There are so many contradictory beliefs in churches that all claim to teach the truth about how one is saved by God and forgiven of their sins. Let’s compare a couple passages of scripture to find out.
One of my favorite passages of scripture to share with someone that I am talking to about how to obey the gospel is Ephesians 2:1-10:
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world…But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-2; 4-10).
This passage shows us the gospel message and it’s response clearly. We see that we were dead in our transgressions before coming to Christ, and that through Christ we can be saved by grace through faith when God makes us alive together with Christ and raises us up together with Him. Most churches and professed Christians will agree with this. But the question that gets many different, contradictory answers is this: “When is it that God saves us by grace through faith? When is it that God raises us up together with Christ and makes us alive together with Him?” There is only one verse in the New Testament that answers this question: Colossians 2:12-14. Let’s compare Ephesians 2 and Colossians 2, two sections of scripture that Paul wrote at about the same time:
Colossians 2:12-14 clearly answers the question “when does God raise us together with Christ into new life and make us alive together with Christ?” The answer: When we by faith are baptized! At this point we are made alive together with Christ, and as Colossians 2:14 states, forgiven of all of our transgression by God. There is not another answer that the Bible gives to this question. If you want to have your sins cut away from you, you must be buried with Christ (immersion) in baptism. This is when we are united with Christ in His death (Romans 6:3-5) and born again by water and the Spirit (John 3:5). At baptism is the point in which God raises us up from our state of spiritual death and gives us new life in Christ Jesus.