Submission Follows Remission
by Ed Stevens
The well known saying, "putting the cart before the horse" is an apt illustration of misplicing Bible verses so that God's way of salvation is wrongly presented. The result is that people are taught that one must submit to human works of water baptism, or keep the Sabbath, or obey the commandments of God, or remain an active Kingdom "witness", etc., in order to be saved and obtain remission of sins. The great "apostle to the Gentiles", Paul, rightly taught that God's only requirement for an UNSAVED person is, "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ". Acts 20:21. The "obedience of faith" here brings God's work of regeneration and remission of sins. Then, and then only, does God require submission to "good works that God hath before ordained that we [who are saved] should walk in them?" Eph. 2:8-10.
A dead man cannot walk, we all know; but how many know that an unsaved person is spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins"? Eph. 2:1. It takes new life from God to perform the works that God requires only of saved people. In regeneration,' being "born again", this life is "created" in the believer as existing in "the NEW MAN which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness". John 3:7; Eph. 4:25; II Cor. 5:17. "He that hath the Son hath life and he that hath not the Son hath not life." I John 5:12.
Calling on the name of the Lord does not mean to obey God's will as though He requires WATER baptism for remission of sins. It is simply a prayer for salvation, as in the ease of the Publican who said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner". Luke 18:13, 14.
No one does God's will, or can do so until he is given life in salvation to enable him. Do not be deceived, only then does one "enter the kingdom of heaven" doing God's will. Matt. 7:21.
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Prov. 14:12.
As of spiritual death, the Bible also speaks of spiritual baptism: "For by [or 'in'] one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . .", that is, "the church which is Christ's Body". I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22, 23. In Acts 2:38 Peter did NOT say "Repent and GET water baptized", but "Repent and BE baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins . . .". This can only be spiritual baptism, the work of Christ, of whom John the Baptist said, "The same is He which baptizeth with [or 'in'] the Holy Ghost". John 1:33. He still does this since the time of Acts 2:47; 5:14; 11:12 —"the Lord added daily to the church such as were being saved". R. V.
How simple is God's truth to understand and believe: "To Him [Christ] give all the prophets witness that through His name [His Person] whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43. So faith and remissions of sins comes before, not after, nor WITH works required of God. That is His order; changing it makes salvation impossible! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Acts 16:31.'
"God hath made Him [His Son] to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21).
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