Ezekiel — Lesson 18
1. Introduction to Chapter 33
A. Chapter 33 marks a big change in the book of Ezekiel. The book has so far been building toward the event that will be announced in verses 21-22 of this chapter -- the fall of Jerusalem.
B. The first 24 chapters of the book (prior to chapters 25-32, which dealt with foreign nations) were concerned with Jerusalem as it was and as it had been.
C. From chapter 33 on, Ezekiel tells us about what Jerusalem will be like.
D. Before we get to verses 21-22, however, Ezekiel reminds us of two things: the prophet's responsibility to warn people of approaching danger, and the people's responsibility to heed that warning and repent.
2. A Warning to Heed the Watchman (33:1-9)
A. This message parallels 3:16-21, where Ezekiel was first appointed watchman over Israel. (Compare 3:17 with 33:7.)
1. (3:17) “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me."
2. (33:7) “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me."
B. Verses 1-6 rehearse the principle of the watchman, and verses 7-9 identify Ezekiel as Israel's watchman.
C. Why return to this theme?
1. Ezekiel is just about to be confirmed as a true prophet according to the test that is found in Deut. 18:22 ("when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.").
2. Ezekiel's warnings are about to come true. The purpose of the reminder here is to show that Ezekiel has been faithful to his assignment and his warnings have been from God. The people have a responsibility to heed his warnings and his call to repentance.
D. The death of those who hear the watchman's alarm but refuse to listen is their own fault.
1. Verses 5-6 remind us that a watchman was guiltless if the alarm sounded but no one responded. But he was guilty if an attack came and the people were not warned.
2. Cities were constructed with towers on the walls where the watchmen kept vigil. See Isaiah 21:5 ("Set a watchman in the tower").
3. The trumpet in verse 3 was a ram's horn (a shofar) that was used to sound the warning. Ezekiel has been figuratively blowing this trumpet throughout the first 32 chapters.
a) The shofar was a long horn that curved upwards at the end. It was used extensively in Israel on both religious and military occasions. It is still used in Jewish synagogues, especially at the New Year.
4. Verse 7 reminds us that Ezekiel was not just using his own powers of observation, as would an ordinary watchman. Ezekiel's warnings were divinely inspired. They were warnings from God.
E. Lesson for Today
1. One commentator noted: "Warning others of the consequences of judgment inherent in sin is never a popular assignment. Believers have a duty to be 'watchmen' who warn those who are in the world and are without God of the destructive nature of sin and its final irrevocable result -- death and hell."
2. Never popular? He's right, of course. But wouldn't you think that a watchman's message would be extremely popular? Don't most people want to receive a warning of impending danger so they can avoid it? Why then is our message of warning so unpopular?
3. We often hear warnings that one day a giant asteroid will obliterate the earth. We hear warnings that our sun will not last forever. We hear warnings about global warming. Lately we have heard many warnings about additional terrorist attacks. What is your first reaction when you hear those warnings? "Not that again... We hear that all the time, and nothing ever happens..."
4. Our message of warning gets the same reaction for the same reason. People do not believe that judgment could come at any time. We are very different from people shouting "Fire!" and warning people to flee a burning building. Why? Because they can see the fire!
5. Our job is to convince people of the truth of Hebrews 9:27 ("And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.") The message of the watchman today is that death and judgment are coming for all of us -- but we can be ready for it.
3. An Exhortation to Turn from Evil (33:10-20)
A. This section is similar to 18:21-32 in that it also focuses on the responsibility of those who hear the messages of the watchman.
B. Ezekiel deals with three attitudes among his listeners:
1. Some trusted in their own righteousness. (verse 13)
a) The answer? None of it will be remembered if they are sinning now.
2. Some despaired and became fatalistic. (verse 10)
a) The answer? There is hope if they will repent and turn to God and live.
3. Some blamed their misfortune on the injustice of God. (verse 17)
a) The answer? God has been fair. It is the people who have not been fair.
C. The people in verse 10 say "Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How can we live?" God's answer? Repent!
1. Compare Acts 2:37-38.
a) Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
b) Repentance is always the first answer to the question "What shall I do?" Other things must follow as well, but without repentance whatever else we might do is all in vain.
c) Some people approach God saying "I want to be saved, but I still want to do X or I still want to continue living in situation Y even though I know that X and Y are against your will." God has one answer -- Repent! Turn and live!
2. Verse 10 of chapter 33 is the first indication we have had that the exiles are aware of their own sins. Yet as we will soon see they do not think they are entirely at fault here.
a) Earlier expressions of guilt also laid the blame on others. See 18:2 (‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge’).
D. Verse 11 tells us that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
1. "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?"
