My Personal Christian Blog

Thanks for sliding into my blog site. This blog bog is a spin-off from my website at Call me a Night Owl, as my full-time mission and hobby are jabbering from midnight until 8 a.m.ish with chatter bugs across the world. Hoot, hoot! Being a retired newspaper guy and a Curious George, I've written and assembled a whack of stuff that I hope you'll find interesting and thought-provoking. Check out the Stories bar on the right side, below, for all my articles - from my web site and this blog.

December 18, 2017


By Paul Tatham               


Mark 16:16


"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."


Is baptism part of salvation?  (Such a position is sometimes called "baptismal regeneration.")


It's the last chapter of Mark's gospel.  Mark is giving some details of Easter Sunday. Then he goes into the Great Commission. In the Great Commission, Christ tells His followers to evangelize and seems to include baptism as part of His plan of salvation.


In the preponderance of scripture, there is no mention of baptism being linked to salvation. Approximately 150 New Testament passages state that salvation is by faith alone. Only three passages in the Bible make the salvation-baptism connection. Just three!                          

1. Mark 16:15-16 says, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

2. Acts 2:38 says, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

3. Acts 22:16 says, "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

Scores of salvation verses never mention baptism. Not one Bible verse says that he who is not baptized is lost.  Nor is baptism ever mentioned as part of the gospel when the gospel is defined, such as in I Corinthians 15:1-4:

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures"

Water baptism is an outward expression of an inward change.  We get baptized because we want to tell the world about our faith in Christ.  It's a public declaration.

Water baptism is not necessary for salvation. As my father used to say, "Baptism doesn't make you a Christian; it marks you a Christian."  All Christians should be baptized, but baptism is not necessary for salvation.

In the Mark 16 passage, if unbelief is the only basis for condemnation, then it must follow that belief must be the only necessary ingredient for salvation.

To be consistent, if baptism were necessary for salvation, you would think the verse would add "but he that believeth not, 'and is not baptized,' shall be damned." 

But it doesn’t. This passage simply means that baptism is the expected outward expression of belief. Again, baptism is not a condition of salvation but a proclamation of salvation.

In the Acts 2 passage, the Greek rendering disassociates baptism as part of the remission of sins.

In the Acts 22 passage, Paul is addressing Jews at his defense in Jerusalem. Like the Acts 2 passage, where Peter is preaching his famous sermon to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, there is a sense in which a Jew “washed away his sins” by disassociating himself from his Christ-rejecting nation by water baptism.

At baptism, a Jew repudiated the awful action his nation had taken when it killed its Messiah. It was a public declaration.

Baptism, in and of itself, did not save them, but it was a public admission that they—the Jews—had made a grievous mistake. Baptism saved them on the man-ward side.

This concept is similar to the teaching of the book of James, in which works saves us on the man-ward side while faith saves us on the god-ward side.

Following is further support for the view that baptism is not a part of salvation:

•    The thief on the cross was not baptized but he went to Heaven nonetheless (Luke  23:43)

•    Paul stressed the importance of preaching the gospel rather than baptizing (I Corinthians 1:17); he separates the two

•    No mention of baptism in Acts 3:19--Peter is preaching: "Repent [only], that your sins may be blotted out"

•    The Gentiles in Caesarea were baptized after they were saved (Acts 10:44-48)

That speaks volumes!                      

So why was the Lord Jesus Christ baptised? Although not explained in scripture, Christ was baptized probably to set an example for all those who would follow Him as their Lord and Savior.

December 11, 2017

Why do people reject Jesus as their Savior?

The decision to accept or reject Jesus as Savior is the ultimate life decision. Why do many people choose to reject Jesus as Savior?           

There are perhaps as many different reasons for rejecting Christ as there are people who reject Him, but the following four reasons can serve as general categories:

1) Some people do not think they need a savior. These people consider themselves to be “basically good” and do not realize that they, like all people, are sinners who cannot come to God on their own terms. 

But Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Those who reject Christ will not be able to stand before God and successfully plead their own case on their own merits.

2) The fear of social rejection and persecution deters some people from receiving Christ as Savior. The unbelievers in John 12:42-43 would not confess Christ because they were more concerned with their status among their peers than doing God’s will. 

These were the Pharisees whose love of religious positions and the esteem of others blinded them, “for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”

3) For some people, the things that the present world has to offer are more appealing than eternal things. We read the story of such a man in Matthew 19:16-23. This man was not willing to lose his earthly possessions in order to gain an eternal relationship with Jesus (see also 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

4) Many people are simply resisting the Holy Spirit’s attempts to draw them to faith in Christ. Stephen, a leader in the early church, told those who were about to murder him, “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 7:51). The apostle Paul made a similar statement to a group of gospel rejecters in Acts 28:23-27.

Whatever the reasons why people reject Jesus Christ, their rejection has disastrous eternal consequences. “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which

we must be saved” than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12), and those who reject Him, for whatever reason, face an eternity in the “outer darkness” of Hell where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).

November 29, 2017


By NiteOwlDave                    

No doubt most people believe that doing good works is the way we gain Heaven when we die.

And most assuredly, all such believers would be stunned to learn that the good-works route to Heaven has no support in the Bible.  

And as odd as this might sound, likely many wouldn’t care what the Bible says anyway, because being a works-driven church member and a reliable community volunteer feels so right.

The scriptures say otherwise. They tell us that we qualify to enter Heaven when we die by placing - in this life - our total trust in Christ for what He completed when He became our sacrifice, and died and rose again from the dead.

