“ALMOST THOU PERSUADEST ME TO BE A CHRISTIAN”

E.R. Hall, Jr.

           
            “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.” (Acts 26:27-29)

            The word “almost” is the saddest word in the English language. “Almost” can change a lot of things. Let’s examine this statement.

ALMOST” defeats the doctrine of salvation by faith only. Faith alone did not save Agrippa. In John 12:42-43 we read of the chief rulers who believed would they were not saved. Faith without works is dead according to James 2:14-24. Yet a good number of religious people would try to have you believe that faith alone will save. They are quick to point out the thief on the cross and as if he was baptized. The answer is, “No, he was not!” but the thief was also living under the Old Testament and before Christ died on the cross. Christ’s blood and not been shed. You and I live after Christ’s death and under the New Testament. Can we not see that the the case of the thief is altogether different from us?

THOU” refers to the apostle Paul for he was the one trying to persuade Agrippa.Since Agrippa refers to Paul having a part in persuading him, this defeats the doctrine of salvation by miraculous works of the Holy Spirit. There is no other power in force to save mankind from sin than the pure simple gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16). Some may be quick to point out Saul’s conversion in Acts 9 as proof of the need for miraculous events to happen in conversion. Indeed, a great light shined about him and he fell to the ground and heard the voice of Jesus. Yet, when he asked Jesus, “What wilt thou have me to do?”, Jesus replied, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:6) Saul went to the city of Damascus and when Ananias came to him he said, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16) If Saul was saved because Jesus spoke to him, Saul didn’t know it, Christ didn’t know it, and Ananias didn’t know it! Too, if Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, as some claim, he still had his sins because Ananias told him to wash his sins away!

PERSUADEST ME” destroys the concept of the mourner’s bench. Long ago, John Calvin said we must persuade God to save us and many denominations have accepted his doctrine. Thus, if you were to go to the services of  many churches you would hear a call made for anyone that is a sinner to come and kneel down at the altar to pray their sins away. In doing this they plead with God to forgive them of their sins. The problem with all this is that you cannot find anyone doing this in the Bible! No alien sinner ever prayed their sins away! If they did, where is the book, chapter, and verse that teaches such? Agrippa knew who had to be persuaded and it was him and not God! In 2 Peter 3:8-9 we see how God is willing that all men should come to repentance. Peter told people in Acts 2:40 to “save yourselves from this untoward generation”. God had done His part by providing His only begotten Son and man must do what God requires in order to be saved. Thus those in Acts 2 that “gladly received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41).

TO BE” is not the same as ‘to feel’ or ‘to get’. Religion is not something ‘you get’ but it is something “to be”. Neither is it an ‘experience’ because when you begin to hear people explain how they know they are saved, no two ‘experiences’ are the same. Yet, denominational creeds rely upon ‘experiences’ as evidence of salvation and, therefore, acceptance into the membership of their churches. However, in the book of Acts we have people being saved from their sins but there is a striking similarity in every case: the word of God was preached, they heard, believed, and were baptized. We don’t read in the Bible what we hear so much talk about today where people are told to “just accept Jesus as your personal Savior”, “Jesus come into my heart”, or “Lord save me”! Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

A CHRISTIAN” The name is important and there is something in a name. The word “Christian” refers to “one who belongs to Christ”. Calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make you one. If I were to call myself a mechanic and sit in a garage all day, that would not make me one. It makes a difference what name we wear religiously. Acts 4:12 states: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” If we can be saved by no other than Christ, does it make any sense to call ourselves by any other name other than a Christian? Then what justification can there be for people calling themselves Baptist? Was John crucified for them? This can be done to all the names that people were religiously. What not BE A CHRISTIAN, nothing more and nothing less, instead of “almost”.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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