covenant group of believers. The New Covenant is to be made with Israel and Judah. The New Covenant will become operational when Christ returns at the end of tribulation, establishes His 1,000 year millennial reign and sets up His earthly throne.

You have witnessed seemingly contradictory verse of Scripture, but if we learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth, as 2 Timothy 2: 15 states; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can see that the passages under consideration involves two separate dispensations.

SALVATION FOR THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

Our salvation is by grace and not of works. We become a child of God by trusting in the Faith of Christ. What is the Faith of Christ? He believed the father would raise Him from the dead if he was willing to die for the sins of man.

If you or I are saved today, it not because of anything we did.

You/I cannot do anything to earn our salvation.

You/I cannot do anything to make our salvation better or more meaningful.

Your/My faith cannot save us; that would be a work.

You/I cannot add anything to what Christ has already done.

Look at Titus 3: 4-7: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

THE FAITH OF CHRIST

The finished work of Christ means just what it says: “It is finished.” It was finished the moment He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. When we accept the finished work of Christ we die, and yet we are made alive: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20.

This is another paradox: How can one be dead and still be alive? The Bible teaches we become a part of Christ’s body the moment we believe the Gospel of Christ. Christ died; we died too. Christ rose from the dead; we rose from the dead too. By accepting the Faith of Christ we have been made alive spiritually, but dead to sin. That does not mean our flesh will not sin, it does. But it means that since Christ conquered sin, we will too, in resurrection.

If we believe that Christ did everything for our salvation and that we (mankind) can do nothing, and I do believe that; then the following Scriptures are very important for a clearing understanding of what we are saying. These verses of Scripture state our position without the need of a deep theological explanation.

Galatians 2:

16 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 3:

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Romans 3:

23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

What do all of these verses have in common? In a King James Bible, it is the Faith of Christ. They tell me I am justified by the Faith of Christ, I am made righteous by the Faith of Christ, and I live by the Faith of Christ.

So, what exactly was the Faith of Christ? Christ, who left His throne in Glory, had faith that the Father would restore Him to the position He had before he became flesh and blood. He also had faith that if He were to die and go into hell for the sins of the world, God would not leave his soul in hell. That was the faith Christ had. He believed that God would do what He said He would do.

Christ became a human sacrifice for the world’s sins. It was a work that He was willing to perform and it was that work that justified all of mankind. It is His faith that saves me. I can do nothing for my salvation; it was completed when Christ died over 2,000 years ago.

THE GOSPEL UNTO SALVATION

Since salvation was taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago, how can it be mine?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1: 16.

“So what is the Gospel of Christ,” you ask? It is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There are a lot of people who believe that Christ died, was buried and rose again but are as lost as they can be. You might be one of those. The Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2: 19. But it is impossible for the devil to be saved and live with God eternally because God has already condemned him to a life in the lake of fire.

There are many who have spent their entire life going to church. They will tell you they have always been a Christian. They believe in God, Jesus Christ, Easter and Christmas, but that does not mean they are saved and that does not mean they are a Christian.

Every person in this world has to understand that they are sinners. They were born sinners and will die sinners. But if a sinner believes that Christ paid the price for their sins and trust what He did for them on Calvary, then they are Children of God.

Some things you should understand scripturally:

1. You are a sinner: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. You need to understand you are lost before you will understand the need to be saved.

2. The penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6: 23. Since you are a sinner, you should die, but Christ intervened on your behalf, if you will trust what He did.

3. The gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. The free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel of Christ. The gospel is not the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The gospel is Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected.

Satan knew Christ did not die for his sins, for Satan’s sin separated him permanently from God. He knows there is a God and he knows who the Son of God is too. He believes in them and you’d better believe he knows that Christ rose from the dead, because when Christ did that he conquered death and Satan’s power of death. Look at Hebrews 2: 14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

So you see, just believing in God, Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection does not save unless you believe all He did was for you and your sins. Christ died for your sins and you must accept His work for you if you are to be saved.

One other thing, the Gospel is the power of God UNTO salvation. Christ is our salvation. There is nothing you can do to earn this salvation for it is the gift of God. Salvation has always been available to you. Now all you must do is believe the Gospel. Once it become personal for you, you will become a part of Christ’s body and His Spirit will dwell in you.

SECURE: CHRIST LIVING IN ME

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12: 13.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12: 27.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1: 27.

Think about it, Christ living in you! And if He does, that guarantees you eternal life with Him. You are part of Christ’s body and that means that wherever He is, you are. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 4-9.

I underlined the words hath quickened so that you would understand this is “past tense.” That means I have already been raised up into heaven spiritually. My Spirit is already with Christ, who is in heaven.

How can one teach that you can loose your salvation if they read the Scriptures listed above? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ. Beware! Beware!

God knows everything so He would know I was going to sin after I believed, wouldn’t He? Sure He would. So when Christ died for the sins of the world, He died for all those sins I would commit a hundred tomorrows from now as well as for the ones I committed yesterday.

This question remains: “Did Christ die for ALL my sins or not”? And the answer is and always has been a resounding yes. How do I know that? I know that because the Word of God says so.

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2: 10-15.

Christ has already quickened those who trusted Him and has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses. Then how can some preacher say if I sin I will loose my salvation? He must be a false teacher acting as though he was a minister of light. Beware! If you continue to listen to him you will be his roommate in hell.

GOOD WORKS vs. BAD WORKS

Sin does not rob me of eternal life with Christ, but sin does rob me of something. Sin robs me of my reward. A Christian can do things (works) that are bad as well as good. My bad works, things done in my flesh, will be burned and I will suffer loss, but I will not suffer my inheritance. My good works, things done in the Spirit, will stand the test of fire and I will receive a reward. Look at 1 Corinthians 3; 11-16:

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The gold, silver and precious stones of verse twelve are good works. When they are subjected to fire they are purified, not destroyed. The end result is reward. The “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” of 2 Timothy 2: 12 could very well be the reward spoken of in 1 Corinthians.

The wood, hay and stubble of verse twelve are bad works. When they are subjected to fire they burn completely, they are destroyed. The child of God will suffer loss, but he will still be secure in Christ, as verse fifteen states.

There are many skeptics, or false teachers who might wonder why we did not include 1 Corinthians 3: 17 in our commentary. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Fact: This body can be destroyed. It will be before we ascend into heaven, but God may also allow it to be delivered into the hands of Satan at anytime it ceases to be productive. Look at 2 Corinthians 5: 5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Good and bad works are contrasted with the spirit and the flesh. The two are not compatible. There is a war going on between the flesh and the Spirit and often times it is very frustrating for the believer. Look at what God’s Word say on the subject.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5: 17.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7: 18-25.

Paul, the author of both Galatians and Romans, was aware of the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. He had problems with his flesh too. He was constantly fighting to overcome the desires of his flesh. But at least he was trying, unlike the majority of us who call ourselves Christians. We seem to be content with the fact that we are saved and already seated in heavenly places and go about living like children of the devil, rather than walk as children of God. Watch out! God could turn you over to Satan for the destruction of your flesh.

“But don’t we have liberty under grace, as stated in Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” one might say?

Yes! But you need to look at Galatians 5: 13: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We must not abuse the liberty we have or we will prostitute the grace of God.

WHAT REGENERATION IS NOT TODAY

Regeneration in the Dispensation of Grace is not works performed by mankind. Salvation has always been accompanied with works, regardless of the dispensation. That is why proponents of it today quote James 2: 20: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” or James 2: 26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The works James speaks of are those that man can do.

There was a time when this statement applied to the believer. But in the Dispensation of Grace, in which we currently reside, man’s work plays no part in salvation. The work that must be done has already been done by Christ.

1. Able had to offer the right sacrifice or not be accepted of God.

2. Noah had to build an ark before he and his family could be saved.

3. Abraham had to offer Isaac or not be declared righteous.

4. Moses had to put blood over the door so the first born male child could be saved. He also had to walk through the Red Sea to be saved.

5. Rahab had to send those looking for the men of God in another direction so that she and her family would be saved.

6. Those believer in the gospels had to repent and be baptized before they could be saved.

All these works were necessary because God said do them to show your faith. So then BY their faith, plus doing the required work, God saved them. Salvation has always been doing what God required, at the time He required them to be done.

Well, God does not require you to perform any work today. God says that people living in the Dispensation of Grace CANNOT DO ANYTHING that will save them. Let me be more emphatic, you MUST NOT DO ANYTHING in an attempt to be saved or you will frustrate the grace of God.

Salvation in the twenty-first century is a free gift, given by God because of the WORK of His Son. So then, the work that had been necessary for man to perform has been replaced by the work that Christ performed. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Why would God say, “and that not of yourselves” if it had not once been of yourselves? In prior dispensations, salvation was BY faith doing whatever God said do. It was man’s faith doing what God required at the time.

In this present dispensation it is all about Christ’s faith that saves, and Christ has already done what was necessary: He died for the sins of the world; he became the sacrifice for sins. Salvation for this age involves the work of Christ.

Those of us living today cannot perform any work, cannot add anything to Christ’s finished work. Persons in prior dispensations were saved BY their faith, accompanied with works. In the present dispensation, we receive our salvation THROUGH faith believing in Christ’s faith and His work. Look at Romans 3: 30: “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

God has always required a work (by man) to follow an act of faith in every dispensation, with the exception of the dispensation of Grace. In this present dispensation Christ has done the work necessary. We must accept, through faith, the work of Christ for our salvation.

The uncircumcision of Romans 3:30 speaks of the Church the Body of Christ. This body of believers is a unique group of people, chosen in God before the foundation of the world.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1: 4.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 7.

The Bible says that the Church the Body of Christ will be an example to the world of the grace of God. For the first and only time, God is not requiring works of man as a show of faith. He allowed Christ to perform the work for us. That, my friend, is what grace is about. God has given us a precious gift, the gift of life through Christ Jesus our Lord. He died, became the sacrifice for sins, thus performing the work necessary to please God.

Let us look at James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Works WERE necessary to show faith. Without the work there would have been no justification. This has always been the truth and it still is today. But it is the work of Christ that saves today, not the work of man. In other dispensations the work that was required was a work that men did. In the present dispensation it is a work that Christ has done. This is grace.

This teaching is not something that has been known for only a short time. It is not some doctrine that I have espoused on my on. I was taught it by someone who was taught it by someone else. Songs written long ago declared it: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

In past dispensations if a man did not do works he could not be saved. In the present dispensation if man thinks his works saves him he is not saved.

Paul said: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Do you want to frustrate the grace of God? Do not allow some false prophet to hoodwink you into believing you must be baptized or speak in tongues to be saved. That would be frustrating the grace of God. That would be a work you could perform, thus frustrating to God and to Christ who did the work required for your salvation.

WHAT WILL IT BE – HEAVEN OR HELL?

Question: If you were to die today, would you spend eternity in heaven or hell?

If you said heaven, praise God and go and share your faith and your assurance with a lost friend, relative, fellow worker or neighbor.

If you said hell or you do not know, read on.

Would you like to know about heaven? If one is to go there they must be saved, they must trust in what Christ has already done for them. How does one come to that point?

1. Recognize you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3: 23.

2. Understand the penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6: 23.

3. Believe the gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. Accept the free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Everyone who is alive is a sinner. You are, and so am I. Adam was made in the image of God, but Adam sinned, and everyone who has ever been born is born of fallen Adam. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was a sin. Everyone that was born of Adam was born in sin and falls short of the glory of God. Since all who are born are born sinners, what we sinners deserve (wages of sin) is death. This death means to be separated from God eternally. But if I accept the gift of God, which is Christ dying for my sins; I will be saved from the wrath of eternal damnation.

God gives us eternal life with Him because of what Christ did on Calvary. And when Christ was resurrected from the grave he conquered death for all who would accept His gift.

Salvation is accepting the gift that has already been provided for you. It is free for you, but it cost God and Christ a lot in order for you to have it. Christ had to die and spend three days and night in hell before God resurrected Him from there.

When Christ died on Calvary over 2,000 years ago, God placed the sins of man, past, present and future, on His shoulders. Jesus Christ redeemed you from your sins. To redeem is to buy back. Until you accept what Christ did, you remain a salve to sin. That sin has separated you from God. Jesus Christ, in redemption, paid the necessary price (His life) and performed the work God required, the shedding of His blood, to restore fallen man’s standing with God.

Since you are a sinner, you have all been on “Death Row”. The sentence has been handed down by the eternal judge and you have been found lacking. You must die, but you have one last chance to escape eternal death: Accept the gift of Christ. If you do, you will pass from death to life.

ONLY BELIEVE

Most of you reading this will have never met me, but let me speak to you as if I were your closet friend. There is a heaven and there is a hell. When I was a child that was an accepted fact by the majority of the people living in the United States of America, but sadly, it is not the case today.

One day you are going to die. I want you to image that you are in prison and on “Death Row”. You’re only hope of escaping death would be if someone intervened on your behalf. You’ve been informed that that someone, Jesus Christ, is coming today. He enters your cell and speaks:

Jesus: “My child, you are in a precarious situation, are you not?”

Doomed Soul: “Yes Sir, I am. Can you help me?”

Jesus: “Yes, I can.”

Doomed Soul: “Will you?”

Jesus: “I already have. But up until this point you have refused to accept my gift to you. Will you trust that I have already done what is necessary for you to be free? Will you believe that what I have done will give you a get out of jail free card?”

Doomed Soul: “I would like to believe, but how can I be sure that your word is true?”

Jesus: “Because I just told you. I am the way the truth and the life. The words that I speak are truth. I did everything for you to be free.”

Doomed Soul: “What did you do?”

Jesus: I died for your transgressions over 2,000 years ago. Men buried me, but my Father raised me from the dead three days later and I ascended back to my Father. Believe I did that for you and you can walk away from here a free person. Nobody will keep you from walking out of here.”

Doomed Soul: “Do you think I’m crazy? Why would you die for me? I’ve never met you before. There must be something in it for you, so what’s the catch? I’ve always been told you don’t get something for nothing.”

Jesus: “I did it because I loved you and I want you to be a part of my family, but you must trust me. Will you?”

Pause

Jesus: “Will you trust me? If you will, let’s get of here and go home to my Father.”

Doomed Soul: “The minute I walk out of that door those guards will think I’m trying to escape and they will shoot me. You are asking me to put my life in your hands and I do not even know you.”

Jesus: “If you knew me you would trust me. Will you?”

Doomed Soul: “I want to but I am afraid.”

Jesus: “What is there to be afraid of? You are going to die if you don’t trust me, and you’re going to live forever in a place of torment eternally. So what have you got to lose? If I walk out of here and you do not follow after me, you will surely die. I am offering you everlasting life in a wonderful place, all you have to do is trust me to be who I say I am. Will you let me save you or not? Believe in me and you will be free.”

The man slowly, but a little reluctantly, walks out the cell door and past the guard and out the doors to freedom.

Doomed Soul: “I believe He meant what He said so I put my life completely in His hands.”

Jesus: “My words are true, you can believe them.”

Saved Soul: “Thank you Lord, for saving my soul and giving me eternal life with you in heaven.”

If you are a lost sinner, Christ’s words are true and you will find those words in a King James Bible. His Word says believe I died for your sins, was buried and resurrected and you will be saved. Jesus says believe I did that for you and that salvation is by my grace and the work I did on Calvary. Trust my words and salvation is yours. It is God’s gift to all who will believe.

BE CAREFUL

There are many people in pulpits who will tell you that you must do this or that in order to be saved. They want you to add something that you can do to the finished work of Christ. The fact is that if you add anything you will loose everything. Jesus Christ redeemed you by the shedding of His blood. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Circumcision never saved anyone. Keeping the Law could not save anyone. Water baptism will not save anyone, nor will doing good works save anyone. Jesus saves! You do not have to walk down an isle and give a preacher your hand; that does not save you. You might cry or you might not, but crying will not save you. Actions and emotions do not aid in your salvation; they may occur, but they do not save.

Jesus paid the price for your salvation. He is all you need. If you add anything to His finished work you prostitute the grace of God. All you can do is trust in what He has already done. You can do that wherever you are: riding in a car, in a motel room, in your home or in the woods. The question is, “Will You?”

If you will, you are saved. Go and serve Him. Find a place that teaches the Bible and begin to grow in the knowledge of Him. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15.

You can obtain additional information on the ministry of Obed Kirkpatrick by viewing www.soundwordsministry.com.

Obed Kirkpatrick

INTRODUCTION

THE GOOD LIFE

Picture this: a house on a beautiful lake, snuggled in a peaceful valley; a winding river that flows through the center of town; a community of people who genuinely care for each other; a governing body whose one desire is to please you and honor you; a police force whose main purpose is to assist you any way they can as there is no crime; streets that glisten in the light because they are so clean; and beautiful music on every street corner; happy sounds everywhere you go, no Mister Scrooge, no locks on your doors, no bills to pay – only serenity!

It’s difficult to believe that there might be a place like that, isn’t it? But there is such a place, only better. There is no way our finite minds can comprehend what God has in store for those of us who love Him and have trusted His Son as our Savior. That is how eternity with God will be, beautiful beyond imagination and comprehension. What is even more amazing is all of this was provided for you and me long before we were conceived in our mother’s womb.

It is difficult to believe that before I was ever born someone would do something for me that would ensure me of a retirement free from all indebtedness, plus guarantee me satisfaction and happiness. However, God has done that and Jesus Christ is our assurance of that reward. As a matter of fact, Christ and Christ alone is the guarantor. You cannot buy this retirement plan, neither can you get it because you know somebody or because you know somebody who knows somebody. You cannot get this retirement because you won the world contest for being the kindest, sweetest, easiest to get along with, most compatible person in the entire world.

Entry into God’s retirement community is free! Jesus Christ paid the price for those who are its inhabitants. He paid the price the gatekeeper of this community, God, demanded. Christ paid for it over 2,000 years ago and he has offered it to all who will accept God’s conditions for occupancy. The conditions are so simple many think they are too good to be true, so they refuse the offer, they refuse the gift.

BAD LIFE

Because people refuse the offer of a good life, their retirement community will be drastically different. Instead of a quiet, peaceful atmosphere; theirs will be one of pain and agony. The people who live in this community will never live in peace and harmony. They will never enjoy the sounds of beautiful music. The sounds they will hear will be those of fellow citizens crying out in torment because all peoples in this community will be in constant pain day and night. The people will cry out and ask God to be merciful and kill them so they can be free from this torment, but their cries will be in vain. They will not die.

People who have journeyed to this retirement community must live here for all eternity without any hope of escaping. They will have to learn to ignore the smell of rotting flesh. They will become indifferent to the decayed bodies of all inhabitants, for all who live here will have the stench of a body unattended by a funeral director. The pain of the people will be so intense they will grind their teeth together, making a noise that is annoying to all who hear, and believe me, all will hear. Sleep will not come here, because the torment is constant. There is no beauty in this place, only ugliness; no joy, only sorrow. This retirement community will be the most disgusting place in all of creation.

