Obey the Gospel

Greatest Question
DRL Note: Modern communication is pretty amazing. The article below was sent to me from
Jakarta, INDONESIA. It was sent to Steve Waller from Flat Rock, MI. I thought it was excellent and permission was attached to use it, so it is my pleasure to share that which is good with those who come by here
.


What Does It Mean To Obey The Gospel?

by Douglas Hoff

Anyone familiar with denominational churches in America
realizes each one has its own unique set of beliefs. That is what
distinguishes one from another. Certain Biblical principles are
emphasized while others are either minimized or ignored. Without fail,
denominational churches add or subtract from the gospel of Christ.
Though strenuously affirming adherence to God’s word they promote their
creeds which include the doctrines of men (Matt. 15:8,9).

One of the most important concepts in the New Testament is
obeying the gospel. God’s word has always stressed obedience with its
attendant blessings and punishment upon disobedience (Matt. 21:28-31;
Luke 12:47,48). Few, if any, denominations even mention the phrase
“obey the gospel.” A person could visit the services of almost any
denominational church for years and never hear it. Even if it were
mentioned, the pronouncement would not likely be in harmony with the
New Testament. That is exceedingly sad since many souls will perish
because they were not correctly told how to be saved from their sins.

Some preachers may omit this doctrine out of ignorance.
However, if that is the case, one can and should educate himself
regarding this vital matter. A man should not even be preaching if he
does not know the Biblical plan of salvation. Once he has come to a
knowledge of the truth he then has the awesome responsibility to
proclaim it (1 Tim. 2:3,4; 4:16). If he will not conform his teaching
to the Bible he has condemned himself and those who hear him (Gal.
1:6-9; 2 Tim. 3:7,8). Some refuse to teach gospel obedience because it
does not agree with their cherished yet false doctrines.

One’s eternal destiny depends upon whether he obeyed and
continues to “obey the gospel.” This expression is found only three
times in the Bible. Interestingly, each one is considered from the
negative perspective. Consider first Romans 10:16 which says, “But they
have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed
our report?” (NKJV). This verse’s connection to salvation is seen in
verses eight through fifteen. Those who disbelieve the word and thus do
not obey the gospel will be lost.

The second scripture is 2 Thessalonians 1:7,8 which reads,
“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
{8} in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and
on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV).
This is the plainest declaration of the three regarding the eternal
destiny of the disobedient.

The third reference is 1 Peter 4:17 which asks the
rhetorical question, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at
the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end
of those who do not obey the gospel of God? The clear implication is
that it will not be well with them. Please notice the distinction made
between the house of God (i.e., Christians) and the ones who “do not
obey the gospel.” As with Romans 10:16 this implies the necessity of
gospel obedience to be saved and become a Christian.

Having established the importance of this doctrine, let us
now answer the question which serves as the title of this article. How
can we learn what is involved in obeying the gospel? First, obedience
is man’s response to commands. Thus, we must ascertain which commands
are necessary to obtain salvation.

One of the most obvious requirements is faith (Heb. 11:6).
Belief is commanded of those who would be saved (Acts 16:31). This
results from hearing the gospel preached (Mark 16:15,16). God has also
commanded repentance (Acts 17:30). One desiring salvation must also
confess his faith in Jesus as the Son of God (1 Tim. 6:12; cf. Heb.
4:14).

Now, while all of the preceding things are necessary, will
one be saved by doing them? The answer is “No.” How can this be? While
those acts are necessary they are not sufficient to be forgiven of
sins. But, one might protest, doesn’t Romans 10:9 say, “… that if you
confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that
God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”? This is not
denied. However, the very next verse reveals a key fact – “For with the
heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation.” The preposition unto means leading up to a point.
If a person walks unto the door he has not yet entered the house. He
has stopped short of entrance. Only by going through the door will he
get into the building. Salvation is found in a specific location – IN
Christ (2 Tim. 2:10). One gets into Christ only by being baptized. Two
verses prove this beyond any doubt: “Or do you not know that as many of
us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
(Rom 6:3; NKJV). The other is Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as
were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

This reveals there is one final command which one must
obey to have salvation. It is baptism (Acts 10:48). Numerous New
Testament passages corroborate this. A few to study are Acts 2:38, Acts
22:16 and 1 Peter 3:21. The last one states, “The like figure whereunto
even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth
of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ” (KJV). What could be plainer than that?

Paul’s discussion on justification by faith declares, “But
God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from
the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. {18} And
having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom
6:17,18; NKJV). Thus, the change from being a slave to sin to walking
“in newness of life” (v. 4) occurs after one has obeyed the gospel. The
gospel plan of salvation requires faith, repentance, confession AND
baptism.

At one time many denominations gave at least lip service
to the necessity of baptism. That is, they would speak of people being
baptized in obedience to the Lord. They would ask so-called “newly
saved Christians” to participate in a baptismal ceremony to become
members of the local congregation. Generally, this event occurred at
some time planned weeks or months in the future. This allowed the
“pastor” to conveniently perform multiple baptisms at once. Their
“faith only” doctrine had them teaching a person was first saved, then
baptized. This contradicts the plain declaration Jesus made – “He who
believes AND is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). Salvation does
not precede baptism; it comes afterward.

Today, very few denominations even mention baptism. What
does that tell you? The Lord’s church seeks to emphasize this doctrine
because of its importance to the eternal welfare of souls. Thus,
preachers of the gospel give it ample coverage in sermons, invitations,
classes and writing.

Have you obeyed the gospel? If not, “Be saved from this
perverse generation” (Acts 2:40; NKJV). Peter said to them, “Repent,
and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit” (Acts 2:38; NKJV).

——————————————————————————–

Douglas Hoff, preacher
Flat Rock Church of Christ
P.O. Box 12
Flat Rock, MI 48134-0012

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