CHURCH OF CHRIST: Preaching a Plan of Salvation instead of the Man Jesus Christ

steps of salvation

WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? The Hardline Church of Christ says we have to do 6 steps to be saved, which includes turning from all your sin and living a faithful life until death – then your saved. BUT THE BIBLE SAYS Act 16:30-31 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

I find that when many Church of Christ’ers talk about salvation or being saved, they do not even use or have the correct definition of save, saved or salvation in mind.

The terms in Hebrew, Greek and English predominantly means to deliver, to rescue from harm or danger, to deliver from sin, to preserve and protect. These actions come from outside of us. They are not something we do. We are merely recipients. Webster’s defines salvation as “the act of saving someone from sin or evil : the state of being saved from sin or evil”, “something that saves someone or something from danger or a difficult situation” and “deliverance from the power and effects of sin”. It was Christ “who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4). Before the foundation of the world “… God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Salvation is simply not about what we do, but rather what God and Jesus Christ has done on our behalf, delivering us from the wages of our sin – death. There is a plan of salvation. And with any plan there is doing involved. But we are not the ones that do the doing. As it has been said before, “Christ has done it all”. I would contend that salvation is simply belief/trust in Christ finished work for our saving/rescue – by his death, burial and resurrection for our sins, according to scripture. Salvation is not about doing or “obeying” “the whole plan of salvation”. It is about believing the plan of salvation. And the focus of that plan is on Jesus Christ and his actions, not ourselves. Biblical Christianity is not a do religion, it is a done religion.

That salvation is not about what we do is also strongly indicated by the biblical use of such terms as redemption (to purchase), reconciliation (restoration to divine favor), propitiation (the act by where which God‘s righteous wrath is satisfied by the atonement of Christ), atonement (restoration to divine favor), deliverance (from sin), ransom (from the wages of sin) and justification (a onetime event in which God justifies sinners by reckoning Christ’s righteousness to their account through a legal declaration). The definitions of these words and their usage in scripture show us that salvation is not something we do (Eph. 2:9, Jonah 2:9). Salvation is done on our behalf.

Scripture also says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans8:28-30). We cannot make ourselves right before or acceptable to God. It must for done for us by God. We cannot even come to Christ unless the Father draws us and even our faith is a gift and not of ourselves. Another reason we are not saved by what we do is that we are not saved by our righteousness, which is like filthy menstrual rags, but we are saved by being made the righteousness of God – which is a free gift to those who believe in Jesus Christ and His name.

It must also be remembered that God works covenantally and the bible is a covenant document. It was predetermined in an eternal covenant between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world that Christ would be slain to take away sin for those whom the Father has given Him (Rev_13:8, Hebrews 13:20, John6:37-39, John 17:9-12, John 17:24, John 1:29). And because this contract agreement is between God the Father and God the Son we can rest assured that it will be fulfilled and that Jesus will indeed save and keep secure all those the Father has given him. We can rest in the fact that Christ has done it all for salvation and we are saved when we believe and trust in Him as the payment that the Father and Son made for the penalty of our sin.

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About Damon Whitsell

In the last 18 years I have spent much of my time studying and doing Christian Cult Apologetics, and I spent 5 years studying, exposing and fighting Islam all @ DamonWhitsell.com. Since the five Dallas Police Officers were assassinated I have been fighting Black Lives Matter and studying it's related issues. It will be my passion and goal for years to come to fight and stop the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Posted on September 27, 2015, in Salvation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. wonder how much of that plan the ‘thief on the cross’ could fulfill?

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  2. As is often typical, you have quoted many verses out of their context to try and exclude baptism as a part of our salvation. If we are preaching Christ Jesus should we not preach what he taught in Mark 16:15-16 as part of the gospel? Furthermore, your article quotes Acts 16:31 leaving the reader with the implication that belief alone was all that was commanded, while failing to note the context which states the Philippian jailer was baptized “the same hour of the night” (Acts 16:32-34). All of this was part of his “having believed.” As is also typical, you’ve also quoted Ephesians 2:9 while neglecting to note Ephesians 2:10 which says we are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Clearly, there are two ways in which the word “works” is being used in Ephesians 2 and not all “works” can be dismissed as unimportant or irrelevant to our faith and salvation (compare James 2). It makes no sense to say our “good works” are not us doing it, but God unless you’ve completely blotted out the idea of freewill. God commands. Man makes the choice to obey (Hebrews 5:8-9). Of course, we are obeying so we might take part in a covenant in which God has already written his half of the contract but it takes our agreement to it for it to be accomplished–which occurs when we meet God’s terms! Hope these thoughts might be useful as it would seem this “hardline church of Christer” would disagree with the “five-point Calvinism” this article implies.