The reason someone would choose this kind of retirement is hard for us to understand, but many will choose this life because they refuse to believe in God and want no part of the promises he has in store for all those who do believe in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you might be thinking, “I have never made that choice.” But you have. You made the choice when you refused to accept the free gift Christ offered you. God does not force one to accept His life-style. He does not use media bombardment or crafty sales techniques that his opponents do. God’s Word, The Holy Bible, says, “Here is my Son, Jesus Christ. Accept what He did for you: died for your sins, was buried and then resurrected, and you will inherit life everlasting with Me.”

Refusal to accept what God requires means automatic entrance into the other retirement community.

We want to explore with you what God has required, over the various dispensations of time, to be a participant in the Good Life.

1. God’s Plan

Long before He created the world, God made provisions for man to share eternity with Him: Jesus Christ would come to earth to die for the sins of fallen man. Even though man had not fallen yet, God, who is omniscient (all knowing), knew that He would create Adam, that Adam would disobey the command of God, thus committing a sin, and he would be in need of a Savior. Everyone who would be born into this new world would be the direct descendant of sinful Adam, would be of the seed of Adam, and be born with the sin of Adam.

Even though Adam was created in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1: 27; when he and Eve had their first child, he was born in the image of fallen Adam. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” Genesis 5: 3.

Since God knows all things, he made preparations and provisions for all who would accept Christ:

1. All who would accept Christ as Savior would look like Christ.

2. He would send the Holy Spirit to call those who would accept and draw them unto Him.

3. Once they “heeded” the call, He would justify them (not let their sin be a barrier anymore).

4. Then He would glorify them and they would be like God.

Romans 8: 28-30:

28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

All of these things were provided for mankind but not decided for them. Man must make the choice to choose Christ, but once he does then Romans 8: 28-30 becomes operational: man will be conformed to the image of the Son of God, will be justified and glorified.

In making these provisions, God is not only showing His intentions, but proving to everyone His veracity by following through. God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was and is simple. All God would require of man would be simple faith in the faith of Christ.

Today, man has a choice:

1. To do what God requires and live with Him forever.

2. Not do what God requires and live in another world, apart from God.

Let us explore some of the requirements of God.

2. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

OLD TESTAMENT

ABEL’S FAITH

Rebellion against the command of God was the cause of Adam’s sin and subsequent fall. When Adam sinned, God killed an animal and made Adam and Eve a covering for their nakedness: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3: 21.

This is the first time that a sacrifice was recorded in the Scripture. It established a precedent and a requirement for rebellious and sinful man: THERE MUST BE A BLOOD SACRIFICE PROVIDED FOR REMISSION OF SINS. Eradication of sin must come from the blood of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The blood of animals was for remission of sins for the past year. It was not for the blotting out of sins. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. There is a difference between the temporal remission of sins and those sins being blotted out.

When we get to the fourth chapter of Genesis we are introduced to Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve. There is no question but that these two sons knew the requirement of a sacrifice for their sins.

Genesis 4:

3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Abel brings an animal sacrifice unto God, a blood sacrifice; Cain brings a sacrifice as well, but his was a bunch of fruit. God had established the animal sacrifice when He provided the coats of skin for Adam and Eve. Abel obeyed God and his sacrifice was accepted. Cain did not obey God and his sacrifice was rejected. Cain made an attempt to substitute a non-blood sacrifice and God would not accept it, so Cain got a little upset.

Granted, the fruit was the very best that Cain had to offer, but the simple fact was that God required a different sacrifice. Faith does what God requires, at the time God requires it. Anything else, regardless of how good it may be, is not acceptable to God.

Able offered exactly what God required and his sacrifice was accepted.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11: 4.

God said: “Offer the right sacrifice and you will be accepted (saved; offer the wrong sacrifice and you will be rejected (not saved/lost).”

Cain could have offered the sacrifice God required and God would have welcomed it along with Cain, Genesis 4: 7 is clear about that. Look at it again.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain did exactly what he wanted to do with no regard for what God wanted him to do, and then he got upset with God because the Lord did not think his sacrifice was good enough. Because Cain was stubborn, prideful and unwilling to accept the requirement of God; his sacrifice was refused and Cain became a friend of the god of this world (Satan) and consequently an enemy of God.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4.

Mankind has ignored the lesson taught here in Genesis, for man has been trying to make substitutions, just as Cain did, for what God has required for salvation ever since that notable day of Cain’s failure.

There are “religious systems” built around substitutionary offerings this very day. You may be a part of one of them and not even know it. (We will cover this in detail in later chapters.)

Abel offered the required sacrifice and it was pleasing to God. His faith, in offering the sacrifice which God required, was his salvation. He simply did as God required of him and became acceptable to God. That is what faith does. Faith does whatever God says to do at the time He requires it done.

ENOCH

There is very little written about Enoch, but there is enough for us to see that Enoch was a man that did what God said to do:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5.

Wouldn’t it be great if God could say we pleased Him? That is all he wants from us. Is it too much to ask considering all He has done for us?

Enoch did whatever God said do, and that pleased God. Because he was obedient to what God asked from him, God took Enoch home with Him. In other words, God saved him and transported him to live with Him forever.

NOAH

By the time Noah had reached the ripe old age of 500, the world was a pretty rotten place. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in that every thought of mankind was to do evil things continually, and God would have destroyed all of mankind, but for Noah.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6: 5-8.

God told Noah what He wanted him to do:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11: 7.

We have already said that faith will do whatever God says do. In the case of Noah, God said: “Build me an ark and I will save you and your household.” What did faith do? Faith, moved with fear, built an ark to the saving of his house. Because of this act of faith, the building of the ark as instructed, God declared Noah to be righteous (a child of God).

It should be getting very clear to you by now: “If you want to please God, you need to do what He requires of you for the time in which you live.”

ABRAHAM

God required Abraham to do certain things for his salvation, just as he required it of Able, Enoch and Noah. God established certain things for Abraham to perform in order to test his obedience. The following are but two of those requirements:

1. God said: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1. He left, not knowing where he was going. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11: 8.

2. God said, “I want you to offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice.” Abraham prepared to do so, for he had faith that God would raise him from the dead. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.

Abraham was rewarded for his faithfulness and is known as the father of many, even though he had become a very old man when Sarah conceived Isaac. “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11: 12.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when Isaac was conceived, but he believed God and did what God asked of him. Because of his faith, Abraham was blessed of God and thereby assured that his seed would be many; for through the seed of Isaac and Jacob Jesus was born, in whom all the world would be blessed.

Abraham did all that God asked of him, believing that God would do all that He said He would do. His faith and his actions (works) were pleasing to God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4: 3.

In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews there are many names listed in “The Faith Hall of Fame). But time and space will only permit us to add two more: Moses and Rahab.

MOSES

In the time that Herod was the leader over Israel, he decreed that all male children born of the Hebrew women were to be killed. Moses’ parents knew there was something special about their newborn son, so they hid him for three months after birth before putting him in a place where he was sure to be found. Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the little one while bathing in the river and took him home with her, where he was raised in the house of Pharaoh.

When Moses became a man, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11: 25.

God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Many know a lot about the plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians but the most significant one was when God told Moses to have his people sprinkle the blood of an animal over the door and on the side post of their dwelling place, and if they would do so, the first born male of their household would live rather than die. (Exodus 12). By faith, Moses instructed the people, and those who did as the Lord required, were spared their lives when the death angle passed over the land that night. God spared the lives of all those who obeyed His command.

By faith, Moses and the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry land, but those of Pharaoh’s army were swallowed up by the water. (Exodus 14).

Moses, just like those of faith before him, did whatever God told him to do; and God did for Moses as He had done for those before him – saved him and counted the works he did for righteousness.

RAHAB

The story concerning Rahab is a most interesting one; you will find it detailed in the Book of Joshua – Chapters 2 through 6.

Rahab was a harlot (Joshua 2: 1). Joshua sent two spies to scope out Jericho and they came to Rahab’s house. Even though the King of Jericho had sent messages to Rahab to turn the spies over to him, she did not, choosing to hide them instead and also to lie concerning there whereabouts (Joshua 2: 1-4). Rahab later told the two men that she knew the Lord had already given them the land and asked them to spare her and her family.

The only way she could have known Jericho would be taken was if God had revealed it unto her. So when Joshua gave orders to destroy the city and its inhabitants, he excluded Rahab and her family: “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” Joshua 6: 17.

Rahab and her family were saved because they did as God instructed them to do. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” James 2: 25

SUMMARY

In the old Testament, if one was to be declared righteous, one would simply do what God said do.

1. If God said, “Cain and Able, offer an animal sacrifice.” Faith would offer an animal sacrifice. Abel did and was declared righteous; Cain did not and was not declared righteous, but was cursed of God.

2. If God said, “Enoch, do what I say do.” Faith would do whatever God said. Apparently Enoch did just that, for the Scripture says “He pleased God.” “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5. And we know God took Enoch home with Him.

3. If God said: “Noah, build me an ark and I will save you and your house”; faith would build an ark. That’s exactly what Noah did and God kept His promise.

4. If God said: “Abraham, get thee out of thy country, be circumcised and offer your only begotten son Isaac as a sacrifice”; What would faith do but get out, be circumcised and offer Isaac as a sacrifice? Abraham did all those things and they were counted to him for righteousness.

5. If God said: “Moses, put the blood over your door and on the side post and I will save your first born son; then walk across the Red Sea on dry land and I will save you.” Faith would do it, without hesitation. Moses did all that was asked of Him and God saved him.

6. If God said: “Rahab, hide the two messengers of God and send those looking for them away and I will save you and your house”; faith would hide the men. Rahab did that and God saved her as well as her family.

It is faith and faith alone that saved the Old Testament saints. Faith obeys whatever God requires for the time at hand. The Scriptures are clear about that. There is no better explanation of what we just said than is found in James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Old Testament faith had to be followed with the response of a work being performed by the individual. There is no way to separate one from the other. In Old Testament times there would not have been an evidence of faith apart from works.

Do not be confused by this. We will show in subsequent passages that individual works are no longer a part of the salvation process. But for the period of time under discussion faith must be followed by works.

3. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

IN THE GOSPELS

Webster’s dictionary defines “righteous” as: meeting the standards of what is right and just.

With respect to Israel, the chosen people of God through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one was made righteous if he did as God demanded or commanded him. One’s sins would be taken care of temporarily until the time when those sins would be blotted out permanently by the blood of Christ. This blotting out of sins for Israel and all the saved of the Old Testament and the four Gospels as well, will take place after Christ sets up His 1,000 year millennial reign. It did not happen the moment they confessed Christ as the Messiah. (We will show you when that started later on in the booklet.)

In the Old Testament we saw God demanding certain works in order to be declared righteous. What we must address at this time is: Does all that change with the coming of Christ? The question is: “Are works by man still required in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to be approved of God”? The answer is, yes!

With the coming of John the Baptist we see the introduction of a new work – water baptism. In Luke 3: 3 we see the following: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” The passage is about John the Baptist preaching that one must be baptized in order to have remission of sins.

What does that mean exactly? It means that a new requirement for righteousness is being introduced. It means that God now requires a person to be baptized if they are to be accepted of Him. It is a work that has to be done. It is no different from the work of circumcision, the building of an arc or the offering of an animal sacrifice for the remission of sins.

I want you to examine the word “remission” for a moment. When we say that a particular disease, like cancer, is in remission; does that mean it no longer exists? It generally means the disease has only been arrested momentarily and there is a possibility that it may re-appear. We will discuss this in more detail later, but I want you to think of what I just said as we continue with our commentary.

In the third chapter of the Book of Matthew, we find John the Baptist speaking to a group of people. He tells them that he comes baptizing with water unto repentance, but Christ will come and baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Matthew 3: 11.

Not too long after this event took place, Jesus comes before John, requesting to be baptized. John says, “That should not happen, Lord, you need to baptize me, not I you.”

Look at the Lord’s response: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” Matthew 3: 15.

Now what do you suppose the meaning of the words, “to fulfil all righteousness” means? Jesus tells John it is necessary for Him, the Lord, to be baptized to fulfil all righteous. Just as Old Testament saints were to perform certain works before they were declared righteous, Jesus is saying He must do what is required in order that He might fulfil the righteous command for that day and age.

Would it not stand to reason that if God had some specific requirements for those living in the time period we are now discussing, all who wished to please God would comply? Sure it would. Look at the following passage that elude to that thought.

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4: 34.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5: 30.

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. John7: 16.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8: 29.

These verses spoken by Jesus tell of the Savior seeking only to please God and to do God’s will. So, if the will of the Father was for all to be baptized, Jesus would be baptized, thus fulfilling all righteousness.

Unlike all others of that time period, Jesus was not baptized for the remission of sins, for He had no sin; He was simply doing the will of the Father. God said do it. He did it. God demanded obedience to His commands; Jesus was obedient and was baptized.

Baptism, like circumcision was never intended to blot out one’s sins. Baptism was a temporal cleansing until the blood of Jesus would blot out all sins. If God said: “Be baptized and your sins will be remitted until the time of restitution when they will be blotted out”, faith would be baptized expecting the blotting out of their sins to be forthcoming.

Jesus was baptized simply because God required it for that time period. His purpose was to please God and do His will. That was no difference from the requirements God imposed on Old Testament saints.

But His baptism was for another purpose in the fulfilling of all righteousness also. In Old Testament days the priest would wash the animal sacrifice before offering it on the altar of sacrifice. Jesus’ baptism was in fulfillment of that. It was in preparation for His own sacrifice: His death on Calvary.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE DEATH OF CHRIST?

Were works still operational in order to fulfill all righteousness? Did the requirements of God change once Christ died? No, they did not!. In the command Jesus gave His disciples after His resurrection, we read these words:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28: 1920.

“And he said unto them, 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.” Mark 16: 15-16.

In the following passages, the Lord has already gone back to be with the Father, and there doesn’t appear to be any change in what the apostles are preaching.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 37-38.

There are some who say there was a big change. They will tell you that in Matthew and Mark the command was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whereas in Acts they are commanded to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. The fact remains that baptism was still a requirement and that is the subject we are presently discussing.

What is sad is that there are those that based their entire religious belief over the fact that one must be baptized in Jesus’ name or they will not be saved. They have missed the point entirely that baptism never saved, it was only a temporal thing, a work that must be performed at that time in order to please God.

If God said: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins:; faith would do that. Baptism was as much a work as:
1. The animal sacrifices of Abel.

2. The work Enoch did to please God.

3. The building of the ark by Noah.

4. The getting out of the country, being circumcised, and the offering of Isaac by Abraham.

5. The putting of the blood on the door and walking across the Red Sea by Moses.

6. The hiding of the messengers by Rahab.

There is not one bit of difference. So we can add to our list of works.

7. The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins from John the Baptist up until the Dispensation of Grace.

Baptism is as much a work as the other six were. It is something you must do. It is something people can see. Yet, baptism was not something new, nor was it begun by John the Baptist as some suggest. It only became a requirement for remission of sins when God instructed John to teach it.

The practice of washing (baptizing) the sacrifice was already established under the law.

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9: 1.

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptism), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (by the Law) until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9: 9-10.

Israel, God’s covenant people, had so transgressed against God that John the Baptist was calling them to repentance and back to godly fellowship. Animal sacrificial washing was not good enough, they would now need to present themselves as clean (baptized) vessels before Almighty God. Thus the call of John was to repent and be baptized (cleansed) for the remission of your sins.

This baptism of oneself, taught by John, like the baptism of animals, was never intended to be the answer for salvation. It was a temporal thing. The purpose of John’s baptism was to be cleansed temporarily until the times of refreshing came. (The second coming of Christ.)

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. ….And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash (the same word for baptize), they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” Mark 7: 1, 3-4.

Baptism was an act of cleanliness. The animal sacrifice was washed (baptized) in order to present the sacrifice clean before the Lord. A priest washed (baptized) his hands before he accepted the animal sacrifice, and so on and so forth it goes.

But certain denominations have turned baptism into a religious issue. Let me try to get you to see what Jesus thought about that. Continue to read with me in Mark 7: 4-7: “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen (un-baptized) hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

When an entire denomination is based upon the doctrine of baptism, is this not commandments of men? Religion is destroying Christianity. Religious organizations emphasize their own doctrinal issues rather than teaching people how to understand God’s Word.

FACT: The way a denomination baptizes is not important in this Dispensation of Grace. You can sprinkle, immerse the whole body or just the head, and as far as God is concerned you are nothing more than the hypocritical Pharisees he chastised above. Baptism, like the law it was a part of, has been replaced by the grace of God.

Baptism was a work that men could boast about. “I’ve been baptized, have you? You haven’t? Well if you haven’t you are lost and going to hell.”

Preachers talk to other preachers and say: “We baptized 50 people this quarter, how many baptisms did you have?” Shouldn’t they be saying how many people got saved? Or do you suppose they think baptisms are synonymous with salvation? If so how do you justify the following

Ephesians 2: 8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

4. THE FAITH THAT IS – NOW

Most Christians will tell you that we are living in the age of grace or the Dispensation of Grace, but when asked to define what that is their answer is either weak or rote. For instance, they might say “It is a time when mankind is saved by the grace of God or it is a time that God is dealing graciously with man.”

That is a true saying but a very weak answer in that it does not really cover the depth of God’s purpose for this age. God has always dealt graciously with man in every generation and dispensation. However, this present Dispensation of Grace is the only time God has dealt with man without requiring man’s work to be an integral part of the salvation process. Christ did the work for us when he shed His blood on Calvary. So, we are living in a dispensation where we are saved by grace through faith – NOT OF WORKS.

There are no animal sacrifices needed because God provided the perfect sacrifice – Jesus Christ. There is no baptism needed because we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Many Christians know this but they have limited knowledge about the requirements of faith that came before the Dispensation of Grace and will come again when this dispensation reaches its end.

Question: If works were necessary prior to the law and during the Dispensation of the Law; and if works were necessary immediately after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, when did faith without works start?

Question: If Peter did not preach faith alone apart from works at Pentecost, who started preaching it?

Question: Is it all that important to know who started preaching this message of grace? Does it make any difference who started preaching it?

We think it does make a difference and we want you to know why.

BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS

It is appalling that the majority of Christians do not care enough about the importance of knowing the truth as well as their refusal to study the Bible in order to find the truth.

We have become a complacent society. We get upset more about lying politicians than we do about lying preachers. If we catch a politician in a lie we go to great lengths to make sure they are exposed and removed from office; but we won’t even give one hour a day in studying God’s word to prove what a preacher is teaching is wrong.

Why do you suppose that is true? Could it be there are so many of us who just do not care? Or could it be that we do not know enough about the Bible to even question their veracity? Perhaps both, but I would venture to say it is the latter and that is a most disturbing thought.

I believe that ninety percent of the people attending churches today get ninety-five percent of their knowledge of the Bible from what a preacher said the Scriptures said, not through searching the Scriptures to find what God really said.

