Tuesday, August 10, 2010
"Let God be true, and every man a liar"
When discussing a spiritual subject with someone, I usually try to respond as often as possible with, “according to the scriptures God says…” instead of… “well, I believe”, or… “I feel that.” The reason for this is that what I believe or how I feel about something is subject to change, but what God has had to say on a subject NEVER changes. The Bible was written so ordinary men just like you and I could read and understand it, although at times it may require some study. It doesn’t take a college professor, a preacher of high esteem, or even a preacher of low esteem, a Sunday school teacher, a Rabi, an elder, or a deacon, or a priest to read and relate us what this book says. I find no place in the Bible that God has asked for assistance from denominational man made written Creeds or Books of Discipline. For me, the Word of God is the first and the last word. It stands alone.
To start with I would like to ask a question and please don't be offended… “Would you ever call God a liar?” Myself, I don’t have the intestinal fortitude (the guts) to do that. I find in Titus 1:2; … which God, who cannot lie… And in Hebrews 6:11; …in which it was impossible for God to lie… Now when God says that He cannot lie, it’s settled as far as I’m concerned. Now that wasn’t always the case for me. I grew up attending and joining several denominational churches because I was an Army brat, and we attended the church closest to our home every time we moved at Uncle Sam’s whim. So while growing up, I was a pretty mixed up and confused young man as all these churches had different ideas about what God had to say about the same subjects. When I finally left home, I also left God, the Church, the Bible and everything concerning spiritual things back home as well. Several years passed and one night I accepted the invitation to become a Christian. One of the things these folks told me I had to do to be saved was to be baptized. I hadn’t heard or been taught this in any of the churches I was brought up in, so I decided to check it out for myself. In my research, it wasn’t easy for me to believe what I was reading and studying. What I read was telling me that what my mother and father had believed and taught me was not what God had actually said. And it’s the subject of baptism I want to use to see if perhaps there are those reading this message that are either unknowingly or maybe even defiantly “calling God a liar.” I hope we can agree on one thing: when it comes down to the final authority, “let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4)
Jesus (God in the flesh) said, “Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Anyone that denies that water baptism is not part of God’s plan of salvation has apparently not read this verse. It’s really not that complicated, it says what it says, so “let God be true and every man a liar.”
This same Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) This doesn’t require much study or thought but it does require some. Let us reason together: according to the scriptures if one will believe and be baptized…he will be saved. Now remember…God says that. Now, good ole rockin’ chair logic would tell us that if for any reason one does not believe, they won’t want to be baptized and thus they will be damned. There are many that teach that all we must do is believe and that baptism is optional. They’ve said to me, I’ve read Mark 16:16 and know that’s what it says but that’s not what it means. Is God lying to us here? It’s really not that complicated so "let God be true and every man a liar."
One more point to make here: there are those that read this verse and apparently have dyslexia. They say after scrutinizing this verse, “He that is baptized and then believeth some years later shall be saved. This would be those churches that practice the sprinkling of infants. Sprinkling is not baptism and using God’s word I’ll expose it as such a bit later. Since Jesus places belief before baptism, can an infant believe in Jesus or confess their sins at a week old? Did God give these churches permission to change the order of things He’s written? I find no such permission given in His Word. It’s really not that complicated so “let God be true and every man a liar.”
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) These were the terms of pardon that God led Peter to set forth on the Day of Pentecost after preaching the very first gospel sermon. Those that believed the message wanted to know what they must do. Peter told them to repent and be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of their sins. The word repent and the word baptized are connected by the conjunction “and”. So let us reason together, no repentance…no forgiveness. No baptism…no forgiveness. Belief, repentance and baptism = forgiveness.
Let’s take a look at sprinkling or pouring and see if it fits the mold of the baptisms that are written in the Word of God. First I want you to notice that water is NEVER brought to the candidate for baptism…they are taken to the water and go into the water. Mark 1:5; and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan. Mark 1:10; and straightway coming out of the water. John 3:23; John was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim because there was much water there. Acts 8:38; and they went down both into the water. No where in the scriptures does it even hint that we have permission to sprinkle or pour water over someone and call it baptism or that God will honor it as baptism. Sprinkling and pouring do not represent baptism. In Colossians 2:12; we are told that we are buried with Him in baptism and are risen with Him. You can’t be buried in a sprinkle or pouring of water…it takes much water.
What about the statement that baptism is a work. Actually, there is something that the candidate must do during baptism come to think of it and it’s found in the same verse as used above. Colossians 2:12; says we must have “faith” in the operation (power) of God. Now I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound like work to me and the operation of God is defined in the very next verse…That He (God) has forgiven you all trespasses.
Then there’s the sinners prayer and those who say, “Well, what about Romans 10:13”; “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Well, what about it? It says the very same thing in Acts 2:21; and again in Acts 22:16 where we find both how and when to call on the name of the Lord. Saul (later to be named Paul) had prayed for three solid days not even stopping to eat, was told to “don’t wait…arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Please take note that Saul was not told to be baptized as an outward sign of an inward grace. After three days of prayer, he was still in his sinful condition and today there are those who convince others that by praying a short “sinners prayer” they can be saved on the spot... just be sincere. Is there any doubt that Saul was sincere as he prayed? Look at this conversion…it’s not that complicated so “let God be true, and every man a liar.”
There are only two groups of people in this entire world; those that are in Christ and those that are outside of Christ. There is only one way that according to the scriptures that one is told how to get into Christ…through baptism. Romans 6:3; "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death." Galatians 3:27; "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. We are baptized into Christ. We can’t pray our way into Him, we can’t just believe our way into Him. It’s not that complicated so “let God be true and every man a liar.”
1Corinthians 2:13nasb; …"Speak not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Holy Spirit." Let’s see where some have failed to obey these words.
1) Baptism is a work…human wisdom…not taught in the scriptures.
2) Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace…human wisdom…not taught in the scriptures.
3) Sinner’s prayer for salvation…human wisdom…not taught in the scriptures.
4) Baptize by sprinkling or pouring…human wisdom…not taught in the scriptures.
5) Repent and believe to be saved, be sprinkled, poured, or immersed later but only if you wish…human wisdom…not taught in the scriptures.
6) Mourner’s bench or altar conversions…human wisdom…not taught in the scriptures.
Let me conclude by quoting God's word…”For by Grace are you saved, through faith.” Take that to the bank. We don’t deserve and can’t earn this salvation but by the Grace of God He has made a way. It’s through the precious blood of His Son Jesus. The water in baptism cannot and does not and never will wash away sin, but it’s there in obedience to baptism that we contact His blood if we do it for the forgiveness of our sins. Now the rest of the verse; through faith…faith as your standing waist to chest high in the water about to be immersed, that your sins are going to be washed away with the blood of Jesus by the power of Almighty God. It’s not that complicated so “let God be true and every man a liar.”
This post is an edited repeat of a previous post “Would you call God a liar?” which was mistakenly removed from my blog archive. Several followers have questioned the “What must one DO to be saved” question on my sidebar and I feel it’s fitting to run this article again. In doing so, I should be answering most questions that have been asked.