Most people are not concerned about their eternal destiny. They refuse to focus their attention on how life should be lived and what happens after death. Most are content to remain blissfully ignorant of the Bible, pay a token allegiance to Christ one or two times a year, and then live as if there were no God. Paul described such people in Titus 1:16: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
On those occasions when he sees a need for God, he usually has no idea where to begin, The it is only natural for him to ask religious friends or relatives what he should do. Usually, he gets so many different answers, he becomes even more confused. One thing he will probably hear is: “Just believe in Jesus.” Certainly, belief is essential. This is not, however, the whole answer if the Bible is the final authority on the matter— and it is. It is the only word from God we have. All else is speculation.
Denominational people do not understand the word, “believe,” in the way the Bible uses it in reference to salvation. They think “believe” means: the moment a person “believes” Christ is his personal Savior, he is saved—without doing anything. Thus, he is saved by faith only. He cannot do anything; he cannot obey any commandment that would be a condition of salvation. This is pure Calvinism—a false doctrine.
Besides, they do not really believe in Christ, for Jesus said: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)? They refuse to “do” anything in order to saved, even if Jesus Himself commands it. It makes one wonder who makes the laws in Christianity—Christ, the head of the church and who has all authority (Mat. 28:18), or finite man?
Many people claim the Bible is their only creed. They say it is God’s inspired guidebook for man; yet most Scriptures relative to salvation, or almost anything else, is explained away just ignored. They may not intentionally mislead others. More likely, what they tell other is what they themselves have been taught. One thing is certain: someone, at sometime, has perverted the gospel, and they have believed is false doctrine.
No one is expected to blindly accept this charge without supporting evidence, but a study of the Scriptures should convince any honest seeker of truth that the charge is not groundless. Those who say one only has to believe also claim he is saved the moment he believes. Nothing else is required, especially baptism. This is what they mean when they say a person is saved “on the point of faith.” Those who hold this view agree that if one is saved, his sins are forgiven; i.e., the instant he believes his sins are forgiven. Hence, he is saved.
Several Scriptures present a very different picture. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Peter told those who believed on Pentecost to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Peter wrote: “baptism doth also now save us” (1 Pet. 3:21). In describing his own conversion, Paul said he was told to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away [his] sins” (Acts 22:16). At this time, he had been a believer for three days (Acts 9:3-18)! If he was saved the instant he believed, why were his sins still unforgiven three days later? Was he saved while he was still in sin? Any one with an honest heart who candidly looks at the evidence in Paul’s conversion has to conclude that he was not saved the moment he believed; but at the time his sins were “washed away” in baptism!
The Bible does not teach one is saved at the point of faith. It does not teach there is nothing he can do in order to be saved. This is what Calvinism teaches. Jesus, who is, after all, the architect of his own religion (Heb. 12:2) teaches the opposite: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 7:21). Can anyone ignore this teaching of Christ, or refuse to obey it, and still be saved?