Question: How do you know what your preacher is teaching is in fact truth? When the apostle Paul was evaluating two churches, listen to his praise for those at Berea and why he praised them.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they (1) received the word with all readiness of mind, and (2) searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17: 11.

If we would be considered noble, based upon the criteria in Acts 17:11, we would:

1) Listen to what a preacher or teacher says and,
2) But we would not believe what was said without checking our Bibles first.
3) If what the preacher or teacher said is not the same as what the Bible says, do not believe the preacher or teacher.

And I say if the latter is true, you ought to quit listening to that person. He is a false teacher. We should make sure that the Scripture used to prove a point does not contradict with other Scripture. If there is a question as to whether or not there is a contradiction then you need to determine where that Scripture fits and into what dispensation it applies.

You need to get in the habit of asking questions. Such as, 1) To whom is the passage written, those under the law or those under grace. 2) In what time period does this Scripture refer: past dispensations or the present dispensation?

The Bible does not contradict itself, but false teachers will say it does when it does not agree with their doctrinal position, or when they are trying to get you to believe a lie.

Asking questions is a good way to study and to grow in understanding. Questioning a Bible teacher is a great way to determine their knowledge as well as there veracity. If a preacher or teacher will not tell the truth about one particular thing, he will not tell the truth about another and another. One lie leads to another lie.

The Bible warns us about these false teachers in 2 Corunthians11: 13-15:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

If the word of God tells us: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3: 23-25. Why do some preachers tell you that you are still under the law and must keep the ordinances of the law? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

If the word of God says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9; why do preachers say you have to be baptized or speak in tongues (which are works) to be saved? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

Paul was confronted with false teachers coming into an assembly after he had departed. Look what he says about them: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. Galatians 1: 6-8.

There are false teachers in pulpits today masquerading as minister of Christ. Their one objective is to deceive you into believing The Lie. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

1) Some give just enough truth so you will not question them. Remember our training from school when taking a true/false exam? Weren’t you instructed that if one part of the statement was false then the whole statement was considered to be false? Yes!
2) Others act as though they are the sweetest thing this side of fresh honey, in the hope of your thinking they can do no wrong. There is an old saying that goes like this: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Watch out for the sweet ones.
3) Still others deceive you with their eloquence and charisma. Hitler was a charismatic individual and so was Jim Jones. Look at what happened to their followers.
4) Some even get you caught up in their deceit by the music they sing and the excitement it brings. What is their objective, to get you so worked up emotionally in singing you will not know or care what is being said? Now that’s the best one yet.

Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!

I am not saying that every charismatic, eloquent individual is a false person or that everyone who loves to sing is following untruth; nor am I saying that a man of God cannot be a sweet, loving and compassionate individual. I am only showing you the possibilities and the probabilities out there. If you are really interested in knowing the truth, always follow this suggestion from 1 Peter 5: 8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

REGENERATION

In the introduction I stated it was very hard to believe someone cared enough for me to die for my sins; but God did and Jesus Christ was willing to be my sin offering. God cared enough to ask His only begotten Son to die for the sins of man. Jesus Christ cared enough that He was willing to go into hell so my sins would be forgiven.

Christ’s death, and the blood He shed on Calvary, was for the sins of all men: before the law, under the law, under grace and after grace.

However, there is one question that haunts many believers today: when were sins blotted out or atoned for? There are two answers for that one question, but before we examine them we need to get a clearer understanding of the word atonement.

There are seven Jewish feast days, one of them is The Feast of Atonement. The first time it is mentioned is in Leviticus 23: 27-32.

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the children of Israel were to bring their animal sacrifices to the High Priest. The High Priest would receive the sacrificial animal and slit its throat, catch the blood in a vessel and then put the blood on the animal, symbolic for the blood being a covering for sin. Once this ritual was performed, all the sins of the past were “atoned for.” Then the next year, on the Day of Atonement, they would repeat the process. They must do this each and every year of their lives.

When Christ died on the cross, the symbolic animal sacrifice was not needed anymore. That sacrifice was part of Jewish law, and Christ abolished the law in His flesh.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” Ephesians 2: 15.

It is Christ’s blood that atones for sins. The question is: “At what time does this atonement take place?” The answer is two fold.

1). At the conclusion of his Pentecostal address, Peter said the following in Acts 3: 19-21:

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The passage states that the atonement will come when Jesus Christ returns the second time, known as the second coming of Christ. The times of refreshing will come during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ. Christ returns at the end of the seven years of tribulation and then established His 1,000 year earthly reign as King.

Peter is addressing a predominately Jewish crowd. Peter has been preaching “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 38.

What Peter tells the people is they must repent, be cleansed (baptized) so that their sins will be in remission until the time comes when those sins will be blotted out.

2) In Romans 5: 9-11, Paul is addressing a different group of believers, which we will call the Church the Body of Christ. Look at what he tells them:

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

I want you to look at two parts of the passage above. In verse 9 you see the words, “shall be saved from wrath’; and in verse11 the words “we have now received the atonement”.

So, members of the Church the Body of Christ will not go through the wrath, which is the tribulation and the wrath to come, and their sins are atoned for NOW.

Are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 5: 9-11 paradoxes, seemingly contradictory statements that may nonetheless be true? Yes they are! They are both truth, however, they speak to two different groups of people. The passages do not contradict. They are for two different dispensations and two separate time periods and are for two different groups of people.

Acts 3:19-21 is for Israel and all those who were saved under the Kingdom message preached by Peter. Their sins will be atoned when Christ returns to earth the second time. Whereas Romans 5: 9-11 is for the Church the Body of Christ and those who were saved by grace. Their sins are atoned the moment they trust Christ as their Savior.

SALVATION FOR ISRAEL

Let’s look at Acts 3: 21 again: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” What prophets spoke of this event can be seen in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Lets go there.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Let us look very closely at what we just read.

1. V. 31 states there will be a New Covenant established with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Judah is in reference to the two faithful tribes: Judah and Benjamin; and Israel is in reference to the ten unfaithful tribes.

2. V. 32: This New Covenant is different from the Old Covenant made with Israel, through Moses.

3. V. 33 says that God will put His law in their inward parts and write it on their hearts. In this dispensation, Israel’s heart has been hardened because they went a whoring from the presence of God. “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” Hosea 5: 12. God finally “put His foot down” and declared Israel to be Lo-ami, not my people. “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28: 28.

4. V. 33 also says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God will unlock their hardened hearts and bring them from the state of being Lo-ami (Not my people) to the state of being His people. The promised restoration of Israel will be realized. Look at Acts 1: 6: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The restoration of Israel was what they were looking for, but that time did not come. Look at what Jesus said: “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1: 7. The disciples knew about the prophecy of Jeremiah and were anticipating the earthly kingdom. But that did not happen in Acts. It will happen when Christ returns to earth.

5. V. 34: When Christ establishes His earthly Kingdom, all Israel will know the Lord. It is obvious that they do not know Him at this time.

6. V. 34: When the earthly Kingdom is established the lord will blot out Israel’s sins. But for now, they are waiting for that day. All the saved of the Old Testament and all those who believed the Kingdom message that Peter preached are waiting for their Day of Atonement. It is a future event.

Fact: The Church the Body of Christ is not a New Covenant group of believers. The New Covenant is to be made with Israel and Judah. The New Covenant will become operational when Christ returns at the end of tribulation, establishes His 1,000 year millennial reign and sets up His earthly throne.

You have witnessed seemingly contradictory verse of Scripture, but if we learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth, as 2 Timothy 2: 15 states; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can see that the passages under consideration involves two separate dispensations.

SALVATION FOR THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

Our salvation is by grace and not of works. We become a child of God by trusting in the Faith of Christ. What is the Faith of Christ? He believed the father would raise Him from the dead if he was willing to die for the sins of man.

If you or I are saved today, it not because of anything we did.

You/I cannot do anything to earn our salvation.

You/I cannot do anything to make our salvation better or more meaningful.

Your/My faith cannot save us; that would be a work.

You/I cannot add anything to what Christ has already done.

Look at Titus 3: 4-7: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

THE FAITH OF CHRIST

The finished work of Christ means just what it says: “It is finished.” It was finished the moment He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. When we accept the finished work of Christ we die, and yet we are made alive: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20.

This is another paradox: How can one be dead and still be alive? The Bible teaches we become a part of Christ’s body the moment we believe the Gospel of Christ. Christ died; we died too. Christ rose from the dead; we rose from the dead too. By accepting the Faith of Christ we have been made alive spiritually, but dead to sin. That does not mean our flesh will not sin, it does. But it means that since Christ conquered sin, we will too, in resurrection.

If we believe that Christ did everything for our salvation and that we (mankind) can do nothing, and I do believe that; then the following Scriptures are very important for a clearing understanding of what we are saying. These verses of Scripture state our position without the need of a deep theological explanation.

Galatians 2:

16 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 3:

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Romans 3:

23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

What do all of these verses have in common? In a King James Bible, it is the Faith of Christ. They tell me I am justified by the Faith of Christ, I am made righteous by the Faith of Christ, and I live by the Faith of Christ.

So, what exactly was the Faith of Christ? Christ, who left His throne in Glory, had faith that the Father would restore Him to the position He had before he became flesh and blood. He also had faith that if He were to die and go into hell for the sins of the world, God would not leave his soul in hell. That was the faith Christ had. He believed that God would do what He said He would do.

Christ became a human sacrifice for the world’s sins. It was a work that He was willing to perform and it was that work that justified all of mankind. It is His faith that saves me. I can do nothing for my salvation; it was completed when Christ died over 2,000 years ago.

THE GOSPEL UNTO SALVATION

Since salvation was taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago, how can it be mine?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1: 16.

“So what is the Gospel of Christ,” you ask? It is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There are a lot of people who believe that Christ died, was buried and rose again but are as lost as they can be. You might be one of those. The Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2: 19. But it is impossible for the devil to be saved and live with God eternally because God has already condemned him to a life in the lake of fire.

There are many who have spent their entire life going to church. They will tell you they have always been a Christian. They believe in God, Jesus Christ, Easter and Christmas, but that does not mean they are saved and that does not mean they are a Christian.

Every person in this world has to understand that they are sinners. They were born sinners and will die sinners. But if a sinner believes that Christ paid the price for their sins and trust what He did for them on Calvary, then they are Children of God.

Some things you should understand scripturally:

1. You are a sinner: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. You need to understand you are lost before you will understand the need to be saved.

2. The penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6: 23. Since you are a sinner, you should die, but Christ intervened on your behalf, if you will trust what He did.

3. The gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. The free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel of Christ. The gospel is not the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The gospel is Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected.

Satan knew Christ did not die for his sins, for Satan’s sin separated him permanently from God. He knows there is a God and he knows who the Son of God is too. He believes in them and you’d better believe he knows that Christ rose from the dead, because when Christ did that he conquered death and Satan’s power of death. Look at Hebrews 2: 14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

So you see, just believing in God, Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection does not save unless you believe all He did was for you and your sins. Christ died for your sins and you must accept His work for you if you are to be saved.

One other thing, the Gospel is the power of God UNTO salvation. Christ is our salvation. There is nothing you can do to earn this salvation for it is the gift of God. Salvation has always been available to you. Now all you must do is believe the Gospel. Once it become personal for you, you will become a part of Christ’s body and His Spirit will dwell in you.

SECURE: CHRIST LIVING IN ME

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12: 13.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12: 27.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1: 27.

Think about it, Christ living in you! And if He does, that guarantees you eternal life with Him. You are part of Christ’s body and that means that wherever He is, you are. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 4-9.

I underlined the words hath quickened so that you would understand this is “past tense.” That means I have already been raised up into heaven spiritually. My Spirit is already with Christ, who is in heaven.

How can one teach that you can loose your salvation if they read the Scriptures listed above? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ. Beware! Beware!

God knows everything so He would know I was going to sin after I believed, wouldn’t He? Sure He would. So when Christ died for the sins of the world, He died for all those sins I would commit a hundred tomorrows from now as well as for the ones I committed yesterday.

This question remains: “Did Christ die for ALL my sins or not”? And the answer is and always has been a resounding yes. How do I know that? I know that because the Word of God says so.

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2: 10-15.

Christ has already quickened those who trusted Him and has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses. Then how can some preacher say if I sin I will loose my salvation? He must be a false teacher acting as though he was a minister of light. Beware! If you continue to listen to him you will be his roommate in hell.

GOOD WORKS vs. BAD WORKS

Sin does not rob me of eternal life with Christ, but sin does rob me of something. Sin robs me of my reward. A Christian can do things (works) that are bad as well as good. My bad works, things done in my flesh, will be burned and I will suffer loss, but I will not suffer my inheritance. My good works, things done in the Spirit, will stand the test of fire and I will receive a reward. Look at 1 Corinthians 3; 11-16:

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The gold, silver and precious stones of verse twelve are good works. When they are subjected to fire they are purified, not destroyed. The end result is reward. The “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” of 2 Timothy 2: 12 could very well be the reward spoken of in 1 Corinthians.

The wood, hay and stubble of verse twelve are bad works. When they are subjected to fire they burn completely, they are destroyed. The child of God will suffer loss, but he will still be secure in Christ, as verse fifteen states.

There are many skeptics, or false teachers who might wonder why we did not include 1 Corinthians 3: 17 in our commentary. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Fact: This body can be destroyed. It will be before we ascend into heaven, but God may also allow it to be delivered into the hands of Satan at anytime it ceases to be productive. Look at 2 Corinthians 5: 5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Good and bad works are contrasted with the spirit and the flesh. The two are not compatible. There is a war going on between the flesh and the Spirit and often times it is very frustrating for the believer. Look at what God’s Word say on the subject.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5: 17.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7: 18-25.

Paul, the author of both Galatians and Romans, was aware of the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. He had problems with his flesh too. He was constantly fighting to overcome the desires of his flesh. But at least he was trying, unlike the majority of us who call ourselves Christians. We seem to be content with the fact that we are saved and already seated in heavenly places and go about living like children of the devil, rather than walk as children of God. Watch out! God could turn you over to Satan for the destruction of your flesh.

“But don’t we have liberty under grace, as stated in Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” one might say?

Yes! But you need to look at Galatians 5: 13: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We must not abuse the liberty we have or we will prostitute the grace of God.

WHAT REGENERATION IS NOT TODAY

Regeneration in the Dispensation of Grace is not works performed by mankind. Salvation has always been accompanied with works, regardless of the dispensation. That is why proponents of it today quote James 2: 20: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” or James 2: 26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The works James speaks of are those that man can do.

There was a time when this statement applied to the believer. But in the Dispensation of Grace, in which we currently reside, man’s work plays no part in salvation. The work that must be done has already been done by Christ.

1. Able had to offer the right sacrifice or not be accepted of God.

2. Noah had to build an ark before he and his family could be saved.

3. Abraham had to offer Isaac or not be declared righteous.

4. Moses had to put blood over the door so the first born male child could be saved. He also had to walk through the Red Sea to be saved.

5. Rahab had to send those looking for the men of God in another direction so that she and her family would be saved.

6. Those believer in the gospels had to repent and be baptized before they could be saved.

All these works were necessary because God said do them to show your faith. So then BY their faith, plus doing the required work, God saved them. Salvation has always been doing what God required, at the time He required them to be done.

Well, God does not require you to perform any work today. God says that people living in the Dispensation of Grace CANNOT DO ANYTHING that will save them. Let me be more emphatic, you MUST NOT DO ANYTHING in an attempt to be saved or you will frustrate the grace of God.

Salvation in the twenty-first century is a free gift, given by God because of the WORK of His Son. So then, the work that had been necessary for man to perform has been replaced by the work that Christ performed. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Why would God say, “and that not of yourselves” if it had not once been of yourselves? In prior dispensations, salvation was BY faith doing whatever God said do. It was man’s faith doing what God required at the time.

In this present dispensation it is all about Christ’s faith that saves, and Christ has already done what was necessary: He died for the sins of the world; he became the sacrifice for sins. Salvation for this age involves the work of Christ.

Those of us living today cannot perform any work, cannot add anything to Christ’s finished work. Persons in prior dispensations were saved BY their faith, accompanied with works. In the present dispensation, we receive our salvation THROUGH faith believing in Christ’s faith and His work. Look at Romans 3: 30: “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

God has always required a work (by man) to follow an act of faith in every dispensation, with the exception of the dispensation of Grace. In this present dispensation Christ has done the work necessary. We must accept, through faith, the work of Christ for our salvation.

The uncircumcision of Romans 3:30 speaks of the Church the Body of Christ. This body of believers is a unique group of people, chosen in God before the foundation of the world.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1: 4.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 7.

The Bible says that the Church the Body of Christ will be an example to the world of the grace of God. For the first and only time, God is not requiring works of man as a show of faith. He allowed Christ to perform the work for us. That, my friend, is what grace is about. God has given us a precious gift, the gift of life through Christ Jesus our Lord. He died, became the sacrifice for sins, thus performing the work necessary to please God.

Let us look at James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Works WERE necessary to show faith. Without the work there would have been no justification. This has always been the truth and it still is today. But it is the work of Christ that saves today, not the work of man. In other dispensations the work that was required was a work that men did. In the present dispensation it is a work that Christ has done. This is grace.

This teaching is not something that has been known for only a short time. It is not some doctrine that I have espoused on my on. I was taught it by someone who was taught it by someone else. Songs written long ago declared it: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

In past dispensations if a man did not do works he could not be saved. In the present dispensation if man thinks his works saves him he is not saved.

Paul said: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Do you want to frustrate the grace of God? Do not allow some false prophet to hoodwink you into believing you must be baptized or speak in tongues to be saved. That would be frustrating the grace of God. That would be a work you could perform, thus frustrating to God and to Christ who did the work required for your salvation.

WHAT WILL IT BE – HEAVEN OR HELL?

Question: If you were to die today, would you spend eternity in heaven or hell?

If you said heaven, praise God and go and share your faith and your assurance with a lost friend, relative, fellow worker or neighbor.

If you said hell or you do not know, read on.

Would you like to know about heaven? If one is to go there they must be saved, they must trust in what Christ has already done for them. How does one come to that point?

1. Recognize you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3: 23.

2. Understand the penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6: 23.

3. Believe the gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. Accept the free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Everyone who is alive is a sinner. You are, and so am I. Adam was made in the image of God, but Adam sinned, and everyone who has ever been born is born of fallen Adam. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was a sin. Everyone that was born of Adam was born in sin and falls short of the glory of God. Since all who are born are born sinners, what we sinners deserve (wages of sin) is death. This death means to be separated from God eternally. But if I accept the gift of God, which is Christ dying for my sins; I will be saved from the wrath of eternal damnation.

God gives us eternal life with Him because of what Christ did on Calvary. And when Christ was resurrected from the grave he conquered death for all who would accept His gift.

Salvation is accepting the gift that has already been provided for you. It is free for you, but it cost God and Christ a lot in order for you to have it. Christ had to die and spend three days and night in hell before God resurrected Him from there.

