Question 1: Must a person be baptized to be saved?
A: 1) In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commanded the apostles to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them and by teaching them. Disciples are made by baptizing and teaching. So according to this scripture, a person cannot be a disciple until he is baptized. 2) In Mark 16:15, 16, Jesus commanded the apostles to preach the gospel to every creature. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be condemned.” Notice that it takes both belief and baptism for salvation. 3) In Acts 2:38, the men and women who had crucified Jesus asked what they needed to do be saved, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” Peter responded, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins.” Baptism is said here to be “for the remission of your sins.” 4) In Acts 22:16, Ananias is telling Saul of Tarsus what he needed to do to be saved. He says, “And now, why tarriest thou, arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Baptism is said here to be for washing away sins. 5) In Romans 6:1-10, Paul is reminding the Christians in Rome what happened after their baptism. He said that baptism is like the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He says, “we are buried with him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead to the glory of the Father, even so we should also walk in newness of life.” Baptism places us into newness of life just like when Christ was resurrected he had a new life. 6) In Galatians 3:26-29 Paul writes that baptism puts us in Christ and makes us heirs to the promise. 7) In Colossians 2:11-13 Paul says that baptism makes us alive through Christ and gives us the forgiveness of trespasses. 8) In 1 Peter 3:21, Peter says that baptism now saves us.
So, in light of these passages we see the following (these numbers correspond to the scriptures above): 1) One cannot be a disciple unless baptized. 2) One cannot be saved without belief and baptism. 3) One cannot have forgiveness of sins without baptism. 4) One cannot have sins washed away without baptism. 5) One cannot have newness of life without baptism. 6) One cannot be an heir of the promise without baptism. 7) One cannot be made alive or have forgiveness of trespasses without baptism. 8) One cannot be saved without baptism. Study your own Bible on this issue. Be honest. Don’t just take my word for it.
Question 2: Can one lose his or her salvation?
A: Again, let’s look at the scriptures themselves. 1) In Acts 5:1, a couple named Ananias and Saphira lied to the Holy Ghost and fell down dead at the Apostles feet. Were they Christians before this? Yes. 2) In Acts 8:1-14 we see that many became Christians. One of those who became a Christian was a man named Simon. Later in the chapter, Simon sinned and Peter rebuked him. Peter commanded him to Repent. If Simon had not repented, would he have been saved? No. He was in the “gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.” 3) In Acts 20:29,30 Paul is speaking to the pastors/elders of the church at Ephesus. He says that from among your own selves some will arise speaking perverse things. Can a person be an pastor/elder of the church without being a Christian? Yet, some would arise who would teach perverse things. Why the warning if they could not be lost? 4) In Galatians 5:4, Paul says that those who tried to justify themselves according to the Mosaical law had “fallen from grace.” Notice these words, “Ye are fallen from grace.” How could someone fall from grace if they never had grace? 5) In Hebrews 6:4-6, the writer says that it is impossible to renew someone to repentance. Who is that person? It is the person who: (1) was once enlightened, (2) tasted of the heavenly gift, (3) made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (4) tasted the good word of God, (5) tasted the powers of the world to come. Can a person be all of these things without being a Christian? Clearly someone must be a Christian to have all of these blessings, yet, we read that if they fall away it is impossible for us to renew them to repentance. Why would this be written if it were not possible to fall away? 6) In 1 Peter 2:20-22, Peter says there are some who (1) escaped the pollutions of the world through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and (2) knew the way of righteousness. They were Christians. He then says that (1) these have become entangled again in the pollutions of the world, and (2) turned away from knowing the way of righteousness. He says that these are like the dog returning to his vomit and the clean sow to washing in the mire. They have become lost again.
So, 1) Ananias and Saphira were Christians; they were lost. 2) Simon was a Christian, but he sinned and had to repent. 3) Some pastors/elders of the church taught perverse things and were lost. 4) Those who justified themselves by the law of Moses had “fallen from grace.” 5) Christians who had once received the Holy Ghost can so sin as to be impossible for us to renew them to repentance. 6) It is possible to escape the pollutions of the world (become a Christian) and be entangled in them again and be lost. Again, study your Bible and don’t take my word for it.
