Roger M. Hendricks
Perhaps no question has received so many different answers as the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Hundreds of different answers have been given to this question. When we seek the assistance of the various preachers in our community or area, our dilemma still remains. The reason is that the preachers themselves differ in their ideas about how salvation is to be obtained.
To Whom Shall We Go?
Realizing that this is man’s most important question and that we must discover the proper answer to it, we wonder what is to be done. Where is the answer to be found? To whom shall we go in search for the truth regarding salvation?
In Titus 1:3 we learn that God is our saviour. This being the case, is it not reasonable to believe that we should inquire of him the answer to our question? Should we not ask, “What does God say about procuring salvation?”
God’s word, the Bible, teaches us that man is to have faith in the Almighty and in His Son, Jesus Christ. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:16). “…he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). Faith was required of the eunuch from Ethiopia and he declared, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37).
God Requires Repentance
Jehovah also demands repentance on the part of man. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). “Repent ye therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3:19). Repentance is a change of mind or heart which produces a change of life.
Confession of Jesus is Necessary
A confession of Jesus Christ as God’s Son is a part of God’s scheme of redemption. Jesus stated, “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 shall I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33). The apostle Paul, taught that “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10). We have previously noticed the confession made by the Ethiopian eunuch. It was simply, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). This is the confession which is “unto salvation.”
Baptism a Condition of Pardon
Baptism is a part of God’s plan of salvation. The Bible reveals that baptism is a burial and a resurrection. “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. 6:4). “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12).
Baptism is a burial into and a resurrection out of water. “…and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:38).
That baptism is a part of God’s plan of salvation can be seen from the following verses: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
Continued Obedience a Necessity
Having obeyed the afore mentioned commandments, one becomes a Christian and is added to the Lord’s church. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). He must, then, live a faithful Christian life; viz. a life of continued obedience to God. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 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).
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:4). “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
Theories of Men Unimportant
One should not be greatly concerned about what men say with regard to salvation. All men are fallible; all can err! The Pharisees in the days of the Master considered the traditions of men to be of greater value than the commands of God. Jesus condemned this erroneous theory in these words:
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandments of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (Mark 7:7-9).
Our interest should be in what God says and only in what he says!
What Will You do With Jesus?
Each of us must do something with God’s dear Son. We must render obedience to His will or we must reject him and remain in disobedience. The choice is an individual one. Which will you choose to do? Our sincere desire and prayer is that you will choose to do as God commands.