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behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.”a John, in his record, says: “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.”_
b In this commission, as given by these various writers, we have all that is required of an unpardoned person in order to pardon and acceptance with God. The order of these requirements is fully established, as is abundantly proven in the history of many cases of pardon, subsequently given. This order is as follows: Matthew says:
“Go teach all nations." Teaching therefore is the first essential. No requirement could be made of persons without teaching them. Paul confirms this when he says: “Faith comes by hearing.” “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ?” After being taught or having learned the truth in regard to Jesus, faith is next required. Hence we read in Mark: “He that believeth and is baptized.'
d.” After hearing, faith is the very first essential. When evidence is presented the first act of the mind is to believe, to doubt or reject it. If to believe, the only rational way is to act in harmony a Luke xxiv. 45-48.
• John xx. 21-23.
with the belief. “He that cometh to God must believe.” Following this we have “coming to God,” “turning to God," or repentance. Luke says that “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name.” It will be seen at once that it would be impossible to repent before having knowledge of sin or belief in a sinful state. Hence, faith always precedes and never succeeds repentance. Repentance implies having heard—having believed; it implies a reformation of life; it implies a ceasing to do evil and learning to do well. It implies sorrow for the past and turning to God with a full purpose of heart to love and serve Him. When persons have heard, when they have believed, when they have repented, then and not until then are they commanded to be baptized. Mark says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Here faith and baptism are connected in order to salvation or pardon, the one being required as definite and specific as the other. God has been pleased to give prominence to positive law in all the institutions He has given to man. In the patriarchal Jewish and Christian institutions it occupies an important place. Some are disposed to undervalue baptism, while they are perfectly willing to give prominence to other positive ordinances. But it should be remembered that baptism not only stands at the door into the church but is the only institution representing the burial of Christ. The Lord's supper commemorates the death of Jesus, the Lord's Day His resurrection, and baptism both His burial and resurrection. Paul says: "Therefore we are buried
with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” a
Whatever our education may have been in regard to the subject of baptism we must remember that baptism occupies a prominent place in the New Testament. The burden of John's preaching was that of “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Jesus, our great exemplar, was baptized. It was preached and practised during the life of Jesus, and after His death it is either stated or implied in every case of pardon. To the baptized, remission of sins was promised. Luke says: “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among
all nations.” And John says: “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins
ye retain, they are retained.” Remission of sins in Luke and John's record is undoubtedly the same as the salvation which is promised in Mark's gospel. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Saved from past sins--pardoned. “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” The various requirements of the great commission are, then, first, the preaching of the gospel; second, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; third, repentance toward God; fourth, baptism “into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”; fifth, remission of sins. The subsequent promise by the apostles, who acted as embassadors under this commission, is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and by continuing faithful unto death, a Rom. vi. 4.
b Heb. viii. 12.
eternal life. Those who thus heard, believed, and obeyed, were addressed by the apostles as saved, pardoned, justified, sanctified, adopted, redeemed, as saints, brethren, disciples of Christ, and Christians. And no others were so addressed.
THE THREE REVELATIONS
Three Revealed Religions. Patriarchal not Abolished or Super
seded by the Jewish. Christian Religion New and Universal. There are three revealed religions recorded in the
red Scriptures: the Patriarchal, the Jewish, and the Christian. The first and the last were general or universal; the Jewish was local or national. The first, given to the human family in its infancy, embraced the race and was designed to be obligatory until repealed or superseded by another. This religion belonged to the race--it spread over all the world, and in a pure or corrupted form has been observed by all nations. Even to-day, where Christianity is unknown, we find nations and peoples offering sacrifices and propitiating deity. Corrupted and debased and idolatrous as this religion has become, we still find the great marks of its divine origin. When we look over the history of the world and find that sacrifice has been offered in nearly every nation under heaven, we feel assured that the altar and victim were not an invention of man, but had a divine origin. Various ages and countless nations would not have invented a similar mode of worship, but must have drawn from a common source, which, no doubt, was