Every New Testament Christian obeyed the same gospel in order to be saved. There was not one exception. God’s plan of salvation was not contained in one verse, nor was it isolated to one book, or even one conversion. One verse may mention that faith saves. This does not mean that faith only saves (Jam 2:24) because other verses mention other things which save. In order to complete God’s plan of salvation, the following verses must be allowed to compliment one another, thus allowing all scripture to work together (2 Tim 3:16-17).
In order to Become a Christian, One Must:
Hear the Gospel
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17) What is the gospel? It is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4). The first step to salvation is hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is why the Lord told His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mk 16:15). He knew they needed to hear it! The eunuch obeyed the Gospel after Philip had “Preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35,38). It is the Gospel by which men are called to obtain glory in Christ (2 Thess 2:14).
Believe Jesus is the Christ
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:16). After one hears the Gospel, he must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn 8:24). After those men in Acts 2 heard Peter preach the Gospel (vs. 14-36) they came to believe. This is manifested in the fact that they were “cut to the heart” (vs. 37).
Confess Jesus is the Christ
“…With the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:9, 10). After hearing and believing one must be willing to confess his faith in Jesus as the Son of God. After the eunuch heard and believed the Gospel, and before Philip baptized him, he confessed his faith in Jesus as the Christ (Acts 8:37).
Repent of Sins
“God…now commands all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30). After one hears the Gospel, believes and confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, he must then be willing to repent of his sins. This is exactly what happened in Acts 2. They heard the gospel preached and “were cut to the heart“. This is the same heart which must believe Jesus to be the Son of God and confess the same with their mouth (Rom 10:9,10). Upon asking, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” the apostle Peter proclaimed, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Baptized Into Christ
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:16). After hearing the gospel, believing and confessing Christ, and repenting of sins, one must humbly submit to Christ by obeying the commandment of baptism. It is baptism that connects one with the blood of Christ which washes away his sins, so baptism can “Wash away your sins” (Acts 2:38 cf; 22:16; Eph 1:7 f; Rev 1:5). It is baptism which places one in Christ where salvation is (2 Tim 2:10; Gal 3:26,27). Effectively one is buried with Christ by baptism and raised to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3,4).
In each case of conversion in the book of Acts,
each obeyed the commandment of baptism:
- Those at Pentecost: Acts 2:38
- The Samaritans: Acts 8:12, 13
- The Ethiopian eunuch: Acts 8:36-38
- Saul (aka apostle Paul): Acts 9:1-6; Acts 22:16
- Cornelius: Acts 10:43, 47, 48
- Lydia and her household: Acts 16:15
- The Philippian Jailor: Acts 16:30-33
Faithful Unto Death
“…Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev 2:10). After obeying the gospel of Christ one must remain faithful to the Lord until death in order to finally make it to heaven. Ask anyone who has obeyed the gospel and they will tell you that remaining faithful is the hardest part of being a Christian. It takes only a few minutes to obey the gospel. However, it takes a lifetime to remain faithful to all that the Lord has commaned his saints. And on top of that, they must endure trials and persecutions (2 Tim 3:12). If they do, they will receive a crown of life (Jam 1:12). If they don’t they will be cast into a lake of fire (2 Thess 1:7-9).