At the very heart of the gospel message is the cross of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, “But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24) One of the reasons Jesus died and shed His blood was to establish redemption for mankind. Paul in writing to the church in Ephesus said, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

One of the great unchanging, immutable, principles of the Divine Government is the truth that, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” The Hebrew writer pointed this out when he wrote, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

Someone may ask, “Why was such a sacrifice necessary for the remission or the forgiveness of our sins?” The answer to that question is seen in the fact that God being who He is, sin being what it is, and man being the sinner that he is, someone who is qualified had to do for man what he could not do for himself. Isaiah declared that God is holy (Isa. 6:15), and growing out of this holiness is God’s intense hatred of sin (Hebrews 1:9). Sin being what it is—spiritual leprosy, anarchy against God, the “transgression of the law,” (I Jno. 3:4)—and man being the sinner that he is (Rom. 3:23), someone who is qualified had to act in man’s stead. Because of the sinfulness of man, Jesus had to pay the price for man.

God saw the problem of man from before the foundation of the world and had a plan Paul called “the eternal purpose” (Eph. 3:1011). At the heart of that eternal purpose was the cross. It is that purpose which is reflected in the profound prediction of Genesis (3:15). Notice what Peter wrote, “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:18-20). Take note that the Lamb—Jesus Christ—was “without blemish and without spot.” His sinless life is vital to His saving death, (Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:22). Long before Jesus ever came into the world Isaiah wrote, “Surely our griefs He himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being {fell} upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (Isaiah 53:4-6).

The scheme of redemption is that which makes it possible for God to be just, condemning our sins, and yet the justifier of him who is cleansed by the blood of Christ. Paul said this so beautifully in writing to the church in Rome, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, {I say,} of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26).

It is clear that we are cleansed by the precious blood of Christ (Paul wrote: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” Eph 1:7). But, the real question is, “at what point do we contact the blood in order to be cleansed?” Paul gave us the answer when he wrote, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). The Bible clearly teaches we are baptized into His death because that is where Jesus shed His blood (John 19:34). We are washed by the blood of Christ when we are Biblically baptized for the remission of our sins.

Jesus said His blood was shed for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). Peter said, “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Ananias told Saul, “Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16)

To argue that one may be saved before and without Bible baptism is to argue for salvation before and without the blood of Jesus Christ. Would you follow what man teaches or what God teaches? The Christians meeting at Monte Vista follow God’s word without addition or substitution.