Tag Archives: Salvation

Why So Many Denominations

In his classic book, “The Trail of Blood,” J.M. Carroll, a Texas pastor and educator of the last century, lays out the beginnings of the multitude of different religious denominations. After the ascension of Christ back to Heaven as recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Acts, the spreading of the Gospel by the Apostles and the early Christians continued as Jesus had commanded before His departure, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15). Once the early believers passed on to Glory through death and new generations arose, the way of salvation in Christ Alone as found in Scripture began to be distorted by some of the churches that had been established throughout the known world. Those churches began requiring the addition of baptism for salvation, referred to as “baptismal regeneration.” It was from this error that the birth of different denominations arose.

The separation of churches thus began. As early as A.D. 251 churches loyal to the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ broke fellowship with the erring churches. As an outgrowth of requiring adults to be baptized for salvation, it was determined by A.D. 370 to begin baptizing infants by immersion, too.

A group of the erring churches formed into the Catholic Church, organized during Constantine’s reign, and became involved in legislative activities. In A.D. 416 a law was passed making infant baptism mandatory throughout the Roman Empire. Those who rejected the practice as unbiblical took their stand against obeying the new law and suffered the consequences. Just ten years later in A.D. 426 the “Dark Ages” began, lasting over 1,000 years with over fifty million Christian martyrs giving their lives for the Truth of the Gospel.

It was not until 1530 during the Great Reformation the Lutheran Church came about in Germany under the leadership of Martin Luther, a former Catholic monk who was converted to faith in Christ Alone upon reading in the Scriptures, “The just shall live by faith,” (Romans 1:17). In 1541 the Presbyterian Church came into being in Switzerland under the leadership of John Calvin who left the Catholic Church upon his conversion to Christ. England’s King Henry VIII established the Church of England around 1534, making himself the head of the church after the Catholic Church would not annul his marriage to his first wife. In spite of their coming out of the Catholic Church, each of these denominations continued the practices of church and state alliances, baptismal regeneration, and infant baptism, which had evolved throughout the intervening years to either sprinkling or pouring for baptism.

The Methodist Church was born out of the work of John and Charles Wesley, and George Whitfield, in the 1700s, who had been members of the Church of England and had hoped to reform it from within. The Episcopal and Anglican churches also derive from the Church of England begun by Henry VIII. Those who remained true to the Scriptures since the days Jesus walked with His disciples and taught them salvation is by grace alone through faith alone were first referred to as Baptists in 1523 in Switzerland.

Advertisements

Preparing for Eternity

The coming eclipse of the moon passing before the sun caused numerous details to be considered and executed in preparation of its arrival throughout the United States for its safe viewing. Some traveled great distances at great cost to be in the direct path of its totality of coverage. Maps were pored over, arrangements for travel and lodging were made, meals were planned, the acquisition of solar viewing glasses were sought out and action taken to be in the best possible location for the best possible view. Much preparation took place by individuals to see the once in a lifetime event.

Before natural disasters strike, such as hurricanes in the current age, much time is given broadcasting the time of their potential arrival. Admonitions are made to prepare for the coming wind, rain and flooding such storms bring. Windows are boarded up, store shelves are emptied of their products, fuel is sought out to power transportation and generators, arrangements are made to either stay or find shelter elsewhere until the storm passes by. Much time and preparation takes place by each individual in its path in anticipation of what is about to befall them.

The Prophet Amos in the Old Testament of the Holy Scriptures admonished his hearers “Prepare to meet thy God,” (Amos 4:12). The judgment of God was once again upon the Children of Israel after endless years of rebellion and rejection of God’s Will for their lives. The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament over 800 years later called for Spiritual preparations to be made, “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27). Preparing for Eternity is the most important preparation each individual must make.

To find what is needed to prepare for an Eternity with God one must spend time in His Word reading the Scriptures for what God requires of man to be in a right relationship with Him. One must spend time in prayer seeking God’s forgiveness and His Will for their life. One must daily be about the Father’s business, going where He would have them go, doing what He would have them do, sharing the Good News of the Gospel with all who will hear. The first step in preparing for Eternity is to begin with the ABCs…  Acknowledge your sin (Romans 3:10, 23);  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection for sin (Romans 5:8-9; 6:23);  Confess your need to Him of His Forgiveness (Romans 10:9-13). From there, as the Apostle Peter admonished in 2 Peter 3:18, “Grow in Grace, and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be Glory both now and forever. Amen.”

The Atheist Delusion

For those who in their own mind try to deny the existence of God, Ray Comfort of Living Waters Publications speaks with several willing participants of the Truths of God’s Creation and His Word, showing them the fallacy of their thinking. Transformation takes place for some as they begin to clearly see the error of their way and consider what they had refused to understand before. A powerful presentation with breathtaking views of God’s Creation, “The Atheist Delusion” uncovers the root of atheistic belief.