When Christ died on Calvary over 2,000 years ago, God placed the sins of man, past, present and future, on His shoulders. Jesus Christ redeemed you from your sins. To redeem is to buy back. Until you accept what Christ did, you remain a salve to sin. That sin has separated you from God. Jesus Christ, in redemption, paid the necessary price (His life) and performed the work God required, the shedding of His blood, to restore fallen man’s standing with God.

Since you are a sinner, you have all been on “Death Row”. The sentence has been handed down by the eternal judge and you have been found lacking. You must die, but you have one last chance to escape eternal death: Accept the gift of Christ. If you do, you will pass from death to life.

ONLY BELIEVE

Most of you reading this will have never met me, but let me speak to you as if I were your closet friend. There is a heaven and there is a hell. When I was a child that was an accepted fact by the majority of the people living in the United States of America, but sadly, it is not the case today.

One day you are going to die. I want you to image that you are in prison and on “Death Row”. You’re only hope of escaping death would be if someone intervened on your behalf. You’ve been informed that that someone, Jesus Christ, is coming today. He enters your cell and speaks:

Jesus: “My child, you are in a precarious situation, are you not?”

Doomed Soul: “Yes Sir, I am. Can you help me?”

Jesus: “Yes, I can.”

Doomed Soul: “Will you?”

Jesus: “I already have. But up until this point you have refused to accept my gift to you. Will you trust that I have already done what is necessary for you to be free? Will you believe that what I have done will give you a get out of jail free card?”

Doomed Soul: “I would like to believe, but how can I be sure that your word is true?”

Jesus: “Because I just told you. I am the way the truth and the life. The words that I speak are truth. I did everything for you to be free.”

Doomed Soul: “What did you do?”

Jesus: I died for your transgressions over 2,000 years ago. Men buried me, but my Father raised me from the dead three days later and I ascended back to my Father. Believe I did that for you and you can walk away from here a free person. Nobody will keep you from walking out of here.”

Doomed Soul: “Do you think I’m crazy? Why would you die for me? I’ve never met you before. There must be something in it for you, so what’s the catch? I’ve always been told you don’t get something for nothing.”

Jesus: “I did it because I loved you and I want you to be a part of my family, but you must trust me. Will you?”

Pause

Jesus: “Will you trust me? If you will, let’s get of here and go home to my Father.”

Doomed Soul: “The minute I walk out of that door those guards will think I’m trying to escape and they will shoot me. You are asking me to put my life in your hands and I do not even know you.”

Jesus: “If you knew me you would trust me. Will you?”

Doomed Soul: “I want to but I am afraid.”

Jesus: “What is there to be afraid of? You are going to die if you don’t trust me, and you’re going to live forever in a place of torment eternally. So what have you got to lose? If I walk out of here and you do not follow after me, you will surely die. I am offering you everlasting life in a wonderful place, all you have to do is trust me to be who I say I am. Will you let me save you or not? Believe in me and you will be free.”

The man slowly, but a little reluctantly, walks out the cell door and past the guard and out the doors to freedom.

Doomed Soul: “I believe He meant what He said so I put my life completely in His hands.”

Jesus: “My words are true, you can believe them.”

Saved Soul: “Thank you Lord, for saving my soul and giving me eternal life with you in heaven.”

If you are a lost sinner, Christ’s words are true and you will find those words in a King James Bible. His Word says believe I died for your sins, was buried and resurrected and you will be saved. Jesus says believe I did that for you and that salvation is by my grace and the work I did on Calvary. Trust my words and salvation is yours. It is God’s gift to all who will believe.

BE CAREFUL

There are many people in pulpits who will tell you that you must do this or that in order to be saved. They want you to add something that you can do to the finished work of Christ. The fact is that if you add anything you will loose everything. Jesus Christ redeemed you by the shedding of His blood. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Circumcision never saved anyone. Keeping the Law could not save anyone. Water baptism will not save anyone, nor will doing good works save anyone. Jesus saves! You do not have to walk down an isle and give a preacher your hand; that does not save you. You might cry or you might not, but crying will not save you. Actions and emotions do not aid in your salvation; they may occur, but they do not save.

Jesus paid the price for your salvation. He is all you need. If you add anything to His finished work you prostitute the grace of God. All you can do is trust in what He has already done. You can do that wherever you are: riding in a car, in a motel room, in your home or in the woods. The question is, “Will You?”

If you will, you are saved. Go and serve Him. Find a place that teaches the Bible and begin to grow in the knowledge of Him. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15.

You can obtain additional information on the ministry of Obed Kirkpatrick by viewing www.soundwordsministry.com.

Obed Kirkpatrick

INTRODUCTION

THE GOOD LIFE

Picture this: a house on a beautiful lake, snuggled in a peaceful valley; a winding river that flows through the center of town; a community of people who genuinely care for each other; a governing body whose one desire is to please you and honor you; a police force whose main purpose is to assist you any way they can as there is no crime; streets that glisten in the light because they are so clean; and beautiful music on every street corner; happy sounds everywhere you go, no Mister Scrooge, no locks on your doors, no bills to pay – only serenity!

It’s difficult to believe that there might be a place like that, isn’t it? But there is such a place, only better. There is no way our finite minds can comprehend what God has in store for those of us who love Him and have trusted His Son as our Savior. That is how eternity with God will be, beautiful beyond imagination and comprehension. What is even more amazing is all of this was provided for you and me long before we were conceived in our mother’s womb.

It is difficult to believe that before I was ever born someone would do something for me that would ensure me of a retirement free from all indebtedness, plus guarantee me satisfaction and happiness. However, God has done that and Jesus Christ is our assurance of that reward. As a matter of fact, Christ and Christ alone is the guarantor. You cannot buy this retirement plan, neither can you get it because you know somebody or because you know somebody who knows somebody. You cannot get this retirement because you won the world contest for being the kindest, sweetest, easiest to get along with, most compatible person in the entire world.

Entry into God’s retirement community is free! Jesus Christ paid the price for those who are its inhabitants. He paid the price the gatekeeper of this community, God, demanded. Christ paid for it over 2,000 years ago and he has offered it to all who will accept God’s conditions for occupancy. The conditions are so simple many think they are too good to be true, so they refuse the offer, they refuse the gift.

BAD LIFE

Because people refuse the offer of a good life, their retirement community will be drastically different. Instead of a quiet, peaceful atmosphere; theirs will be one of pain and agony. The people who live in this community will never live in peace and harmony. They will never enjoy the sounds of beautiful music. The sounds they will hear will be those of fellow citizens crying out in torment because all peoples in this community will be in constant pain day and night. The people will cry out and ask God to be merciful and kill them so they can be free from this torment, but their cries will be in vain. They will not die.

People who have journeyed to this retirement community must live here for all eternity without any hope of escaping. They will have to learn to ignore the smell of rotting flesh. They will become indifferent to the decayed bodies of all inhabitants, for all who live here will have the stench of a body unattended by a funeral director. The pain of the people will be so intense they will grind their teeth together, making a noise that is annoying to all who hear, and believe me, all will hear. Sleep will not come here, because the torment is constant. There is no beauty in this place, only ugliness; no joy, only sorrow. This retirement community will be the most disgusting place in all of creation.

The reason someone would choose this kind of retirement is hard for us to understand, but many will choose this life because they refuse to believe in God and want no part of the promises he has in store for all those who do believe in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you might be thinking, “I have never made that choice.” But you have. You made the choice when you refused to accept the free gift Christ offered you. God does not force one to accept His life-style. He does not use media bombardment or crafty sales techniques that his opponents do. God’s Word, The Holy Bible, says, “Here is my Son, Jesus Christ. Accept what He did for you: died for your sins, was buried and then resurrected, and you will inherit life everlasting with Me.”

Refusal to accept what God requires means automatic entrance into the other retirement community.

We want to explore with you what God has required, over the various dispensations of time, to be a participant in the Good Life.

1. God’s Plan

Long before He created the world, God made provisions for man to share eternity with Him: Jesus Christ would come to earth to die for the sins of fallen man. Even though man had not fallen yet, God, who is omniscient (all knowing), knew that He would create Adam, that Adam would disobey the command of God, thus committing a sin, and he would be in need of a Savior. Everyone who would be born into this new world would be the direct descendant of sinful Adam, would be of the seed of Adam, and be born with the sin of Adam.

Even though Adam was created in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1: 27; when he and Eve had their first child, he was born in the image of fallen Adam. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” Genesis 5: 3.

Since God knows all things, he made preparations and provisions for all who would accept Christ:

1. All who would accept Christ as Savior would look like Christ.

2. He would send the Holy Spirit to call those who would accept and draw them unto Him.

3. Once they “heeded” the call, He would justify them (not let their sin be a barrier anymore).

4. Then He would glorify them and they would be like God.

Romans 8: 28-30:

28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

All of these things were provided for mankind but not decided for them. Man must make the choice to choose Christ, but once he does then Romans 8: 28-30 becomes operational: man will be conformed to the image of the Son of God, will be justified and glorified.

In making these provisions, God is not only showing His intentions, but proving to everyone His veracity by following through. God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was and is simple. All God would require of man would be simple faith in the faith of Christ.

Today, man has a choice:

1. To do what God requires and live with Him forever.

2. Not do what God requires and live in another world, apart from God.

Let us explore some of the requirements of God.

2. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

OLD TESTAMENT

ABEL’S FAITH

Rebellion against the command of God was the cause of Adam’s sin and subsequent fall. When Adam sinned, God killed an animal and made Adam and Eve a covering for their nakedness: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3: 21.

This is the first time that a sacrifice was recorded in the Scripture. It established a precedent and a requirement for rebellious and sinful man: THERE MUST BE A BLOOD SACRIFICE PROVIDED FOR REMISSION OF SINS. Eradication of sin must come from the blood of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The blood of animals was for remission of sins for the past year. It was not for the blotting out of sins. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. There is a difference between the temporal remission of sins and those sins being blotted out.

When we get to the fourth chapter of Genesis we are introduced to Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve. There is no question but that these two sons knew the requirement of a sacrifice for their sins.

Genesis 4:

3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Abel brings an animal sacrifice unto God, a blood sacrifice; Cain brings a sacrifice as well, but his was a bunch of fruit. God had established the animal sacrifice when He provided the coats of skin for Adam and Eve. Abel obeyed God and his sacrifice was accepted. Cain did not obey God and his sacrifice was rejected. Cain made an attempt to substitute a non-blood sacrifice and God would not accept it, so Cain got a little upset.

Granted, the fruit was the very best that Cain had to offer, but the simple fact was that God required a different sacrifice. Faith does what God requires, at the time God requires it. Anything else, regardless of how good it may be, is not acceptable to God.

Able offered exactly what God required and his sacrifice was accepted.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11: 4.

God said: “Offer the right sacrifice and you will be accepted (saved; offer the wrong sacrifice and you will be rejected (not saved/lost).”

Cain could have offered the sacrifice God required and God would have welcomed it along with Cain, Genesis 4: 7 is clear about that. Look at it again.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain did exactly what he wanted to do with no regard for what God wanted him to do, and then he got upset with God because the Lord did not think his sacrifice was good enough. Because Cain was stubborn, prideful and unwilling to accept the requirement of God; his sacrifice was refused and Cain became a friend of the god of this world (Satan) and consequently an enemy of God.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4.

Mankind has ignored the lesson taught here in Genesis, for man has been trying to make substitutions, just as Cain did, for what God has required for salvation ever since that notable day of Cain’s failure.

There are “religious systems” built around substitutionary offerings this very day. You may be a part of one of them and not even know it. (We will cover this in detail in later chapters.)

Abel offered the required sacrifice and it was pleasing to God. His faith, in offering the sacrifice which God required, was his salvation. He simply did as God required of him and became acceptable to God. That is what faith does. Faith does whatever God says to do at the time He requires it done.

ENOCH

There is very little written about Enoch, but there is enough for us to see that Enoch was a man that did what God said to do:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5.

Wouldn’t it be great if God could say we pleased Him? That is all he wants from us. Is it too much to ask considering all He has done for us?

Enoch did whatever God said do, and that pleased God. Because he was obedient to what God asked from him, God took Enoch home with Him. In other words, God saved him and transported him to live with Him forever.

NOAH

By the time Noah had reached the ripe old age of 500, the world was a pretty rotten place. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in that every thought of mankind was to do evil things continually, and God would have destroyed all of mankind, but for Noah.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6: 5-8.

God told Noah what He wanted him to do:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11: 7.

We have already said that faith will do whatever God says do. In the case of Noah, God said: “Build me an ark and I will save you and your household.” What did faith do? Faith, moved with fear, built an ark to the saving of his house. Because of this act of faith, the building of the ark as instructed, God declared Noah to be righteous (a child of God).

It should be getting very clear to you by now: “If you want to please God, you need to do what He requires of you for the time in which you live.”

ABRAHAM

God required Abraham to do certain things for his salvation, just as he required it of Able, Enoch and Noah. God established certain things for Abraham to perform in order to test his obedience. The following are but two of those requirements:

1. God said: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1. He left, not knowing where he was going. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11: 8.

2. God said, “I want you to offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice.” Abraham prepared to do so, for he had faith that God would raise him from the dead. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.

Abraham was rewarded for his faithfulness and is known as the father of many, even though he had become a very old man when Sarah conceived Isaac. “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11: 12.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when Isaac was conceived, but he believed God and did what God asked of him. Because of his faith, Abraham was blessed of God and thereby assured that his seed would be many; for through the seed of Isaac and Jacob Jesus was born, in whom all the world would be blessed.

Abraham did all that God asked of him, believing that God would do all that He said He would do. His faith and his actions (works) were pleasing to God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4: 3.

In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews there are many names listed in “The Faith Hall of Fame). But time and space will only permit us to add two more: Moses and Rahab.

MOSES

In the time that Herod was the leader over Israel, he decreed that all male children born of the Hebrew women were to be killed. Moses’ parents knew there was something special about their newborn son, so they hid him for three months after birth before putting him in a place where he was sure to be found. Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the little one while bathing in the river and took him home with her, where he was raised in the house of Pharaoh.

When Moses became a man, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11: 25.

God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Many know a lot about the plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians but the most significant one was when God told Moses to have his people sprinkle the blood of an animal over the door and on the side post of their dwelling place, and if they would do so, the first born male of their household would live rather than die. (Exodus 12). By faith, Moses instructed the people, and those who did as the Lord required, were spared their lives when the death angle passed over the land that night. God spared the lives of all those who obeyed His command.

By faith, Moses and the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry land, but those of Pharaoh’s army were swallowed up by the water. (Exodus 14).

Moses, just like those of faith before him, did whatever God told him to do; and God did for Moses as He had done for those before him – saved him and counted the works he did for righteousness.

RAHAB

The story concerning Rahab is a most interesting one; you will find it detailed in the Book of Joshua – Chapters 2 through 6.

Rahab was a harlot (Joshua 2: 1). Joshua sent two spies to scope out Jericho and they came to Rahab’s house. Even though the King of Jericho had sent messages to Rahab to turn the spies over to him, she did not, choosing to hide them instead and also to lie concerning there whereabouts (Joshua 2: 1-4). Rahab later told the two men that she knew the Lord had already given them the land and asked them to spare her and her family.

The only way she could have known Jericho would be taken was if God had revealed it unto her. So when Joshua gave orders to destroy the city and its inhabitants, he excluded Rahab and her family: “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” Joshua 6: 17.

Rahab and her family were saved because they did as God instructed them to do. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” James 2: 25

SUMMARY

In the old Testament, if one was to be declared righteous, one would simply do what God said do.

1. If God said, “Cain and Able, offer an animal sacrifice.” Faith would offer an animal sacrifice. Abel did and was declared righteous; Cain did not and was not declared righteous, but was cursed of God.

2. If God said, “Enoch, do what I say do.” Faith would do whatever God said. Apparently Enoch did just that, for the Scripture says “He pleased God.” “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5. And we know God took Enoch home with Him.

3. If God said: “Noah, build me an ark and I will save you and your house”; faith would build an ark. That’s exactly what Noah did and God kept His promise.

4. If God said: “Abraham, get thee out of thy country, be circumcised and offer your only begotten son Isaac as a sacrifice”; What would faith do but get out, be circumcised and offer Isaac as a sacrifice? Abraham did all those things and they were counted to him for righteousness.

5. If God said: “Moses, put the blood over your door and on the side post and I will save your first born son; then walk across the Red Sea on dry land and I will save you.” Faith would do it, without hesitation. Moses did all that was asked of Him and God saved him.

6. If God said: “Rahab, hide the two messengers of God and send those looking for them away and I will save you and your house”; faith would hide the men. Rahab did that and God saved her as well as her family.

It is faith and faith alone that saved the Old Testament saints. Faith obeys whatever God requires for the time at hand. The Scriptures are clear about that. There is no better explanation of what we just said than is found in James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Old Testament faith had to be followed with the response of a work being performed by the individual. There is no way to separate one from the other. In Old Testament times there would not have been an evidence of faith apart from works.

Do not be confused by this. We will show in subsequent passages that individual works are no longer a part of the salvation process. But for the period of time under discussion faith must be followed by works.

3. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

IN THE GOSPELS

Webster’s dictionary defines “righteous” as: meeting the standards of what is right and just.

With respect to Israel, the chosen people of God through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one was made righteous if he did as God demanded or commanded him. One’s sins would be taken care of temporarily until the time when those sins would be blotted out permanently by the blood of Christ. This blotting out of sins for Israel and all the saved of the Old Testament and the four Gospels as well, will take place after Christ sets up His 1,000 year millennial reign. It did not happen the moment they confessed Christ as the Messiah. (We will show you when that started later on in the booklet.)

In the Old Testament we saw God demanding certain works in order to be declared righteous. What we must address at this time is: Does all that change with the coming of Christ? The question is: “Are works by man still required in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to be approved of God”? The answer is, yes!

With the coming of John the Baptist we see the introduction of a new work – water baptism. In Luke 3: 3 we see the following: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” The passage is about John the Baptist preaching that one must be baptized in order to have remission of sins.

What does that mean exactly? It means that a new requirement for righteousness is being introduced. It means that God now requires a person to be baptized if they are to be accepted of Him. It is a work that has to be done. It is no different from the work of circumcision, the building of an arc or the offering of an animal sacrifice for the remission of sins.

I want you to examine the word “remission” for a moment. When we say that a particular disease, like cancer, is in remission; does that mean it no longer exists? It generally means the disease has only been arrested momentarily and there is a possibility that it may re-appear. We will discuss this in more detail later, but I want you to think of what I just said as we continue with our commentary.

In the third chapter of the Book of Matthew, we find John the Baptist speaking to a group of people. He tells them that he comes baptizing with water unto repentance, but Christ will come and baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Matthew 3: 11.

Not too long after this event took place, Jesus comes before John, requesting to be baptized. John says, “That should not happen, Lord, you need to baptize me, not I you.”

