This Is An Hard Saying, Who Can Hear It?

Curtis L.E. Graves

The title of this article comes from a statement made by some of Jesus' disciples in John 6:60. These disciples were having trouble with the statements that Jesus had just made. The words of Jesus would bring life. However, there were many that did not believe. They were unwilling to endure the difficulties presented. Their faith was not strong enough, and many turned back from following Him. Peter, on the other hand, responded that he knew of none other who could bring eternal life. That is the only thing worth living for. Only in God's word can we find eternal life.

Today there are many false doctrines that are still causing many to leave God's word saying, "This is a hard saying." My purpose is to look at one of these doctrines in this article. Some are asking, "If a couple is unscripturally married and they decide to be baptized, may they remain as husband and wife?" Some answer, "Yes." If this were true, it would be a doctrine seemingly filled with comfort. However, the view is untrue.

Baptism does wash away all sins (Acts 22:16; 2:38). However, there are certain steps which come first. One step is hearing (Romans 10:17). How would we know to be baptized if we did not hear. Faith or belief is required before baptism. If one does not believe, he will most likely not be baptized. If one was baptized but did not really believe it was necessary, do you think his baptism would be valid? Confession is another step before baptism. If a person will not confess Christ as the Son of God, can he be baptized?

Now, let us look at repentance. Repentance is a change of mind preceded by godly sorrow. It is a determination to leave a life of sinning. We should hate sin. In order for baptism to wash away our sins, we must repent of those sins. How can a couple repent of adultery and still be living in adultery? Baptism does not magically change an adulterous union into a pure one. Luke 13:3, 5 still tells us to repent or perish.

If baptism changed the adulterous union into a pure one then John would have been better off to tell Herod and Herodias to be baptized rather than to have said, "It is not lawful for thee to have her." That would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. If someone were to steal your car and then be baptized, could that person keep your car and be saved? Could a Christian rob a bank, go forward Sunday, confess his sin, and, then, deposit the money into his own account on Monday and be saved? The answers are NO! Baptism will NOT save without repentance!

When one is faced with these simple Bible facts, there is really no other answer than for those in unscriptural marriages to separate in order to save their souls. However, some will then leave the Bible and go to the emotions. They say, "That does not seem like a loving thing to do." Some ask the question, "What about the children in this union?" These are just efforts to get around God's word. Children, like baptism, cannot change a sinful union into a pure one. There is no doubt that it would be a hard and sad thing to do to separate a family. However, it would be the right thing to do. The people in Ezra 10:1-3 had to do it. It took a lot of courage and the Bible says, "The people wept very sore." Whatever changes have to be made should be made in order to save the souls of all involved. Certainly there would still be a responsibility to the children (1 Timothy 5:8). However, there are ways for that to be done without the couple's continuing to live in the sin of adultery.

Who is showing love; those who heed God's word which gives eternal life, or those who allow sin that, for a short period of earthly joy, will lead to eternal death? Which is showing love: seeing a union separated in this life so that all involved can be together in heaven, or letting it continue here to spend eternity in hell?

"This is a hard saying." Will you accept Christ's teaching as Peter did, or will you go back and walk no more with Him? -1021 Mount Pleasant Rd., Chesapeake, VA 23322-3910.


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