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Rituals are not a Requirement for Salvation

Rituals cause Conflict in the Early Church

After Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch, they reported to the church on what God had been doing in Asia, especially in the Gentiles coming to faith in Christ. While they were there, some men from Judea came to Antioch and wanted to add to the requirements of salvation saying that the Gentiles couldn’t really be saved if they did not follow the practice of circumcision that God gave to Moses. Circumcision was a sign of the covenant made between God and Abraham, but it couldn’t save him. Abraham had to believe the same as we do. Rituals, regardless of what they are do no save us and when we add to God’s plan, conflict occurs. A debate ensued between Paul and these Judeans that ended with them sending Paul to Jerusalem for clarification.

Paul brings the conflict over rituals to the Jerusalem Council

Jerusalem, at this time, was still the center of the Christian movement and the apostles and elders were there. So Paul brought his case of rituals being required for salvation to the Jerusalem Council. Given that Christianity has its roots in Jewish history and customs, it is understandable that the church had to grapple with this issue as it transitioned from Old Testament Covenant to the New Testament Covenant. Isn’t the same true in our churches today. When make traditions and rituals and then attempt to change them, churches will split over them.

Peter addresses the conflict over rituals

After “much dispute,” Peter stood up and presented the Council with four truths:

1. God had chosen Peter to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles

We find Peter’s call to spread the gospel to the Gentiles in Acts 10:1-43. This is where Peter has the vision of clean and unclean food items that are lowered on sheet from heaven and God instructs Peter to “kill and eat.” Peter replies with “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” The voice speaks to Peter again and says, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” Shortly before this vision, Cornelius, a Roman centurion has a vision of his own and voice tells him to send men to Peter and bring Peter back to his home. He does so. The men arrive at the house Peter is staying at and explains why they are there and Peter goes back with them and preaches Jesus to Cornelius’ entire household.

If God gave instruction that what he cleansed should not be called common or unclean, then the Gentiles have the same rights to salvation that the Jews do and God was offering the free gift of salvation to all mankind.

2. The Gentiles believed and they placed their faith in Jesus.

Peter tells the Jerusalem Council that the Gentiles in Cornelius’ home believed – just as the Jews did. In fact, that is why Peter was sent to them. We find at the beginning of Acts 10 that Cornelius was a devout man who feared God and prayed to God always. Cornelius and his household had already chosen to believe. Peter was sent to disciple them.

Philip had already been in Caesarea and preached the Gospel there.

If we look backwards in Acts a little further we find that Philip had already been in Caesarea preaching to the Gentiles. Perhaps this was when Cornelius and his household placed their faith in Jesus. But there probably were not many strong Christians in Caesarea at the time and Cornelius was hungry to know more about God. So he had been praying. We don’t learn until verse 33 exactly what he had been praying for. He told Peter, “So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”

There was not a LifeWay Christian Bookstore where Cornelius could run down to pick up so he could read about God. There wasn’t a Christianbook Distributors where he could order a Bible to be sent to him. He needed someone to tell him about God and he was praying for God to send that person. God nominated Peter – and Peter went.

3. When the Gentiles believe, they received the Holy Spirit

In verse 44 of Acts 10, it says that while Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. The result of Peter preaching to Cornelius’ friends and family was they all believed and then they received the Holy Spirit – just as the Jews had. They had not been circumcised between believing and receiving. There had been no rituals performed. Peter was still speaking. He hadn’t finished his sermon. But the Holy Spirit showed up. And I think that’s the point Peter is making. Rituals were not a part of the Gentile salvation experience in Caesarea. The believed, placed their faith in Christ, and the Holy Spirit showed up.