2. Verse 11 is an extremely important verse in properly understanding the rest of the Bible. A basic principle of Biblical interpretation is that scriptures that are hard to understand should be interpreted in light of scriptures that are easy to understand. Well, here is one that is easy to understand. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
a) Another easy passage is found in 2 Peter 3:9 ("The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.")
b) Does God create some people just to fuel the fires of Hell? These verses tell us no. But John Calvin determined otherwise, and the Protestant world has for the most part followed John Calvin. (The church, of course, is not Protestant since the church was around before the Catholics. Protestants, by definition, came into existence after the Catholics. Some people today are pushing the idea that the church of Christ has a recent, man-made origin. While that may be true of the group they belong to, it is not true of the Lord's church --- which is the one body I belong to.)
3. Calvinism permeates most of the Protestant denominations. Although most Protestants today don't have a clue as to who John Calvin is or what he taught, this false doctrine is taught from their pulpits and in their seminaries. Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion has had a devastating effect on Christendom (using that term in its widest sense) by teaching the so-called TULIP doctrines: (1) Total depravity, (2) Unconditional election, (3) Limited atonement, (4) Irresistible grace, and (5) Perseverance of the Saints. The book of Ezekiel (as well as the rest of the Bible) is an obstacle for Calvinists.
4. Here is what John Calvin said about predestination:
a) "By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death."
5. And what does God say? He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) His will is that all will turn and live. (verse 11)
E. The people may have thought that their past history was so sinful there was no hope of overcoming it with future good works.
1. God's answer was "Why will you die, O house of Israel? Turn!" The choice was their choice -- not God's! God's will was that they would turn and live, but he left the choice up to them.
2. It is a wonderful message that even at this point God still gave them this choice. He had not given up on them. God is a God of second chances.
3. Look at the apostle Paul. After persecuting the church of Christ and being the chief of sinners, he was given a second chance.
4. God does not act on the past accumulation of evil (or even the past accumulation of good). It is the present attitude and action that are important.
F. As with chapter 18, verses 12-16 contain some examples to illustrate the principle of individual responsibility.
G. Verse 16 raises an interesting question. ("None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him.")
1. Was there forgiveness of sin under the Old Covenant?
2. We often hear that sins under the Old Covenant were "rolled forward" each year. But here it says that the sins would not be remembered if the people repented? Were they rolled forward or were they forgiven?
3. Again, we need to check the easy verses to understand the hard verses. An easy verse to understand is found in Hebrews 10:4. ("For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.") Another is found in Hebrews 9:22. ("without shedding of blood there is no remission")
4. The idea of "rolling forward" sins comes from Hebrews 10:3 ("But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.")
5. So was there forgiveness under the Old Covenant? Yes and no. Faithful people who died under the Old Covenant (prior to the New Covenant) received forgiveness --- but they did not receive that forgiveness until Jesus's perfect sacrifice.
6. Hebrews 10:10 ("By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.") See also Hebrews 9:15; 10:11; 10:18.
H. Verse 17 raises another interesting question: Is God being fair?
1. The people complain that God is not fair.
a) The phrase "the way of the Lord is not equal" in verse 17 uses an unusual metaphor taken from weighing in scales. The verb literally means "is not adjusted to the right standard," which is the action of a dishonest salesman.
b) The people are complaining that God is a dishonest salesman!
c) See Proverbs 11:1. ("A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.")
2. God responds by saying that it is they who are not fair. It is they who are not adjusted to the right standard.
a) Men today continue to set themselves up as the standard and expect God to fit into their man-made mold. God is the standard. His word is the mold into which we must fit.
b) We must change ourselves to fit the word of God --- not change the word of God to fit ourselves.
3. God does not blame one person for another person's sin. God holds each man personally accountable for the sin in his life. (This theme was also in dealt with in chapter 18:25-29.)
4. Jerusalem's Fall and the People's Failure to Heed (33:21-33)
A. On January 8, 585 BC, an eyewitness arrived with the news that Jerusalem had fallen.
1. Ezekiel had closed chapter 24 (verses 26-27) by prophesying that a fugitive would escape Jerusalem's destruction and come and report the city's fall the exiles.
a) (24:26-27) "on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears; 27‘on that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the Lord."
b) The fulfillment of that prophecy is here in these verses.
2. The siege of Jerusalem had begun in December/January 589/588 BC. (2 Kings 25:1) Two years and seven months later, Jerusalem fell (Sept. 586 BC) (2 Kings 25:8).
3. This eyewitness arrived four or five months later (January 8, 585 BC).
a) Travel time from Jerusalem to Babylon was about four or five months. (Ezra 7:9 gives the time as approximately four months.)
b) Comparing the dates in Ezekiel with the dates in 2 Kings appears on the surface to give a travel time of 18 months. However, Ezekiel was most likely using the Babylonian calendar (which begins the year in the spring) rather than the Hebrew calendar (which begins the year in the fall). It makes sense that Ezekiel would use the calendar of the place where he was living --- just like we adjust our watches when we travel to a different time zone.
c) Another possible explanation is that a copyist's error caused the eleventh year to become the twelfth year in the text that we now have. I don't much favor this explanation, but it is possible. The Hebrew words for 11 and 12 differ by only one consonant in written Hebrew and differ hardly at all in speech.
