a great deal if we are to accept the teaching of the Scriptures:
and what other teaching is worthy of acceptance? A poet has written
(and the people like the sentiment):
forms and creeds let senseless bigots fight,
He can't be wrong whose life is in the right."
will be impossible to produce such a sentiment from the writings
of the apostles. While "forms and creeds" are odious
enough in the hands of bigotry, in their right place they are
absolutely essential. As to forms, another leaflet in this series
shows that baptism is a divinely-required form of obedience which
any man will neglect at his peril.
belief, from credo, "I believe". The general sentiment
is that it does not matter at all what we believe if only we
are sincere. This sentiment is foolish, because wrong belief
can lead to wrong actions. It is also dangerous, because it diverts
attention from God's life-giving word. It really means that there
is nothing in which we can finally believe at all. What we believe
it has pleased God to make salvation conditional on believing
hath pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save
them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21). The Gospel is "The
power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom.
1:16). "That the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might
be given to them that believe" (Gal 3:22). "And
by him, all that believe are justified from all things from
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts
Because it is required of us that the "certain things" be
none other than those preached by Jesus and the apostles.
we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto
you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be
accursed" (Gal. 1:8). "It there come any unto
you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your
house" (2 John 10).
Because the apostles preached definite things styled gospel,
or glad tidings, and therefore "the gospel" is the
means to be employed in our salvation.
gospel which I preached unto you ... by which also ye are
saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless
ye have believed in vain" (1 Cor. 15:1). "The
gospel is ... the power of God unto salvation to every one
that believeth" (Rom. 1:16).
the things so preached were the things concerning the Kingdom
of God, and those things that concern the Lord Jesus Christ.
they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the
kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ they were baptized,
both men and women" (Acts 8:12). "Paul (at Ephesus)
spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and
persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God" (Acts
19:8). Paul (at Rome) for two whole years preached the kingdom
of God, and taught those things which concern the Lord Jesus
Christ (Acts 28:31).
disbelief of the gospel makes our condemnation certain.
that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16). "He
that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words ... the word
that I have spoken ... shall judge him in the last day" (John
ignorance of the gospel leaves men in a state of darkness in
which salvation is impossible.
Gentiles "walk in the vanity of their mind, having
the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life
of God through the ignorance that is in them" (Eph.
4:18). "At that time ye were without Christ, being
strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope" (Eph.
belief is faith, without which it is impossible to please God.
is the substance (or conviction) of THINGS HOPED FOR" (Heb.
11:1). "He staggered not at the promise of God, through
unbelief, but was strong in faith" (Rom. 4:20). "Without
faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6).
it, then, enough to believe, and rest content? By no means. The
Gospel believed and obeyed in baptism, introduces a man to a
position in which he can do what was before impossible - "work out
his own salvation". To do this he must make the commandments
of Christ the rule of his life; for, without this, the day will
come when Christ will say: "I never knew you; depart from
me" (Matt. 7:23).
diligence to make your calling and election sure ... Add
to your faith virtue ..." (2 Peter 1:5-10). "Work
out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil.
2:12). "Ye are my friends it ye do whatsoever I command
you" (John 15:14). "Teach them (who believe) to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt.
28:20). "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the
will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21).
28. Why We Ought To Be Baptized