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Essentials:  What are they for Salvation & Spiritual Growth? 

Gary Googe Jul 05

An essential is something necessary.  Dictionaries define it as referring to something absolutely necessary; extremely important.  Scripture stresses the importance of faith.  In fact, it tells us that it is impossible to please God apart from faith.  It would, therefore, be essential to both salvation and spiritual growth.  It is imperative that we know and believe what God has said.

Hebrews 11:6

6 But 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. [Emphasis added]

Hebrews 11 provides a rather long list of people who pleased God by the manner in which they expressed their faith.  Faith in and of itself is not a work, even though some people falsely claim that it is.  The “work” is in the object of one’s faith.  Faith is non-meritorious. It is the object of one’s faith that is meritorious to achieve a desired end.  For one’s salvation it is what Jesus Christ accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection. 

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

This work Christ accomplished is said to be a work providing the only means to our reconciliation with God.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word [or message] of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he [God the Father] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

How is it that a person is made the righteousness of God? Answer:  By putting one’s faith solely in what Christ did in His death, burial, and resurrection.

The reason I mention these past two passages so often is because of their extreme importance as they relate to salvation.  Without understanding their meaning, salvation cannot occur.  If you’ve not personally accepted Christ and His work as the sole basis for your salvation, I encourage you to do so now.

To move forward after one’s salvation with significant growth, some fundamental principles need to be understood.

1—We can depend on the authority of the 66 books of the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God [THEONEUSTOS = God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect [TELEIOS = brought to maturity], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]

Although it has been the most attacked book in the world, the Bible still stands strong to proclaim God’s Word to every generation.

2—While all the Bible is FOR us, it is not all TO us or ABOUT us. 

To accurately understand the Bible, it must be rightly divided.  

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

This fundamentally means that we need to understand that most of the Bible was directed to the people of Israel, not to us today.  Although there’s some overlapping in principles, there are many things that are distinctly different.  If these things aren’t sorted out properly, there can be misunderstanding about God’s policies for us today.  It is because these things have not been given that right treatment that we have so many church denominations today.

3—Things stated in the writings of Paul are most important to us.

This is true pertaining to the means to one’s salvation as well as the execution of the Christian way of life.  For instance, in discussing the means to salvation, Paul spoke of the gospel message he proclaimed as his gospel.

Romans 2:16

16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. [Emphasis added]

If Paul’s gospel was the same as what had gone before, he would not have stated it this way.  He could have simply said—the gospel.

Romans 16:25

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [Emphasis added]

2 Timothy 2:8

8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: [Emphasis added]

It was to this man called the apostle Paul that this gospel was first given.

1 Timothy 1:11

11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. [Emphasis added]

This was stated this way to distinguish it from the gospel message Christ gave the Twelve apostles.  It was not the same! Because so many people don’t realize this, you must be careful about which Bible translation you use to read this next verse.  The King James Version of the Bible is one that has it right.

Galatians 2:7

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [Emphasis added]

It was through this man Paul that our gospel and our teaching for today was first introduced.  You won’t find anything in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John that tells you Christ died for your sins and was raised for your justification.  We can now read that into what’s there, but the details of that are not found there.

1 Timothy 1:16

16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. [Emphasis added]

4—Our gospel message is only found in Paul’s epistles.

I stated earlier in this article the gospel message that is ours today [1 Corinthians 15:1-4 & 2 Corinthians 5:18-21].  This also means our commission is not the same as Israel’s—Peter’s and that of the eleven.  They knew nothing at all about it until it was revealed to them through the apostle Paul [Acts 15].  This is a major part of why Paul’s message is spoken of as a mystery.  This also is the main reason why we have denominationalism today.  So many people don’t understand these things.

5—Spiritual maturity comes only by believing Paul’s teachings.

At the close of Peter’s last writing, he addresses this important fact that nearly all the churches of our time have ignored.  Note carefully what Peter says.  They are the last words we have recorded of him.

2 Peter 3:15-18

15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord [the delay in His return to Earth to establish His earthly kingdom] is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [STREBLOO = twist or distort], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. [Emphasis added]

Paul urges us all to be diligent in learning all the various categories of doctrine provided, especially those revealed of God through him.

Again, 2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

6—Paul’s message does not include any form of water baptism.

The Bible clearly teaches that water baptism was a part of Israel’s program. Every professing believer was required to be water baptized as an expression of faith for salvation.  It is nowhere said to be optional.

Acts 2:37-38

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 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. [Emphasis added]

The commission given to the twelve apostles and to all Israel required it.

Mark 16:16

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. [Emphasis added] 

Numerous other passages address the issue of required water baptism [Hebrews 6:1-2; 9:10].  However, the apostle Paul informs us that there’s only one baptism in place today.