B. Verse 22 tells us that Ezekiel's muteness came to an end at this point.
1. We were first introduced to Ezekiel's muteness in 3:26 ("I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house.")
2. We are told in 24:27 when that muteness would be removed. ("on that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute.")
3. Here in verse 22 we see the muteness removed. ("And He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.")
4. What type of muteness was this?
a) First, we know that it was not a complete muteness because Ezekiel has been talking throughout the book. People have been coming to him for messages from God, and he has been delivering those messages. Indeed, back in chapter 3, God told Ezekiel that "when I speak with you, I will open your mouth." (verse 27)
b) Thus, we know that this muteness (which lasted over 7 years) was not total speechlessness. One commentator explains it as follows:
c) "Ezekiel was restrained from speaking publicly among the people in contrast to the normal vocal ministry of the prophets. The prophets usually moved among their people, speaking God's message as they observed the contemporary situation. But Ezekiel was told to remain in his home, except to dramatize God's message. He would remain mute, except when God opened his mouth to deliver a divine message. Instead of Ezekiel going to the people, the people had to come to him."
d) His release from muteness may explain his increased popularity in the closing verses of this chapter.
C. At last the prophet was vindicated. His messages of doom had been proved true.
1. Ezekiel had passed the test in Deut. 18:22. Against all the expectations of the people, the word that Ezekiel had spoken had come to pass.
2. Would the people left in Judah now repent? Would the exiles now have an obedient heart? If Ezekiel thought so, God warns him that he will be disappointed.
3. First, God tells Ezekiel that those left in the ruins of Judah would continue in their sin.
a) Jeremiah described those left behind in Jer. 52:16. ("But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.")
(1) There was a very wide chasm between the people in exile and the people who had been left behind. Those in exile had been chosen because they were at the top of society. Those left behind had been spared because they were at the bottom of society.
b) These poorest of the land apparently began to claim the property of those who had been exiled or killed. They justified their land grabbing by reference to the promises to Abraham.
c) This reaction was not new. Those who were spared exile in 597 BC had made similar claims.
(1) (Ezekiel 11:15) "Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get far away from the Lord; this land has been given to us as a possession.’"
(2) In Chapter 11 the people had claimed that those taken into exile were no longer entitled to the privilege of land ownership in Judah. Now they argued that if one man (Abraham) had inherited the land, then they (a much greater number) had a much greater right to the land. ("Abraham was only one man, but we are many!")
d) One commentator notes: "This passage illustrates with remarkable aptness the overwhelming arrogance of the minority who wake up one morning and find themselves in the majority. Moreover, like so many in the minority, they live in the past and endeavour to draw on ancient precedents to buttress insubstantial claims for the present."
e) God reminded them that they still sacrificed to idols, still ate meat with the blood, and still committed acts of violence and sexual immorality. Their sins were the very same as those who had been killed or exiled. They had no greater claim to the land than did those from whom the land had just been taken.
(1) As one commentator noted: "Abraham's title to the land was his righteousness." The people here had no such claim on the land.
(2) The phrase "you stand upon your sword" in verse 26 means that they lived by violence. Recall from Lesson 2 that those left behind in Judah (led by Ishmael) murdered the governor (Gedaliah) that had been left behind by the Babylonians. Read Jeremiah 40-41 and 2 Kings 25:25-26.
f) They may have thought they had escaped judgment, but God promises that they too will be visited by the sword, by wild beasts, and by plague.
g) If the people did not know God through repentance and faith, they would ultimately know Him through judgment.
h) After the governor was murdered, those left behind fled to Egypt --- and we know from Lessons 16 and 17 what God had planned for Egypt!
4. The people refer to both Abraham and the land in verse 24.
a) The land of Judah was promised land. If they lost it, wouldn't that mean that God had broken his promise to Abraham?
b) Ezekiel's response is that the people had a basic misunderstanding about God's covenant with Abraham. The promise of land was a conditional promise. The people had been told that if they violated the Mosaic covenant, they could lose the land that had been given to Abraham under the Abrahamic covenant.