Question 3: Are the members of the church of Christ the only ones going to
A: This is the toughest question, because many think that when a person says, “church of Christ” he means strictly the building down the road and the people that meet in it or any organization that has that name on their building. That is not what is meant by “church of Christ.” Again, let’s open our Bibles and study what the Bible says. 1) In Matthew 16:18, Jesus promised to Peter that he would build His church. It is Christ’s church. It is the church of Christ (see also Romans 16:16). 2) In order to be a member of the church, one must be saved. In Acts 2, Peter preached the first gospel sermon and 3000 people were saved. In Acts 2:44 it says that the Lord “added” such as should be saved. To whom did he “add” these saved people? He added them to the church. The King James version has the word church. Some of the other versions do not. But whether the word is there or not, the saved were added to something. That something was the church. 3) We read in Ephesians 1:22, 23 that the church is the body of Christ. 4) We read in Ephesians 5:23 that Christ is the savior of the body which is the church. 5) We read in Colossians 1:18 that Christ is the head of the body, the church. 6) We read in Colossians 1:24 that the body is the church. 7) We read in 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13 that we are baptized into the body.
So, 1) the church belongs to Christ; it is the church of Christ. 2) The saved are added to he church. 3) The church is the body of Christ. 4) Christ’s saves the body that is the church. 5) Christ is the head of the body, the church. 6) The body is the church. 7) We are baptized into the body. So, when we are baptized, we are baptized into the body of Christ that is the church of Christ. Those who are saved are in the body of Christ alone. Those who are saved are in the church of Christ alone.
Now, you may have a further question from this study. How do I know the church of Christ when I see it? Does the sign on the front of the building that says, “church of Christ” mean that this is THE church of Christ that we find in the Bible? No, not necessarily. The only way that you can know the true church of Christ is by seeing if those who claim to be the church of Christ are DOING what Christ said to do in His word, the Bible. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Many claim to belong to the Lord, but they don’t really belong to the Lord. The only ones who belong to the Lord are the ones who DO the will of His Father. If the building down the street says “Church of Christ” but they are not DOING what the Father wants to be done, then they are not the church of Christ of the Bible. I would not be a member of a church that was not DOING what the Bible says. The church of Christ must DO what God says to be the church of Christ.
You might also be wondering, why use the name “church of Christ?” We use the name church of Christ because 1) the church belongs to Christ, 2) the name honors Christ, 3) the name reminds us that we belong to Christ, 4) the name identifies us with Christ. There are OTHER scriptural names for the church in the Bible. It is also called the church of God and the church of the firstborn ones (two examples, there are more). The believers are called saints, Christians, believers, disciples, and followers. All of these are Bible designations. As I said, we must go by what the Bible says. When we designate things in some other way, then we are not following what the Bible says. For example, in 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul rebuked the church at Corinth because they were calling themselves after Paul, and Peter, and Apollos. Paul said that he was not crucified for them, but Christ was. He rebuked them because they called themselves something other than what Christ called them. Some today call themselves by other names than what are in the Bible. Should we do this? No. We should do what the Bible tells us to do.
Question 4: If one loses their salvation, what do they have to do to get it back?
A: Look at the example of Simon in Acts 8:19-24. He had already been baptized (8:13). It only took one intentional sin to cause him to be “in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.” But he repented and prayed and he was forgiven. Sometimes we sin unintentionally, or in ignorance. In that case, the blood of Christ covers our sins (1 John 1:7) but the faithful Christian will always ask to be forgiven of these sins of ignorance (1 John 1:9, 2:1).
Question 5: If the members of the church of Christ are the only ones going to heaven, where is that stated in the Bible?
A: Perhaps the most significant scripture on this particular question is Ephesians 5:23. This verse says that Christ is the Head of the church and the Savior of the body. In Ephesians 1:22, 23 we read that the body is the church. Whose church is it? It is the church of Christ. There is only one Savior of the church and there is only one church that is going to be saved. Ephesians 4:4 tells us that is the “one body.” That “one body” is the one church that belongs to Jesus Christ–the church of Christ. Please refer to question three in this series for additional explanation.