Look at the Lord’s response: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” Matthew 3: 15.

Now what do you suppose the meaning of the words, “to fulfil all righteousness” means? Jesus tells John it is necessary for Him, the Lord, to be baptized to fulfil all righteous. Just as Old Testament saints were to perform certain works before they were declared righteous, Jesus is saying He must do what is required in order that He might fulfil the righteous command for that day and age.

Would it not stand to reason that if God had some specific requirements for those living in the time period we are now discussing, all who wished to please God would comply? Sure it would. Look at the following passage that elude to that thought.

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4: 34.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5: 30.

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. John7: 16.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8: 29.

These verses spoken by Jesus tell of the Savior seeking only to please God and to do God’s will. So, if the will of the Father was for all to be baptized, Jesus would be baptized, thus fulfilling all righteousness.

Unlike all others of that time period, Jesus was not baptized for the remission of sins, for He had no sin; He was simply doing the will of the Father. God said do it. He did it. God demanded obedience to His commands; Jesus was obedient and was baptized.

Baptism, like circumcision was never intended to blot out one’s sins. Baptism was a temporal cleansing until the blood of Jesus would blot out all sins. If God said: “Be baptized and your sins will be remitted until the time of restitution when they will be blotted out”, faith would be baptized expecting the blotting out of their sins to be forthcoming.

Jesus was baptized simply because God required it for that time period. His purpose was to please God and do His will. That was no difference from the requirements God imposed on Old Testament saints.

But His baptism was for another purpose in the fulfilling of all righteousness also. In Old Testament days the priest would wash the animal sacrifice before offering it on the altar of sacrifice. Jesus’ baptism was in fulfillment of that. It was in preparation for His own sacrifice: His death on Calvary.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE DEATH OF CHRIST?

Were works still operational in order to fulfill all righteousness? Did the requirements of God change once Christ died? No, they did not!. In the command Jesus gave His disciples after His resurrection, we read these words:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28: 1920.

“And he said unto them, 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.” Mark 16: 15-16.

In the following passages, the Lord has already gone back to be with the Father, and there doesn’t appear to be any change in what the apostles are preaching.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 37-38.

There are some who say there was a big change. They will tell you that in Matthew and Mark the command was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whereas in Acts they are commanded to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. The fact remains that baptism was still a requirement and that is the subject we are presently discussing.

What is sad is that there are those that based their entire religious belief over the fact that one must be baptized in Jesus’ name or they will not be saved. They have missed the point entirely that baptism never saved, it was only a temporal thing, a work that must be performed at that time in order to please God.

If God said: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins:; faith would do that. Baptism was as much a work as:
1. The animal sacrifices of Abel.

2. The work Enoch did to please God.

3. The building of the ark by Noah.

4. The getting out of the country, being circumcised, and the offering of Isaac by Abraham.

5. The putting of the blood on the door and walking across the Red Sea by Moses.

6. The hiding of the messengers by Rahab.

There is not one bit of difference. So we can add to our list of works.

7. The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins from John the Baptist up until the Dispensation of Grace.

Baptism is as much a work as the other six were. It is something you must do. It is something people can see. Yet, baptism was not something new, nor was it begun by John the Baptist as some suggest. It only became a requirement for remission of sins when God instructed John to teach it.

The practice of washing (baptizing) the sacrifice was already established under the law.

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9: 1.

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptism), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (by the Law) until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9: 9-10.

Israel, God’s covenant people, had so transgressed against God that John the Baptist was calling them to repentance and back to godly fellowship. Animal sacrificial washing was not good enough, they would now need to present themselves as clean (baptized) vessels before Almighty God. Thus the call of John was to repent and be baptized (cleansed) for the remission of your sins.

This baptism of oneself, taught by John, like the baptism of animals, was never intended to be the answer for salvation. It was a temporal thing. The purpose of John’s baptism was to be cleansed temporarily until the times of refreshing came. (The second coming of Christ.)

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. ….And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash (the same word for baptize), they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” Mark 7: 1, 3-4.

Baptism was an act of cleanliness. The animal sacrifice was washed (baptized) in order to present the sacrifice clean before the Lord. A priest washed (baptized) his hands before he accepted the animal sacrifice, and so on and so forth it goes.

But certain denominations have turned baptism into a religious issue. Let me try to get you to see what Jesus thought about that. Continue to read with me in Mark 7: 4-7: “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen (un-baptized) hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

When an entire denomination is based upon the doctrine of baptism, is this not commandments of men? Religion is destroying Christianity. Religious organizations emphasize their own doctrinal issues rather than teaching people how to understand God’s Word.

FACT: The way a denomination baptizes is not important in this Dispensation of Grace. You can sprinkle, immerse the whole body or just the head, and as far as God is concerned you are nothing more than the hypocritical Pharisees he chastised above. Baptism, like the law it was a part of, has been replaced by the grace of God.

Baptism was a work that men could boast about. “I’ve been baptized, have you? You haven’t? Well if you haven’t you are lost and going to hell.”

Preachers talk to other preachers and say: “We baptized 50 people this quarter, how many baptisms did you have?” Shouldn’t they be saying how many people got saved? Or do you suppose they think baptisms are synonymous with salvation? If so how do you justify the following

Ephesians 2: 8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

4. THE FAITH THAT IS – NOW

Most Christians will tell you that we are living in the age of grace or the Dispensation of Grace, but when asked to define what that is their answer is either weak or rote. For instance, they might say “It is a time when mankind is saved by the grace of God or it is a time that God is dealing graciously with man.”

That is a true saying but a very weak answer in that it does not really cover the depth of God’s purpose for this age. God has always dealt graciously with man in every generation and dispensation. However, this present Dispensation of Grace is the only time God has dealt with man without requiring man’s work to be an integral part of the salvation process. Christ did the work for us when he shed His blood on Calvary. So, we are living in a dispensation where we are saved by grace through faith – NOT OF WORKS.

There are no animal sacrifices needed because God provided the perfect sacrifice – Jesus Christ. There is no baptism needed because we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Many Christians know this but they have limited knowledge about the requirements of faith that came before the Dispensation of Grace and will come again when this dispensation reaches its end.

Question: If works were necessary prior to the law and during the Dispensation of the Law; and if works were necessary immediately after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, when did faith without works start?

Question: If Peter did not preach faith alone apart from works at Pentecost, who started preaching it?

Question: Is it all that important to know who started preaching this message of grace? Does it make any difference who started preaching it?

We think it does make a difference and we want you to know why.

BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS

It is appalling that the majority of Christians do not care enough about the importance of knowing the truth as well as their refusal to study the Bible in order to find the truth.

We have become a complacent society. We get upset more about lying politicians than we do about lying preachers. If we catch a politician in a lie we go to great lengths to make sure they are exposed and removed from office; but we won’t even give one hour a day in studying God’s word to prove what a preacher is teaching is wrong.

Why do you suppose that is true? Could it be there are so many of us who just do not care? Or could it be that we do not know enough about the Bible to even question their veracity? Perhaps both, but I would venture to say it is the latter and that is a most disturbing thought.

I believe that ninety percent of the people attending churches today get ninety-five percent of their knowledge of the Bible from what a preacher said the Scriptures said, not through searching the Scriptures to find what God really said.

Question: How do you know what your preacher is teaching is in fact truth? When the apostle Paul was evaluating two churches, listen to his praise for those at Berea and why he praised them.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they (1) received the word with all readiness of mind, and (2) searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17: 11.

If we would be considered noble, based upon the criteria in Acts 17:11, we would:

1) Listen to what a preacher or teacher says and,
2) But we would not believe what was said without checking our Bibles first.
3) If what the preacher or teacher said is not the same as what the Bible says, do not believe the preacher or teacher.

And I say if the latter is true, you ought to quit listening to that person. He is a false teacher. We should make sure that the Scripture used to prove a point does not contradict with other Scripture. If there is a question as to whether or not there is a contradiction then you need to determine where that Scripture fits and into what dispensation it applies.

You need to get in the habit of asking questions. Such as, 1) To whom is the passage written, those under the law or those under grace. 2) In what time period does this Scripture refer: past dispensations or the present dispensation?

The Bible does not contradict itself, but false teachers will say it does when it does not agree with their doctrinal position, or when they are trying to get you to believe a lie.

Asking questions is a good way to study and to grow in understanding. Questioning a Bible teacher is a great way to determine their knowledge as well as there veracity. If a preacher or teacher will not tell the truth about one particular thing, he will not tell the truth about another and another. One lie leads to another lie.

The Bible warns us about these false teachers in 2 Corunthians11: 13-15:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

If the word of God tells us: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3: 23-25. Why do some preachers tell you that you are still under the law and must keep the ordinances of the law? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

If the word of God says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9; why do preachers say you have to be baptized or speak in tongues (which are works) to be saved? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

Paul was confronted with false teachers coming into an assembly after he had departed. Look what he says about them: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. Galatians 1: 6-8.

There are false teachers in pulpits today masquerading as minister of Christ. Their one objective is to deceive you into believing The Lie. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

1) Some give just enough truth so you will not question them. Remember our training from school when taking a true/false exam? Weren’t you instructed that if one part of the statement was false then the whole statement was considered to be false? Yes!
2) Others act as though they are the sweetest thing this side of fresh honey, in the hope of your thinking they can do no wrong. There is an old saying that goes like this: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Watch out for the sweet ones.
3) Still others deceive you with their eloquence and charisma. Hitler was a charismatic individual and so was Jim Jones. Look at what happened to their followers.
4) Some even get you caught up in their deceit by the music they sing and the excitement it brings. What is their objective, to get you so worked up emotionally in singing you will not know or care what is being said? Now that’s the best one yet.

Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!

I am not saying that every charismatic, eloquent individual is a false person or that everyone who loves to sing is following untruth; nor am I saying that a man of God cannot be a sweet, loving and compassionate individual. I am only showing you the possibilities and the probabilities out there. If you are really interested in knowing the truth, always follow this suggestion from 1 Peter 5: 8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

REGENERATION

In the introduction I stated it was very hard to believe someone cared enough for me to die for my sins; but God did and Jesus Christ was willing to be my sin offering. God cared enough to ask His only begotten Son to die for the sins of man. Jesus Christ cared enough that He was willing to go into hell so my sins would be forgiven.

Christ’s death, and the blood He shed on Calvary, was for the sins of all men: before the law, under the law, under grace and after grace.

However, there is one question that haunts many believers today: when were sins blotted out or atoned for? There are two answers for that one question, but before we examine them we need to get a clearer understanding of the word atonement.

There are seven Jewish feast days, one of them is The Feast of Atonement. The first time it is mentioned is in Leviticus 23: 27-32.

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the children of Israel were to bring their animal sacrifices to the High Priest. The High Priest would receive the sacrificial animal and slit its throat, catch the blood in a vessel and then put the blood on the animal, symbolic for the blood being a covering for sin. Once this ritual was performed, all the sins of the past were “atoned for.” Then the next year, on the Day of Atonement, they would repeat the process. They must do this each and every year of their lives.

When Christ died on the cross, the symbolic animal sacrifice was not needed anymore. That sacrifice was part of Jewish law, and Christ abolished the law in His flesh.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” Ephesians 2: 15.

It is Christ’s blood that atones for sins. The question is: “At what time does this atonement take place?” The answer is two fold.

1). At the conclusion of his Pentecostal address, Peter said the following in Acts 3: 19-21:

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The passage states that the atonement will come when Jesus Christ returns the second time, known as the second coming of Christ. The times of refreshing will come during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ. Christ returns at the end of the seven years of tribulation and then established His 1,000 year earthly reign as King.

Peter is addressing a predominately Jewish crowd. Peter has been preaching “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 38.

What Peter tells the people is they must repent, be cleansed (baptized) so that their sins will be in remission until the time comes when those sins will be blotted out.

2) In Romans 5: 9-11, Paul is addressing a different group of believers, which we will call the Church the Body of Christ. Look at what he tells them:

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

I want you to look at two parts of the passage above. In verse 9 you see the words, “shall be saved from wrath’; and in verse11 the words “we have now received the atonement”.

So, members of the Church the Body of Christ will not go through the wrath, which is the tribulation and the wrath to come, and their sins are atoned for NOW.

Are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 5: 9-11 paradoxes, seemingly contradictory statements that may nonetheless be true? Yes they are! They are both truth, however, they speak to two different groups of people. The passages do not contradict. They are for two different dispensations and two separate time periods and are for two different groups of people.

Acts 3:19-21 is for Israel and all those who were saved under the Kingdom message preached by Peter. Their sins will be atoned when Christ returns to earth the second time. Whereas Romans 5: 9-11 is for the Church the Body of Christ and those who were saved by grace. Their sins are atoned the moment they trust Christ as their Savior.

SALVATION FOR ISRAEL

Let’s look at Acts 3: 21 again: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” What prophets spoke of this event can be seen in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Lets go there.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Let us look very closely at what we just read.

1. V. 31 states there will be a New Covenant established with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Judah is in reference to the two faithful tribes: Judah and Benjamin; and Israel is in reference to the ten unfaithful tribes.

2. V. 32: This New Covenant is different from the Old Covenant made with Israel, through Moses.

3. V. 33 says that God will put His law in their inward parts and write it on their hearts. In this dispensation, Israel’s heart has been hardened because they went a whoring from the presence of God. “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” Hosea 5: 12. God finally “put His foot down” and declared Israel to be Lo-ami, not my people. “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28: 28.

4. V. 33 also says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God will unlock their hardened hearts and bring them from the state of being Lo-ami (Not my people) to the state of being His people. The promised restoration of Israel will be realized. Look at Acts 1: 6: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The restoration of Israel was what they were looking for, but that time did not come. Look at what Jesus said: “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1: 7. The disciples knew about the prophecy of Jeremiah and were anticipating the earthly kingdom. But that did not happen in Acts. It will happen when Christ returns to earth.

5. V. 34: When Christ establishes His earthly Kingdom, all Israel will know the Lord. It is obvious that they do not know Him at this time.

6. V. 34: When the earthly Kingdom is established the lord will blot out Israel’s sins. But for now, they are waiting for that day. All the saved of the Old Testament and all those who believed the Kingdom message that Peter preached are waiting for their Day of Atonement. It is a future event.

Fact: The Church the Body of Christ is not a New Covenant group of believers. The New Covenant is to be made with Israel and Judah. The New Covenant will become operational when Christ returns at the end of tribulation, establishes His 1,000 year millennial reign and sets up His earthly throne.

You have witnessed seemingly contradictory verse of Scripture, but if we learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth, as 2 Timothy 2: 15 states; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can see that the passages under consideration involves two separate dispensations.

SALVATION FOR THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

Our salvation is by grace and not of works. We become a child of God by trusting in the Faith of Christ. What is the Faith of Christ? He believed the father would raise Him from the dead if he was willing to die for the sins of man.

If you or I are saved today, it not because of anything we did.

You/I cannot do anything to earn our salvation.

You/I cannot do anything to make our salvation better or more meaningful.

Your/My faith cannot save us; that would be a work.

You/I cannot add anything to what Christ has already done.

Look at Titus 3: 4-7: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

THE FAITH OF CHRIST

The finished work of Christ means just what it says: “It is finished.” It was finished the moment He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. When we accept the finished work of Christ we die, and yet we are made alive: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20.

This is another paradox: How can one be dead and still be alive? The Bible teaches we become a part of Christ’s body the moment we believe the Gospel of Christ. Christ died; we died too. Christ rose from the dead; we rose from the dead too. By accepting the Faith of Christ we have been made alive spiritually, but dead to sin. That does not mean our flesh will not sin, it does. But it means that since Christ conquered sin, we will too, in resurrection.

If we believe that Christ did everything for our salvation and that we (mankind) can do nothing, and I do believe that; then the following Scriptures are very important for a clearing understanding of what we are saying. These verses of Scripture state our position without the need of a deep theological explanation.

Galatians 2:

16 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 3:

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Romans 3:

23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

What do all of these verses have in common? In a King James Bible, it is the Faith of Christ. They tell me I am justified by the Faith of Christ, I am made righteous by the Faith of Christ, and I live by the Faith of Christ.

So, what exactly was the Faith of Christ? Christ, who left His throne in Glory, had faith that the Father would restore Him to the position He had before he became flesh and blood. He also had faith that if He were to die and go into hell for the sins of the world, God would not leave his soul in hell. That was the faith Christ had. He believed that God would do what He said He would do.

Christ became a human sacrifice for the world’s sins. It was a work that He was willing to perform and it was that work that justified all of mankind. It is His faith that saves me. I can do nothing for my salvation; it was completed when Christ died over 2,000 years ago.

THE GOSPEL UNTO SALVATION

Since salvation was taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago, how can it be mine?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1: 16.

“So what is the Gospel of Christ,” you ask? It is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There are a lot of people who believe that Christ died, was buried and rose again but are as lost as they can be. You might be one of those. The Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2: 19. But it is impossible for the devil to be saved and live with God eternally because God has already condemned him to a life in the lake of fire.

There are many who have spent their entire life going to church. They will tell you they have always been a Christian. They believe in God, Jesus Christ, Easter and Christmas, but that does not mean they are saved and that does not mean they are a Christian.

Every person in this world has to understand that they are sinners. They were born sinners and will die sinners. But if a sinner believes that Christ paid the price for their sins and trust what He did for them on Calvary, then they are Children of God.

Some things you should understand scripturally:

1. You are a sinner: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. You need to understand you are lost before you will understand the need to be saved.

2. The penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6: 23. Since you are a sinner, you should die, but Christ intervened on your behalf, if you will trust what He did.

3. The gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. The free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel of Christ. The gospel is not the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The gospel is Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected.

Satan knew Christ did not die for his sins, for Satan’s sin separated him permanently from God. He knows there is a God and he knows who the Son of God is too. He believes in them and you’d better believe he knows that Christ rose from the dead, because when Christ did that he conquered death and Satan’s power of death. Look at Hebrews 2: 14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

So you see, just believing in God, Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection does not save unless you believe all He did was for you and your sins. Christ died for your sins and you must accept His work for you if you are to be saved.

One other thing, the Gospel is the power of God UNTO salvation. Christ is our salvation. There is nothing you can do to earn this salvation for it is the gift of God. Salvation has always been available to you. Now all you must do is believe the Gospel. Once it become personal for you, you will become a part of Christ’s body and His Spirit will dwell in you.

SECURE: CHRIST LIVING IN ME

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12: 13.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12: 27.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1: 27.

Think about it, Christ living in you! And if He does, that guarantees you eternal life with Him. You are part of Christ’s body and that means that wherever He is, you are. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 4-9.

I underlined the words hath quickened so that you would understand this is “past tense.” That means I have already been raised up into heaven spiritually. My Spirit is already with Christ, who is in heaven.

How can one teach that you can loose your salvation if they read the Scriptures listed above? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ. Beware! Beware!

God knows everything so He would know I was going to sin after I believed, wouldn’t He? Sure He would. So when Christ died for the sins of the world, He died for all those sins I would commit a hundred tomorrows from now as well as for the ones I committed yesterday.

