“Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
Our Divine Lord taught nothing more plainly on earth than the fact that men have something to do in order to be saved. Nothing in all his teaching did he emphasize more than this. To accept only what suits us is to measure the Son of God by our own standards. He who disregards the teaching of Jesus in any respect disregards his authority.
In the conclusion of his grand Sermon on The Mount, he makes the difference between doing and not doing the things which he says, the exact difference between a wise man and a fool. Those who hear his words and do them are wise, building on a rock. But those who hear and do not are foolish, building on the sand (Luke 6:48-49).
If we accept Jesus as Lord, we are under obligation to do what he says. “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46), was one of his withering rebukes to those who claim to accept him as Lord and Master, and yet lightly estimate or disregard some of the things which he enjoins.
Since the will of God for man’s salvation is conditional, all should be deeply concerned to know the conditions.
Faith in Christ is made a condition of salvation, hence a condition of the great inheritance. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16).
“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
“Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book, but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31).
These and many other passages of the divine word show conclusively that faith in Christ as the Son of God is a condition of salvation through him.
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
“The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30).
“Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
Such statements as these by the Spirit of inspiration will satisfy all who believe the Bible that repentance is also a condition of salvation.
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33).
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10).
“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water: what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:36-37).
While the believing world generally concedes that faith and repentance are conditions of salvation, it denies a like position to baptism. Yet the Holy Scriptures are as clear in the one case as in the other. Jesus says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). How could he add “and is baptized,” if baptism is not a condition of the salvation promised? That would simply be misusing words and misleading the children of men.
Peter said to the heart-stricken multitude on Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
Ananias said to the penitent Saul, “Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Saul’s sins were not to be washed away in water—for water has no such virtue—but by the blood of Christ which cleanses from all sin.
This blood is reached in obeying him—in being “baptized into his death.” “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4).
Peter says, “Baptism doth also now save us,” and this salvation is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Pet. 3:21).
A Godly Life—Condition 5
One becomes a Christian—a follower of Christ—by faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, but the future heavenly inheritance is then conditioned upon a godly life. We are to add the Christian virtues to our faith. Our inheritance is conditioned on continuing to be God’s children.
And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:5-11).