First Principles – By C.G. McPhee

Written on: July 28, 2022

Article by: admin

This article was first published in the May issue of the Gospel Herald in 1954. We are republishing it here in co-ordination with our special series on brother McPhee, written by Geoff Ellis’.

Salvation is for men lost in sin, and is the ‘most precious pearl within, ‘the reach of men. God was not willing that any should perish, hence He sent His Son into the world that whosoever believes on Him should have everlasting life. :The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation unto all men. “

Conditional Salvation

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Salvation is conditional; else it would be universal and all men would be saved and none lost. The Bible teaches that it is conditional. “ God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (II Thess 2:6-9)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 7:21) As surely as these Scriptures are true, salvation is not universal.

  • The Bible teaches that salvation is not the portion of the wicked, for “…the ungodly shall perish.”
  • Salvation is not for the unbelieving, for “he ,that does not believe, shall be condemned”.
  • Salvation is not for ‘ the impenitent, for “unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.”
  • Salvation is not for the disobedient, for “blessed are they that do His commandments, ·that they may have a right to the tree of life.”

Christ, being the Saviour, has the right to dictate the terms of salvation. It is, therefore imperative that we determine the conditions of salvation and where they are found. ‘

Salvation in Christ.

If salvation from sin is found in Christ, it is vital that we know how to get in Christ. It is not a question as to what I think or you think, but what the Lord has said. In Mk. 16:15-16 he said ““Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

If the unbeliever is condemned in sin, he does not have salvation through Christ until he believes in Christ. If the sinner cannot get into Christ in his unbelief, the inference is that Man gets into Christ through faith.

  • “ Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18)
  • “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. (John 3:36)

The sinner is saved by faith in Christ, but nowhere does the Bible teach that we are saved by “faith only”. Jesus also said, ‘unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish’ (Luke 13:3)

Salvation cannot be found everywhere. It is found in Christ and in the name of Christ. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). If salvation is found in the name of the Lord and there are a hundred organizations and names outside of the Lord, do the scriptures promise us salvation in them? Salvation is in the Lord, and we need not look elsewhere to find it.

Baptized into Christ:

Here is the way that one apostle states the whole matter.

“We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin (Rom 6:2b-6)

Christ died for our sins, was buried and raised from the dead to die no more. Likewise, the sinner dies to the love and practice of sins, is buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk with Christ in newness of life. The bible plainly states that “ all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death”. (Rm 6:3). The word ‘into’ is a preposition that denotes motion – from without to within, or out of one state into another. The sinner is outside of Christ but is baptized into Christ. Before a person is baptized into Christ where there is salvation, he is out of Christ in condemnation. There are no degrees in salvation; for you are either in or out of Christ, just as you are either married or unmarried, you are either a saint or a sinner, lost or saved.

The whole question turns on your reverence for divine authority and your faith in the Son of God. “ So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal 3:26-27). Baptism brings the sinner who has died to sin into a new relationship in Christ. Baptism therefore stands between the sinner and the death of Christ; it stands between the sinner and the blood of Christ; it stands between the sinner and the merits and benefits of the atoning death of Christ. Having been buried with Christ into death, he is made free from sin, “ just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rm 6:4).

Look at this question from another angle. The Holy Spirit said “…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Col 2:12). In baptism, God performs an operation. In a physical operation, the doctor does the cutting. In baptism, God cuts off our sins. The power of God that raised Christ from the dead, is the power that raised the sinner from his death to sin unto a life of righteousness in the kingdom of God.