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The Order Makes a Difference

I remember watching the old television show, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh In", in one episode Goldie Hawn said her boyfriend wanted "to get married, live together, and have a baby". The punch line was he did not want to do it in that order.

The order does make a difference. What would happen if we made a cake cooking all the ingredients first? Afterwards we mix them together and pour them in a pan. The eggs would be cooked and not mix with the other elements. I am not sure what it would do to heat flour to 400 degrees but the sugar would be useless. The milk would be hot but not interacting with any thing else. I think you get the idea. The ingredients must be combined at the proper time and then heated to get the desired result.

How about in religion? In looking at the Great Commission in Mark 16.16 we read a person must hear the Gospel, believe, and then be baptized in order to be saved. In Acts 2.37 the audience asked what they must do. Peter told them to repent and be baptized in order to receive the "remission of sins" (verse 38). Ananias told Paul to, "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22.16). If we study the conversions in the Book of Acts we will see the pattern of salvation. We must hear the Gospel of Christ, believe, repent of our sins, confess Jesus as the Son of God, and be baptized.

Yet man has decided the order can be rearranged. Some say we are a child of God before we are born and later learn about Jesus. Another group says we must hear about Christ to be saved. After we are saved we are baptized in order to show his salvation. Not to be out done some say we must hear about Jesus, repent, confess Christ and then be saved.

Each group admits the order does make a difference. This is one reason there are so many different religious groups in the world. The Presbyterians say a person is saved first. The Baptist says a person must hear the Gospel, accept Jesus as their Savior, be saved, then be baptized in to their fellowship.

When studying the Book of Acts they will not see that a person was saved before they heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not one time was a person told to be baptized before they believed Jesus to be the Son of God. Not one time was a person baptized because they were already saved.

Instead people were baptized in order to be saved (Mark 16.16), for the remission of sins (Acts 2.38), and to wash away their sins (Acts 22.16).

The order makes a difference. Just as you can not bake a cake by first heating the ingredients and then mixing them together, neither can you be saved by changing God's plan of salvation.

Back to Goldie Hawn and that punch line. A couple living together before they are married are living in sin. A person before they hear, believe, repent, and are baptized is living in sin. You just can not change the order.

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward