Quite often when making an effort to present a truth from the scriptures, one will retaliate, “That’s your opinion.”Is it any wonder why there are so many denominations and schisms in the church today? The false premise is: “everyone has a right to see things their own way, and because we all see things differently, we could never have unity on what the Bible teaches.”
Suppose everyone had a right to “see” the traffic light any way they wanted, to just make your own interpretation of what it meant. Does the word ‘Catastrophe’ mean come to mind? But the fact is, the Bible teaches absolute truth, not a variety of opinions. In most cases, it is as clear as a red or green traffic light. We could all see it, if we really wanted to, but the fact is that many people want to be “religious” and still believe what they want to believe. So they “interpret” the Bible the way they want to “see it” as opposed to way the bible “teaches it”.
The Baptist read the direct commandment of Jesus Christ that the gospel be preached unto all the world. They read where Jesus commanded all to believe and be baptize in order to be saved. (Mk 16:16) However, they discard this direct command because they believe the thief on the cross invalidates it. They believe because Jesus told the thief he would be with Him in paradise that this negated baptism altogether. Such a strange interpretation to the scriptures. Did not Jesus just before he gave the commandment of belief and baptism reveal to us that all power in heaven and in earth had been given unto him? (Mt 28:18) Even IF, and remember I said IF, the thief was saved by ‘faith only’, (Actually, he was under the jurisdiction of the law of Moses) Jesus still had the power to command all others to believe and be baptized in order to be saved. In fact, all conversions from that moment forward both believed and were baptized. The approximate 3,000 on the day of Pentecost were baptized. Acts 2:37-47 The Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized. Acts 8 Saul of Tarsus was baptized. Acts 9 Cornelius was baptized. Acts 10 Lydia was baptized. The jailer was baptized. Acts 16 The Corinthians were baptized. Acts 19 Not one was ever told to just believe and they would be saved. Not one was told of the example of the thief in order to be saved. All were taught the gospel and all were baptized. As you can truly see, the truth is absolute, and nothing can change it.
Jesus concluded his commandment by saying, “He that believes not shall be condemned”. To this, these twisters of the truth will say, “See, the bible never said he that is baptized not shall be condemned.” However, the Word which Jesus spoke proves itself. No man is saved by ‘faith only’, and thus no man is saved by ‘baptism only’. (Jam 2:14-26) Salvation requires both in order to be saved. It is also conclusive that faith must precede baptism, for the Eunuch upon hearing the gospel said, “See, here is water, what hinders me from being baptized?” Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” Upon the Eunuch’s confession, Philip baptized him. (Acts 8:35-39) Therefore, if one believes not, what would it profit a man to be baptized? Absolutely Nothing!
Therefore, one must be saved in the order the scripture commanded all to be saved. All Christian converts heard the Gospel preached, because faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Rom 10:17) All Christian converts believed and confessed Jesus was the Christ the Son of God. (Rom 10:9,10) All Christian converts repented and were baptized for the remission of their sins. (Acts 2:38) All faithful Christians continued in the apostle’s doctrine, the doctrine of Christ. (Acts 2:42 f: 2 Jn 9) All saved Christians remained faithful unto death. (Rev 2:10) This is not my opinion, it is the truth of Almighty God! In taking the truth as is, one may “know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Those who say “That’s your opinion” really just want a license to pervert scripture and they would do well to admit it. We should learn to take Jesus’ word as is, minus any private interpretation. Peter tells us plainly that when this sacred Word was given it was not written by these men with their fancies, personal desires or interpretations. They wrote exactly what God wanted them to write. What makes men so naive today as to believe that they can freely do that which holy men of God were forbidden to do? No man has the right to be wrong with the Word of God and expect to be saved. Peter also wrote, ‘If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles (very words) of God” (1 Pet. 4:11). Paul said, “..That in us you may learn not to go beyond that which was written…” (1 Cor 4:6) Paul made it clear while writing on the Isle of Patmos, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev 22:18,19) Moses spoke and wrote the very words of God and altered them not. (Deut 4:2) Solomon warned against all who added to God’s Word. (Prov 30:6) The fathers and the Prophets spoke only what the Holy Spirit revealed to them. (2 Pet 1:20) The apostles only spoke and wrote what was revealed to them by the Spirit. (Acts 4:19,20 f; Gal 1:11,12) And Jesus only spoke what God revealed to him. (Jn 12:49,50) As Peter said, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,” (2 Peter 1:20) The Word of God is not a matter of opinion. No! It is a matter of truth. As Jesus said of His Father’s Word, “Sanctify them through your truth. Your Word is truth.” (Jn 17:17)