Death To Sin in Romans 6 Is Referring To Our Repentance Not Baptism Per Se

October 14, 2021

In Romans 6 we find the phrase “dead to sin” in verse 2 and 11. Based upon the fact that the context talks about baptism, I hear some teach baptism is when one dies to sin, that if one has not been baptized, they have not died to sin. But I don’t think that is actually Paul’s point. Let’s discuss what is really being said …

Death involves a separation. Physical death is the separation of body from our spirit (James 2:26) – when a person dies, his spirit leaves his body; all that’s left is a big ole hunk of flesh. Spiritual death is the separation of our spirit from God (Gen 2:17, Isa 59:2, Rom 6:23) – when we sin we die spiritually, because our sin separates us from God. Separation is involved in both cases.

So likewise our phrase under consideration “dead to sin” would involve a separation – separation from sin. And that does happen at baptism in the sense that our sins are forgiven at baptism (Acts 22:16), that is, we are separated from the spiritual consequences from our sins at baptism. That is what God does for us when we become a Christian, but there is another sense in which we (not God) must separate ourselves from sin. And that is when we decide to quite serving sin and start serving righteousness (Rom 6:17-18). That is called repentance (Ezek 18:21), and that is what “dead to sin” in Romans 6 is referring to. That is not baptism per se, but the repentance that should immediately precede baptism.

Acts 2:38 says one must “repent, and be baptized … for the remission of sins.” So it is true we are separated from sin at baptism in the sense of being forgiven of them, but we also decide to separate ourselves from committing sin when we repent of our sins in conjunction with our baptism. And the context shows the latter is what Paul has in mind by the phrase “dead to sin” in Romans 6. Let me elaborate.

Paul does teach one is forgiven of their sins at baptism in Rom 6:3, but the death to sin of the context is not talking about forgiveness at baptism, but the decision to quit serving sin by the one being baptized. Notice the phrases “walk in newness of life” (4), “old man is crucified with him” (6), “that henceforth we should not serve sin” (6), “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body” (12), “neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin” (13), “ye were the servants of sin” (17), and “ye became the servants of righteousness” (18) – all of these phrases point to what _we_ do (repent, change our life in regard to sin) not to what God does (forgive).

And we know from Eph 4:22-24 that putting off the “old man” and putting on the “new man” does not refer to baptism.   Instead it is something a Christian is to keep on doing even after he is converted. That would be repenting / continually changing one’s life for the better, and certainly not baptism (a Christian does not keep on getting baptized).  We are supposed to “die to sin” (separate ourselves from sin) every day; it is not just a one time act like baptism.

Conclusion: God does separate us (forgive us) from sin when we are baptized, but the phrase “dead to sin” found twice in Romans 6 is not referring to that (what God does), but what we do to separate ourselves from sin – repent of them and follow through on that commitment to live a different way, a holy lifestyle (I Pet 1:16).

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Book, Chapter, and Verse for Book, Chapter, and Verse

October 7, 2021

In his article, “Attacking the Basics,” in the July, 1988 issue of Faith and Facts Quarterly, Ronny Milliner correctly pointed out some people’s decreasing regard for God’s word as their authority, by quoting one as saying, “‘There is no book, chapter and verse for book, chapter and verse!'” What about that? Is there really book, chapter, and verse for book, chapter, and verse? Does the Bible actually teach that we have to always back up what we preach with our finger on a verse?

The answer is a resounding yes! The Bible says Apollos “mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:28). Wouldn’t the example of Acts 18:28 be just as binding as the example of Acts 20:7? Paul didn’t just assert that things were so, he proved it (Acts 9:22). How can a listener “prove” (I Thessalonians 5:21), or test a sermon, if the speaker doesn’t prove what he says by the scriptures? Unless verses are given, how would the listener know if the teaching was from heaven, or from men (Matthew 21:25)?

Notice in Acts 8:35 that Philip “began at the same scripture, and preached unto him (the eunuch) Jesus.” Acts 28:23 says that Paul persuaded men “concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” Acts 17:2 shows that Paul “reasoned” with those in the synagogue “out of the scriptures.”