This question remains: “Did Christ die for ALL my sins or not”? And the answer is and always has been a resounding yes. How do I know that? I know that because the Word of God says so.

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2: 10-15.

Christ has already quickened those who trusted Him and has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses. Then how can some preacher say if I sin I will loose my salvation? He must be a false teacher acting as though he was a minister of light. Beware! If you continue to listen to him you will be his roommate in hell.

GOOD WORKS vs. BAD WORKS

Sin does not rob me of eternal life with Christ, but sin does rob me of something. Sin robs me of my reward. A Christian can do things (works) that are bad as well as good. My bad works, things done in my flesh, will be burned and I will suffer loss, but I will not suffer my inheritance. My good works, things done in the Spirit, will stand the test of fire and I will receive a reward. Look at 1 Corinthians 3; 11-16:

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The gold, silver and precious stones of verse twelve are good works. When they are subjected to fire they are purified, not destroyed. The end result is reward. The “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” of 2 Timothy 2: 12 could very well be the reward spoken of in 1 Corinthians.

The wood, hay and stubble of verse twelve are bad works. When they are subjected to fire they burn completely, they are destroyed. The child of God will suffer loss, but he will still be secure in Christ, as verse fifteen states.

There are many skeptics, or false teachers who might wonder why we did not include 1 Corinthians 3: 17 in our commentary. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Fact: This body can be destroyed. It will be before we ascend into heaven, but God may also allow it to be delivered into the hands of Satan at anytime it ceases to be productive. Look at 2 Corinthians 5: 5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Good and bad works are contrasted with the spirit and the flesh. The two are not compatible. There is a war going on between the flesh and the Spirit and often times it is very frustrating for the believer. Look at what God’s Word say on the subject.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5: 17.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7: 18-25.

Paul, the author of both Galatians and Romans, was aware of the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. He had problems with his flesh too. He was constantly fighting to overcome the desires of his flesh. But at least he was trying, unlike the majority of us who call ourselves Christians. We seem to be content with the fact that we are saved and already seated in heavenly places and go about living like children of the devil, rather than walk as children of God. Watch out! God could turn you over to Satan for the destruction of your flesh.

“But don’t we have liberty under grace, as stated in Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” one might say?

Yes! But you need to look at Galatians 5: 13: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We must not abuse the liberty we have or we will prostitute the grace of God.

WHAT REGENERATION IS NOT TODAY

Regeneration in the Dispensation of Grace is not works performed by mankind. Salvation has always been accompanied with works, regardless of the dispensation. That is why proponents of it today quote James 2: 20: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” or James 2: 26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The works James speaks of are those that man can do.

There was a time when this statement applied to the believer. But in the Dispensation of Grace, in which we currently reside, man’s work plays no part in salvation. The work that must be done has already been done by Christ.

1. Able had to offer the right sacrifice or not be accepted of God.

2. Noah had to build an ark before he and his family could be saved.

3. Abraham had to offer Isaac or not be declared righteous.

4. Moses had to put blood over the door so the first born male child could be saved. He also had to walk through the Red Sea to be saved.

5. Rahab had to send those looking for the men of God in another direction so that she and her family would be saved.

6. Those believer in the gospels had to repent and be baptized before they could be saved.

All these works were necessary because God said do them to show your faith. So then BY their faith, plus doing the required work, God saved them. Salvation has always been doing what God required, at the time He required them to be done.

Well, God does not require you to perform any work today. God says that people living in the Dispensation of Grace CANNOT DO ANYTHING that will save them. Let me be more emphatic, you MUST NOT DO ANYTHING in an attempt to be saved or you will frustrate the grace of God.

Salvation in the twenty-first century is a free gift, given by God because of the WORK of His Son. So then, the work that had been necessary for man to perform has been replaced by the work that Christ performed. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Why would God say, “and that not of yourselves” if it had not once been of yourselves? In prior dispensations, salvation was BY faith doing whatever God said do. It was man’s faith doing what God required at the time.

In this present dispensation it is all about Christ’s faith that saves, and Christ has already done what was necessary: He died for the sins of the world; he became the sacrifice for sins. Salvation for this age involves the work of Christ.

Those of us living today cannot perform any work, cannot add anything to Christ’s finished work. Persons in prior dispensations were saved BY their faith, accompanied with works. In the present dispensation, we receive our salvation THROUGH faith believing in Christ’s faith and His work. Look at Romans 3: 30: “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

God has always required a work (by man) to follow an act of faith in every dispensation, with the exception of the dispensation of Grace. In this present dispensation Christ has done the work necessary. We must accept, through faith, the work of Christ for our salvation.

The uncircumcision of Romans 3:30 speaks of the Church the Body of Christ. This body of believers is a unique group of people, chosen in God before the foundation of the world.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1: 4.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 7.

The Bible says that the Church the Body of Christ will be an example to the world of the grace of God. For the first and only time, God is not requiring works of man as a show of faith. He allowed Christ to perform the work for us. That, my friend, is what grace is about. God has given us a precious gift, the gift of life through Christ Jesus our Lord. He died, became the sacrifice for sins, thus performing the work necessary to please God.

Let us look at James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Works WERE necessary to show faith. Without the work there would have been no justification. This has always been the truth and it still is today. But it is the work of Christ that saves today, not the work of man. In other dispensations the work that was required was a work that men did. In the present dispensation it is a work that Christ has done. This is grace.

This teaching is not something that has been known for only a short time. It is not some doctrine that I have espoused on my on. I was taught it by someone who was taught it by someone else. Songs written long ago declared it: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

In past dispensations if a man did not do works he could not be saved. In the present dispensation if man thinks his works saves him he is not saved.

Paul said: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Do you want to frustrate the grace of God? Do not allow some false prophet to hoodwink you into believing you must be baptized or speak in tongues to be saved. That would be frustrating the grace of God. That would be a work you could perform, thus frustrating to God and to Christ who did the work required for your salvation.

WHAT WILL IT BE – HEAVEN OR HELL?

Question: If you were to die today, would you spend eternity in heaven or hell?

If you said heaven, praise God and go and share your faith and your assurance with a lost friend, relative, fellow worker or neighbor.

If you said hell or you do not know, read on.

Would you like to know about heaven? If one is to go there they must be saved, they must trust in what Christ has already done for them. How does one come to that point?

1. Recognize you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3: 23.

2. Understand the penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6: 23.

3. Believe the gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. Accept the free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Everyone who is alive is a sinner. You are, and so am I. Adam was made in the image of God, but Adam sinned, and everyone who has ever been born is born of fallen Adam. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was a sin. Everyone that was born of Adam was born in sin and falls short of the glory of God. Since all who are born are born sinners, what we sinners deserve (wages of sin) is death. This death means to be separated from God eternally. But if I accept the gift of God, which is Christ dying for my sins; I will be saved from the wrath of eternal damnation.

God gives us eternal life with Him because of what Christ did on Calvary. And when Christ was resurrected from the grave he conquered death for all who would accept His gift.

Salvation is accepting the gift that has already been provided for you. It is free for you, but it cost God and Christ a lot in order for you to have it. Christ had to die and spend three days and night in hell before God resurrected Him from there.

When Christ died on Calvary over 2,000 years ago, God placed the sins of man, past, present and future, on His shoulders. Jesus Christ redeemed you from your sins. To redeem is to buy back. Until you accept what Christ did, you remain a salve to sin. That sin has separated you from God. Jesus Christ, in redemption, paid the necessary price (His life) and performed the work God required, the shedding of His blood, to restore fallen man’s standing with God.

Since you are a sinner, you have all been on “Death Row”. The sentence has been handed down by the eternal judge and you have been found lacking. You must die, but you have one last chance to escape eternal death: Accept the gift of Christ. If you do, you will pass from death to life.

ONLY BELIEVE

Most of you reading this will have never met me, but let me speak to you as if I were your closet friend. There is a heaven and there is a hell. When I was a child that was an accepted fact by the majority of the people living in the United States of America, but sadly, it is not the case today.

One day you are going to die. I want you to image that you are in prison and on “Death Row”. You’re only hope of escaping death would be if someone intervened on your behalf. You’ve been informed that that someone, Jesus Christ, is coming today. He enters your cell and speaks:

Jesus: “My child, you are in a precarious situation, are you not?”

Doomed Soul: “Yes Sir, I am. Can you help me?”

Jesus: “Yes, I can.”

Doomed Soul: “Will you?”

Jesus: “I already have. But up until this point you have refused to accept my gift to you. Will you trust that I have already done what is necessary for you to be free? Will you believe that what I have done will give you a get out of jail free card?”

Doomed Soul: “I would like to believe, but how can I be sure that your word is true?”

Jesus: “Because I just told you. I am the way the truth and the life. The words that I speak are truth. I did everything for you to be free.”

Doomed Soul: “What did you do?”

Jesus: I died for your transgressions over 2,000 years ago. Men buried me, but my Father raised me from the dead three days later and I ascended back to my Father. Believe I did that for you and you can walk away from here a free person. Nobody will keep you from walking out of here.”

Doomed Soul: “Do you think I’m crazy? Why would you die for me? I’ve never met you before. There must be something in it for you, so what’s the catch? I’ve always been told you don’t get something for nothing.”

Jesus: “I did it because I loved you and I want you to be a part of my family, but you must trust me. Will you?”

Pause

Jesus: “Will you trust me? If you will, let’s get of here and go home to my Father.”

Doomed Soul: “The minute I walk out of that door those guards will think I’m trying to escape and they will shoot me. You are asking me to put my life in your hands and I do not even know you.”

Jesus: “If you knew me you would trust me. Will you?”

Doomed Soul: “I want to but I am afraid.”

Jesus: “What is there to be afraid of? You are going to die if you don’t trust me, and you’re going to live forever in a place of torment eternally. So what have you got to lose? If I walk out of here and you do not follow after me, you will surely die. I am offering you everlasting life in a wonderful place, all you have to do is trust me to be who I say I am. Will you let me save you or not? Believe in me and you will be free.”

The man slowly, but a little reluctantly, walks out the cell door and past the guard and out the doors to freedom.

Doomed Soul: “I believe He meant what He said so I put my life completely in His hands.”

Jesus: “My words are true, you can believe them.”

Saved Soul: “Thank you Lord, for saving my soul and giving me eternal life with you in heaven.”

If you are a lost sinner, Christ’s words are true and you will find those words in a King James Bible. His Word says believe I died for your sins, was buried and resurrected and you will be saved. Jesus says believe I did that for you and that salvation is by my grace and the work I did on Calvary. Trust my words and salvation is yours. It is God’s gift to all who will believe.

BE CAREFUL

There are many people in pulpits who will tell you that you must do this or that in order to be saved. They want you to add something that you can do to the finished work of Christ. The fact is that if you add anything you will loose everything. Jesus Christ redeemed you by the shedding of His blood. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Circumcision never saved anyone. Keeping the Law could not save anyone. Water baptism will not save anyone, nor will doing good works save anyone. Jesus saves! You do not have to walk down an isle and give a preacher your hand; that does not save you. You might cry or you might not, but crying will not save you. Actions and emotions do not aid in your salvation; they may occur, but they do not save.

Jesus paid the price for your salvation. He is all you need. If you add anything to His finished work you prostitute the grace of God. All you can do is trust in what He has already done. You can do that wherever you are: riding in a car, in a motel room, in your home or in the woods. The question is, “Will You?”

If you will, you are saved. Go and serve Him. Find a place that teaches the Bible and begin to grow in the knowledge of Him. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15.

You can obtain additional information on the ministry of Obed Kirkpatrick by viewing www.soundwordsministry.com.

Faith of Christ

Obed Kirkpatrick

INTRODUCTION

THE GOOD LIFE

Picture this: a house on a beautiful lake, snuggled in a peaceful valley; a winding river that flows through the center of town; a community of people who genuinely care for each other; a governing body whose one desire is to please you and honor you; a police force whose main purpose is to assist you any way they can as there is no crime; streets that glisten in the light because they are so clean; and beautiful music on every street corner; happy sounds everywhere you go, no Mister Scrooge, no locks on your doors, no bills to pay – only serenity!

It’s difficult to believe that there might be a place like that, isn’t it? But there is such a place, only better. There is no way our finite minds can comprehend what God has in store for those of us who love Him and have trusted His Son as our Savior. That is how eternity with God will be, beautiful beyond imagination and comprehension. What is even more amazing is all of this was provided for you and me long before we were conceived in our mother’s womb.

It is difficult to believe that before I was ever born someone would do something for me that would ensure me of a retirement free from all indebtedness, plus guarantee me satisfaction and happiness. However, God has done that and Jesus Christ is our assurance of that reward. As a matter of fact, Christ and Christ alone is the guarantor. You cannot buy this retirement plan, neither can you get it because you know somebody or because you know somebody who knows somebody. You cannot get this retirement because you won the world contest for being the kindest, sweetest, easiest to get along with, most compatible person in the entire world.

Entry into God’s retirement community is free! Jesus Christ paid the price for those who are its inhabitants. He paid the price the gatekeeper of this community, God, demanded. Christ paid for it over 2,000 years ago and he has offered it to all who will accept God’s conditions for occupancy. The conditions are so simple many think they are too good to be true, so they refuse the offer, they refuse the gift.

BAD LIFE

Because people refuse the offer of a good life, their retirement community will be drastically different. Instead of a quiet, peaceful atmosphere; theirs will be one of pain and agony. The people who live in this community will never live in peace and harmony. They will never enjoy the sounds of beautiful music. The sounds they will hear will be those of fellow citizens crying out in torment because all peoples in this community will be in constant pain day and night. The people will cry out and ask God to be merciful and kill them so they can be free from this torment, but their cries will be in vain. They will not die.

People who have journeyed to this retirement community must live here for all eternity without any hope of escaping. They will have to learn to ignore the smell of rotting flesh. They will become indifferent to the decayed bodies of all inhabitants, for all who live here will have the stench of a body unattended by a funeral director. The pain of the people will be so intense they will grind their teeth together, making a noise that is annoying to all who hear, and believe me, all will hear. Sleep will not come here, because the torment is constant. There is no beauty in this place, only ugliness; no joy, only sorrow. This retirement community will be the most disgusting place in all of creation.

The reason someone would choose this kind of retirement is hard for us to understand, but many will choose this life because they refuse to believe in God and want no part of the promises he has in store for all those who do believe in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you might be thinking, “I have never made that choice.” But you have. You made the choice when you refused to accept the free gift Christ offered you. God does not force one to accept His life-style. He does not use media bombardment or crafty sales techniques that his opponents do. God’s Word, The Holy Bible, says, “Here is my Son, Jesus Christ. Accept what He did for you: died for your sins, was buried and then resurrected, and you will inherit life everlasting with Me.”

Refusal to accept what God requires means automatic entrance into the other retirement community.

We want to explore with you what God has required, over the various dispensations of time, to be a participant in the Good Life.

1. God’s Plan

Long before He created the world, God made provisions for man to share eternity with Him: Jesus Christ would come to earth to die for the sins of fallen man. Even though man had not fallen yet, God, who is omniscient (all knowing), knew that He would create Adam, that Adam would disobey the command of God, thus committing a sin, and he would be in need of a Savior. Everyone who would be born into this new world would be the direct descendant of sinful Adam, would be of the seed of Adam, and be born with the sin of Adam.

Even though Adam was created in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1: 27; when he and Eve had their first child, he was born in the image of fallen Adam. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” Genesis 5: 3.

Since God knows all things, he made preparations and provisions for all who would accept Christ:

1. All who would accept Christ as Savior would look like Christ.

2. He would send the Holy Spirit to call those who would accept and draw them unto Him.

3. Once they “heeded” the call, He would justify them (not let their sin be a barrier anymore).

4. Then He would glorify them and they would be like God.

Romans 8: 28-30:

28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

All of these things were provided for mankind but not decided for them. Man must make the choice to choose Christ, but once he does then Romans 8: 28-30 becomes operational: man will be conformed to the image of the Son of God, will be justified and glorified.

In making these provisions, God is not only showing His intentions, but proving to everyone His veracity by following through. God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was and is simple. All God would require of man would be simple faith in the faith of Christ.

Today, man has a choice:

1. To do what God requires and live with Him forever.

2. Not do what God requires and live in another world, apart from God.

Let us explore some of the requirements of God.

2. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

OLD TESTAMENT

ABEL’S FAITH

Rebellion against the command of God was the cause of Adam’s sin and subsequent fall. When Adam sinned, God killed an animal and made Adam and Eve a covering for their nakedness: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3: 21.

This is the first time that a sacrifice was recorded in the Scripture. It established a precedent and a requirement for rebellious and sinful man: THERE MUST BE A BLOOD SACRIFICE PROVIDED FOR REMISSION OF SINS. Eradication of sin must come from the blood of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The blood of animals was for remission of sins for the past year. It was not for the blotting out of sins. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. There is a difference between the temporal remission of sins and those sins being blotted out.

When we get to the fourth chapter of Genesis we are introduced to Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve. There is no question but that these two sons knew the requirement of a sacrifice for their sins.

Genesis 4:

3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Abel brings an animal sacrifice unto God, a blood sacrifice; Cain brings a sacrifice as well, but his was a bunch of fruit. God had established the animal sacrifice when He provided the coats of skin for Adam and Eve. Abel obeyed God and his sacrifice was accepted. Cain did not obey God and his sacrifice was rejected. Cain made an attempt to substitute a non-blood sacrifice and God would not accept it, so Cain got a little upset.

Granted, the fruit was the very best that Cain had to offer, but the simple fact was that God required a different sacrifice. Faith does what God requires, at the time God requires it. Anything else, regardless of how good it may be, is not acceptable to God.

Able offered exactly what God required and his sacrifice was accepted.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11: 4.

God said: “Offer the right sacrifice and you will be accepted (saved; offer the wrong sacrifice and you will be rejected (not saved/lost).”

Cain could have offered the sacrifice God required and God would have welcomed it along with Cain, Genesis 4: 7 is clear about that. Look at it again.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain did exactly what he wanted to do with no regard for what God wanted him to do, and then he got upset with God because the Lord did not think his sacrifice was good enough. Because Cain was stubborn, prideful and unwilling to accept the requirement of God; his sacrifice was refused and Cain became a friend of the god of this world (Satan) and consequently an enemy of God.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4.

Mankind has ignored the lesson taught here in Genesis, for man has been trying to make substitutions, just as Cain did, for what God has required for salvation ever since that notable day of Cain’s failure.

There are “religious systems” built around substitutionary offerings this very day. You may be a part of one of them and not even know it. (We will cover this in detail in later chapters.)

Abel offered the required sacrifice and it was pleasing to God. His faith, in offering the sacrifice which God required, was his salvation. He simply did as God required of him and became acceptable to God. That is what faith does. Faith does whatever God says to do at the time He requires it done.

ENOCH

There is very little written about Enoch, but there is enough for us to see that Enoch was a man that did what God said to do:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5.

