I’m Saved, Right?

Are you saved? “Well, of course I am saved.” If this answer flashed immediately into your mind when you saw this question, then you may want to continue to read this. The Bible teaches that there are some people who think they are saved, but in actuality they are not saved. In fact, did you know that Jesus himself said that there were going to be some people who think they are saved, yet will be eternally lost? Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” (NKJV)

So, I ask again, are you saved? Maybe at this point you are thinking about what you did in order to be saved. That is good. What did you do to be saved? How do you know you are saved? Perhaps your answer is like many in the religious world today who say, “Well, I prayed a little prayer to Jesus and told Him that I accepted Him into my heart and that’s how I know I am saved.” In other words, you believed that Jesus was the Son of God. This is good, because faith is necessary in order to be saved. However, is it the ONLY thing that is required on your part for salvation? In fact, Jesus acknowledged in this same scripture that there were some who called him “Lord” yet they were not saved. They believed in Jesus, but they were not saved. Are you one of these people?

Perhaps you are asking yourself now, “Well, if I can be a believer, yet not be saved, what must I do to be saved?” This is a very good question to ask. But where do we go to find the answer to this question? Should we go to our teachers at school? Should we go to our family? Should we go to the deacons? Should we go to the pastors? Should we go to the preacher? To all these questions, you must answer, “No.” In fact, in order to find out what one must do to be saved, we must accept ONLY the answer that God gives to this question. Where does God answer this question? He answers it in the Bible.

The book of Acts in the New Testament answers this question several times. The question is specifically stated three times in the book of Acts. We find it stated in Acts 2:37 in the form, “What shall we do?” In Acts 9:11 it is stated by Saul (who would later be known by the name Paul) “Lord, what do you want me to do?” It is also stated by a jailer in Acts 16:30 in the form, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” God considered this question so important that He gave us the answer to the question three times. Each time the answer is the same, though the context in which the answer is given is different.

The first place in which the answer was given, Peter told them the following: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” was to repent and be baptized. Isn’t it strange that Peter didn’t tell them to believe? Why would he leave out such a critical piece of the answer? Was it because they already believed? This is, in fact, the case. They heard Peter’s message and were convinced that they had crucified the Son of God; they believed! So what more did they need to do? “Repent and be baptized.”

The second place in which the answer was given, Jesus told Saul the following: “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). Did you notice something missing from this answer? Jesus did not say to Saul, “just accept me into your heart and you will be saved.? He told him that someone else would tell Saul what he needed to do. Who was this someone else and what did he tell Saul to do? We find that answer in Acts 22:16. The person was Ananias and he told Saul the following: “And now why are you waiting: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Ananias also left out the part about “accepting Jesus into your heart.” Why? Because Saul already believed. He then said that if Saul wanted to wash away his sins that he needed to be baptized.

The third place in which the answer was given, Paul himself told an unnamed man the following: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). In this answer, the man is told to “believe.” Why would this particular man be told to believe” He was told he needed to believe because he did not already believe. He needed to believe first. Notice that in the same context in verse thirty-three we read the following, “And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” Why was there a need to be baptized? Why was there a need to be baptized the same hour of the night? Why was there a need for him and all of his family to be baptized immediately? The answer is that it was necessary for them to be baptized to be saved. Notice what the next verse says in verse thirty-four: “Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” It says that he rejoiced after he was baptized. It also says that the action of being baptized indicated that they had believed. In other words, baptism is part of the expression of belief in God. Without baptism, one cannot really honestly say that one believes God. In other words until we are baptized for the remission of our sins; until we are baptized to wash away our sins; any expression of faith on our part is no different than those folks that Jesus spoke about who merely said, “Lord, Lord.” They “believed,” but they failed to do the will of the Father.