Have you ever wondered why some preachers read a verse and then proceed to talk about everything else under the sun except the passage read? Notice in Nehemiah 8:8 that the sense of the passages read was given, not a great explanation for the different experiences in the preacher’s past life. Romans 1:16 tells us that the gospel is God’s power to salvation, not “good words (or good ideas of men) and fair speeches” (Romans 16:18). If the scripture itself is not read and taught, where does that leave God’s power? True faith only comes from hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17). The scriptures themselves are the only thing profitable for doctrine (II Timothy 3:16). How could we say a man is speaking “as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11) when he delivers a forty minute sermon and only refers to an oracle of God once or twice?

Read Acts 2:14-36 and Acts 7:2-53 and notice how often inspired preachers made reference to the scriptures in their sermons. I count eleven out of the twenty-three verses recorded of the sermon in Acts 2:14-36 as being quotes from the Old Testament scriptures. If men, whose very speeches became scriptures, saw fit to quote the Bible so often, how much more should the uninspired Christians of today use the actual texts of the Bible in their lessons. Some might say, “But what about Jesus’ parables and Paul’s sermon in Acts 17:22-31? These lessons don’t have much, if any, quoting of scriptures in them.” The answer is simple. God tells us to “preach the word” (II Timothy 4:2) not our own stories and jokes. Inspired men didn’t have to quote scripture to preach the word (although most of the time they did). Their very words were God’s words (I Corinthians 2:13). Jesus spoke by His own authority (Matthew 7:29), He didn’t have to speak by the authority of the Old Testament. We are not inspired. Our words are not God’s words. To preach God’s word, we must use His words to back up (prove) anything we say.

Yes, there is “book, chapter and verse for book, chapter and verse.” Paul’s speech and “preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power;” he “came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom,” but instead declared “the testimony of God,” that the hearer’s “faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:1-5).

The Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost Shall Not Be Forgiven

September 30, 2021

Jesus said in Matthew 12:31 “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” This verse states the simple truth about the sin of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; it will NOT be forgiven by God.

Many try to get around this plain fact by saying that, in this passage, Jesus is talking about a sin that a man will not repent of. They say I John 1:9 teaches a man can be forgiven of any and all sins that he will confess. The truth is that I John 1:9 does not include the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost anymore than Luke 16:18 includes the exception for divorce as stated in Matthew 19:9. Matthew 19:9 is stating the one exception to the general rule divorce law of Luke 16:18. In the same way, Matthew 12:31-32 is clearly stating the one exception to the general rule forgiveness law of I John 1:9. Notice Matthew 12:31 even uses the term “all” in describing what sins can be forgiven just as I John 1:9 does. Matthew 12:31 then uses the word “but” in the same way Matthew 19:9 uses the word “except.” The sense of Matt 12:31 is – all sin can be forgiven (if repented of) but (except) the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

I don’t know about you but it would seem obvious to me that if passage A says “all sin can be forgiven” and passage B says “all sin can be forgiven except one,” then passsage B is stating the one exception to the general rule found in passage A and B.  Duh – there are no contradictions in Bible.

Elaborating on that last point:  Luke 13:3 and Acts 8:22 teach a person must repent of his sins in order to be forgiven of them. Passages like these show that when Jesus said in Matthew 12:31 “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men,” it is understood they will be forgiven only if they repent. So it should be understood in the second part of the verse, that people will not be forgiven of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost even if they do repent!

If not, what is the difference between the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and all other sins? Jesus is definitely making a difference here. If the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven because people will not repent of it, then there is no difference between it and any other sin, because zero sin will be forgiven without repentance. The claim that the sin of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is a sin that cannot be repented of is not found anywhere in the Bible, and is contrary to the Bible’s teaching on the free will of man – that man can always choose either to do good or to do bad (Joshua 24:15). Notice from Matthew 12:32 that this sin has nothing to do with a lack of repentance necessarily, but has to do with speaking against the Holy Ghost.

The sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. The Bible means exactly what it says in Matthew 12:31-32. No matter how long “preachers” talk around this passage, Jesus still says, “but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall NOT be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Biases Against Churches Of Christ

September 23, 2021

The primary bias against people who are members of churches of Christ stems from the fact that we say it matters what we believe (Matt 15:14) , what we teach (Gal 1:6-9), how we live (James 2:10), and where a person attends church (II John 9-11). The Bible does not teach all we have to do to be saved is believe in Christ; instead, it teaches we also must obey him (Heb 5:9, Matt 7:21). The religious world (including some brethren) cannot accept these Bible truths, because these truths condemn weak convictions (I Cor 16:13), false doctrine (Matt 15:9), lax living (Gal 5:19-21), and unity in diversity (I Cor 1:10).