Wouldn’t it be great if God could say we pleased Him? That is all he wants from us. Is it too much to ask considering all He has done for us?

Enoch did whatever God said do, and that pleased God. Because he was obedient to what God asked from him, God took Enoch home with Him. In other words, God saved him and transported him to live with Him forever.

NOAH

By the time Noah had reached the ripe old age of 500, the world was a pretty rotten place. God saw that the wickedness of man was great in that every thought of mankind was to do evil things continually, and God would have destroyed all of mankind, but for Noah.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6: 5-8.

God told Noah what He wanted him to do:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11: 7.

We have already said that faith will do whatever God says do. In the case of Noah, God said: “Build me an ark and I will save you and your household.” What did faith do? Faith, moved with fear, built an ark to the saving of his house. Because of this act of faith, the building of the ark as instructed, God declared Noah to be righteous (a child of God).

It should be getting very clear to you by now: “If you want to please God, you need to do what He requires of you for the time in which you live.”

ABRAHAM

God required Abraham to do certain things for his salvation, just as he required it of Able, Enoch and Noah. God established certain things for Abraham to perform in order to test his obedience. The following are but two of those requirements:

1. God said: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1. He left, not knowing where he was going. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11: 8.

2. God said, “I want you to offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice.” Abraham prepared to do so, for he had faith that God would raise him from the dead. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.

Abraham was rewarded for his faithfulness and is known as the father of many, even though he had become a very old man when Sarah conceived Isaac. “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11: 12.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when Isaac was conceived, but he believed God and did what God asked of him. Because of his faith, Abraham was blessed of God and thereby assured that his seed would be many; for through the seed of Isaac and Jacob Jesus was born, in whom all the world would be blessed.

Abraham did all that God asked of him, believing that God would do all that He said He would do. His faith and his actions (works) were pleasing to God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4: 3.

In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews there are many names listed in “The Faith Hall of Fame). But time and space will only permit us to add two more: Moses and Rahab.

MOSES

In the time that Herod was the leader over Israel, he decreed that all male children born of the Hebrew women were to be killed. Moses’ parents knew there was something special about their newborn son, so they hid him for three months after birth before putting him in a place where he was sure to be found. Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the little one while bathing in the river and took him home with her, where he was raised in the house of Pharaoh.

When Moses became a man, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11: 25.

God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Many know a lot about the plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians but the most significant one was when God told Moses to have his people sprinkle the blood of an animal over the door and on the side post of their dwelling place, and if they would do so, the first born male of their household would live rather than die. (Exodus 12). By faith, Moses instructed the people, and those who did as the Lord required, were spared their lives when the death angle passed over the land that night. God spared the lives of all those who obeyed His command.

By faith, Moses and the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry land, but those of Pharaoh’s army were swallowed up by the water. (Exodus 14).

Moses, just like those of faith before him, did whatever God told him to do; and God did for Moses as He had done for those before him – saved him and counted the works he did for righteousness.

RAHAB

The story concerning Rahab is a most interesting one; you will find it detailed in the Book of Joshua – Chapters 2 through 6.

Rahab was a harlot (Joshua 2: 1). Joshua sent two spies to scope out Jericho and they came to Rahab’s house. Even though the King of Jericho had sent messages to Rahab to turn the spies over to him, she did not, choosing to hide them instead and also to lie concerning there whereabouts (Joshua 2: 1-4). Rahab later told the two men that she knew the Lord had already given them the land and asked them to spare her and her family.

The only way she could have known Jericho would be taken was if God had revealed it unto her. So when Joshua gave orders to destroy the city and its inhabitants, he excluded Rahab and her family: “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” Joshua 6: 17.

Rahab and her family were saved because they did as God instructed them to do. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” James 2: 25

SUMMARY

In the old Testament, if one was to be declared righteous, one would simply do what God said do.

1. If God said, “Cain and Able, offer an animal sacrifice.” Faith would offer an animal sacrifice. Abel did and was declared righteous; Cain did not and was not declared righteous, but was cursed of God.

2. If God said, “Enoch, do what I say do.” Faith would do whatever God said. Apparently Enoch did just that, for the Scripture says “He pleased God.” “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11: 5. And we know God took Enoch home with Him.

3. If God said: “Noah, build me an ark and I will save you and your house”; faith would build an ark. That’s exactly what Noah did and God kept His promise.

4. If God said: “Abraham, get thee out of thy country, be circumcised and offer your only begotten son Isaac as a sacrifice”; What would faith do but get out, be circumcised and offer Isaac as a sacrifice? Abraham did all those things and they were counted to him for righteousness.

5. If God said: “Moses, put the blood over your door and on the side post and I will save your first born son; then walk across the Red Sea on dry land and I will save you.” Faith would do it, without hesitation. Moses did all that was asked of Him and God saved him.

6. If God said: “Rahab, hide the two messengers of God and send those looking for them away and I will save you and your house”; faith would hide the men. Rahab did that and God saved her as well as her family.

It is faith and faith alone that saved the Old Testament saints. Faith obeys whatever God requires for the time at hand. The Scriptures are clear about that. There is no better explanation of what we just said than is found in James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Old Testament faith had to be followed with the response of a work being performed by the individual. There is no way to separate one from the other. In Old Testament times there would not have been an evidence of faith apart from works.

Do not be confused by this. We will show in subsequent passages that individual works are no longer a part of the salvation process. But for the period of time under discussion faith must be followed by works.

3. THE FAITH THAT WAS:

IN THE GOSPELS

Webster’s dictionary defines “righteous” as: meeting the standards of what is right and just.

With respect to Israel, the chosen people of God through the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one was made righteous if he did as God demanded or commanded him. One’s sins would be taken care of temporarily until the time when those sins would be blotted out permanently by the blood of Christ. This blotting out of sins for Israel and all the saved of the Old Testament and the four Gospels as well, will take place after Christ sets up His 1,000 year millennial reign. It did not happen the moment they confessed Christ as the Messiah. (We will show you when that started later on in the booklet.)

In the Old Testament we saw God demanding certain works in order to be declared righteous. What we must address at this time is: Does all that change with the coming of Christ? The question is: “Are works by man still required in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to be approved of God”? The answer is, yes!

With the coming of John the Baptist we see the introduction of a new work – water baptism. In Luke 3: 3 we see the following: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” The passage is about John the Baptist preaching that one must be baptized in order to have remission of sins.

What does that mean exactly? It means that a new requirement for righteousness is being introduced. It means that God now requires a person to be baptized if they are to be accepted of Him. It is a work that has to be done. It is no different from the work of circumcision, the building of an arc or the offering of an animal sacrifice for the remission of sins.

I want you to examine the word “remission” for a moment. When we say that a particular disease, like cancer, is in remission; does that mean it no longer exists? It generally means the disease has only been arrested momentarily and there is a possibility that it may re-appear. We will discuss this in more detail later, but I want you to think of what I just said as we continue with our commentary.

In the third chapter of the Book of Matthew, we find John the Baptist speaking to a group of people. He tells them that he comes baptizing with water unto repentance, but Christ will come and baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Matthew 3: 11.

Not too long after this event took place, Jesus comes before John, requesting to be baptized. John says, “That should not happen, Lord, you need to baptize me, not I you.”

Look at the Lord’s response: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” Matthew 3: 15.

Now what do you suppose the meaning of the words, “to fulfil all righteousness” means? Jesus tells John it is necessary for Him, the Lord, to be baptized to fulfil all righteous. Just as Old Testament saints were to perform certain works before they were declared righteous, Jesus is saying He must do what is required in order that He might fulfil the righteous command for that day and age.

Would it not stand to reason that if God had some specific requirements for those living in the time period we are now discussing, all who wished to please God would comply? Sure it would. Look at the following passage that elude to that thought.

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4: 34.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5: 30.

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. John7: 16.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8: 29.

These verses spoken by Jesus tell of the Savior seeking only to please God and to do God’s will. So, if the will of the Father was for all to be baptized, Jesus would be baptized, thus fulfilling all righteousness.

Unlike all others of that time period, Jesus was not baptized for the remission of sins, for He had no sin; He was simply doing the will of the Father. God said do it. He did it. God demanded obedience to His commands; Jesus was obedient and was baptized.

Baptism, like circumcision was never intended to blot out one’s sins. Baptism was a temporal cleansing until the blood of Jesus would blot out all sins. If God said: “Be baptized and your sins will be remitted until the time of restitution when they will be blotted out”, faith would be baptized expecting the blotting out of their sins to be forthcoming.

Jesus was baptized simply because God required it for that time period. His purpose was to please God and do His will. That was no difference from the requirements God imposed on Old Testament saints.

But His baptism was for another purpose in the fulfilling of all righteousness also. In Old Testament days the priest would wash the animal sacrifice before offering it on the altar of sacrifice. Jesus’ baptism was in fulfillment of that. It was in preparation for His own sacrifice: His death on Calvary.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE DEATH OF CHRIST?

Were works still operational in order to fulfill all righteousness? Did the requirements of God change once Christ died? No, they did not!. In the command Jesus gave His disciples after His resurrection, we read these words:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28: 1920.

“And he said unto them, 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.” Mark 16: 15-16.

In the following passages, the Lord has already gone back to be with the Father, and there doesn’t appear to be any change in what the apostles are preaching.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 37-38.

There are some who say there was a big change. They will tell you that in Matthew and Mark the command was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whereas in Acts they are commanded to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. The fact remains that baptism was still a requirement and that is the subject we are presently discussing.

What is sad is that there are those that based their entire religious belief over the fact that one must be baptized in Jesus’ name or they will not be saved. They have missed the point entirely that baptism never saved, it was only a temporal thing, a work that must be performed at that time in order to please God.

If God said: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins:; faith would do that. Baptism was as much a work as:
1. The animal sacrifices of Abel.

2. The work Enoch did to please God.

3. The building of the ark by Noah.

4. The getting out of the country, being circumcised, and the offering of Isaac by Abraham.

5. The putting of the blood on the door and walking across the Red Sea by Moses.

6. The hiding of the messengers by Rahab.

There is not one bit of difference. So we can add to our list of works.

7. The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins from John the Baptist up until the Dispensation of Grace.

Baptism is as much a work as the other six were. It is something you must do. It is something people can see. Yet, baptism was not something new, nor was it begun by John the Baptist as some suggest. It only became a requirement for remission of sins when God instructed John to teach it.

The practice of washing (baptizing) the sacrifice was already established under the law.

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9: 1.

“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptism), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (by the Law) until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9: 9-10.

Israel, God’s covenant people, had so transgressed against God that John the Baptist was calling them to repentance and back to godly fellowship. Animal sacrificial washing was not good enough, they would now need to present themselves as clean (baptized) vessels before Almighty God. Thus the call of John was to repent and be baptized (cleansed) for the remission of your sins.

This baptism of oneself, taught by John, like the baptism of animals, was never intended to be the answer for salvation. It was a temporal thing. The purpose of John’s baptism was to be cleansed temporarily until the times of refreshing came. (The second coming of Christ.)

“Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. ….And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash (the same word for baptize), they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” Mark 7: 1, 3-4.

Baptism was an act of cleanliness. The animal sacrifice was washed (baptized) in order to present the sacrifice clean before the Lord. A priest washed (baptized) his hands before he accepted the animal sacrifice, and so on and so forth it goes.

But certain denominations have turned baptism into a religious issue. Let me try to get you to see what Jesus thought about that. Continue to read with me in Mark 7: 4-7: “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen (un-baptized) hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

When an entire denomination is based upon the doctrine of baptism, is this not commandments of men? Religion is destroying Christianity. Religious organizations emphasize their own doctrinal issues rather than teaching people how to understand God’s Word.

FACT: The way a denomination baptizes is not important in this Dispensation of Grace. You can sprinkle, immerse the whole body or just the head, and as far as God is concerned you are nothing more than the hypocritical Pharisees he chastised above. Baptism, like the law it was a part of, has been replaced by the grace of God.

Baptism was a work that men could boast about. “I’ve been baptized, have you? You haven’t? Well if you haven’t you are lost and going to hell.”

Preachers talk to other preachers and say: “We baptized 50 people this quarter, how many baptisms did you have?” Shouldn’t they be saying how many people got saved? Or do you suppose they think baptisms are synonymous with salvation? If so how do you justify the following

Ephesians 2: 8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

4. THE FAITH THAT IS – NOW

Most Christians will tell you that we are living in the age of grace or the Dispensation of Grace, but when asked to define what that is their answer is either weak or rote. For instance, they might say “It is a time when mankind is saved by the grace of God or it is a time that God is dealing graciously with man.”

That is a true saying but a very weak answer in that it does not really cover the depth of God’s purpose for this age. God has always dealt graciously with man in every generation and dispensation. However, this present Dispensation of Grace is the only time God has dealt with man without requiring man’s work to be an integral part of the salvation process. Christ did the work for us when he shed His blood on Calvary. So, we are living in a dispensation where we are saved by grace through faith – NOT OF WORKS.

There are no animal sacrifices needed because God provided the perfect sacrifice – Jesus Christ. There is no baptism needed because we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Many Christians know this but they have limited knowledge about the requirements of faith that came before the Dispensation of Grace and will come again when this dispensation reaches its end.

Question: If works were necessary prior to the law and during the Dispensation of the Law; and if works were necessary immediately after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, when did faith without works start?

Question: If Peter did not preach faith alone apart from works at Pentecost, who started preaching it?

Question: Is it all that important to know who started preaching this message of grace? Does it make any difference who started preaching it?

We think it does make a difference and we want you to know why.

BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS

It is appalling that the majority of Christians do not care enough about the importance of knowing the truth as well as their refusal to study the Bible in order to find the truth.

We have become a complacent society. We get upset more about lying politicians than we do about lying preachers. If we catch a politician in a lie we go to great lengths to make sure they are exposed and removed from office; but we won’t even give one hour a day in studying God’s word to prove what a preacher is teaching is wrong.

Why do you suppose that is true? Could it be there are so many of us who just do not care? Or could it be that we do not know enough about the Bible to even question their veracity? Perhaps both, but I would venture to say it is the latter and that is a most disturbing thought.

I believe that ninety percent of the people attending churches today get ninety-five percent of their knowledge of the Bible from what a preacher said the Scriptures said, not through searching the Scriptures to find what God really said.

Question: How do you know what your preacher is teaching is in fact truth? When the apostle Paul was evaluating two churches, listen to his praise for those at Berea and why he praised them.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they (1) received the word with all readiness of mind, and (2) searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17: 11.

If we would be considered noble, based upon the criteria in Acts 17:11, we would:

1) Listen to what a preacher or teacher says and,
2) But we would not believe what was said without checking our Bibles first.
3) If what the preacher or teacher said is not the same as what the Bible says, do not believe the preacher or teacher.

And I say if the latter is true, you ought to quit listening to that person. He is a false teacher. We should make sure that the Scripture used to prove a point does not contradict with other Scripture. If there is a question as to whether or not there is a contradiction then you need to determine where that Scripture fits and into what dispensation it applies.

You need to get in the habit of asking questions. Such as, 1) To whom is the passage written, those under the law or those under grace. 2) In what time period does this Scripture refer: past dispensations or the present dispensation?

The Bible does not contradict itself, but false teachers will say it does when it does not agree with their doctrinal position, or when they are trying to get you to believe a lie.

Asking questions is a good way to study and to grow in understanding. Questioning a Bible teacher is a great way to determine their knowledge as well as there veracity. If a preacher or teacher will not tell the truth about one particular thing, he will not tell the truth about another and another. One lie leads to another lie.

The Bible warns us about these false teachers in 2 Corunthians11: 13-15:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

If the word of God tells us: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3: 23-25. Why do some preachers tell you that you are still under the law and must keep the ordinances of the law? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

If the word of God says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9; why do preachers say you have to be baptized or speak in tongues (which are works) to be saved? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ.

Paul was confronted with false teachers coming into an assembly after he had departed. Look what he says about them: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. Galatians 1: 6-8.

There are false teachers in pulpits today masquerading as minister of Christ. Their one objective is to deceive you into believing The Lie. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

1) Some give just enough truth so you will not question them. Remember our training from school when taking a true/false exam? Weren’t you instructed that if one part of the statement was false then the whole statement was considered to be false? Yes!
2) Others act as though they are the sweetest thing this side of fresh honey, in the hope of your thinking they can do no wrong. There is an old saying that goes like this: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Watch out for the sweet ones.
3) Still others deceive you with their eloquence and charisma. Hitler was a charismatic individual and so was Jim Jones. Look at what happened to their followers.
4) Some even get you caught up in their deceit by the music they sing and the excitement it brings. What is their objective, to get you so worked up emotionally in singing you will not know or care what is being said? Now that’s the best one yet.

Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!

I am not saying that every charismatic, eloquent individual is a false person or that everyone who loves to sing is following untruth; nor am I saying that a man of God cannot be a sweet, loving and compassionate individual. I am only showing you the possibilities and the probabilities out there. If you are really interested in knowing the truth, always follow this suggestion from 1 Peter 5: 8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

REGENERATION

In the introduction I stated it was very hard to believe someone cared enough for me to die for my sins; but God did and Jesus Christ was willing to be my sin offering. God cared enough to ask His only begotten Son to die for the sins of man. Jesus Christ cared enough that He was willing to go into hell so my sins would be forgiven.

Christ’s death, and the blood He shed on Calvary, was for the sins of all men: before the law, under the law, under grace and after grace.

However, there is one question that haunts many believers today: when were sins blotted out or atoned for? There are two answers for that one question, but before we examine them we need to get a clearer understanding of the word atonement.

There are seven Jewish feast days, one of them is The Feast of Atonement. The first time it is mentioned is in Leviticus 23: 27-32.

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the children of Israel were to bring their animal sacrifices to the High Priest. The High Priest would receive the sacrificial animal and slit its throat, catch the blood in a vessel and then put the blood on the animal, symbolic for the blood being a covering for sin. Once this ritual was performed, all the sins of the past were “atoned for.” Then the next year, on the Day of Atonement, they would repeat the process. They must do this each and every year of their lives.

When Christ died on the cross, the symbolic animal sacrifice was not needed anymore. That sacrifice was part of Jewish law, and Christ abolished the law in His flesh.

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” Ephesians 2: 15.

It is Christ’s blood that atones for sins. The question is: “At what time does this atonement take place?” The answer is two fold.

1). At the conclusion of his Pentecostal address, Peter said the following in Acts 3: 19-21:

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The passage states that the atonement will come when Jesus Christ returns the second time, known as the second coming of Christ. The times of refreshing will come during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ. Christ returns at the end of the seven years of tribulation and then established His 1,000 year earthly reign as King.

Peter is addressing a predominately Jewish crowd. Peter has been preaching “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2: 38.

What Peter tells the people is they must repent, be cleansed (baptized) so that their sins will be in remission until the time comes when those sins will be blotted out.

