|Lesson #21 - Man Is Not To Change What God Says|
|Written by Ron Boatwright|
Man does not have the authority to change the will of God on any subject. There are a lot of false teachings that are being passed off as the truth. We have been given severe warnings in the Bible concerning any changes we try to make to God’s word. As we have already seen in Galatians 1:6-9, if we pervert the gospel by changing it, we will be accursed.
Another such warning comes in the closing verses of the Bible. Revelation 22:18-19 says, "For I testify unto everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, and from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Additions, subtractions, and substitutions to what God has commanded is disobedient and sinful. We have a standard today, and we are warned not to add to or take away from it. These are very stern warnings that should get our undivided attention.
How much stronger warnings could God give to those who try to make changes to His will when they change immersion into sprinkling, or to change the necessity of baptism for one to receive forgiveness of sins and be saved to their saying that baptism is not necessary for salvation. God has said plainly that it is necessary. We do not have the right to dismiss what we do not like. I cannot think of a more flagrant crime against both God and man than to teach lost sinners, who are wanting to be saved, something different than what God says in the Bible. To make an impression on them that they are already saved, when God has not promised it, is grievously wrong.
They also say one’s sins are forgiven and one is saved when he accepts Christ as his personal savior. They say he can then be baptized later if he wants to in order to join that particular denomination; but as we have already seen, this contradicts what God has said and will cause many people to be lost eternally. Since many people will not accept what God says, notice what 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 says, "Because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth." Do you have enough love for the genuine truth of God's word that you will obey it instead of the counterfeit doctrines of men? If you do not then God has promised to send you a strong delusion that you should believe a lie and be damned. The false doctrines of men will cause many good people to be eternally lost. There is nothing worse than causing a person to pass from this life with the false hope of going to Heaven. Anything that differs from what God says in the Bible is false doctrine which is designed by Satan to cause people to be eternally lost in Hell.
If you were baptized for some reason other than for forgiveness of sins in order to be saved then you do not have salvation and you are still lost. Who are you going to follow: God or man? As our Lord warns us in Matthew 15:14, "And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch." Don’t allow someone, who has added to and taken away from God’s word, to lead you. Open your eyes and read God’s word for yourself. Those who have added to and taken away from God’s word will be lost. If you continue to follow them, then you too will be lost.
What You Need to Do
In Acts 19:1-5 we have an example of twelve men the apostle Paul met at Ephesus. They had something wrong with their baptism. In verses 3-5 we read, "And he said to them, into what then were you baptized? So they said, into John’s baptism. Then Paul said, John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." These twelve men had been taught wrong and thus they could not have been baptized right. When they found out there was something wrong with their baptism, they made it right. They were then baptized for the right purpose.
Please refer back to how you answered the questions in Lesson 8 concerning your prior conversion. If you thought you were saved and your sins forgiven when you accepted Christ as your personal savior and you were baptized a week or so later, then the purpose of your baptism was not for the forgiveness of your sins so you could be saved. But now you have learned the truth about the purpose of baptism from the scriptures that have been pointed out. Please don't rationalize away what you actually did to be saved and now say that you were actually baptized for the forgiveness of sins in order to be saved. Many people end up doing this. Please do not be misled by false man-made doctrines. Your soul's salvation depends on your being right with God.
Is there something wrong with your baptism? You may say no, but if there is, we cannot fool God. He knows for sure and you will suffer the eternal consequences. It will be a sad day when you stand before the Lord on the Day of Judgment if you find out there is something wrong with your baptism. Have you been baptized for the right purpose and in the right way? Baptism, that is done according to scripture, for the right reason and purpose, is such an easy thing to do. It is not difficult, at all, to make sure it is done right.
Questions for Lesson #21