Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Archive for Apr. 9, 2017

Salvation Is So Much More Than 5 Simple Steps

What must one do in order to be saved? It’s the greatest question anyone could ever ask. The jailer asked it in Acts 16. The penitent of Pentecost asked it in Acts 2. The Ethiopian nobleman asked it in the form of a negative inquiry, “What prevents me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:36). Jesus read the question in the heart of Nicodemus before it could ever be voiced by his lips (Jn 3:1-3).

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Salvation is so much more than 5 simple steps, though these 5steps gain us access into the Lord’s church (Acts 2:37-47). Oh, how often and simple we make it. We must (1) hear, (2) believe, (3) confess, (4) repent, (5) and be baptized. Those are facts of biblical salvation. There is ample scriptural command and instruction behind each of those five responsibilities in the converting process. None of those five things denies salvation by faith, but rather they are all a part of salvation by faith. Likewise, none of those five things denies salvation by the grace of God for even when one has done everything required of him by his Creator, he still doesn’t place God in his debt. When all is said and done, we are saved by God’s mercy and loving kindness.

But is that all God asks of us? Hardly! I suggest that one can comply with each of those requirements and still fail to see heaven by a country mile. Each of these 5 things are essential to salvation and no one can be saved without doing them, but there is so much more before one obtains salvation according to the scripture. Considers these:

I Must Forgive 

Jesus said plainly, “If you do not forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matt. 6:15). Wasn’t that the point of the story of the unmerciful slave (Matt. 18)? “So shall my heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart” (v.35). And John adds that anyone who claims Christ but hates his brother “is a liar” (1 Jn 4:20) and “walks in the darkness” (1 Jn 2:11). People whom God will not forgive, people who are liars, and people who walk in “darkness” will not be saved (Rev 21:8). No one can be saved and fail to forgive their brother. It is essential to salvation.

I Must Do Good Unto All Men

Galatians 6:10 is written in the context of eternal life. “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:9-10). Galatians 6:10 is a passage perverted by our institutional brethren who misuse it to justify the church involvement in private enterprise. The church, it is argued, has a right to fund private businesses and to underwrite education, health care, etc. because Galatians 6:10 says to do good unto all men. Careful students of the Word have correctly countered that the context of Galatians 6:1-10 is a discussion of the responsibilities of individual Christians and not the church collectively.

But may I voice a concern? How many of us live in violation of the very argument we make? Yes, “doing good unto all men” is an individual responsibility but how many individuals take that seriously? For example, are you involved in any kind of charity work? Do you devote any time to the needs of others? Do you help financially with someone you learn is struggling? There are many different ways that we as individuals can sow good deeds unto all men, but we must sow if we expect to reap.

I Must Bear Fruit

“I am the vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away . . .” (Jn 15:1-2a). God requires that we bear fruit and fruit-bearing occurs in two ways. First, we bear fruit by leading others to the source of light. As Andrew brought his brother (Jn 1:40-41), as Phillip brought Nathanael (Jn 1:45-46), and as the Samaritan woman brought her friends (Jn 4:28-30), so must we invite, encourage, and lead others to Jesus to the best of our opportunity and ability (Jam 5:19,20). That is fruit-bearing.

Secondly, we bear fruit by adorning ourselves with the characteristics of the one we follow. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control . . .” (Gal. 5:22-23). In so doing, we avoid works of the flesh such as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings (Gal 5:19-21). Truly, if we belong to Christ then we will strive to bear the fruit of a Spiritual kind of life. It’s a must in order to be saved.

I Must Endure Persecution

Jesus suffered “such contradiction of sinners against himself . . .” even though he lived a perfect life. While the world looked upon him as a radical fanatic, he was “faithful to Him that appointed him . . .” and God was well pleased.

From the life of Christ we learn that persecutions are the lot of those who obey God. We also see in him a perfect example of what our reaction ought to be to such trials. The apostle Peter writes, “For hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously” (1 Pet 2:21-23).

The apostle Paul said, “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12). Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:24-26) All Christians will suffer persecutions and their obedience to Christ will cause them to lose many advantages in this life. All Christians will suffer with similar afflictions which Peter described as “fiery trials” just because they are a Christian. (1 Pet 5:9,10 f; 1 Pet 4:12,16) Christians will suffer with bad health, live in poverty, and be considered the vagabonds of the world. (Jam 2:5) Yet, God is merciful to his own and will deliver them by means of prayer if it be according to his will. (1 Jn 5:14). If we reject persecution, we cannot be saved.

I Must Study The Bible

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 4:15). Yes, I know that Timothy was a preacher, but God expects all of us to study his word (Acts 17:11). From this passage I learn that God approves of those who read and study his word, and disapproves those who do not. Can a person be saved who is disapproved by God?

Do you breathe every day? Do you eat and drink every day? Do you read your Bible every day? There are some things we just do every day, and reading the word should be one of them. I am convinced the reason many Christians aren’t as strong spiritually as they should be is because they don’t take in enough “milk of the word” (1 Pet. 2:2). It is the best preventative against spiritual osteoporosis. Milk does a body good, and the milk of the Word does our soul good! Heaven approves of those who live not by bread alone, “but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). If we do not study God’s Word we will be lead astray (Mk 12:24).

Conclusion: There are specific acts of faith with which one must comply in order to be saved. We must give ear to the gospel of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4), we must believe Jesus to be the Christ in our heart and confess Him to be the Christ with our mouth (Rom 10:10), repent and be baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). However, that is only the beginning. John concluded the matter when he wrote, “Be thou faithful unto death and I (God) will give you a crown of life” (Rev 2:10). God promised it, and He keeps His promises (Tit 1:2 f; Heb 6:18,19).

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