(1). Put your faith in Jesus Christ.
(2). Repent of your sins and turn away from them (stop sinning). Turn to God instead and start obeying Him.
(3). Become baptized in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost [be baptized both with water and the Holy Ghost and fire (spiritual type of fire)]. The Bible is clear that there is only one baptism (refer to Ephesians 4:5). I believe that there was a confusion in the beginning of the early Church regarding baptism (they didn't know the existence of the Holy Ghost- refer to Acts 13:2). Some were still being baptized only through John the Baptist's baptism- i.e. baptism with water. John the Baptist's baptism with water called for repentance of sins (refer to Acts 13:1-5). They failed to understand that Jesus would add to this baptism- i.e the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. Thus, He would unite the baptism with water and the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire into one baptism (that is why in the Great Commission He says, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost). When we undergo water baptism today, if we are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we are baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire also. Thus, it is one baptism (refer to Ephesians 4:5).
Instead of focusing on tongues as the evidence of baptism with the Holy Ghost, I believe that we need to be focusing on the fruit of the Spirit as the evidence of the Holy Ghost. John's baptism emphasized repentance of sins. However, I don't think that frees a person from their sinful nature. The Holy Ghost is what empowers us, controls us, and guides us to overcome our sinful nature (refer to Romans 7:21-25, Romans 8:1-14, and Galatians 5:16-26) and bear the fruit of the Spirit. From my understanding of baptism from Scripture, its aspects are:
(a). baptism with water- representing repentance of sins (as I've stated already above)
(b). baptism with Christ in His death and burial (i.e. we are sharing in His death and burial. The importance of this is putting to death our sinful nature so that we don't continue to sin. It's also a reminder that we shouldn't abuse God's grace and pervert it into licentiousness (refer to Romans 6:1-11 and Jude 1:4).
(c). being controlled, empowered, and guided by the Holy Ghost (as I've already stated above) to overcome the sinful nature and instead bear the fruit of the Spirit.
(d). baptism with fire- I think this is referring to us sharing in the sufferings of Christ (trials/tribulations on this earth). Fire by trial/tribulations refines us. Refer to Matthew 20:21-28; Romans 8:17; and 1 Peter 1:6-7).
We must be born again by water and the Holy Ghost through one baptism (refer to John 3:5 and Ephesians 4:5).
(4). Do good deeds to prove that you've truly repented (metanoia). This is what "working out your salvation/working hard to show the results of your salvation" means (refer to Philippians 2:12).
(5). Don't go back into slavery to sin. This will rob you of your salvation and eternal inheritance from God.
For those who want to know the difference between Christianity and other religions, please refer to the Youtube video below entitled "Don't all religions point to the same God?" :
The following Bible references can be used to see the five points I stated above:
(1). Acts 2:36-41 (NLT) (Please refer to Acts chapter 2 to read the entire chapter and further understand the Gospel message in this link-Acts 2)
“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” 41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all."
(2). Acts 20:21 (NLT):
"I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus."
(3). Acts 26:20 (NLT):
"I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do."
(4). Titus 2:14 (NLT):
"He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds."
***God desires a spiritual circumcision (metanoia/change of heart) from both Jews and Gentiles.
(5). Romans 2:29 (NLT):
"No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people."
(6). Isaiah 55:1-3,6-7 (NLT):
“Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—
even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
it’s all free!
2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.
3 “Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.
6 Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
7 Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
(7). Matthew 4:12-17 (NLT):
"When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
(8). Luke 13:1-5,22-30 (NLT):
"About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. 2 “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? 3 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. 4 And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5 No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
22 Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
He replied, 24 “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. 25 When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out. 29 And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God. 30 And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.”
"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
(10). Matthew 28:18-20 (American KJV):
"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen."
(11). James 2:14-26 (NLT):
" What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works."
(12). Matthew 3:1-3,7-12 (NLT):
"In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, 2 “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” 3 The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 9 Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
(13). John 3:5 (NLT):
"Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit."
I believe we need to be both baptized with water and also ask Jesus Christ to baptize us with the Holy Ghost and fire (spiritual type of fire).
(14). 2 Peter 1:3-11 (NLT):
"By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
(15). Romans 6:1-13 (NLT):
"Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God."
(16). Galatians 5:24-25 (NLT):
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
(17). Ephesians 4:17-24 (NLT):
"With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy."
(18). Colossians 3:5-10 (NLT):
"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him."
(19). 1 John 3:3-10 (NLT):
"And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God."
(20). 3 John 1:11 (NLT):
"Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God."
(21). Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT):
"Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."
(22). John 8:31-36 (NLT):
"Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free."
***Compare the passages- 1 John 3:3-10 with Titus 2:14 (both of which I've already listed above). The truth we learn from both of these passages is that Jesus Christ has set us free from slavery to sin (this refutes the notion that Christians have the license to sin under the dispensation of grace, as many false teachers promote today).
(23). Romans 6:16-18 (NLT):
"Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living."
(24). 2 Peter 2:18-22 (NLT):
"They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. 19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. 20 And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. 22 They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”
(25). Romans 8:1-17 (authorized KJV):
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
(26). Hebrews 10:26-31 (NLT):
" Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28 For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. 30 For we know the one who said,
“I will take revenge.
I will pay them back.”
He also said,
“The Lord will judge his own people.”
31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
The Gospel I've presented is not a sugar coated (sin excusing one- which you'll hear among mainstream Christianity today) message. Today, many people who love their carnal ways hate people like me exposing their falsehood and instead declaring the Truth. That's because they only like their sugar coated (sin excusing) teachings from their beloved false teachers. People would rather eat a sweet doughnut (sin excusing teachings) instead of eating a wholesome whole grain bagel (sin removing teachings-i.e. teachings calling them to repent and achieve metanoia). Carnal people hunger for a false gospel which will excuse their ongoing sins and they hate hearing a real Gospel which calls them to change their behavior (stop sinning).
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT):
"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths."
Satan and his demons use false teachers to twist, distort, and selectively use only certain Scriptures to present a false gospel to deceive people. When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Satan tried to selectively use a Bible verse (while ignoring the rest of Scripture) in order to try and deceive Christ. Satan failed as Jesus knew the rest of Scripture and He showed how selective usage of Scripture is not the correct way to use the Bible (refer to Matthew 4:5-7). In fact, if Christ had used selective usage of Scripture like Satan did, it would've led to Christ sinning. Subsequently, God's plan to redeem and save us would've failed. Satan continues this same tactic of selective usage of Scripture to deceive the rest of mankind into accepting a false gospel which teaches that a dead faith without good works is enough to become saved (aka sola fide and sola gratia doctrines of Protestantism). False teachers (by the inspiration of Satan) have redefined salvation solely based on passages like Ephesians 2:8-9 while ignoring other passages like I've mentioned above. The truth is that we are saved by God's grace through a saving faith evidenced by good works.
|This is what carnal Christians practice also- they act just like Satan.|
If you are interested in learning about the psychology of salvation and carnal Christianity, please refer to my other posts ("The Psychology of Salvation," "More on church psychology," "None dare call them sociopaths," "non-Calvinist denominations," "Understanding the psychology of the Plymouth Brethren/Kerala Brethren," and "Understanding the psychology of Pentecostals").