Baptismal Regeneration

In Jesus’ final words to His disciples gathered in the Upper Room before His arrest and crucifixion, He made it clear the only way to forgiveness of one’s sin and a right standing before God was through Him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me, (John 14:6). Within two centuries of Jesus’ return to Heaven there began to creep into some of the early churches a teaching that baptism was the way to salvation.

Known as “baptismal regeneration,” this was and is a most serious deviation from the Scripture, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin,” (1 John 1:7). Man’s desire to make baptism the way of salvation contrary to Scripture is evident from the introduction of baptizing infants. It was thought if salvation could be obtained by water baptism, the earlier one was baptized the better. When infant baptism was first introduced babies were fully immersed under the water, but centuries later pouring or sprinkling of water came into vogue in most erring churches.

It was baptismal regeneration along with infant baptism that brought about the numerous denominations in the world today. Whereas Baptists alone continued to stand firm on by grace are ye saved through faith, in Christ Alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), declaring non-fellowship with those early churches which accepted and practiced the errors of baptism, it was not long before, in A.D. 416, a law was passed in the Roman world making infant baptism compulsory. Ten years later in A.D. 426 the Dark Ages began, lasting 1,000 years, during which time many Bible-believing Christians were martyred for their faith and their stance against the corrupting of the Scriptures taking place in their midst.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke of those who would stand in the judgment and be told “I never knew you: depart from Me,” (Matthew 7:23). For those who do not come to God His way in repentance of their sin and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ Alone by His blood, but desire to come by water baptism or any other means, those words will be their doom. The Apostle Paul wrote, I declare unto you the Gospel… by which you are saved… 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). Baptism is not the means of salvation; baptism by immersion is a picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection for the repentant sinner who has placed their faith and trust in Him pre-baptism, identifying  with Him for eternity.

To Stand Faultless Before the Throne

As it is appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment, how is one able to come before the Throne of God faultless? With the sin of mankind passed down from generation to generation from the original sin committed by Adam in the Garden, how does one come to stand before a Holy God and escape His wrath that is to come? The Apostle John was afforded a glimpse upon the Heavenly Throne of God and tells the world of those who are able to stand “without fault before the Throne of God,” (Romans 5:12; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 14:1-5).

As John was carried to the Heavenly scene by “the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:9-10), he found himself in the presence of the Lamb of God standing with those who had been “redeemed from the earth… redeemed from among men.” He saw those who were with Jesus had the Lamb’s “Father’s name written in their foreheads,” in contrast to the beast’s mark on the hand or forehead John had been warned would be required during the Great Tribulation of those who rejected God and followed after the beast (Revelation 13:11-18). Before the Throne of God, only the Father’s Name is present on those who have been redeemed.

As John observed those who stood before the Throne of the Most High God, he heard the voices of the redeemed singing a new song, a song no man could learn but the redeemed. It is the song of redemption, the song of amazing grace, the song of salvation. Even God’s holy angels are unable to learn the song of the redeemed.

Those the Apostle John saw standing before the Throne were those who were the firstfruits of the redeemed who were to follow, as Christ is the Firstfruit of those who are to be risen again in His likeness and live in His Presence throughout Eternity (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John wrote of the redeemed he saw in the heavenly vision, “In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the Throne of God.” Those who stand before the Throne of God in worship and praise are those who have been cleansed from their sin, washed in the blood of the Lamb, clothed in His Righteousness, without spot or blemish. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,” (1 John 1:7).

DELIVERANCE

As Moses stood before the burning bush located on the backside of the desert near Mt. Horeb in the Sinai Peninsula, he was told by God the cries of His people under bondage in Egypt had reached His ear. He had seen their affliction; He knew of their sorrows. God told Moses He observed the oppression the Children of Israel were under and He was come to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptian Pharaoh and their cruel taskmasters, and bring them into a land that flowed with milk and honey (Exodus 3).

A millennia later the Jewish people who were living in exile in Persia under King Ahasuerus during the Babylonian Captivity found themselves decreed to be destroyed throughout the entire province by the hand of wicked Haman on the thirteenth day of the month Adar (March). The Persian people were to rise up and destroy “all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day.” The cry of God’s people once again reached His ear and deliverance was orchestrated by the hand of God through the efforts of Queen Esther and her cousin, Mordecai, by a subsequent decree issued in King Ahasuerus’ name allowing the Jews to defend themselves on that fateful day (Esther 3:8-4:3; 8:1-9:22).

The deliverance of God’s people from both the Egyptians and the Persians caused great rejoicing as evidenced by Moses’ song of praise to God in Exodus 15 and the celebration of the Feast of Purim which continues to this day found in Esther chapter nine. But both of those events were temporary deliverances, for each and every person longs for a permanent deliverance and a peace that endures. As Mordecai sent letters to every village and town “both nigh and far” establishing the days of rejoicing to be observed yearly, the LORD promises “Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near,” (Isaiah 57:18-19). The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus in Asia Minor of Christ being our Peace, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ… that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross… came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh,” (Ephesians 2:13-18). Christ has become our eternal Deliverance through the shedding of His blood for our sin, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being,” (Acts 17:28).