In short, we don’t believe people who continue to worship with and go along with unfaithful congregations (Rev 2:5) will go to heaven. Because of our teaching that only strict adherence to God’s word will qualify a person for the gift of salvation (I Pet 1:22a), many members of denominational churches are offended and become our enemies because we tell them the truth (Gal 4:15). Instead of telling them what they want to hear, we should tell them what they need to hear (Acts 20:31). Some can truly be described by Matt 13:15 which reads, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Beware The Extremist by Barney Keith (1963)

September 16, 2021

A very versatile word in the English language is “extremist.” Much like “legalist,” “radical,” and “hobbyist,” it can be called into play whenever desired. It would seem that ANY MAN could be called an extremist — it just depends on who is doing the calling and where he stands at the time. A sure way to prejudice unthinking people against a certain viewpoint or matter of doctrine is to charge, “That is an EXTREME view!” An effective tool for poisoning people against a preacher is to claim, “You know, he is an EXTREMIST!” Immediately the dull-witted close their ears to what he says. They make no effort to investigate the Word of God to determine whether it is the truth. All of us need studious minds, desire for truth, willingness to study for ourselves, and fair-mindedness in considering any matter. Above all we need respect for God’s Book!


Some very significant factors enter into this matter of irresponsible use of words, “He is just an extremist.”

· Somehow it is ALWAYS the other fellow who is extreme – NEVER the speaker.

· Frequently it is used by very “pious” men as a weapon to destroy another – as a prejudicial epithet.

· Often the speaker may not be overly-concerned with the basic question of right and wrong. Yet it is better to be extremely right by following the truth than to be extremely wrong by rejecting it.

· It may sometimes just be a self-protective device used by a person who is mortally afraid that HE may be identified with the extremists. Perish the thought! So, in accusing the other brother of extremism he implies – for his own safety – “I certainly am not like that. I am no extremist.”


No one doubts that a man CAN be an extremist, but there are definitely some things that are NOT to be considered as marks of an extremist. If they are, the Bible is full of extremists (including God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the apostles, the prophets, etc.). Let us observe that:

· One is not an extremist because he insists on divine authority from Christ for teaching and practice. The Holy Spirit requires this. (Col. 3:17; Heb 8:5.)

· One is not an extremist because he rejects human traditionalism in religion – even though it may be “common practice of the brethren.” Jesus denounced such. (Matt.15:6-9.)

· One is not an extremist because he refuses to encourage false teaching and teachers in any way. (2 John 9-11.) Fellowship with God is at stake here.

· One is not an extremist because he publicly challenges men to give authority for their practices. Jesus did. (Matt. 21:24-27.)

· One is not an extremist because he is willing to meet another in public encounter (that is, before an audience) and challenge a brother for his departure from the truth. Paul did so. (Gal. 2:11-14; Acts 15:1, 2.)

· One is not an extremist because he calls the names of men who teach the churches error and cause digression. Paul sets the example for this. (2 Tim. 1:15; 2:15-18.)

· One is not an extremist because he presses the truth with vigorous contention for the faith. The apostles did and we are instructed to do so. (Jude 3; I Thess 2:1,2)

· One is not an extremist because he refuses to back away from the thick of a fight for truth. Paul says God has not given us “the spirit of fear” (cowardice). (2 Tim. 1:7, 8.) A gospel preacher should be ashamed to be a coward.