2) In Romans 5: 9-11, Paul is addressing a different group of believers, which we will call the Church the Body of Christ. Look at what he tells them:

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

I want you to look at two parts of the passage above. In verse 9 you see the words, “shall be saved from wrath’; and in verse11 the words “we have now received the atonement”.

So, members of the Church the Body of Christ will not go through the wrath, which is the tribulation and the wrath to come, and their sins are atoned for NOW.

Are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 5: 9-11 paradoxes, seemingly contradictory statements that may nonetheless be true? Yes they are! They are both truth, however, they speak to two different groups of people. The passages do not contradict. They are for two different dispensations and two separate time periods and are for two different groups of people.

Acts 3:19-21 is for Israel and all those who were saved under the Kingdom message preached by Peter. Their sins will be atoned when Christ returns to earth the second time. Whereas Romans 5: 9-11 is for the Church the Body of Christ and those who were saved by grace. Their sins are atoned the moment they trust Christ as their Savior.

SALVATION FOR ISRAEL

Let’s look at Acts 3: 21 again: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” What prophets spoke of this event can be seen in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Lets go there.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Let us look very closely at what we just read.

1. V. 31 states there will be a New Covenant established with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Judah is in reference to the two faithful tribes: Judah and Benjamin; and Israel is in reference to the ten unfaithful tribes.

2. V. 32: This New Covenant is different from the Old Covenant made with Israel, through Moses.

3. V. 33 says that God will put His law in their inward parts and write it on their hearts. In this dispensation, Israel’s heart has been hardened because they went a whoring from the presence of God. “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” Hosea 5: 12. God finally “put His foot down” and declared Israel to be Lo-ami, not my people. “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Acts 28: 28.

4. V. 33 also says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God will unlock their hardened hearts and bring them from the state of being Lo-ami (Not my people) to the state of being His people. The promised restoration of Israel will be realized. Look at Acts 1: 6: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The restoration of Israel was what they were looking for, but that time did not come. Look at what Jesus said: “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1: 7. The disciples knew about the prophecy of Jeremiah and were anticipating the earthly kingdom. But that did not happen in Acts. It will happen when Christ returns to earth.

5. V. 34: When Christ establishes His earthly Kingdom, all Israel will know the Lord. It is obvious that they do not know Him at this time.

6. V. 34: When the earthly Kingdom is established the lord will blot out Israel’s sins. But for now, they are waiting for that day. All the saved of the Old Testament and all those who believed the Kingdom message that Peter preached are waiting for their Day of Atonement. It is a future event.

Fact: The Church the Body of Christ is not a New Covenant group of believers. The New Covenant is to be made with Israel and Judah. The New Covenant will become operational when Christ returns at the end of tribulation, establishes His 1,000 year millennial reign and sets up His earthly throne.

You have witnessed seemingly contradictory verse of Scripture, but if we learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth, as 2 Timothy 2: 15 states; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can see that the passages under consideration involves two separate dispensations.

SALVATION FOR THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

Our salvation is by grace and not of works. We become a child of God by trusting in the Faith of Christ. What is the Faith of Christ? He believed the father would raise Him from the dead if he was willing to die for the sins of man.

If you or I are saved today, it not because of anything we did.

You/I cannot do anything to earn our salvation.

You/I cannot do anything to make our salvation better or more meaningful.

Your/My faith cannot save us; that would be a work.

You/I cannot add anything to what Christ has already done.

Look at Titus 3: 4-7: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

THE FAITH OF CHRIST

The finished work of Christ means just what it says: “It is finished.” It was finished the moment He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. When we accept the finished work of Christ we die, and yet we are made alive: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20.

This is another paradox: How can one be dead and still be alive? The Bible teaches we become a part of Christ’s body the moment we believe the Gospel of Christ. Christ died; we died too. Christ rose from the dead; we rose from the dead too. By accepting the Faith of Christ we have been made alive spiritually, but dead to sin. That does not mean our flesh will not sin, it does. But it means that since Christ conquered sin, we will too, in resurrection.

If we believe that Christ did everything for our salvation and that we (mankind) can do nothing, and I do believe that; then the following Scriptures are very important for a clearing understanding of what we are saying. These verses of Scripture state our position without the need of a deep theological explanation.

Galatians 2:

16 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 3:

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Romans 3:

23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

What do all of these verses have in common? In a King James Bible, it is the Faith of Christ. They tell me I am justified by the Faith of Christ, I am made righteous by the Faith of Christ, and I live by the Faith of Christ.

So, what exactly was the Faith of Christ? Christ, who left His throne in Glory, had faith that the Father would restore Him to the position He had before he became flesh and blood. He also had faith that if He were to die and go into hell for the sins of the world, God would not leave his soul in hell. That was the faith Christ had. He believed that God would do what He said He would do.

Christ became a human sacrifice for the world’s sins. It was a work that He was willing to perform and it was that work that justified all of mankind. It is His faith that saves me. I can do nothing for my salvation; it was completed when Christ died over 2,000 years ago.

THE GOSPEL UNTO SALVATION

Since salvation was taken care of by the Lord Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago, how can it be mine?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1: 16.

“So what is the Gospel of Christ,” you ask? It is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

There are a lot of people who believe that Christ died, was buried and rose again but are as lost as they can be. You might be one of those. The Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2: 19. But it is impossible for the devil to be saved and live with God eternally because God has already condemned him to a life in the lake of fire.

There are many who have spent their entire life going to church. They will tell you they have always been a Christian. They believe in God, Jesus Christ, Easter and Christmas, but that does not mean they are saved and that does not mean they are a Christian.

Every person in this world has to understand that they are sinners. They were born sinners and will die sinners. But if a sinner believes that Christ paid the price for their sins and trust what He did for them on Calvary, then they are Children of God.

Some things you should understand scripturally:

1. You are a sinner: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. You need to understand you are lost before you will understand the need to be saved.

2. The penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6: 23. Since you are a sinner, you should die, but Christ intervened on your behalf, if you will trust what He did.

3. The gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. The free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel of Christ. The gospel is not the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The gospel is Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected.

Satan knew Christ did not die for his sins, for Satan’s sin separated him permanently from God. He knows there is a God and he knows who the Son of God is too. He believes in them and you’d better believe he knows that Christ rose from the dead, because when Christ did that he conquered death and Satan’s power of death. Look at Hebrews 2: 14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

So you see, just believing in God, Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection does not save unless you believe all He did was for you and your sins. Christ died for your sins and you must accept His work for you if you are to be saved.

One other thing, the Gospel is the power of God UNTO salvation. Christ is our salvation. There is nothing you can do to earn this salvation for it is the gift of God. Salvation has always been available to you. Now all you must do is believe the Gospel. Once it become personal for you, you will become a part of Christ’s body and His Spirit will dwell in you.

SECURE: CHRIST LIVING IN ME

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12: 13.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12: 27.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1: 27.

Think about it, Christ living in you! And if He does, that guarantees you eternal life with Him. You are part of Christ’s body and that means that wherever He is, you are. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 4-9.

I underlined the words hath quickened so that you would understand this is “past tense.” That means I have already been raised up into heaven spiritually. My Spirit is already with Christ, who is in heaven.

How can one teach that you can loose your salvation if they read the Scriptures listed above? They must be false teachers acting as though they are ministers of Christ. Beware! Beware!

God knows everything so He would know I was going to sin after I believed, wouldn’t He? Sure He would. So when Christ died for the sins of the world, He died for all those sins I would commit a hundred tomorrows from now as well as for the ones I committed yesterday.

This question remains: “Did Christ die for ALL my sins or not”? And the answer is and always has been a resounding yes. How do I know that? I know that because the Word of God says so.

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2: 10-15.

Christ has already quickened those who trusted Him and has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses. Then how can some preacher say if I sin I will loose my salvation? He must be a false teacher acting as though he was a minister of light. Beware! If you continue to listen to him you will be his roommate in hell.

GOOD WORKS vs. BAD WORKS

Sin does not rob me of eternal life with Christ, but sin does rob me of something. Sin robs me of my reward. A Christian can do things (works) that are bad as well as good. My bad works, things done in my flesh, will be burned and I will suffer loss, but I will not suffer my inheritance. My good works, things done in the Spirit, will stand the test of fire and I will receive a reward. Look at 1 Corinthians 3; 11-16:

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The gold, silver and precious stones of verse twelve are good works. When they are subjected to fire they are purified, not destroyed. The end result is reward. The “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” of 2 Timothy 2: 12 could very well be the reward spoken of in 1 Corinthians.

The wood, hay and stubble of verse twelve are bad works. When they are subjected to fire they burn completely, they are destroyed. The child of God will suffer loss, but he will still be secure in Christ, as verse fifteen states.

There are many skeptics, or false teachers who might wonder why we did not include 1 Corinthians 3: 17 in our commentary. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Fact: This body can be destroyed. It will be before we ascend into heaven, but God may also allow it to be delivered into the hands of Satan at anytime it ceases to be productive. Look at 2 Corinthians 5: 5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Good and bad works are contrasted with the spirit and the flesh. The two are not compatible. There is a war going on between the flesh and the Spirit and often times it is very frustrating for the believer. Look at what God’s Word say on the subject.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5: 17.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7: 18-25.

Paul, the author of both Galatians and Romans, was aware of the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. He had problems with his flesh too. He was constantly fighting to overcome the desires of his flesh. But at least he was trying, unlike the majority of us who call ourselves Christians. We seem to be content with the fact that we are saved and already seated in heavenly places and go about living like children of the devil, rather than walk as children of God. Watch out! God could turn you over to Satan for the destruction of your flesh.

“But don’t we have liberty under grace, as stated in Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” one might say?

Yes! But you need to look at Galatians 5: 13: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We must not abuse the liberty we have or we will prostitute the grace of God.

WHAT REGENERATION IS NOT TODAY

Regeneration in the Dispensation of Grace is not works performed by mankind. Salvation has always been accompanied with works, regardless of the dispensation. That is why proponents of it today quote James 2: 20: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” or James 2: 26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The works James speaks of are those that man can do.

There was a time when this statement applied to the believer. But in the Dispensation of Grace, in which we currently reside, man’s work plays no part in salvation. The work that must be done has already been done by Christ.

1. Able had to offer the right sacrifice or not be accepted of God.

2. Noah had to build an ark before he and his family could be saved.

3. Abraham had to offer Isaac or not be declared righteous.

4. Moses had to put blood over the door so the first born male child could be saved. He also had to walk through the Red Sea to be saved.

5. Rahab had to send those looking for the men of God in another direction so that she and her family would be saved.

6. Those believer in the gospels had to repent and be baptized before they could be saved.

All these works were necessary because God said do them to show your faith. So then BY their faith, plus doing the required work, God saved them. Salvation has always been doing what God required, at the time He required them to be done.

Well, God does not require you to perform any work today. God says that people living in the Dispensation of Grace CANNOT DO ANYTHING that will save them. Let me be more emphatic, you MUST NOT DO ANYTHING in an attempt to be saved or you will frustrate the grace of God.

Salvation in the twenty-first century is a free gift, given by God because of the WORK of His Son. So then, the work that had been necessary for man to perform has been replaced by the work that Christ performed. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Why would God say, “and that not of yourselves” if it had not once been of yourselves? In prior dispensations, salvation was BY faith doing whatever God said do. It was man’s faith doing what God required at the time.

In this present dispensation it is all about Christ’s faith that saves, and Christ has already done what was necessary: He died for the sins of the world; he became the sacrifice for sins. Salvation for this age involves the work of Christ.

Those of us living today cannot perform any work, cannot add anything to Christ’s finished work. Persons in prior dispensations were saved BY their faith, accompanied with works. In the present dispensation, we receive our salvation THROUGH faith believing in Christ’s faith and His work. Look at Romans 3: 30: “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

God has always required a work (by man) to follow an act of faith in every dispensation, with the exception of the dispensation of Grace. In this present dispensation Christ has done the work necessary. We must accept, through faith, the work of Christ for our salvation.

The uncircumcision of Romans 3:30 speaks of the Church the Body of Christ. This body of believers is a unique group of people, chosen in God before the foundation of the world.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1: 4.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 7.

The Bible says that the Church the Body of Christ will be an example to the world of the grace of God. For the first and only time, God is not requiring works of man as a show of faith. He allowed Christ to perform the work for us. That, my friend, is what grace is about. God has given us a precious gift, the gift of life through Christ Jesus our Lord. He died, became the sacrifice for sins, thus performing the work necessary to please God.

Let us look at James 2: 20-26:

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Works WERE necessary to show faith. Without the work there would have been no justification. This has always been the truth and it still is today. But it is the work of Christ that saves today, not the work of man. In other dispensations the work that was required was a work that men did. In the present dispensation it is a work that Christ has done. This is grace.

This teaching is not something that has been known for only a short time. It is not some doctrine that I have espoused on my on. I was taught it by someone who was taught it by someone else. Songs written long ago declared it: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

In past dispensations if a man did not do works he could not be saved. In the present dispensation if man thinks his works saves him he is not saved.

Paul said: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Do you want to frustrate the grace of God? Do not allow some false prophet to hoodwink you into believing you must be baptized or speak in tongues to be saved. That would be frustrating the grace of God. That would be a work you could perform, thus frustrating to God and to Christ who did the work required for your salvation.

WHAT WILL IT BE – HEAVEN OR HELL?

Question: If you were to die today, would you spend eternity in heaven or hell?

If you said heaven, praise God and go and share your faith and your assurance with a lost friend, relative, fellow worker or neighbor.

If you said hell or you do not know, read on.

Would you like to know about heaven? If one is to go there they must be saved, they must trust in what Christ has already done for them. How does one come to that point?

1. Recognize you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3: 23.

2. Understand the penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6: 23.

3. Believe the gospel of your salvation: “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:” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.

4. Accept the free gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Everyone who is alive is a sinner. You are, and so am I. Adam was made in the image of God, but Adam sinned, and everyone who has ever been born is born of fallen Adam. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was a sin. Everyone that was born of Adam was born in sin and falls short of the glory of God. Since all who are born are born sinners, what we sinners deserve (wages of sin) is death. This death means to be separated from God eternally. But if I accept the gift of God, which is Christ dying for my sins; I will be saved from the wrath of eternal damnation.

God gives us eternal life with Him because of what Christ did on Calvary. And when Christ was resurrected from the grave he conquered death for all who would accept His gift.

Salvation is accepting the gift that has already been provided for you. It is free for you, but it cost God and Christ a lot in order for you to have it. Christ had to die and spend three days and night in hell before God resurrected Him from there.

When Christ died on Calvary over 2,000 years ago, God placed the sins of man, past, present and future, on His shoulders. Jesus Christ redeemed you from your sins. To redeem is to buy back. Until you accept what Christ did, you remain a salve to sin. That sin has separated you from God. Jesus Christ, in redemption, paid the necessary price (His life) and performed the work God required, the shedding of His blood, to restore fallen man’s standing with God.

Since you are a sinner, you have all been on “Death Row”. The sentence has been handed down by the eternal judge and you have been found lacking. You must die, but you have one last chance to escape eternal death: Accept the gift of Christ. If you do, you will pass from death to life.

ONLY BELIEVE

Most of you reading this will have never met me, but let me speak to you as if I were your closet friend. There is a heaven and there is a hell. When I was a child that was an accepted fact by the majority of the people living in the United States of America, but sadly, it is not the case today.

One day you are going to die. I want you to image that you are in prison and on “Death Row”. You’re only hope of escaping death would be if someone intervened on your behalf. You’ve been informed that that someone, Jesus Christ, is coming today. He enters your cell and speaks:

Jesus: “My child, you are in a precarious situation, are you not?”

Doomed Soul: “Yes Sir, I am. Can you help me?”

Jesus: “Yes, I can.”

Doomed Soul: “Will you?”

Jesus: “I already have. But up until this point you have refused to accept my gift to you. Will you trust that I have already done what is necessary for you to be free? Will you believe that what I have done will give you a get out of jail free card?”

Doomed Soul: “I would like to believe, but how can I be sure that your word is true?”

Jesus: “Because I just told you. I am the way the truth and the life. The words that I speak are truth. I did everything for you to be free.”

Doomed Soul: “What did you do?”

Jesus: I died for your transgressions over 2,000 years ago. Men buried me, but my Father raised me from the dead three days later and I ascended back to my Father. Believe I did that for you and you can walk away from here a free person. Nobody will keep you from walking out of here.”

Doomed Soul: “Do you think I’m crazy? Why would you die for me? I’ve never met you before. There must be something in it for you, so what’s the catch? I’ve always been told you don’t get something for nothing.”

Jesus: “I did it because I loved you and I want you to be a part of my family, but you must trust me. Will you?”

Pause

Jesus: “Will you trust me? If you will, let’s get of here and go home to my Father.”

Doomed Soul: “The minute I walk out of that door those guards will think I’m trying to escape and they will shoot me. You are asking me to put my life in your hands and I do not even know you.”

Jesus: “If you knew me you would trust me. Will you?”

Doomed Soul: “I want to but I am afraid.”

Jesus: “What is there to be afraid of? You are going to die if you don’t trust me, and you’re going to live forever in a place of torment eternally. So what have you got to lose? If I walk out of here and you do not follow after me, you will surely die. I am offering you everlasting life in a wonderful place, all you have to do is trust me to be who I say I am. Will you let me save you or not? Believe in me and you will be free.”

The man slowly, but a little reluctantly, walks out the cell door and past the guard and out the doors to freedom.

Doomed Soul: “I believe He meant what He said so I put my life completely in His hands.”

Jesus: “My words are true, you can believe them.”

Saved Soul: “Thank you Lord, for saving my soul and giving me eternal life with you in heaven.”

If you are a lost sinner, Christ’s words are true and you will find those words in a King James Bible. His Word says believe I died for your sins, was buried and resurrected and you will be saved. Jesus says believe I did that for you and that salvation is by my grace and the work I did on Calvary. Trust my words and salvation is yours. It is God’s gift to all who will believe.

BE CAREFUL

There are many people in pulpits who will tell you that you must do this or that in order to be saved. They want you to add something that you can do to the finished work of Christ. The fact is that if you add anything you will loose everything. Jesus Christ redeemed you by the shedding of His blood. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Circumcision never saved anyone. Keeping the Law could not save anyone. Water baptism will not save anyone, nor will doing good works save anyone. Jesus saves! You do not have to walk down an isle and give a preacher your hand; that does not save you. You might cry or you might not, but crying will not save you. Actions and emotions do not aid in your salvation; they may occur, but they do not save.

Jesus paid the price for your salvation. He is all you need. If you add anything to His finished work you prostitute the grace of God. All you can do is trust in what He has already done. You can do that wherever you are: riding in a car, in a motel room, in your home or in the woods. The question is, “Will You?”

If you will, you are saved. Go and serve Him. Find a place that teaches the Bible and begin to grow in the knowledge of Him. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2: 15.

You can obtain additional information on the ministry of Obed Kirkpatrick by viewing www.soundwordsministry.com.