By John Amoda
CHAPTER 19 of the Acts, Paul encountered disciples in need of the Ministry of Aquila and Priscilla. The following is Paul’s interrogation of their faith in the Lord:
“And it came to pass, that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost, since ye believed?
And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, unto what then were you baptized? And they said, unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesized. And all the men were about twelve” (Acts 19:1-7).
As with Apollos, a disciple of John, so it was with these 12. Knowing only the baptism of John was not enough then and is still not enough today. Believing that Jesus is the Christ is the more perfect way and such a faith implies the baptism in the name of Jesus.
Because faith in Jesus that leads to baptism in His name is the second reason why the tithing congregants and their general overseers should receive the gospel. Why is baptism in the name of Jesus the necessary indication of faith in the Gospel of God concerning Christ Jesus His Son? Because God sent His Son, to save sinners.
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).
Christ came into the world to save sinners, not to make them less of a sinner. He came to effect for sinners the forgiveness of their sins by his bloodshed for the remission of sins and by his life in us to save sinners from the wrath of God (Romans 5: 9-10). This was His Mission and His Ministry.
Christ Jesus did not come into the world to make mankind better, or to make mankind perfect through the keeping of God’s laws. He came after Man had become sinners.
“Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that hath not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification…
For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:12-16, 9)
Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Why was the death of our Lord God’s method of salvation from sin? Because by the disobedience of the First Adam all born of Adam were born sinners, born flesh. Christ Jesus came into the world to bring to an end the Race of the First Adam so that the First Man (Adam) might be raised from the dead as the Second Man (Christ Jesus)
“These is therefore now no more condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:1-9)
From the above scripture the condition of sinners before Christ Jesus came into the world is made manifest. Mankind was of flesh and was by nature concerned about things of the flesh. As such mankind was under judgement unto condemnation. Adam-kind is constitutionally incapable of being subject to the laws of God- “So then they that in the Flesh cannot please God”.
The Fall resulted in the transformation of Adam into a kind enslaved to sin; and Adam and all in Adam were under judgment and condemnation for Adam had become the father of a race God had already judged and condemned.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:5-8).
Noah whom God saved from the destruction of the Flood was saved not by his righteousness but because he found ‘grace in the eyes’ of the Lord. From Noah onward God established the principle of salvation’ ‘through Grace in the eyes of God’.
The Law given by God through Moses and all of God’s statutes and ordinances could therefore not regenerate the Adam-kind already dealt with by the Flood- for all from Adam are under condemnation. Why then did God give Israel the law? The Law was not given to save Israel- for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
The Law was not given to effect reconciliation between God and sinners. The Law was not given to justify Israel in the eye of God- Noah found not justification in the eyes of God but grace. God sent His Son into the world to save sinners. He did this by completing what God began with the Flood.