Answering Common Sense Questions – #4

Over the past several articles I have been answering questions posted by Mr. David Martin on the Solid Rock Baptist Church website.  Mr. Martin claims that these are “common sense” questions that cannot be answered clearly by a member of the churches of Christ.  In this blog I want to look at the fourth question given by Mr. Martin.

If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to “lose my salvation” and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn’t my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! – before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn’t that my best opportunity?

Once again Mr. Martin’s question does not display much common sense in spite of the title of the article in which he poses it.  Let us think through this question logically and see how it holds up.  If Christ were to come down to earth today and tell you flat out that baptism is necessary for salvation and further tell you flat out that your salvation can be lost, would the fact that your best chance to avoid hell would be to drown after baptism, if that were true, invalidate Christ’s words?  Of course not, and neither would that fact, if it were true, invalidate the commands of Christ through his apostles in the Bible.

The Bible repeatedly establishes the necessity of baptism (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-7, 1 Peter 3:21).  The Bible also repeatedly warns that one may lose their salvation (Galatians 5:4, 2 Peter 1:10, 2 Peter 2:20-22, 2 Peter 3:17, Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:26, ).  So even if your best chance to reach heaven is to drown in the baptistry this does not invalidate the clear word of God.

However, let us also look at the claim that if baptism is necessary and salvation can be lost our best chance for heaven is to die immediately after baptism.  This claim demonstrates a lack of understanding about what the Bible teaches about the loss of salvation.  The claim assumes that after you have been saved when you commit a sin your salvation is lost, however, this is not what the Bible teaches.  The Bible teaches that as long as we are walking, i.e. living or following, in the light that the blood of Christ continually cleanses us of any sins that we commit (1 John 1:6-7).  It also teaches that so long as we are walking, i.e. living or following, according to the Spirit and not the flesh that we are not under condemnation (Romans 8:1). The first thing that we notice in both of these passages is that they involve the continual act of “walking”. We must be living and behaving a certain way in order to be free from condemnation and recieve the continual cleansing of the blood of Christ.

So what does walking in the light or according the Spirit involve and how do we know if we are walking in the light/Spirt or darkness/flesh? Well first we must note that this walking in the light does NOT mean living perfectly without ever committing a sin. If that were the case then the very sin that you need cleansed would disqualify you from recieving that cleansing.  So walking in the light or Spirit does not involve living an absolutely sinful life.  Luckily God has told us in his word what it means to walk in the light.  In order to walk in the light we must be developing the fruits of the Spirit such as goodness, righteousness and truth (Ephesians 5:9).  We must also test ourselves that we are behaving in a way that is acceptable to the Lord (Ephesian 5:10).  We must avoid fellowship with those living unrighteously and reprove their actions (Ephesians 5:11-12).  We must behave wisely and soberly (Ephesians 5:13-15, 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8). Walking in the light also means loving our fellow man (1 John 2:10).   Peter sums this all up quite nicely by telling us to continually grow in faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (2 Peter 1:5-7). He says that if we do this we will not be unfruitful in Christ and we will not fall (2 Peter 1:8-10). 

So we see that the loss of our salvation does not involve a single sin that we commit but continual spiritual neglect, lack of growth in Christ, and unfruitfulness.  So if we are following the instruction of Peter and the other apostles and constantly examining ourselves and growing in Christ we will have no more chance of losing our salvation fifty years from our baptism into Christ than we did immediately following it. 

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