What must I do to be saved? Bible Q&A Salvation, How to be saved.

Could you give me an explanation of the road to salvation that the Church of Christ believes in? Does it believe that baptism is a requirement for salvation or a requirement to become a member of the church? Please provide scripture. Thanks for your time.

Thanks for the question.  

    The churches of Christ are autonomous assemblies with no earthly head and therefore no ecclesiastical oversight of what they all believe. I can speak generally of most of the assemblies, that they believe just what the Bible says and nothing more. Of course, any assembly has mature Christians as well as babes in Christ and therefore there is a certain latitude in what any individual Christian understands at any particular moment. What we all agree on, however, is that the Bible is God's word and it must be our final authority on any belief or practice in which we engage.

    So your question, while being an important one, must be modified to "What does the Bible say concerning the road to salvation?" not necessarily what the churches of Christ believe. Because what they believe doesn't matter if the scriptures will not support it.

    On what a person must do to be saved, the scriptures follow thusly:

Jesus commanded his Apostles what to teach.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing [immersing] them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized [immersed] will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Then he said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    So, from here we can see that the Apostles were told to begin at Jerusalem and go teach all nations the good news or gospel, which included repentance and remission of sins. The person who believes it, repents and is immersed in water for the remission of sins would be saved. The person who disbelieved would be condemned. Then they were to continue to teach to those saved all that Jesus had commanded them.

    Now the first time we see them doing this very thing is in Acts 2.

Acts 2:36-47
36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized [immersed] in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation."
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

From this we see:

  • That Peter preached the gospel concerning Jesus.
  • Those who heard, believed it (they were cut to the heart).
  • They were told to repent and be immersed for the remission of sins.
  • Those who received or believed his words were immersed the same day.
  • Those who were saved, Jesus added to their number, or the church.
  • They continued in the Apostles doctrine.

    Continuing to read the book of Acts, you will find that every single person that was saved, whether Jew or Gentile did the same thing. They heard the word by a preacher or teacher, they believed it and were immersed the same day and thus were saved.

Of these examples in Acts you must understand that repentance and confessing one's belief that Jesus is the Christ are sometimes understood in the context and therefore abbreviated. But you will never find a person that is not immersed.

  • They were immersed "for the remission of sins". Acts 2:38
  • They were immersed to "wash their sins away". Acts 22:16
  • They were immersed to die with Jesus and raise up to walk in newness of life, Rom.6, which was the Spirit's job to quicken them to spiritual life.

...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Notice the washing of regeneration. Or, as I like to call it the "bath of the new birth."
And then notice the renewing of the Holy Spirit, which is his power to quicken and sanctify.
Then notice that this coincides with what Jesus said in John 3 about what one must do to enter the kingdom.

Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

These two elements of the new birth are found in our immersion into Christ.

  • Born of water (washing of regeneration)
  • and the Spirit (renewing of the Holy Spirit)

This is the same thing that Peter preached back in Acts 2:38-39

...be immersed for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

When we are immersed, the place in which our faith should be focused is in the working of God.

...buried with him in baptism, in which you also were raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

So we have faith in "the working of God" in our immersion.
What is God doing or working when we are immersed?
Verse 13 - He is making us spiritually alive with Christ after having forgiven all our sins.

That's the two elements of the new birth again. Washing away of sins by immersion and being made alive by the Spirit.

Of course, if we don't believe this, we're just getting wet.

This is what the Bible says, whether or not any church which is of Christ believes it or teaches it. However, I doubt if you will find another church that teaches and practices what the scriptures say in this regard.

Hope this helps you.
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Larry White