The Scriptures teach that God’s grace is offered to every man (Tit. 2:11-14 ff; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 1 John 2:1-2), but that it is received conditionally. There is something that man must do to be saved from the consequences of his sin. By teaching that there are conditions for receiving the grace of God, one is not affirming that he can earn his salvation through the works of men but of God (Eph. 2:8-10). “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (v10).
When Jesus sent his apostles to preach the gospel to all the world, he told them what men must do to be saved by grace. There are three accounts given of the Great Commission in the synoptic gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke. By looking at the sum total of what each says, one can learn the conditions for salvation.
Matthew 28:18-20: Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20). This passage affirms that one must hear the gospel preached and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in order to be saved from sin. When one does these things, he has Christ with him (i.e., he enters into a fellowship with Christ).
Mark 16:15-16: In Mark’s account of the Great Commission, Jesus said, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). These passages affirm that one must hear the gospel preached, believe it, and be baptized in order to saved from his sins.
Luke 24:46-47: Luke’s account contains these words from Jesus: “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In this context, Jesus stated that one must hear the preaching of Christ and repent of his sins in order to receive the remission of his sins.
From the Great Commission, one can see what Jesus taught the Apostles to preach in order for man to be saved by the grace of God. God’s grace is manifested in the gift of Jesus Christ whose shed blood makes forgiveness available to every man. Those who hear the saving gospel, believe it with all of their heart and confess such with their mouth, repent of their sins, and are baptized will be saved from their past sins by the grace of God.
If one doesn’t obey the gospel, then they can expect to receive this: “7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess 1:7-9); Obey the gospel and be saved. Reject the gospel and be condemned. It doesn’t get any more conditional than that!