When a Believer is Saved by Grace and Made Alive with Christ


How must a believer die with Christ for God to raise that believer to life?

Luke 9:23–24, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (ESV).

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

2 Timothy 2:11, “The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him.”

Romans 6:8, “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also
 live with him.”

Must a believer be buried with Christ in baptism for God to raise that believer with Christ?

Romans 6:4–6, “Therefore, we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (ESV).

When does God save a believer by grace and raise that person with Christ? 

Ephesians 2:4–6, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (ESV).

When is a believer raised alive from death in sins to the forgiveness of sins?

Colossians 2:12–13, “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.”

Acts 2:38, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” (cf. Acts 10:47–48).

Acts 22:16, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”

Is faith necessary to know the power of the resurrection?

Philippians 3:8b–11, “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

Is Jesus’s resurrection necessary for a believer to be born again?

1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (cf. 1 Pet 1:23).

When are believers saved through the resurrection of Christ?

1 Peter 3:21, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

John 3:5, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Does a believer become a child of God when that believer is born again?

John 1:12–13, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Galatians 3:26–27, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

1 John 5:1, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”

Must a believer die with Christ to become a new creation?

2 Corinthians 5:14–17, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (ESV).

What happens when one becomes a new creation?

Ephesians 4:20–24, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Colossians 3:1–3, 9–10, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. […] Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

Is baptism in Jesus’s name necessary for salvation by faith?

Mark 16:16, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Acts 8:12, “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

Acts 18:8, “Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.”

Acts 19:2–5, “And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

When is one saved and added to the Church?

Acts 2:41, “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (cf. Matt 28:19).

Acts 2:47, “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

1 Corinthians 12:13, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”

About Scott J. Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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66 Responses to When a Believer is Saved by Grace and Made Alive with Christ

  1. Phil,
    Wordpress alerts me when my comments are responded to, so I didn’t mean for your comments here to go unnoticed — sorry.

    There’s a lot here! I’ll address one of your sentences that I think shines a light on our differences. You wrote, “Mark 16:15,16 does not specify water as the baptism referred to here, yet those in the coC assume it is water.” Actually, those in groups like yours (I don’t know what “kind” of group you’re in exactly) assume it is not water! The very word “baptism” ordinarily (there are extraordinary exceptions) presuppose the presence of water, and that fact has been recognized for thousands of years. At what point in history are you able to find a scrap of evidence that supports your theory? I ask because heresy always follows orthodoxy.

    And this is a perfect example of the point(s) that I’ve been making throughout this post, because your interpretation says “no water” and Scott’s says “with water.” So who’s right, how do you “know” who’s right? You said you “feel” what is right, but I guess you don’t like how I’ve presented that word??? If I’ve incorrectly nuanced that word then I’m sorry — that is how I read your comment.


    • messiah gate says:

      Patrick, I’m very interested in the Catholic/church of Christ dialogue, but notice that you don’t allow similar discussion on your blog.

      That Scott so graciously permits a thought provoking discourse while you deny posting of comments causes me to raise an eyebrow.

      Your blog states:

      “I have chosen to keep comments off of each essay’s specific article to ensure a sane experience for my readers.”

      So, the comments here are not sane? Yet, you freely participated in the insanity. May the reader so judge, with a discerning spirit, what is truth. And that really is the difference between Catholics and Protestants — one is told what to believe while the other searches the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patrick says:

        Correction: Scott doesn’t post comments as he pretends. He edits comments, changes them to fit his agenda. Scott’s the most dishonest CofC blogger I know of.

        CofC commenters are normally unique; they don’t comment, but rather go off on tangents unrelated to topic, are unable to have reasonable discussions.
        You’re wrong in how I participate in the insanity. You’re also wrong in how “Protestants search the Scriptures and how Catholics are sheep”. Your last sentence, actually, proves my entire stance on comments. If you’d like to learn how 1) the Catholic Church gave you Acts 17, 2) how Acts 17 proves the CofC model wrong, and 3) how Acts 17 proves the Catholic Church right, my blog can do that for you. However, Scott may just delete this link (because that’s how the CofC rolls): https://thechurchofchristiscatholic.com/2014/03/07/the-bereancatholic-model-is-more-noble-than-the-thessalonianprotestant-model-cf-acts-1711/


        • messiah gate says:

          I studied the article carefully, and have to confess I am stymied — only because that is the greatest example of literary obfuscation that I have ever read in my 60+ years.



        • Patrick really concludes that I am dishonest because I hold him to tracing Christ to the church of Jesus Christ. Patrick cannot show how Jesus leads anyone to catholicism. Jesus leads us to His church if we follow Him.

          Patrick claims that he knows what the churches of Christ believe, but I find that he struggles to show such knowledge. He misrepresents the churches of Christ. I do not understand why burning strawmen makes his case. The Bereans relied on the Scriptures that they had. Patrick seems to think that this includes the apocrypha that the Roman catholic church struggled to include for 15 centuries. Having additional books in one’s records does not make these into Scripture. Otherwise, Christians could add Clement’s epistle to Corinth or the Shepherd of Hermas because these filled additional paper in an ancient codex.

          Patrick ignores that the church is of Christ and thus follows first Jesus’s words. Christ had all authority (Matt 28:18). Christ gave those words to His apostles (John 17:8). Jesus sent the Spirit to guide the apostles to all truth (John 14:26; 16:12–13).

          How can any believer or church add to all truth? How does that allow any church to claim apostolic authority so to add traditions to God’s Word? NT Christians can neither venerate Mary, redefine presbyters and bishops, nor alter baptism and worship.

