Even Demons Believe, Chapter Twelve

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12. Giving Orders

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God demands that action and faith work together. Indeed, faith without action is not faith at all in God’s sight. The book of James drives home the point by asking the following question:

  • You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (James 2:20)

This isn’t earning salvation, rather it allows the salvation power of God to work and will in us. Many stop the grace of God from producing works in them because of their stubborn hearts or bad teaching. For them, grace is without effect.

While this publication cannot possibly refute every objection that stubborn hearts pose, let us at least answer the question of the thief on the cross. Some question if baptism of water, blood, and Spirit are required for salvation how could the thief on the cross go to heaven? Look at the heart of God for the answer.

Obviously if one cannot find water, or circumstances prevent baptism, they will be saved. God sees the heart and knows His children. However, if people’s hearts truly love God, they gladly obey all of God’s commands for the reasons God declares, as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Consider well, that if Jesus did not exempt Himself from baptism, even though He did not need to be baptized, under what justication do you excuse yourself?

Know this; even if you think you have the Holy Spirit, you still must be water baptized for salvation. Indeed, you are “ordered” to be water baptized for the reasons God states.

  • “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. (Acts 10:47–48 emphasis added)

As we look deeper at the meaning of water baptism, we can destroy another excuse or question, “What if I were in the desert? What then?” Of course God works and wills to provide in every situation. For if God is powerful enough to give us a way out when tempted, He can certainly make a way for us to be righteous. Just look at the following true incident. Let us follow Philip on the “desert road” and see what happened. Note well it was a “desert road,” a place where one could go miles without even a hint of water to drink, let alone enough to be immersed or baptized.

  • Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (Acts 8:26)

The Ethiopian eunuch’s story begins by studying the book of Isaiah and ends with water baptism. Philip begins “with that very passage of Scripture” and concludes with water baptism. So it should be with us. As we talk about the Holy Spirit, grace, mercy, or any other passage of Scripture with an unbeliever, we should end with water baptism. If we preach the true “good news about Jesus” we will end where Philip ended, standing in water.

  • Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. (Act 8:35–40)

“Look, here is water,” the eunuch exclaimed. Somehow, from the preaching of Philip, the eunuch came to a correct conclusion about how to be saved. In his determination the eunuch gave “orders” for the chariot to stop so he could be water baptized. The God who controls the universe and arranges where men should live knew that this exact moment required water. Even in a desert, God can work and will His full message of salvation if the heart willingly responds to God’s grace. With tender hearts “both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water” to baptize the eunuch. Coming “up out of the water,” they each went the way of God’s will as disciples of Jesus.

Truths To Ponder, Beliefs To Examine

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

  1. What opinion do you have about the way of salvation?

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