Members of the church of Christ believe (based on the Scriptures) there are certain steps which must be taken, in obedience to the commands of the New Testament. We believe that these steps bring about salvation and at the same time make one a member of THE church.
FAITH: This results from HEARING the Word of God (Romans 10:17), and is stated as essential to salvation (Mark 16:16; John 8:24; 20:30-31; Hebrews 11:6).
REPENTANCE: This too, is commanded (Acts 2:38; 3:19). Repentance is a change of mind which causes one to turn away from sinful practices. It is commanded for everyone (Acts 17:30; Luke 13:3).
CONFESSION: This is an outward confession of faith in Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9-10).
BAPTISM: This is not taught by members of the church of Christ as a “church ordinance,” but as a “command” of Christ. The New Testament teaches baptism to be an act which is essential to salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Proper subjects for baptism are:
- Taught persons (Matthew 28:19)
- Believing persons (Mark 16:16)
- Penitent persons (Acts 2:38)
- Persons who have confessed Jesus (Acts 8:37)
Scriptural baptism must be an immersion in water. The Greek word from which the word baptize comes means “to dip, to immerse, to submerge, to plunge.” The Scriptures always point to baptism as a burial (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12).
Baptism is extremely important because the New Testament sets forth the following purposes for it:
- It is to enter the kingdom (John 3:3-5)
- It is to contact Christ’s blood (Romans 6:3-4)
- It is to get into Christ (Galatians 3:27)
- It is for salvation (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21)
- It is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)
- It is to wash away sins (Acts 22:16)
- It is to get into the church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:23)
REMAIN FAITHFUL: Following the obedience of these commands we believe it is important that the Christian live faithfully, because the Bible teaches the possibility of falling from the grace of God.
- Paul said he had to guard himself, lest after preaching to others he himself should be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27)
- He warned the Christians at Corinth to take heed lest they fall (1 Corinthians 10:12)
- He told some of the Galatians they had “fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4)
- The Hebrew writer sounded warning: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12)
- He also spoke of those who had known Christ Jesus, but who had reverted to their old ways … and said it would have been better for them never to have known the truth (2 Peter 2:20-21)
From: What Is The Church of Christ? By Joe R. Barnett