Ask Your Preacher
What do you have to do to get into heaven?
The Bible outlines five things you must do to become a christian. The question, “What must I do to be saved?” is the most important question any human can ever ask. Plenty of groups will pick and choose what they want to focus on. Many groups say that all you must do is “believe in your heart” and you will be saved – unfortunately, this is cherry-picking out one requirement and leaving the rest behind. We must always remember that the sum of God’s Word provides the truth (Ps 119:160). Belief is obviously an important element to salvation, but it is not the only condition. The Bible outlines five separate requirements for salvation, and all of them are necessary.
- Hear the Word. Faith comes through hearing, and hearing comes through the Word of God (Rom 10:17). Until someone hears God’s Word, they are incapable of obeying it.
- Believe the Word. It is impossible for someone to become a christian unless they believe that Jesus is the Savior and Son of God (Jhn 20:31, Acts 16:31, Jhn 3:16).
- Repent of your sins. ‘Repent’ means to ‘change your mind’. That change of mind always involves a change of action as well. Repentance is when we change our mind about what is important and submit ourselves to Jesus and His Word. Repentance is a necessity of salvation (Mk 6:12, Lk 13:5, Lk 15:7).
- Confess Jesus to others. If we have sworn our allegiance to Jesus, we must be prepared to publicly confess Him as our Lord. If we won’t confess Jesus before men, He won’t confess us before God (Matt 10:32-33, Lk 12:8-9).
- Be baptized in the name of Jesus for salvation. Many groups baptize people, but very few baptize people for the right reasons. Baptism isn’t merely an “outward showing of an inward faith” or “for membership”. Baptism is what saves us (1 Pet 3:21). Baptism is the point where someone goes from being lost to saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5). Baptism is the final requirement to become a christian (Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:41). There is not a single example of someone becoming a christian without baptism. Baptism is just as necessary as the other four requirements.
After that, there remains nothing else but to find a faithful congregation to assemble with (Heb 10:24) that teaches God’s Word and God’s Word only (see “Finding a Church” for more details) and to continue to grow in knowledge and practice of God’s Word (1 Pet 2:2). If you would like help finding a faithful church in your area – simply e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help you locate one.
I have been raised in church all my life and have been baptized in water. I have recently rededicated my life to the Lord, and I am thinking I would like to be re-baptized. I was wondering about this… if I should do this as a sign that I am totally selling out to God. What do you think?
Dear Starting Over,
The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act. When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us. Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet. You will have to evaluate for yourself whether or not you understood what you were doing when you were baptized the first time. If you did, there is no need for re-baptism. If you believe you didn’t know what you were doing, then you should be re-baptized.
Why are you telling people that it's okay to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Everyone should be baptized according to Acts 2:38… in the name of Jesus Christ. Remission of sins comes through His name.
Get It Right
Dear Get It Right,
There is no difference between being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; both phrases are used in the New Testament to describe the same baptism (Acts 2:38, Matt 28:19).
Why was it ironic that the Jewish leaders refused to enter the Praetorium?
The irony was in their concern over ritual cleanliness while in the process of murdering an innocent Man. The Jewish leaders wouldn’t go into the Praetorium because it was a Gentile building, and they didn’t want to be considered “unclean” because the Passover was the next day (Jhn 18:28).
These Jewish leaders were fixated with appearing clean and pious before the masses but were inwardly wicked and godless. Jesus compared them to white-washed tombs that looked clean on the outside but were full of dead men’s bones on the inside (Matt 23:27).
Could you please help me understand what Paul is saying or what he means in Romans 14:23?
I Doubt I Understand
Dear I Doubt I Understand,
Romans 14 deals with issues of conscience. Your conscience is that part of you that makes you feel good when you do what you believe is right, and it makes you feel bad when you do what you believe is wrong. Sometimes, what you believe is right is actually wrong, or what you believe is wrong is actually right.
The Bible clearly teaches that we should attempt to learn and increase in knowledge, so we can better discern between good and evil (Heb 5:14). However, as we grow, we won’t always have the right answers. Perfect people have perfect knowledge, and the rest of us just have to make do with growing and trying to get better!
So what should you do when there is always the possibility that you might be wrong? The Bible answer is to obey your conscience. If you aren’t sure, obey your conscience. That is what Rom 14:23 is talking about. If you believe something is wrong (even if you might later find out it is fine), don’t do it because it will offend your conscience. If you think something is okay (even though tomorrow you might learn it is a sin), be at peace with your decision. God gives us a conscience as a compass while we are still learning and growing.