When the Bible is taught in its purity and simplicity those in religious error cannot give an answer to the truth presented. Many of them put up smoke screens with are things designed to obscure, confuse or mislead their members and keep them from obeying the plain teaching of the Bible. We will notice several of these in this lesson. 1. One smoke screen used by most people in religious error against the churches of Christ is "Those people think that only those in the church of Christ will be saved". The real thing that is taught in the church of Christ is that people must be in Christ to be saved. "I endure all things for the elect's sake that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (2 Tim. 2:10). The scriptures also say that all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Eph. 1:3); that we are new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17); and that there is no condemnation in Christ (Rom. 8:1). To be in Christ is to be in His church which is His body (I Cor. 1:1,2; Eph. 1:22,23). All people who know their Bibles at all will agree that one must be in Christ to be saved. So all Bible believing Christian people believe just what we in the churches of Christ believe. Yet, these same people put up the smoke screen statement "those people in the church of Christ think they are the only ones who are going to be saved." The reason they do it is that they are in error in the religion that they are a part of and are so prejudicial that they do not want to make any changes so they just try to make a denomination out of the church of Christ. They want to make us a denomination among denominations who are self conceited and arrogant in our claims of salvation. In reality we teach the rightly divided Bible doctrine that cannot be denied. Every part of it has been proven in debate and in Biblical scholarship. The thing we have proven is that we can follow the pattern of the Lord in origin, doctrine and practice without becoming a denomination. This is to the chagrin of both Catholic and Protestant denominations who are bogged down with their human creeds, and human organizations that are far from biblical. People are listening to this pure Bible teaching and many are obeying their Lord in His appointed way. These people cannot stand this so they are putting up smoke screens to confuse people into rejecting the truth. What is wrong with wearing the name of Christ? Paul by inspiration used it to identify congregations of the Lord's church in Romans 16:16. We of the churches of Christ are not denying the other Bible names used to designate the church as found in I Cor. 1:1,2; I Tim. 3:14, 15; Hebrews 12:23 and other places. We are humbly striving to be congregations of Christ's church. We do not have any patent on the truth of the Bible. It is right there for anyone who wants to follow it. Why couldn't these denominations cease being denominations and start being congregations of the New Testament church? They could if they would only get out of the habit of trying to prove their human teachings to be right and go back to the Bible for it all. I want to urge you denominational preachers and church leaders to lay aside your human creeds and human organizations and go back to the simple New Testament teaching of Jesus Christ in everything. 2. Still another smoke screen religious people put up is "They teach baptismal regeneration". The churches of Christ simply read the Bible to people on the plan of salvation. "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38). Also "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:4). And "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 3:21). Now call the teachings of these verses anything you want to, but the fact remains that the Lord placed baptism between the sinner and remission of his sins, newness of life, and salvation. The reason many put up a smoke screen here is that they want to hold to the unscriptural view that one is saved by faith only or praying through. Dear friend, don't let men confuse you with smoke screens but accept only the truth.
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