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    • Hello Joshua, thanks for the response.

      Before I address what you have written, let me point out to you and others that you did not really deal with my first paragraph where I list the Hebrew, Greek and English definitions of the words save, saved and salvation to show that those actions are done by an outside source. Neither did you deal with the third paragraph were I show that biblical words used related to salvation such as reconciliation, redemption, propitiation Etc also show that salvation is not something we do but rather is something that we receive that is done on our behalf. By definition salvation is not something we do. We could never never never pay the wages for our sin. But Christ did what we cannot do and he paid the full wage for all our sin, Jesus did it all when he atones for out sin debt. And I never hear you guys speak of the works that Christ did for our salvation. Words such as redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, atonement, deliverance, ransom and justification are very rarely, if ever, spoken by CoCers. That is why I can safely say you guys preach a plan and not the man Jesus Christ.

      Also I am not a 5 point Calvinist. I agree with 3 of the tenants of Calvinism and 2 tenants of Arminianism. It is very very common among hardline CoCers to assume non-CoCers are Calvinist so they can disregard what is said. But I never once spoke of the tension between mans freewill and Gods sovereignty. And I certainly did not blot out the idea of freewill because I never said that we do not do good works, or that God does general good works on our behalf. Clearly after one is saved by grace through faith we are to do good works,, as you pointed out in Eph.2:10. I cited only Eph. 2:9 because it shows that grace, faith and salvation are “not of ourselves”. Like Jonah 2:9 says,, “salvation is of the Lord”. You CoCers need to wake up to the fact that Arminians, indeed all Protestants, also believe in justification/salvation by faith alone. And in reality your theology of salvation is like Roman Catholicism which also teaches baptismal regeneration and that faith is mixed with our works to procure salvation. They also teach a plan.The reformation movement was primarily about Sola Fide, a term that Arminians also use. Indeed Martin Luther said “justification by faith alone is the article on which the church stands or falls”.

      Concerning taking verses out of context, I did not take Eph. 2:9 out of context as noted above. Neither did I take Acts 16:31 out of context to say something the text does not say. Like Eph. 2:9-10, Acts 16:31 and 33 shows that what we must do to be saved is believe, then after we believe and are saved we do good works, including baptism. Acts 16:31-34 does not say the Philippian Jailer was saved when he was baptized, it says he was saved when he believed. Baptism is not commanded in Acts 16, it just says the jailer and his household were baptized. And it should be noted, because you guys always seem to act like you’re ignorant of this fact, that all denominations teach Christians to be baptized. I have never met a single Christian that has not been baptized except for new converts who intend to get baptized ASAP. But we do it because we are saved and we want to publically be associated with Christ and to testify to that fact by getting publically baptized.

      But CoCers who believe in baptismal regeneration have to always take verses out of context to try and say baptism is required for salvation. For instance John 3:5 is always cited or quoted out of context as a single verse. You guys have to do this because clearly the whole passage shows that the water in ‘water and Spirit” is a reference to our first birth, of the flesh, and in the water of the mothers womb. Likewise you guys like to take a single phrase from 1 Peter 3:21, “baptism doth also now save us”, to try and say baptism is required for salvation. But the verse clearly says that baptism is a “like figure”(ie. The baptism in view is figurative) and that the baptism referred to is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God”. Heb. 9:14 says we purge our conscience by turning from “dead works” (baptism included) to serve the living God. Likewise again you guys are famous for quoting Acts 2:38 without quoting Acts 2:36-37 which shows that salvation is not in view and the “what we must do” (not “what must we do to be saved”) and Acts 2:38, applies only to those Jews who had crucified the Lord Christ. And we know that “for” in Acts 2:38 means “because of” not “in order to obtain” because Acts 10:43 tells us plainly that our sins are remitted when we believe (Act 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins). This is the correct meaning of “for” because if our sins are remitted when believe, as they clearly are, then there is no sin left to be remitted when we are baptized. You guys use 10 to 12 verses to try and say salvation includes baptism, but ya’ll take every one of them out of context to interpret them in direct contradiction to what the rest of the bible says about salvation. There are over 100 verses that say we are saved by faith, and in those verses and passages faith stands alone. Jesus said 11 times in the Gospel of John that whosoever believes in Him, they have (present tense) Eternal Life and have moved from death to life in Him. That is why we non-CoCers ad alone to faith, because faith is alone when faith is said to save us in so many places.

      YOU SAID – If we are preaching Christ Jesus should we not preach what he taught in Mark 16:15-16 as part of the gospel?”

