There is no plainer statement of man’s obligation to God than in the great commission. The New Testament, from Acts through Revelation, explains Jesus’ declaration to His apostles which was made just before His ascension. Matthew, Mark and Luke record the Saviour’s words:
All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:18-20 ASV).
Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned (Mark 16:15-16 ASV).
Then opened he their mind, that they might understand the scriptures; and he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem (Luke 24:45-47 ASV).
God gave Christ all authority in heaven and on earth. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (John 3:35). The rule of the “Prince of Peace” cannot be doubted, for God “raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23). Jesus has all power. Therefore, in matters of faith, no authority is given to man. “Hear ye Him.”
Having full dominion, Christ can give His own orders. Man must listen. The apostles were designated to “go.” They could walk, ride, or fly, but the Gospel had to go. We should not be satisfied with merely knowing the word of God ourselves, but we should carry it to others.
“Into All The World”
The message of salvation through Christ is for all people everywhere. “All the peoples, nations and languages should serve him” (Dan. 7:14 ASV). “Ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8 ASV).
The apostles and early Christians were so diligent about the spreading of the glad news of the kingdom that Paul was able to say that the gospel “was preached in all creation under heaven” (Col. 1:23 ASV). According to that passage, all the world had been evangelized in 30 years after the church was established in Jerusalem.
Believe, Repent, Be Baptized
Jesus not only told the apostles where to go and what to preach in the commission, but He included the plan of salvation for the alien sinner and its subsequent blessings. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Belief in Christ is essential to salvation. Repentance is a step toward redemption, for Luke states that, “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name” (Luke 24:47). To repent is to sorrow for one’s sins to the extent that he turns away from them. Repentance changes man’s heart. But one who just believes in Christ and repents of his sins is not yet saved, for he must be baptized “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” “As many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27 ASV). The only way into Christ is through baptism. Salvation is in Christ (Eph. 1:7) and we get into Him only by baptism (Rom. 6:3).
Remission Of Sins And Salvation
Remission of sins and salvation are placed after baptism. When the Jews on Pentecost were pricked in their hearts and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins…” (Acts 2:37-38). Notice: “Repent and be baptized for“—in order to—not “because of” remission of sins. “Faith only” will not save. Have you been baptized “for the remission of sins” as God’s word instructs?