Searching for the Impossible #1

In 1512 Ponce de Leon traveled to this country in search for the Fountain of Youth. This was a mythical fountain that was thought to give life to those who bathed in or drank from it. Of course, such a fountain would produce great riches for those who controlled it. His search ended in vain because such a fountain did not exist. He was searching for the impossible.

Searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is another such search. No pot of gold exists, therefore any search for it is a search for the impossible. A modern-day example of such a vain effort is the search for an engine that runs on water. People may search and search, but they will not find these things. They are searching for the impossible.

Why search for something so outrageous, something that seems so obviously false? Some may search for the impossible because someone deceives them. They actually believe the fountain of youth is real or the pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow. Others may be self-deceived. They desire something so much, they convince themselves it is true and then set out on a search for it. Money or greed is also a motivating factor in many cases. If one had possession of a fountain of youth, he would certainly become wealthy charging for its use. Others may just be looking for the easy way through life. Whatever the motivation, there are people who search for the impossible.

This is also true in religion. There are many who search for that which is impossible when it comes to the salvation of their souls. They have believed a lie or convinced themselves of some untruth and will find on the last day that they searched for the impossible. The one difference is, they believe they have found what they were searching for. Let’s notice some of these things.

Salvation without Christ. The Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus are all searching for the impossible when it comes to salvation. They are looking for that which cannot be found — salvation without Christ. It cannot be found, because it does not exist. The scriptures are very clear on this point. Peter and John told the council, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). This is a fact that deals with our salvation and the Holy Spirit made it as clear as it can be made — there is no salvation without Jesus Christ. Salvation without Christ is impossible and those who are searching for it are searching in vain!

Salvation without the sacrifice of Christ. Closely related to the last point is those who search for salvation without the sacrifice Christ offered on the cross. Forgiveness of sins is offered only through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7). Christ’s blood was shed for the remission of sins, and it is that blood and only that blood that washes away sins (Matthew 26:28; Revelation 1:5). No one before or after the cross can be saved without the sacrifice Jesus made at Calvary (Hebrews 9:15; 10:10). The Just died for the unjust, the Sinless for the sinners (1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:8). Those who reject Christ, reject His sacrifice and will be lost eternally (John 12:48).

Salvation without repentance. Some want to receive the reward God has for His children, but they not only want that reward, but they also want to hold on to sin at the same time. They are not willing to repent of their sins, so they attempt to justify their sinful actions. Discipleship requires repentance and faithful obedience. Jesus said, “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). The apostle Paul stated in the city of Athens, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Just as the Thessalonian brethren turned from their idols to serve the true and genuine God, all who will be saved must turn from their sins (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Fruitful works will follow genuine repentance (Acts 26:20). Those searching for salvation without repentance are searching in vain for they are searching for the impossible.

Salvation without baptism. Many religious people argue that baptism is not essential to salvation. They claim baptism is an outward sign of inward grace. In other words, one is baptized to show the world that he is already forgiven of sins. However, this is impossible because the Bible teaches that baptism is essential for salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). It is at the point of baptism that the penitent believer comes into contact with the saving blood of Jesus Christ. If one refuses to be baptized or is baptized for the wrong purpose, he does not reach the blood of Jesus and without the blood of Jesus, he cannot be saved.
Paul teaches in Romans 6:3-4 that baptism is into the death of Jesus and it was in the death of Jesus that His blood was shed (John 19:17-35). Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, the penitent believer is raised from the waters of baptism to a new life forgiven of his past sins.

Saul of Tarsus saw the Lord on the road to Damascus, believed in Him, and fervently prayed for three days (Acts 9:1-18). However, Paul’s sins were not washed away in the blood of Jesus until he was baptized for the remission of his sins. Ananias told him, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). The blood of the Lamb cleansed his sins when he obeyed the Lord’s command to be baptized (Revelation 1:5).
Those searching for salvation without baptism are searching for the impossible. We urge you not to be guilty of making such a foolish search.

Salvation without the church of Christ. Some profess their faith in Christ but claim the church that He built is unimportant or that membership in it is unnecessary. They make statements such as “You don’t have to be in any church to be saved” or “Join the church of your choice.” These people have a false concept of the church. They do not understand that one cannot be saved and be outside the church that Jesus built at the same time. The church is saved. Jesus is the Savior and the saved are His church. Let’s notice some scriptures that support this truth.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus stated that He would build His church. In Acts 2:47 we find Jesus adding the saved to His church. The saved in Acts 2 were those who heard the word, believed it, repented of their sins, and were baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:37-41). When we obey these conditions given by Jesus, we are forgiven of our sins and immediately transferred into His kingdom, the church (Colossians 1:13-14). There is not one saved person outside the church of Christ, because Christ is the one who adds them to His body.

Paul teaches that penitent believers are baptized into Christ. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). He also teaches that we are baptized into His body. “For by one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body …” (1 Corinthians 12:13). To be in Christ is to be in His body, and to be in the body is to be in Christ. We cannot separate the saved from the body for the saved are the body.

An accurate statement would be “You do not have to be a member of any denomination to be saved.” That is true because Jesus did not build a denomination. In fact, He condemns them as divisive (John 17:20-21; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13). One searching for salvation without the true church that Jesus built is searching for the impossible.

We cannot be saved without Christ, without His sacrifice, without repentance and baptism, and without His church. Anyone searching for salvation apart from these things is searching for the impossible. We urge you to search for that which can be found: salvation in Christ, through His sacrifice, upon the conditions He has given in His word.

Andy Alexander