· One is not an extremist because he teaches faithful Christians to mark and avoid brethren who teach contrary to apostolic doctrine. This is demanded. (Rom 16:17,18)

· One is not an extremist simply because his teaching causes division. Jesus’ sword – the word of God – does some disturbing and dividing. (Matt 10:34-36.) Certainly not all division is laudable. Some of it is deplorable and sinful. It is always sinful to divide people by the preaching of error. On the other hand, division brought about by the proclamation of TRUTH – division that results when some men take their stand upon a “thus-saith-the-Lord” and others rally to their human traditions – is to be expected. It was so in New Testament days. It is true today. Men are OBLIGATED to teach the truth. And men are OBLIGATED to separate themselves from error. (Rom 16:17,18; II Cor 6:14-18)


The real concern of every Christian should be to determine TRUTH. If one searches the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) and learns that a thing is taught of God, this truth is EXTREMELY right, and he must believe it, regardless of what others may say or do. To refuse to believe it simply because others may consider it to be extreme is to dishonor the Author of truth. When problems arise and when questions are raised about any matter, our interest must lie in the Word of God as an infallible, all-sufficient standard of correct faith and practice. As was stated before: IT IS BETTER TO BE EXTREMELY RIGHT BY FOLLOWING THE TRUTH THAN TO BE EXTREMELY WRONG BY REJECTING IT.

How Does One Become A Christian?

September 9, 2021

This article is intended to detail what the Bible says about how a person becomes a Christian. It will not deal with God’s part in man’s salvation, but suffice it to say the death of Christ is absolutely essential (Heb 9:22, Matt 26:28), or nobody would be saved. For convenience sake, we will present the conditions necessary to receive the (initial) salvation (and thereby become a Christian) provided by Christ in five steps.


When Hebrews 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” it teaches faith in God and His will is absolutely essential to salvation. In addition to believing in God (the Father), we must also believe in his son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16, which reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” teaches this fact in a most beautiful way. The great commission also makes the same clear when it reads in Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”


Once we have the proper kind of faith, that faith begins to work “by love” (Galatians 5:6) to complete our initial salvation, and continues the rest of our life toward the goal of eternal salvation. James 1:12 shows the importance of the link between love and receiving this crown of life when it says, “… he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Other passages to consider on this point are I Corinthians 16:22, John 14:21,23 and I John 5:3.


Belief in and love toward the Godhead should result in sorrow for sin. Repentance then is listed as our third step. Acts 2:38 reads, “Repent, and be baptized every on of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Both the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon repentance (and baptism) in Acts 2:38. Another passage that lets us know the importance of repentance is Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.”


Many passages teach that we must confess Christ with our manner of life, but Romans 10:10 (“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”) teaches a verbal (it must be done with the mouth) confession is required for initial salvation (to become a Christian). The eunuch made this verbal confession before he was baptized in Acts 8:37 when he said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”


Galatians 3:26-27 ties baptism to becoming a child of God. It reads, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The word “For” that begins Galatians 3:27 means “to introduce the reason.” Therefore Galatians 3:27 shows the reason that “ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” is that “as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” All that have been baptized have become children of God, and also all that have become children of God have been baptized. The same number of people, indeed the very same people, that have been baptized, have become children of God. In Acts 22:16, Ananias told Paul, “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” This verse shows Paul’s sins were not forgiven at the point of his faith on the road to Damascus as recorded in Acts 9:5-6, but instead they were forgiven at the time of his baptism. I Peter 3:21 teaches that we must be baptized to be saved when it says, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This verse does not teach submitting to water baptism earns our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9, II Timothy 1:9, and Titus 3:5 teach that no work can do that), but it does teach baptism is a condition that absolutely must be met in order to receive the salvation provided by Christ’s blood.


God’s plan of salvation is the story of how God brought Christ into the world to save sinners, and it climaxed with the death and resurrection of Christ. Wouldn’t you like to become a Christian and receive the forgiveness of sins provided for by that death? We urge you to do so. Believe on Christ, develop a love for God, and let that belief work through that love to lead to a sincere commitment to change your life (repentance from sin). Confess Jesus as the son of God, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. You will become a Christian, and be on your way to heaven.

Not All Congregations Have A Candlestick

September 2, 2021

Rev 2:5 reads “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Do you see how this congregation (in Ephesus) was in danger of losing their candlestick? Wouldn’t that mean God would no longer recognize them as being a church belonging to Christ?

I am told that in most congregations across America, about 30% of the adult membership are living in sexual sin in the sense they are living with someone they are not married to, or are in a second or third marriage that violates Matt 19:9. And some of their “pastors” are in the same situation. And going beyond just looseness on divorce and remarriage, many of the mainline denominations are now allowing gay marriage (Rom 1:26-27).

Do you think a church like that has a candlestick (is recognized as faithful by God)? Should we be part of such a congregation that stands for nothing?

