We live in a time where most people believe that they can amend God’s Word and still be pleasing to God. Yet, what they fail to understand is that this has never been true with God. It wasn’t true for Noah when God commanded him to build an ark. When God commanded that gopher wood to be used, this excluded all other kind of wood. It wasn’t true for Joshua when God commanded him to march around Jericho 7 times. It wasn’t true for Naaman when he was commanded to dip seven times. 2 Kin 5:10 It wasn’t’ true for Nadab and Abihu. It wasn’t true for Uzzah. When God gave a specific commandment, he meant it to be done exactly that way, and no other. Even as Jesus said to Satan, “…Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him ‘only’ you shall serve.'” (Matt 4:10) Yet, the old law never once used the word “Only” in reference to this one commandment. Jesus made it perfectly clear, that when God commands, it excludes all other methods or actions.
When this principle is applied to other commandments of God, one can fully understand what God will and will not tolerate. Singing is commanded in Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 19, but there is no mention of any musical instrument. Why? Because a direct commandment was given to sing, and sing only. Christians met on the first day of the week to break bread and to give of their means. (Acts 20:7 f; 1 Cor 16:1-3) This excludes all other days to meet to do these things.
Some believe that when Jesus commanded the gospel to be preached unto all the world, that they had a license to preach it by any means possible. Yes, one may preach the gospel by a variety of means which are unique to their age. In days of old, one had to walk to where they were going. Perhaps they could travel by ship or boat. Today, we have airplanes which can carry us around the world. One can preach by radio, TV, or internet. One can use bulletins, books, audio or video. The methods are limitless. However, this doesn’t mean that one has the right to preach another gospel or that just anyone can preach the gospel.
Actually, the bible gave no means by which to carry out this commandment, but even it has limitations contained within it. For instance, who is to do the preaching? Jesus, through the apostle Paul, prohibited women from speaking in the assembly. (1 Cor 14:33-40) He also prohibited women from teaching or usurping man’s authority. (1 Tim 2:11-14) Faithful Christian men were given the commandment to preach the same gospel as the apostles preached. (2 Tim 2:2) These are called limitations and guidelines that Jesus never mentioned in his initial commandment: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…” Mk 16:15,16 Secondly, anyone who preaches the gospel is prohibited from changing the gospel. All who do shall be accursed. (Gal 1:6-9)
Take note of the things which we are commanded to do in order to be saved. One is commanded to believe with the heart and confess with the mouth that Jesus is the Christ. (Rom 10:9,10) One is commanded to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) No one has the right to alter the gospel whatsoever. This is the same unaltered gospel which saved all new testament converts. If belief is taken out of the gospel, the gospel will not save us. If baptism is removed from the gospel, the gospel will not save us. However, what kind of body of water was never specified. It could be an ocean, a river, a sea, a swimming pool, or a baptistry. As long as the water is deep enough to submerge someone into it, it is acceptable. Yet, one still has to be submerged into water. Sprinkling or pouring is not sufficient to be considered baptism. To prove this, one only needs to consider the baptism of the Eunuch. “So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water,…” (Acts 8:38-39)
I know of many who think that God doesn’t mind if man changes his commandments, but the book of Revelation was very strict even when it came to prophesies contained within that book. All who added to it would be punished with the plagues contained therein. All who subtracted from it had their name removed from the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev 22:18,19) Imagine how much more accursed one will be who alters the gospel or doctrine of Christ. All who changes the gospel shall be accursed. (Gal 1:8-9) All who abides not in the doctrine of Christ has not God. (2 Jn 9) If we desire to be saved, we must learn God’s Word and obey it as God commands. It’s the difference between eternal life or eternal damnation. (Rom 11:22 f; 2 Thess 1:7-9)