Nine steps and 45 minutes to salvation

By Johnny O. Trail — Mickey and Linda were married for around 60 years./1 Linda was immersed into Christ from an early age, but Mickey was not a member of the church.  For many, many years she and others patiently prayed for him and engaged him in various Bible studies.

When I started at the congregation where Mickey and Linda attended, I was blessed to become friends with them early in the work.  Since my grandmother’s maiden name was “Jacobs” and Linda’s was too, I always called her “Cousin” when she came into the building.  As I watched them over the 10 years that I was a part of their congregation, their love for one another was very apparent.  There was always a twinkle in his eyes and in hers when they were together.  Still, she had a persistent fear—”would Mickey obey the gospel before his life was over?” Continue reading “Nine steps and 45 minutes to salvation”

The greatest prayer we can pray

During the holidays, we pray that you and all of yours may be deeply blessed by your time with family and with your friends and loved ones, and by the food and other things “that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” 1 Timothy 4.3.

Our greatest prayer for those who are not yet in Christ is that they may have faith that obeys the Lord, and not just any faith; that they may know the truth which saves; that they may enter into Christ through repentance and immersion in water.

All other blessings are far inferior to the greatness of knowing God and the call to follow Jesus. Continue reading “The greatest prayer we can pray”

The gospel instructs: rely upon Christ in baptism to be saved

Our world abounds with controversial issues ranging from politics to scientific theories, from social policy to religion. Among the chorus of dissenting voices rise competing perspectives regarding baptism.

It is my belief that scripture provides an unequivocal voice inviting us to rely upon Christ in baptism in order that we might receive the benefits of our Savior’s death. My experiences have also led me to conclude that one major barrier against accepting this understanding lies not with scripture’s failure to positively teach about baptism, rather false assumptions about faith are negating the biblical message.

How might someone tackle such a scenario? Here is one possibility.

Continue reading “The gospel instructs: rely upon Christ in baptism to be saved”

The only real choice we have

A hopeless philosopher once wrote that the only real choice we have is to kill ourselves or not. This is a philosophy of despair.

Albert Camus believed that life is absurd and makes no sense. As an atheist, he saw the contradictions and suffering. Still, he clung to the will to live, a philosophical version of the shallow sentiment of the song, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

In one sense, however, Camus was exactly right. The only real choice is to embrace death or cling to life. But for those who believe in Jesus Christ, the apparently simple choice holds a paradox. Continue reading “The only real choice we have”

An online conversation about salvation, restrictions, and literalism

The following points are one side of an amicable online conversation I had last week with some social-media friends. One is an atheist. I’m not sure about the others. You can read the whole thread at this link. The text has been slightly edited for readability.

¶ The New Testament shows a distinct line between saved and unsaved. The difference between the two is one’s reaction or reception of Jesus: “And there is salvation in no one else [besides Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved” Acts 4.12 NET. Continue reading “An online conversation about salvation, restrictions, and literalism”

Not finished yet

Sounds of laughter and joy fill the air. Wet clothes are abandoned for dry ones. Perhaps prayers and singing erupt. Someone has travelled down the road to finally rely upon Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Goal achieved?

Paul reminds us that the race is not over yet. For that person who has led another to Christ, his words suggest conversion is not the end. Ministry has only begun.  Continue reading “Not finished yet”

Two questions people ask before converting

In a book about influencing others, the authors say that two questions must be answered before a person can be persuaded to perform a certain action. First, is it worth doing? Second, can I do it?

Every saint of God works to persuade others to become followers of Christ. The above questions are pertinent to the mission of the church, since many people ask them about the Way. They may be answered fully and satisfactorily from Scripture. The Bible holds an abundance of texts that address them, as well as stories and parables that illustrate well such answers. Continue reading “Two questions people ask before converting”