The Difference Between The New Testament Church And Most Modern Day Churches

August 26, 2021

The main difference between the church in the Bible and almost all churches today is the emphasis in God’s word that obedience is necessary to salvation. Almost all current day churches compromise that truth. Many times this results in teaching that baptism is not necessary to salvation, and that once saved always saved is true. If obedience is not necessary to salvation, those false doctrines would be true, but …

· Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

· Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven

· I Pet 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth

· James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

· II Thess 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

· Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life.

· II Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (NKJV)

Nobody Will Be Lost Based Upon Doctrinal Issues Good Brethren Disagree On?

August 19, 2021

One thing that is so appalling in the religious world today is that denominational churches are not just compromising their stand on what the Bible teaches, but they are openly admitting they are not following the Bible anymore. When the Episcopal Church ordained their first gay bishop Gene Robinson, one thing Robinson said to justify such was “Just simply saying it departs from … Scripture does not necessarily make it wrong” (The Birmingham News, Aug 6, 2003). See how the Episcopal Church is admitting Scripture does not define right and wrong for them anymore? (if it ever did) About the Presbyterian Church USA, we read in Time Magazine (5-6-91) “The church should ‘re-evaluate its definition of sin to reflect the changing mores of society.’” So churches have redefined sin. Instead of sin being a transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4); sin becomes a violation of the norms of our society. True Christians are shocked by such statements.

But aren’t some Christians saying the same thing in effect? A gospel preacher in Madison, Alabama told a number of us young people in 1987 that nobody would be lost based upon what they practiced on the covering issue (I Cor 11:2-16) because “good brethren disagree on that question.” Isn’t that saying the same thing in principle as the previous quotes? Just substitute “the brotherhood” for “society” in the Time Magazine quote above. Don’t a lot of our brethren really believe the same thing, that “sin is the transgression of what our NI brotherhood as a whole believes” instead of a transgression of God’s law? Isn’t that in effect what the Madison gospel preacher was saying in 1987?

Is it okay to teach the commandments of men (Matt 15:9) as long as our society disagrees on the issue?  If not, then why would be okay to teach the commandments of men as long as our brethren disagree on the issue?  If we say it is okay with God for us to disagree on issues that brethren disagree on but not okay to disagree on issues that separate brethren from the denominations, then aren’t we showing favoritism? – James 2:9, Acts 10:34-35, I Cor 1:10.

Tongues – Human Languages Or Just Gibberish?

August 12, 2021

Were the tongues in the Bible just gibberish like what we see in so called “Pentecostal” churches today? I’ve been to a number of services where people were claiming to speak in tongues, but it sure sounded like a bunch of gibberish to me. Is that what we see in the New Testament? Let’s answer that question from the Bible.

Acts 2 would be a good place to start as that is the first place we see Christians speaking in tongues in the New Testament. Verse 4 in the NKJV says the apostles spoke with “other tongues.” I am currently studying via phone with a lady who has spent her entire adult life in New York, but she was brought up in the country of Columbia. She speaks English very well, but if I were to ask you “What is her native or mother tongue?,” how would you answer? “Spanish,” right? You see how we use the word “tongue” to refer to a human language?

And the same thing is going on in Acts 2. As we said, verse 4 says the apostles spoke with “other tongues.” That would mean languages other than what the apostles were used to speaking in. We know that from verse 6 because it says their audience (from “every nation under heaven” – verse 5) heard the apostles speak in the listener’s “language.” So the apostles spoke in tongues but “every man heard them speak in his own language.” See how “tongue” means human “language” here, not just gibberish?

Continuing on, the audience says in verse 8 they were hearing the preaching in their own “language” while the same audience says in verse 11 they were hearing the preaching in their own “tongues.” Again, do you see how the words “tongue” and language” (referring to an actual human language) are used interchangeably?

The point of speaking in tongues was so a person who had never studied a particular foreign language could be miraculously enabled to speak in such foreign language so he could immediately communicate the gospel to an audience that didn’t speak his language. The people claiming to do that today never speak in an actual foreign (human) language; instead it is just a bunch of non sensical syllables strung together randomly. Plain and simple – it is gibberish. It is not even a second cousin to the miraculous tongues we read about in the Bible that ceased when the New Testament was completely revealed and put together according to I Cor 13:8-13.