          Christians can only and must follow Christ to His church. If Patrick is to make his case, then he must trace a path from Christ to catholicism. However, P admits Christ and the apostles and yet he cannot make the essential connection of authority from Christ to a church that does not appear like the church that Jesus built and died for in the apostolic Scriptures. Patrick fails to bridge that impassible gulf from Christ’s apostles to catholicism.

          Because of this, Patrick concludes that I am dishonest.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Patrick says:

            You’re dishonest because in the past you’ve altered my comments, added links to my comments, stole my art, changed your replies to my comments, etc. Those are the documented, provable facts.

            Every single theological point you just tried to make is completely wrong, but you and your sect COUNTS ON people being too ignorant or unable to learn.

            Again, this comment of yours, Scott, is an example of the insanity that I avoid on my own website.


      • Patrick says:

        …and yes, people can discern. Many of them do, in fact. Thank God.


  2. Phil says:

    For the record, I have always believed that Jesus was present in human form, so apparently I’m not a Docetist. You both are wrong and did not bother to ask me what my understanding was on this subject. YOU ASSUMED! Jesus died as a human and was raised as a Spirit. Wow, imagine what this represents? We are to die to the flesh to be spiritually renewed. Did a light go on?


  3. Phil says:

    Scott said, “Regarding “intellect” and “logic”: Well, I think we should try to love God with all all our heart AND mind, not just our heart. Again, this illustrates the Catholic “both/and” way of thinking and the Protestant [not always] “either/or” way of thinking.”

    That’s interesting considering that man is made up of heart mind and intellect mind. The intellect is incapable of love. It can only process facts. It’s basically a computer. So the it’s impossible to love God with anything but your heart. Absolutely impossible!


  4. Phil says:

    If history is your proof of the the validity of how things should be done then show me where sprinkling was administered as a way to baptize. You are very inconsistent with your analogies.

    You and Scott have already shown your fallibility in calling me a Docetist. By definition I’m not. I do believe that Jesus was on earth in the flesh.

    We’re all fallible and thus should look to God for grace and mercy. He realizes our fallibility and saves us anyway. He requires faith. End of story.

    Salvation can be summed up in the following passage.

    Ephesians 2:7-9 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.


    • Phil,

      Salvation can be summed up in all of Christ’s words including Ephesians 2:1-10 and not just 2:7-9.

      Why then did Jesus command baptism in water if He was only spiritually resurrected? You know that Jesus commanded baptism in His name, and that baptism in His name is in water according to the Scriptures (Acts 10:47-48; cf. Matt. 28:19, Acts 2:38).


      • Phil says:

        I’m not denying water baptism. I’m questioning that you think salvation occurs only after immersion in water. This passage does not address this issue.

        The issue of when salvation occurs has been debated since the bible was given.

        Your theology says the that we are saved by grace and faith, through baptism. The NT says that we are saved by grace, through faith. That’s it!


        • We believe in salvation by grace and faith through Christ’s resurrection from baptism.


          • Phil says:

            The debate is about when salvation occurs. It is ongoing and has been the subject of debate for longer than you can imagine.

            You said, “We believe in salvation by grace and faith through Christ’s resurrection from baptism.”

            Eph. 2:8 says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

            You have added to the NT what is not there.


          • Salvation by grace is when a believer is raised with Christ according to Ephesians 2:4-6. This is the immediate context of Ephesians 2:8-9.

            The remote context includes the parallel passages of Colossians 2:12-13 and Romans 6:1-7.

            Salvation is at the point when we are raised with Christ. No debate – ever.


    • Take time and honestly reconsider Jesus’ words.

      “And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.'” (Luke 24:38-39).


      • Phil says:

        Obviously Jesus came back to the Disciples as human and appeared for awhile, but then disappeared as Spirit back into heaven. How do you account for flesh and bones ascending into a timeless realm. And how do you account for the fact that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God? I would ask you to take time and honestly consider this, also.

        This is not a salvation issue. It does not really matter whether Jesus was Spirit or Flesh after death, but it does show where ones emphasis is. Mine is on Spirit, and Spirit is invisible.


        • I take it that you have changed your understanding from what you wrote previously, “There was no physical body raised from the grave of Jesus. It was and is still Spiritual (invisible) in nature.”


          • Phil says:

            No, not at all. Why would you think that? He died to the physical body and was raised as a Spiritual Body. Nothing spiritual has form. Tell me what you have seen that is spiritual and has form. By definition spirit is invisible.


          • Phil says:

            Luke 24:31
            And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

            He vanished and turned invisible! Why would it be different from the grave?


          • I can see how it can be confusing to understand the glorified body. It is like understanding spiritual beings like angels appearing as men.


  5. Phil says:

    In reality it is sin that is most associated with grace, not water baptism. Grace is invoked through sin, not water baptism.

    Romans 5:20
    Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

    Ephesians 1:7
    In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

    Ephesians 2:5
    Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

    Which verses that mention grace also mention water baptism? Can’t find them. Being buried with Christ is a Spiritual burial since Christ is Spirit. You’ve gotta match like with like.


    • Should we ignore the Scriptures above? Should we ignore the whole council of God?


      • Phil says:

        So i twisted scripture by saying that grace is for the purpose of forgiving sins, as stated in the scriptures above? And you have given no scriptures that support that water baptism is associated with grace.



        • Phil says:

          There is not one thing in Eph. 2 that refers to water baptism. How can you conclude that grace is associated with water baptism?

          Your methodology makes it possible to associate anything with grace if one wants.


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