      As noted above, when you guys “preach Christ” you never preach what Christ has done, but rather you guys preach the plan that you guys think you and others have to do to be saved. The gospel is clearly stated in 1 Cor. 15: 1-4, which is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and it does not include baptism. 1 Cor. 1:17 confirms this when Paul said he was not sent to baptize but to preach the gospel. Concerning Mark 16:16, concerning you guys taking verses out of context, I never see you guys quote the whole verse, if you even quote it at all, because you guys like to cite book, chapter and verse rather than quote the verse. But you leave the second half out because it shows that those who are damned are those who do not believe. There are a myriad of other reasons why Mark 16:16 cannot be used to teach baptism is required for salvation. (1.) This text does not deal specifically with the fate of someone who believes and is not baptized. (2.) The obvious emphasis is on unbelief = damnation. (3.) The oldest New Testament Greek manuscripts do not contain Mark 9-20 and therefore verse 16 cannot be used as a certainty to establish a doctrine of salvation. (4.) Most who claim baptism is required say baptism is “for the remission of sins”. This verse predates Acts 2:38, so this verse is talking rather about Johns baptism which was a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3). Repentance correctly understood is a change of mind from unbelief to personal faith in Christ (Matt. 21:32, Acts 19:4, Acts 20:21, Mark 1:15) and that faith is what provides remission of sin (Acts 10:43). (5.) Most baptismal regenerationist are cessationist, not Charismatic, and do not follow Mark 17-18 by casting out devils, speaking in tongues, laying hands on the sick, taking up serpents and drinking deadly things. So while you say you believe the passage, you do not practice it. When is the last time you played with snakes or drank poison and lived Joshua? (6.) It is said “these signs shall follow those who believe”, not “those who believe and are baptized”. (7.) Verse 20 says the Lord works with them who believe, not them that believe and are baptized.

      YOU SAID – “Clearly, there are two ways in which the word “works” is being used in Ephesians 2 and not all “works” can be dismissed as unimportant or irrelevant to our faith and salvation (compare James 2).”

      Your comment here totally astounds me. Yes, the word works is used in two ways in Eph. 2:8-9. But your reference to James 2 in this context blows me away. How can you not see that the word works is used two different ways in Eph.2:9 and James 2. Works in Eph. 2:9 is the works of salvation. Works in James 2:17-24 are the good works we are to do before men. You CoCers also cannot see that there are two types of justification spoken of in Romans 3,4 and 5 and James 2. Here is my previous writing on this topic.

      A foundational and basic error of interpretation lies in thinking that James 2 is the go to place in scripture to clarify what salvation is. CoC’ers that oppose salvation by faith alone seem to think James was teaching differently than Paul and the rest of scripture. But he is not. Paul is the apostle to the gentiles and James was a Jew speaking to Jews. They were speaking to two different audiences and emphasizing two different types of Justification. Paul said Abraham was justified by faith and had nothing to boast about before God. He was showing justification before God. Yet James said “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18). He is speaking about justification before men. And both Paul and James agree and said that Abraham believed God and it was counted or credited to him as righteousness.

      To see the two different kind of justifications see (Rom 4:2) “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God”. If Abraham was justified by works, as James at first glance appears to assert he is, he can glory before men but not before God. Romans 3: 19-20 says “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The law makes all men “guilty before God” and “in his sight”, but we can be seen as just to men by observing and keeping the law and doing good works. This has to be the true understanding of James2:24 because the scripture is clear in so many places that we are saved through faith and not by works. James cannot be speaking in contradiction to the rest of scripture.

      YOU SAID – “God commands. Man makes the choice to obey (Hebrews 5:8-9). Of course, we are obeying so we might take part in a covenant in which God has already written his half of the contract but it takes our agreement to it for it to be accomplished–which occurs when we meet God’s terms!”

      To believe the gospel is to obey the gospel of Christ death, burial and resurrection. The gospel “By which also ye are saved” in 1 Cor. 15:1-4 is said to be “believed” in V 11. Consider the following passages…..

      “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” Romans 10:16 (Note: They have not all obeyed because not all have believed”

      ”You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Galatians 5:7 (Note: The context of ‘being hindered from obeying the truth’ is that they had believed the lie that works of the law were also a requirement with faith in Christ)

      “…Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you HAVE purified yourselves by obeying the truth (i.e. by believing the message) love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:21-22

      “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient…” 1 Peter 2:27 (Note: The contrast is being made between those who believe and those who are disobedient- i.e. those who refuse to believe)

      Johsua, I hope my response might be helpful to you and that you might find salvation, the real salvation which is a gift from God and Christ to all who simply believe and do not ad works of any kind to grace and faith.

      Liked by 1 person

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