Plea For Admission Into Christ

W. Terry Varner
March 26, 2017

Prior to the ascension of Jesus, He called His eleven disciples together in Galilee and gave to them what has become known as: “The Great Commission.” Jesus said: “All power [authority] has been given to Me in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:18-19). Mark has Jesus saying: “Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but that believes not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Luke adds: “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).

What Jesus Said in the Great Commission. In order to understand the Great Commission, it is necessary to examine the three reports together. Just as you do not take one report among many in a court of law just so the testimony of the three gospel writers helps us understand what is written. By way of summary, we know precisely what Jesus said in the Great Commission.

  • Going. When Jesus departed from His apostles after giving the commandment to abide in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:1-3), He commanded them to going. The apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:1-8; 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit empowered the apostles with authority, infallibility, and inedrrancy. On that day, Peter preached Christ to the multitude. For the first time people heard the message that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, raised, and ascended into the heavens.
  • Preaching. We are told when the people heard the message of Peter, “They were pricked in their hearts” (Acts 2:37). Why? Because they believed the inspired message of Peter. Men are not cut to the heart by a message which they do not believe to be true.
  • Faith. When the people asked the apostles what to do to be saved, they were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (cf. Acts 2:38). This they did and about 3,000 were baptized (cf. Acts 2:41).
  • Faithfulness. Once baptized, the new converts (Christians) “continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine, and in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayers” (Acts 2:42). Here then is the law of Christ’s kingdom/church first presented to the world.

The Clarity of Salvation from Sin and Our Hope. There are five items suggested by Matthew, Mark, and Luke: (1) Teaching, (2) Faith, (3) Repentance, (4) Baptism, and (5) Faithfulness. This is the biblical or scriptural order of these items which none dare to change. They are set in heaven by the Godhead (cf. Matt. 18:18).

This divine arrangement is used throughout the book of Acts of the Apostles. If faith is not mentioned, it is always implied. The same is true with repentance. However, without exception baptism is always named in each and every conversion. In fact all of those conversions set forth the point that the individual was baptized immediately. In other words there is no example of deferred baptism.

If this divine arrangement is followed, man can reach the blessing promised when he complies with all the conditions set forth on the pages of Holy Scripture. Perhaps, there is more ignorance in the religious world today about God’s plan of salvation than any other subject in the Bible. This is why we must preach over and over the terms of divine pardon.