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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Sole Condition of Salvation

Act 16:30-31 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

"What must I do to be saved?" is a question of no small importance.
First, it indicates that men are lost. It implies that there is something about a man that would cause God to bar him from heaven.
Second, it indicates that this condition of being lost is something that needs to be changed.
It implies that there is a consequence for not being saved – and that this consequence is something to be feared and avoided. This Jailer, who only a few hours before had scorned the message Paul and Silas preached, now invites them to speak to him about the way of salvation. Their songs of praise had tendered his heart and the earthquake had put a fear of their God into his soul. Trembling, Luke records, he fell down before those men of God, brought them out of the prison, and asked, "What must I do to be saved?"

How that question is answered can mean the difference between heaven and hell.
It would be hard to find a statement in the Bible that more clearly presents the way of salvation than Paul and Silas’ response. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." It shows how anxious Paul was to make the way of salvation clear. Although he taught some things that are hard to understand, the way to heaven was not one of them. "Believe" was the sole condition Paul put forth as the means of being saved.

Unfortunately, the simple requirement of believing in Christ has fallen upon hard times. We have substituted a number of ambiguous terms that leave a lot of room for diversity in meaning. And note, ALL ARE UNSCRIPTURAL AND NONE CAN SAVE. I challenge you to find a Scripture in which a man is told to "Invite Christ into his life" or "Ask Jesus in your heart" for salvation. It sounds like the man is being asked to include Christ in his daily activities, to treat Him as another person in his life as he would his wife or a business partner.
While listening to the radio a couple of Sundays ago, I tuned into a baptismal service. The first candidate, the preacher announced, had "Given his life to God." That sounds so spiritual, but God only asked for one life for salvation – that of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The issue in salvation is not what we give to God, but what He has given to us. He doesn’t want your heart, your life, your money, or anything else. Salvation is His gift to you.

To be saved, a man is not asked to commit his life to Christ, to make Christ Lord of his life, turn from sin, or any other act of dedication. These are conditions of discipleship and blessing. To make them conditions of salvation is to preach a message that is confusing, cannot save and that Scripture condemns. In Galatians 1:8, Paul wrote, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you … let him be accursed."

2 comments:

Bob Ingram said...

A-MEN! would to God, we all would have this simple understanding.

Salvation (gift) First
Baptism (Obedience) second
Church Membership (education)
Growth- continually

Bill Sturm said...

Good strong posting and good point on the "giving one's life to Christ".

Thank you.