4. The pattern of Gentile conversion was the same as it was for the Jewish believers.

God was making no ethnic distinctions in the building of His church. The process was the same whether Jew or Gentile. Whenever we attempt to add rituals or anything else to the gospel, we can expect conflict. Anytime we attempt to make salvation about what we do and not what Jesus did, then we are guilty of trying to earn salvation. But salvation is a free gift. Jesus paid the price for our sins and our redemption is His free gift to us. Salvation = Jesus + nothing. There is absolutely nothing we can do on our part to earn salvation. We just have to reach out and accept God’s gracious gift by placing our faith in Christ. Peter’s argument to the Jerusalem Council was that was exactly what the Gentiles had done. They believed. Therefore, they received the Holy Spirit.

No Rituals Involved

Based on these four things, Peter said the men that came from Judea and claimed the Gentiles had to be circumcised in order to be saved were testing God and putting a burden on the Gentile converts that which neither the Jewish fathers or the Jews of their day could bear (Acts 15:10). Since it is impossible to perfectly keep the law, Peter insisted that salvation is only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ as a free gift – no strings attached. There’s no fine print. No rituals involved. We simply believe and accept Jesus’ forgiveness of our sins and place our faith in Him.

Salvation is not acquired through rituals but is received Only By Grace through Faith

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.”

Rituals such as circumcision, baptism, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, or any good works cannot save anyone. It is only by placing our faith in God’s gracious sacrifice of Jesus that we become a Christian.

Salvation is only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ as a free gift – no strings attached. (Eph 2:8-9, John 14:6) Rituals such as circumcision, baptism, Lord’s Supper or any good works cannot save anyone.

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What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
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Did you remember to read your Bible?

Today’s Bible Reading: June 28

Download the full one-year Bible reading plan here:

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Job 13-15

Acts 8:26-40

Clicking on the Scripture links above will open a new window where you can read the scripture from the English Standard Version at Biblegateway.com or choose the Bible version you prefer to read. Check back each day to get the Scripture to read in the One Year Bible Reading Plan.

#ReadYourBible #Job #Acts

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

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[Download not found]

Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

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Why is daily Bible reading important?

Bible Reading is vitally important to growing spiritually and keeping our spiritual selves full. God wants us to hide His Word in our hearts, meditate on it and apply it to our lives. When we have a plan, we are more likely to follow through. Here are eight reasons you should have a daily Bible Reading plan:

  • We can find His will for our lives
  • Bible reading is our spiritual nourishment
  • It helps us be able to discern the thoughts and intents of our heart.
  • The Bible instructs us in righteousness
  • It gives us power to overcome trials, heartaches, and sin
  • God gives us many promises, but you won’t know them unless you read about them, memorize them, and know if it’s a promise intended for us today
  • God reveals Himself to us and we learn about Him which strengthens our relationship with Him
  • He also speaks to us through His Word.

Don’t miss what God has to say to you today.
It’s time to practice spiritual self-care and read your Bible!

Practice Spiritual Self care and dig into God’s Word today to be revived and renewed!

Click here to listen to our devotions on Spotify be sure to follow us.

Do you have an event on the calendar and need a speaker?

We’re offering 15% off our speaker fees if you book by July 31, 2021. Call today and use the discount code: SUMMER2021.

We’re excited to be a part of your ministry and can’t wait to see you – no matter what size your event.

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Enjoy one of our YouTube Playlists

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God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
    • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
    • Romance Builders
    • Relationship Builders
    • Personal reflections
    • Date ideas
    • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.


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Bible Reading for June 28

Today’s Bible Reading: June 28

Download the full one-year Bible reading plan here:

[Download not found]
Bible reading image


Job 13-15

Acts 8:26-40

Clicking on the Scripture links above will open a new window where you can read the scripture from the English Standard Version at Biblegateway.com or choose the Bible version you prefer to read. Check back each day to get the Scripture to read in the One Year Bible Reading Plan.

#ReadYourBible #Job #Acts

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

[Download not found]

Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

[Download not found]

Why is daily Bible reading important?