Ephesians 4:5

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [Emphasis added]

That one baptism is a dry baptism spoken of as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [Emphasis added] 

Paul tells us water baptism has no part in his commission or ours today.

1 Corinthians 1:17

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. [Emphasis added]

We must never allow false traditions of any kind to be a part of our lives.

7— Our ministry also does not include any miraculous signs.

We have blessings that are better! We are said to be members or parts of the Body of Christ.  We are intimately united with Him at the point of our salvation.  We, therefore, come to share in all His blessings.

Ephesians 1:3

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [Emphasis added]

However, the “signs” belong to the nation of Israel and its religion.  We have none of these “signs” today that Israel sought and were privileged to possess and see expressed.

1 Corinthians 1:22

For instance, “signs” included the miraculous ability to suddenly be able to speak in tongues, that is, foreign languages.  Unlike some other signs that were given to them, this one was a sign to unbelievers that the message they were hearing was of God.

1 Corinthians 14:22a

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. [Emphasis added]

During the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, those who sought after signs were rightfully called an evil and adulterous generation.

Matthew 12:39-40

39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas [speaking of the resurrection of Christ]:

40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. [Emphasis added]

Again, today the emphasis is on our spiritual blessings we have in the heavenlies in Christ.

Again, Ephesians 1:3

 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [Emphasis added]

8—We must not allow the things of this world to distract us.  

Distractions have always been a problem for God’s people.  Jesus warned about them in the Parable of The Sower.

Mark 4:19

19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. [Emphasis added]

The apostle Paul also issued warnings about this.

Romans 12:2

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. [Emphasis added]

9—All our works will be fairly evaluated at a coming judgment.

This is why we must all give attention to God’s Word so we can learn to be highly productive in our service to Him.

2 Corinthians 5:10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. [Emphasis added]

Our Lord’s evaluation of our productivity for Him will be perfect.  We need not ever be concerned about it not being fair.  We will all get in reward exactly what is deserved.  This is a major part of why we should be motivated to be productive of good works in our service to Him.

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. [Emphasis added]

We’re not saved because of our works of righteousness but we will be evaluated for reward according to our works.

10—Our works are to be consistent with the mystery truths.

These truths were first revealed to and through the apostle Paul.  We are to be faithful ministers of this truth. 

1 Corinthians 2:6-7

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [Emphasis added]

1 Corinthians 4:1-2

1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. [Emphasis added]

Until these mystery truths were given to Paul, they had a been a mystery to all [MUSTERION = a secret] held in the mind of God.

Romans 16:25 again

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. [Emphasis added]

You will find numerous articles about this on our website.  Here is a list of some for your reading.

Bible:  What are The Two Programs?

Dispensations:  When did ours begin?

Mystery:  What is the key to understanding the Bible?

Mystery:  What is this Secret that Paul wrote about?

Paul:  What’s so special about his teaching?

There are pastors today who spend nearly all their time on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  While those are all excellent writings, they were never specifically addressed to us today.  They do not even contain the gospel message by which people can be saved today.  If you doubt the truthfulness of that statement, please see my article about it.

Gospel:  Is OUR gospel in “the four gospels?”

The fact of the matter is that the “mystery” Paul spoke of is still a mystery to most people, including most pastors.  They’ve never known anything but a lot of traditional beliefs that actually conflict with it.

Galatians 1:11-12

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

Paul didn’t learn his message from the Twelve Apostles or anyone else but the Lord Jesus Christ Himself by direct revelation.

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. [Emphasis added]

Paul calls this gospel the gospel of the grace of God.  He speaks of it as the heart of his ministry, as it should be ours.

Acts 20:24

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. [Emphasis added]

Paul even speaks of them as the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10-12

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [Emphasis added]

These are verses of Scripture most pastors never address.  You will find that most do not understand them at all.

Ephesians 3:2-3

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [Emphasis added]

The DISTINCTIVES of Pauline truth are a most important but unknown doctrine of the Bible.  There are other articles about this on our website that I hope you’ll want to examine.

Traditions:  Are you sure about what you believe?


In your studies of the Bible, you’ll never run out of things that will be new to you.  That’s just as true for me as it is for anyone.  The Bible is a challenging book for everyone.  But you’ve just read certain essentials every believer needs to know.

One important reason for right division is to help people understand that, even though it may seem otherwise, there are no contradictions in the Bible.  Whether we’re talking about the means to salvation, or the things people need to know for spiritual growth and development, God wants you to be as familiar with these things as you are the back of your hand.  When “right division” is understood, many things that didn’t seem to make sense, make all the sense in the world.  You’ll even find it to be fun and exciting learning about these things.  God wants very much for you to thoroughly understand the Bible.  That’s why it is spoken of as revelation—it is God revealing His will and His grand purpose for your life.  Be sure you don’t let yourself miss out on this!

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