What do you need to do to make sure that you are saved today? Interestingly enough, Paul says that you can be saved in exactly the same way that He was saved. In a letter that Paul wrote to a young preacher named Timothy, he said, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” Paul said that his salvation was a pattern for everyone else. In other words, you can be saved in the same way that Paul was saved and, in fact, this is the way in which we must be saved. We don’t have to guess at how Paul was saved. We have the exact words that were used in his salvation in Acts 22:16. “And now why are you waiting: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Do you believe you were saved before you were baptized? If you do, then you are in the same category as those who cried “Lord, Lord.” Believing that you are saved when you actually are not. Remember, Jesus said that only those who “do the will of the Father” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Do the father’s will today! Don’t just hear the answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved,” but act on it. If you believe you were saved before you were baptized, then all you did was get wet. You did not put your faith in God’s word to remove your sins as God said he would remove your sins. Put your faith in God’s word today to save you through being baptized, for the remission of your sins, calling upon his name!

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Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 8

March 20th, 2003

No, I do not think that you have been dishonest. I believe that you honestly believe the things that you set forth, I have just been trying to show some of the implications of the words that you have written down. I did get the impression from your comments regarding 1 Corinthians11 that if the writer is addressing the church then it is exclusively the church and I got the equal impression from Galatians 6:1-10 that it is exclusively the individual. It is from your comments that I came to the conclusion that IF (that is hypothetically) you were to accept Galatians 6:1-10 as speaking to the churches that you might (in your mind, hypothetically) exclude individuals from giving. So I was speaking in hypotheticals when I wrote that. Obviously, I don’t know what is in your mind, so I can’t judge what you believe from that perspective and that is why I asked you to correct me if that was not the case. So, the question that I was putting forward is this: Hypothetically, if you were to accept Galatians 6:1-10 as speaking to the church and as giving instruction to the church would that limit the individuals ability to give to others? I ask that question based upon your handling of 1 Corinthians 11 as exclusively applying to corporate worship. I hope that you can understand how I might be curious about that and I hope this explains why I would say such a thing. Thanks for clearing it up. I accept your explanation and am glad that you do not think that.

As to the second issue, I do stand by my words. I do not think that I am accusing you of being dishonest, but merely not justifying your conclusions. A person can be honest and yet not justify their conclusions. I am saying that your argument assumes the very thing that must be proved in this context. We have already seen that sometimes a New Testament writer can be addressing the church and yet speak to individual action (such as in 1 Corinthians11). So the presence of the singular number in the context alone does not justify concluding that therefore the whole context is speaking to individuals. This is the only argument that you have set forth in regard to your case and I was merely trying to show that it is not an argument at all, but an assumption that proceeds from the doctrine of saints-only itself. I am not questioning your sincerity or honesty, but merely trying to get you to set forth some kind of logical argument to justify your conclusion. What FORCES one to the conclusion that Galatians 6:1-10 can ONLY be speaking to individuals??? What is it about the context of these statements forces one to that conclusion??? It simply cannot be the singular number alone. That alone does not justify it, just as the plural number alone does not justify my case. My case is built upon MORE than just the plural number. It is built upon the 1) address of the epistle, 2) the purpose of the epistle, 3) the expectation that Paul had for the churches to deal with the problems they faced and 4) the plural number. All I am asking is for you to give me some additional reasons why I should conclude that Galatians 6:1-10 addresses ONLY individuals. I have not seen you do that and so I conclude that it is merely demanded by your doctrine and that is the only other reason that it could be. I hope that you can see that I am merely trying to reason about the statements that you have made regarding this passage and not trying to impugn your character or deal with you in a dishonest way. I have been rather blunt in an effort to try to get you to deal with the specific issues, but I have not received any response from you in those things, and so I have just assumed that you don’t have anything to say about them or can’t say anything about them. I invite you to prove me to be wrong about that.

In addition, I have set forth my case based upon the purpose of the epistle to the Galatians. You have never answered this particular argument. I would like to hear what you have to say about the purpose of the epistle to the Galatians. Why did Paul write that epistle? What did he expect the churches to do to resolve the problems that they had? This stuff is relevant to how we understand Galatians 6, but you have said nothing about it. Do you agree with me regarding the purpose of the epistle? Do you disagree? Do you think that Paul expected the churches to resolve these problems? Do you think that Paul wanted individuals ONLY to resolve these problems? I just don’t know what you think about these issues and I would like to know.

