In contrast to these, Abraham by obedience perfected his faith
and made it acceptable to God (James 2:22). His faith was not
only in his mind but lived in his heart and was clothed in action
(Genesis 22:16-18). Faith moved him to obedience. His was a work
of faith, not of law or of merit. It was through faith and by
grace he received the friendship of God. May our faith carry us
on past 'only believe' to where by obedience our faith is made
acceptable to God, and by His grace it is reckoned as
righteousness. We should walk in the steps of that faith of our
father Abraham (Romans 4:12).
The woman, with the issue of blood, came into contact with the Saviour, not by the belief in her heart alone, but by an act resolved on through her faith - a work of faith. The thief on the cross not only believed but openly confessed Christ and demonstrated his faith as far as his circumstances permitted or Christ required of him. Even before the death and resurrection of Christ and his enthronement in heaven, and before the gospel dispensation and the world-wide commission, when the faith of Christ's immediate followers failed them, the thief seemed to look into the future with unwavering trust in Jesus and his faith raised him above his unfavourable circumstances and brought him to the physical act of confession. May you, like the thief, have Christ's own word that you are saved. His word to you and to every creature since Pentecost is 'he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.'
Any person who loves the Lord will desire not only that in believing his mind should be given to Christ, and that in repentance his will and the affections of his heart should be yielded up, but also that he should come to Christ in person and by one act give him body, soul and spirit in one. This God requires in baptism. In primitive times confession of Jesus as Lord was associated with baptism. With a mind and heart regenerated by the Gospel and having now died to the world, they who believe do in baptism give their whole being to Him who died for their sins (Romans 6:1-8). They are baptised into Christ and thus put on Christ (Gal. 3:27).
These requirements cannot be inconsistent with full atonement by the blood of Jesus, or with salvation by grace, as each and all are clearly taught. Only superficial and unsound reasoning presumes to make them contradictory. Faith by itself, although it be mental, is as much an act of man as is the obedience of faith. Neither have merit. Combined they simply bring us to Him who can save us. There is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. May we all be faithful unto death and at our Lord's return receive the crown of life.
IT is now admitted that Baptism in the early church was by immersion of the whole body in water, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Wherever immersion has been abandoned the spiritual meaning and dramatic effect of Baptism have been tremendously impaired, if not altogether lost. In the 'one Baptism' (immersion of penitent believers) we see dramatized the great central fact of the Christian religion - the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ. The symbolism is such as to make real the spiritual union with this Death and Resurrection which Baptism effects.