This salvation truth is noted throughout the Bible such as in Ephesians 2:8-9 which states, “ For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Grace means unmerited favor. Salvation is a free gift, paid 100 per cent by the Lord Jesus Christ who paid the sin debt of everyone. Adding anything to this offer, like our puny good-deed efforts, erodes and cancels this gift. Good works play no part in our salvation.

Now, take note: There is one obligation required of us. 

In a private sincere prayer, we must humbly repent to the Lord that we have sinned and tell Him we accept what He did for us when He became our sin payment. A gift must be accepted to qualify as a received gift.

The Lord forgives all sin, from stealing a nickel to blowing up a church. The blood of Jesus will even wash away the sins of a serial killer.

But let’s be clear; We are not suggesting that good works have no value with God. After we are saved, good works are of great value. They are evidence that we are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ and that we are walking the talk.

Check this out: Ephesians 10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”


1. The adage is true that generally good things come to those who work, especially those who work hard. Doing good stuff to gain Heaven seems so right.

2. It also feels right that we hold control of our own eternal destiny. Control is a manly quality and is something many of us want to hang onto.

3. Salvation by our strength, or good deeds, really is a pride thing which produces a self-righteous feeling of, “Hey, I’m doing my part!”  Because of pride, being saved by our good works has appeal.

4. If we are saved by what we do, our good works must outweigh our bad works. It is natural, then, that when man creates a religion it involves some type of salvation by works.

Some say that man has an inherent sense of justice and good works. That fits as the most ardent atheist believes in some type of justice and has a sense of right and wrong, even if he has no moral basis for making such judgments.                                                                                      


Because salvation by works appeals to man’s sinful nature, it forms the basis of almost every religion except for biblical Christianity. The Bible tells us that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

Salvation by works seems right to men which is why it is the predominantly held viewpoint. That is exactly why biblical Christianity is so different from all other religions—it is the only religion that teaches salvation is a gift of God and not of works. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast”
Sadly, some Christian denominations have succumbed to a works-based salvation because they misunderstand passages like James 2:24 which says,  “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

Taken in the context of the entire passage of James 2:14-26, it is evident that James is not saying our works make us righteous before God. Instead, he is making it clear that real saving faith is demonstrated by good works.

The person who claims to be a Christian but lives in willful disobedience to Christ has a false or “dead” faith and is not saved. James is making a contrast between two different types of faith—true faith that saves and false faith that is dead.

There are simply too many verses that teach that one is not saved by works for any Christian to believe otherwise. Titus 3:4-5 is another such passages.

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

Good works do not contribute to salvation, but they will always be characteristic of one who has been born again. Good works are not the cause of salvation; they are the evidence of it.

June 23, 2017


By Harold Smith

QUESTION: It seems that in your articles you do not believe in good works. If you don’t maintain good works, do you think you will still be saved?

ANSWER: This is an old question that keeps popping up all the time. I do not believe that salvation is by faith AND works, but I do believe that salvation results in good works! 

That is, there will be some fruit or evidence of it in the lives of those who claim to have salvation.

Salvation is an act of the sovereign grace of God. God doesn’t owe us anything. But because He is merciful and gracious, He has provided a great salvation for us through His atoning blood.

We are saved to work. Romans 4:4 says, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.”

Romans 11: 6 says, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

The above verses make it very clear that if it is by works than it is no more grace. These two do not mix. However, if you have a kind of profession that does not work, then you are not likely to have God’s salvation.

It is not of works, but it works in you.  It transforms your life from the inside out.
Romans 1:16 says, “It is God’s power unto salvation to everyone that believeth.”

May 20, 2017


“Think I’ll Just Wait”

By Paul Tatham

Evangelical Christians talk a lot about “getting saved, as in being “born again.” And they always tack on a sense of urgency when they do.

“You need to accept Christ as your Savior,” they often warn, “before it’s eternally too late.” And they are exactly right. One day, Christ will suddenly return to take all believers to Heaven, so we’d better be ready. We call that momentous day the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:15-18).

But some who are not saved have been exposed to enough preaching that they know that many people left behind on Earth will be able to get saved after the Rapture, during a period we call the Tribulation. Seemingly, everyone will have a second chance then to accept Christ as their personal Savior. So relax, they reason, I can always take care of that later.

But be careful! It’s easy to relax your way right into Hell. Here are three reasons why procrastinating is a bad idea.

#1 You might die before the Rapture
If you convince yourself that you’ll take care of that “born again” thing after the Rapture, you might not make it to the Rapture.

#2 If you do get saved after the Rapture, life will be rough
Many of those who get saved during the Tribulation will be severely persecuted, hunted down, and martyred for their faith. You can read about their sufferings in Revelation, the last book in the Bible.

 #3 Chances are good you will have no interest in getting saved
II Thessalonians 2:8-11 sheds light on what things will be like during the Tribulation, including its key player the Antichrist:

And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Among other things, this passage tells us that a second chance to get saved will be available only to those who had never heard the gospel before the Rapture. Those who had been exposed to the gospel before the Rapture, but “received not the love of the truth,” won’t have a second chance. Instead, they will deluded and embrace “the lie” of “the wicked one,” likely the Antichrist’s claim to be God (John 5:43).

The lost need to know that they won’t have a second chance to acknowledge their sinful condition and seek forgiveness from God. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, today is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2).