By the way, personally, I don’t expect to be dealt with in any less vigorous a way than the way I try to deal with the arguments that you set forth. I WANT what I teach to be TESTED, PROVED, and TRIED by others, because if I am not teaching the truth, then I need to know it and I need to change. So I want others to bring the strongest possible arguments against what I am teaching. When this is done, I try not to take it personally, but do try to understand what is being said and see if my position can be defended based upon the arguments alone. That is all I am trying to do with your statements as well and I hope that you will take it in that spirit. I have no personal animosity toward you and believe that you have none toward me either. I hope this satisfies your questions that you have set forth below. If it does not, then ask some more questions and I will try to answer those as well.

End of discussion on Galatians 6:10

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Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 7

March 18th, 2003

I think I understand what your point is, but we simply disagree. The premise that you are setting forth is that in ALL cases when the scriptures address individuals, that means individuals ONLY and in ALL cases when the scriptures address the church, that means the church ONLY. For you (in your mind) to accept that Galatians 6:1-10 is speaking to churches would mean that you (in your mind) would have to prevent individuals from doing benevolence. (If that is not correct, let me know). However, the hermeneutic here is flawed. The assumption from which you begin is incorrect. You fail to realize that the church is made up of individual members and as such individuals must always be involved when the church acts corporately whether that is through worship, evangelism, or benevolence and that sometimes individuals can act on the behalf of the church outside the context of the assembly (such as an eldership making a decision for the church or the preacher writing an article for the newspaper on behalf of the church).

To say that Galatians 6:1-10 applies to individuals ONLY is simply not warranted from the text (that was why I went through the text again and emphasized the plural number in my last e-mail). There is absolutely no way to prove that Paul was only addressing Christians on an individual level ONLY. The “proof” that you set forth is really a by-product of the doctrine of saints-only. It goes something like this: “The Bible teaches that the church may give money from the treasury to saints only. Therefore, Galatians 6:10 MUST be talking about individuals and not the church. This must be true or else my doctrine is wrong. It is impossible for my doctrine to be wrong, therefore it must be true that Paul is ONLY addressing individuals.” You assume this to be true because your doctrine demands it, not because the text warrants it. This assumes the very thing that you must prove. And that kind of reasoning is not sufficient to establish truth.

Additionally, to say that the actions in Galatians 6:1-10 were “individual, not corporate” implies that Paul wrote the letter to the churches but did not give the churches any corporate action which they needed to take to correct the problems they faced from the Judaizing teachers. It puts one in the position of affirming that Paul wrote to the churches to correct a problem that was in the church, but that Paul had no expectation of the church to take any corrective action in that regard. Such a position contradicts the purpose for which Paul wrote the letter to the “churches” of Galatia. I would really like to hear your answer to this particular item.

You have got to at least acknowledge that the general thrust of the letter was written to the CHURCHES, not to individuals. As such, when Paul uses the plural number the FIRST thing that we must expect is that he is addressing the church. Addressing individuals would, therefore, be an exception to the general thrust of the epistle and must be PROVEN to be addressed to individuals ONLY. So for your case to stand, you must prove that Galatians 6:1-10 can ONLY be addressed to individuals. It just is not sufficient to say, “I think,” or “It seems to me” or “It appears to be this way;” it must be PROVEN that individuals ONLY were being addressed in Galatians 6:1-10. This is impossible to do given the plural nature of the verbs in that chapter.

My argument from 1 Corinthians 11 is that just as the plurality of the verbs in 1 Corinthians 11 make that corporate action so also the plurality of the verb in Galatians 6:1-10 makes that corporate action. An inspired writer does NOT have to use the word “together” every single time he wants to indicate corporate action. The same elements in 1 Corinthians 11 that make the action there corporate are found in Galatians as well.

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