(1) Deut. 28:62-63 (“You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. 63“And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.")
c) In verses 25-27, Ezekiel shows how the people had violated that covenant, thus forfeiting the promised land. The judgments of the Mosaic covenant were being executed. The people had no claim on the land of promise.
d) Even today, many teach that the Jews continue to possess land under an unconditional promise from God. That has NEVER been the case.
e) The only unconditional promise to Israel was that she would one day be a blessing to the entire world. That promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. All men today (Jew or Gentile) have hope only in Jesus Christ -- no man comes to the Father except by Him. (John 14:6)
f) In the church, there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile. They have become one in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:28)
(1) See also Isaiah 2:1-4 and Ephesians 2:13-18. A major focus of Old Testament is the peace that Christ would bring between the Jews and the rest of the world.
(2) (Isaiah 2:4) "He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore."
(3) (Ephesians 2:13-18) "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father."
(4) And, reading ahead just a bit... (Ezekiel 34:20-26) "‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21“Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22“therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23“I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them-My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24“And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken. 25“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26“I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing."
g) Is there one church or many churches? Ephesians 1:22-23 and 4:4 tells us there is one church. If God had wanted two churches, he would have had one church for the Jews and one for the Gentiles.
5. How about Ezekiel's fellow exiles? How did they respond?
a) On the surface things looked good. They turned Ezekiel into a celebrity!
b) But God tells Ezekiel that his popularity was only superficial. The people listened to him out of curiosity, but they had no intention of changing their way of life. They found his words entertaining, but they neglected to put the principles he proclaimed into practice.
(1) James 1:23-24 ("For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.")
(2) They no doubt praised his eloquence, his style, and his delivery -- but they disregarded his message.
c) Is there a lesson here for those today who make it their primary goal to entertain the people?
(1) An entertainer demands no response. Thus, the people did not feel any need to respond to Ezekiel's message.
(2) We may be moved by a movie or a song, but our emotional response lasts only a very short time. As soon as we reach the parking lot at the movie theater, we find ourselves back in the real world with real world problems and the movie is quickly forgotten. Is the modern denominational world any different? They offer dramatic performances and musical extravaganzas to bring people in, but when the music stops what is left? (There's not much there even when the music is playing!)
(3) Have you seen the audio versions of the Bible that are available for purchase on cassette or CD? Some of them are advertised as "dramatized" versions! Apparently today the word of God is not dramatic enough for us, but an instrumental background is needed to bring about the proper emotional response. How ridiculous!
(4) According to the April 5, 1993 issue of Time magazine, the "church" will never be the same because the baby boomers, the generation that forgot God, are going back to church. But it's not going to be business as usual. These returnees are described as "traveling from church to church, shopping for a custom-made God." In an effort to attract these shoppers, more and more churches are becoming "customer oriented." As an example, the article cited one church as having songs one Sunday morning ranging from "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" to "Danny Boy." (Before we get too judgmental on this point, we should first check to see if these songs are in our own song book!) The meeting climaxed in hugging with the preacher raising his arms high and booming "Hey, God, make my day! Go for it!"
(5) The church is not in the entertainment business. We cannot even begin to compete in that arena. People get bored very quickly, and what is entertaining today is not very exciting tomorrow --- which explains why the "entertainment" churches are constantly having to come up with bigger and louder extravaganzas to keep the people and their money rolling in. The best way to stay off this treadmill is to never get on it in the first place.
d) While a preacher hates to be ignored, there is also a danger when a preacher becomes a very popular figure.
(1) (Luke 6:26) "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets."
(2) McGuiggan: "This section makes it very clear that the popular preacher is not necessarily the effective preacher. It does not immediately follow that he who has the crowds is the one through whom God is doing his effective work."
6. Verse 31 tells us what the people real goal was --- "but their heart goeth after their covetousness."
a) Compare Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:18-19.
b) Also, recall Colossians 3:5. ("Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.")
7. The good news is that God was not through making himself known to his people.
a) "When all this comes true" in verse 33 refers to the prophecies of restoration that Ezekiel had already proclaimed and was about to proclaim.
b) Ezekiel's prophecies of restoration that the people were about to hear would be just as sure and certain as the prophecies of doom that had just been confirmed by the news of the city's fall.
c) God's closing words in chapter 33 are similar to those given in his call in 2:5. ("As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse-for they are a rebellious house-yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.")
d) Whether or not the people would hear and respond, Ezekiel was to continue to proclaim God's word. By his faithful ministry, they would know that a prophet had been among them.
e) Faithfulness to God may mean that we are not taken seriously by the world. But faithfulness to God will one day be vindicated. (Gal. 6:9 -- "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.")
5. The Change of Theme in Ezekiel
A. After the fall of Jerusalem is announced, the theme of Ezekiel's message undergoes a radical change. There is no longer any need to announce the impending doom of Jerusalem because that doom has now come.
B. Instead, Ezekiel begins to preach restoration.
1. Physical restoration under Ezra and Nehemiah.
2. Spiritual restoration under Jesus Christ.
C. So far Ezekiel has been all doom and gloom, but his message is about to change.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)