Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 9, 1951

Spiritual Short Cuts

Roy Burgess, Benton Harbor, Michigan

A short cut is a nearer way. In travel there are many short cuts. Not every time is it wise to take the short cut. The road is worse. The danger is greater. In this great spiritual journey we note so many short cuts in religion. God made man upright, but man sought out many inventions. God gave one way to heaven but man has made many ways, which, they say, will also get one there. Better watch those short cuts. They may turn out to be a way of worship, but vain worship. (Matt. 15:9) A spiritual short cut might seem right and be a way of death. (Prov. 14:12) It might be a fascinating way of the big crowd and be the broad way to destruction. (Matt. 7:13, 14)

Note Some Short Cuts Of Men

1. The faith alone way. This is a way to get around what God has commanded. The Bible says we are justified by works and not by faith alone. (Jas. 2:24) Paul said we are justified by faith, (Rom. 5:1) but not by faith alone. Let us give an illustration: Last year I was out with some small boys in a boat. I told the boys I would name one oar faith and the other works (these boys were in my class). I then took oar of faith and rowed. The boat went around only one way. Then the same with the oar of works. Then, to teach the boys the necessity of faith plus works, I took both oars and began to row. In a short while we were on the other side of the lake Beloved, it takes both faith and works to justify. Many passages mention faith and nothing else. But this does not exclude the other things God commands. You cannot get around the command to DO Gods will by faith only. (Matt. 7:21) "What shall we do," "What wouldst thou have me to do," "What must I do to be saved," are all statements found in God's word. (Acts 2:37, 38; 9:1-6; 16:30-32) No short cut around it. If you say that faith plus works makes the salvation of God of man's merit and not of God's grace, we remind you that faith itself is a work of God. (John 6:29) A thing may be a GIFT and still we must do something to obtain it. For instance, in Joshua 6, God said: "I have given into thy hand Jericho." God gave it. It was a gift of God. Yet, they had to march, compass the city seven days, blow the rams horns, and all the people shout. Did they do anything? They did. Was it by faith? Yes. Read Heb. 11:30. Was it a gift? Yes. Did they do anything to obtain the gift of God? Yes, absolutely. Men who teach otherwise fly right into the face of inspiration. Heed the truth beloved. Watch the short cuts.

2. The salvation before and without baptism way. This is a very prominent short cut of Satan designed to deceive the hearts of men and to steer them away from the real meaning of simple passages which teach the absolute necessity of Bible baptism. (Sectarian baptism is nowhere authorized, and we have no interest in it.) Many preachers yell "SHALL BE SAVED" "SHALL BE SAVED," and they mean at the point of faith and faith alone. They quote Acts 16:31—"Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." This is true. But they will not go as far with this as the inspired writer went. Jesus had said that one must be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16) and when they spake unto him the word of God, he was baptized. Then he was saved. Not before. (Verses 32, 33) Baptism is for, or in order to obtain, the remission of sins, and no amount of reasoning or argumentation will enable one to get around it. Many people say they believe in baptism just like we do. Then why not practice it like we do and not let some sectarian baptize you for the wrong purpose and then try to get into the church of Christ without doing what the Lord commands? People say: "We have the Lord Jesus. Hence, nothing else is necessary." Well, they claim to have the Lord but it is like having a good coat. You must put that coat on to get benefit from it. Same is true of Jesus. You must put him on. In Gal. 3:26, 27 we read that one puts Christ on in baptism, and that he is baptized into Christ. Many think they have "Accepted" Jesus only to find when faced with Bible facts that they only thought they had him, but had never put him on. For those who argue that "for" in Acts 2:38 means "because of," we refer them to Matt. 26:28 where the same word is found. In the revision it says "UNTO." Hence, if one is baptized because his sins are forgiven, then the blood of Jesus was shed because the sins of the world were already remitted before his death. Therefore, his blood was shed in vain. Watch these short cuts, beloved friend.