Bible Reading is vitally important to growing spiritually and keeping our spiritual selves full. God wants us to hide His Word in our hearts, meditate on it and apply it to our lives. When we have a plan, we are more likely to follow through. Here are eight reasons you should have a daily Bible Reading plan:

  • We can find His will for our lives
  • Bible reading is our spiritual nourishment
  • It helps us be able to discern the thoughts and intents of our heart.
  • The Bible instructs us in righteousness
  • It gives us power to overcome trials, heartaches, and sin
  • God gives us many promises, but you won’t know them unless you read about them, memorize them, and know if it’s a promise intended for us today
  • God reveals Himself to us and we learn about Him which strengthens our relationship with Him
  • He also speaks to us through His Word.

Don’t miss what God has to say to you today.
It’s time to practice spiritual self-care and read your Bible!

Practice Spiritual Self care and dig into God’s Word today to be revived and renewed!

Click here to listen to our devotions on Spotify be sure to follow us.

Do you have an event on the calendar and need a speaker?

We’re offering 15% off our speaker fees if you book by July 31, 2021. Call today and use the discount code: SUMMER2021.

We’re excited to be a part of your ministry and can’t wait to see you – no matter what size your event.

904.239.8937

Help support our ministry:

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated and will help us grow and expand our ministry. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

You can also support this ministry through the purchase of one of our t-shirts or other products in our Spreadshop or Teespring stores:

<<<SPOTLIGHTING>>> In the Spreadshop Store:

Godfidence

The psalmist reminds us that when our sins are forgiven, God removes them from us as far as the east is from the west.

Godfidence

Here are some of our favorite designs you can find in the shop:

  • Revive Us Again, Lord

New in the Teespring Store: All Things New

All Things New

We’ve added a new canvas print to the Teespring Store.

When we ask Jesus to forgive us and save us from our sin, He takes our old, sinful self and makes us new in Him. This beautiful canvas is a great reminder of what Jesus has done for us.


Enjoy one of our YouTube Playlists

Visit our YouTube Channels for Christian playlists and our short animated devotionals.

Animated Devotionals

Contemporary Christian Music Playlist

Southern Gospel Playlist

Just Hymns


God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
    • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
    • Romance Builders
    • Relationship Builders
    • Personal reflections
    • Date ideas
    • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

Westbow logo
Christian book logo
amazon logo
Barnes and Nobel logo
walmart logo


 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.


Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

Christianbook Distributors logo
Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:
Christianbook.com

Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.


See our other recent posts:

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Baptism of the Ethiopian and 4 things we can learn

Baptism by Denomination

Different denominations and religions practice baptism in different ways. Some baptize infants. Others sprinkle. And some dunk. However it’s done, you can be baptized so many times that every tadpole from Florida to California knows your name and date of birth, but if faith and belief in Christ has not occurred – you’re still just as lost as the tadpoles.

However its done, you can be baptized so many times that every tadpole from Florida to California knows your name and date of birth, but if faith and belief in Christ has not occurred – you’re still just as lost as the tadpoles.

The way Baptism goes in our family

I remember the day my niece was baptized. My dad was a pastor and he was delighted to baptize his first grandchild. Sarah was young and all went well — up to the point of it being time to exit the baptistery. She decided to swim out.

When my son was just a little guy of about 4 or 5, on a Sunday morning, we opened the service with baptism and ended the service with partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We’re Baptist so we are of the “dunking” sort of baptizing church. The service begins and the curtain opens and my dad is baptizing a middle aged woman. As soon as my son saw his Papa he said (in his not so quite 4 year old voice) “Momma, why is Papa in that tub with that lady and they have all their clothes on?” There were quite a few snickers coming from those sitting near us. Thankfully, when the pastor is well loved by the congregation, the pastor’s grandkids are always “cute.”

The Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch

For the Ethiopian eunuch, he had some real questions about the gospel message. The Holy Spirit directed Philip to go to Gaza. When he was there he saw the Ethiopian sitting in his chariot and he was reading a scroll from the book of Isaiah. Philip caught up with him and asked him if he understood what he was reading. The Ethiopian invited Philip up into the chariot with him and Philip, starting with where the Ethiopian was reading, began preaching Jesus to him. As they approached a body of water, the Ethiopian wanted to know what hindered him from being baptized. Philip told him that if he believed on Jesus with all his heart, than he could be. The Ethiopian replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

This is the only requirement for baptism and from the Ethiopian’s baptism, we can learn several things:

4 things we can learn from the Ethiopian’s Baptism

1. The only requirement Philip gave the Ethiopian is that before baptism, we must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Baptism can’t save you or get you to heaven. It isn’t your “entrance ticket.” Philip gave only one requirement to the Ethiopian: he must believe that Jesus is Christ. He did not give any other requirements. Salvation is a free gift and the only way to accept that gift is by reaching out with the hand of faith and accepting the gift. The minute we try to add anything else to it, then it ceases to be a gift and we’ve had to do something to earn it. Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So if we attach baptism as a requirement for salvation, then we have attempted to earn what God has provided as a gift.

2. The Ethiopian’s Baptism was by immersion.

In verse 38 of Acts 8, we find that Philip and the Ethiopian left the chariot and went down into the water, baptized the Ethiopian and then came back up out of the water indicating the disciples practiced immersion. The symbolism behind an immersion baptism is that when the person is placed under the water, it is the image of the sinful person dying and being buried. When he is raised back up out of the water, it is the image of being “born again” as a child of God and raised to everlasting life. It is an outward expression of the decision the person has already made within their spirit when they professed Jesus as Lord.

3. Infant baptism does not meet the 1st requirement.

If the only requirement for baptism is belief that Jesus is the Son of God, an infant is too young to make that decision for their self. You will find no place in the Bible where an infant was baptized. However, prior to an age or mental understanding of what sin is and who Jesus is, a child is not held accountable for their sins and should they die, they do go to heaven. In 2 Samuel, when David’s infant son dies, David says that he will go to be with his son, but his son will never return to him. We know that David was “a man after God’s own heart” and that he constantly sought God with all His heart. So if David expected to go to his son, then David understand that his infant son was in heaven.

4. The Ethiopian’s baptism occurred immediately after professing faith in Christ.

The Ethiopian didn’t wait a single minute. Not the next Sunday or a few years later. As soon as he pronounced his faith and belief in Jesus, he was baptized. We need to have the same sense of urgency – not because if we die without being baptized we won’t go to heaven – but because of two reasons. First, Jesus was baptized. In fact, Jesus walked about 40 miles to the Jordan River where John was baptizing. If He walked that far, He must have felt baptism was important. The second reason every Christian should be baptized is because Jesus commanded it (Matthew 28:19).

The Symbolism of Baptism

Baptism is a symbol designed by God to identify a person as a disciple of Jesus. Just as a wedding ring is an outward sign that a person is married or a police uniform is an outward sign that a person is in law enforcement. However, it is more than just a symbol.

In the Greek, Baptize is “baptisma” and means “to immerse” or “plunge” or “dunk.” The picture of baptism, then, is that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are spiritually baptized or immersed into Christ. In Galatians 3:26-27 it says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Notice we do not become sons (or daughters) of God through baptism, but through faith in Jesus.

Baptism is also a sign that we’ve ben baptisted into the Body of Christ, or the church. 1 Corinthians 12:13 tells us, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and ahve all ben make to drink into one Spirit.”

Lastly, baptism is a symbol of the inner cleansing of our souls. Ephesians 5:25-26 and Hebrews 10:22 both use the image of water to cleanse us.

What does baptism mean to you?

Are you depending on your baptism to get you to heaven? Do too many tadpoles know you personally? If so, you should consider what Philip told the Ethiopian. It is belief in Christ as the Son of God that provides eternal life – not baptism.

Have you followed your decision to believe in Christ with baptism? If you’ve not been baptized, talk to your pastor. If you were baptized before making the decision for yourself to believe in Christ, would you consider being re-baptized as an outward sign of in inward decision to profess Christ as your Savior?


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Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

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We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

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With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

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Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
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