Can We Say It Better?

What is it called when someone thinks that they can do something better than others and they are extremely proud of it? Being arrogant, right? This is something that we can easily be guilty of if we are not careful. I recently made a post on social media proving this very point regarding a few teachings from God’s word. There are people who are extremely bold in teaching things that are completely contrary to the Bible.

Shortly after I made the post, I had a few people reach out to me privately going through great lengths to tell me that “those passages say what they say, but that is not what it really means.” The conversations did not last long. I simply asked the question, “Is God the author of confusion?” I am still waiting for the reply where they go through great lengths explaining to me how that passage does not mean what it says. Think about it for just a moment and allow me to use a few examples.

Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

When Luke recorded what Peter said here, was there a long explanation that they could not really save themselves, but it was really God that would save them? Was it even suggested?

Acts 2:41-47 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The reality of what occurred is that Peter preached the gospel and some 3000 Jews believed and obeyed the gospel. Did they work for their salvation? No. Did they earn their salvation? No. What did they do? They repented of their sins and were baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. When they did this, the Lord added to the church those who were being saved. No further explanation was given about anything else.

Hebrews 5:8-9 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Does the Hebrew writer inject a note telling us that while one needs to obey Him that really it is not the obeying Him that would save him but the sacrifice of the Author?

Hebrews 5:10-14 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

There is no note explaining anything differently other than what is being said. In fact, it appears to show that we need to be careful with ourselves. We need to be growing in our faith and not remain stagnant.

The New Testament writers did not seem to think that mentioning something that man does as saving himself took away from glorifying God for providing that salvation. Nor did they seem to think that in order to magnify God required negating or minimizing anything that God says saves us – even anything that man must do. Thus, creating the impression that man’s contributions to his salvation is not all that important as long as he gets the “grace” part right.

When we read something in God’s word, we need to accept it. If it is something that says that we need to do something, then do it. Encourage others to do the same. I am not negating that grace saves us. I am not denying that faith saves us. I do not believe that it is baptism only that saves us.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

When I read that grace saves us, I believe that it really saves us. When I read that faith saves us, it really does save us. When I read that baptism saves us by washing away our sins, that too, saves us. It is kind of like reading accounts of the rescue of a drowning man by a lifeguard tossing him a lifeline. One account may simply read, “The lifeguard saved him.” Another may say, “The lifeline saved him.” Another may say, “Grabbing the lifeline saved him.” Another may say, “He saved himself by holding on to the lifeline.” All would be true and neither account would minimize the importance of the other. God saves us and because of that we need to believe, trust, and obey Him. Not try to say it better than God.

by Lee Elkins (Some excerpts from Ed Bragwell’s The Reflector)