By Jim Miller
Yes sir there are even qualifications for being a member of the Lords church. This usually comes under the heading of what must I do to be saved.
What Must One Do?
The New Testament answers this inquiry so plainly that one can easily list the acts leading to Jesus in order (John 1:12). These are not just cold, formal demands but rather provisions, privileges, and opportunities afforded by the grace of God for man’s salvation. Let us examine these acts or steps one by one.
Step Number 1: One must hear (come to an understanding of) the word. The Inspired Word gives the evidence, substance, and assurance by which faith is produced and sustained in God, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in man’s needs, as well as in God’s grace and provisions for man’s salvation (Heb. 11:1; Jude 3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3-4).
Christ commissioned His apostles to go into all the world and preach, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:15-16). Also, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you… and lo, I am with you alway?” (Matt. 28:20). Paul declared, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. . .” (Rom. 1:16). “. . . the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). Thus the exhortation, “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21-25). Notice the essentiality of being “doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
The Word Gives The Reasons For Believing
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). The Holy Spirit revealed God’s way and provisions for man’s salvation through inspired men “for the obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5; 16:26; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). John declares this to be the purpose of the written word, “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; Jude 3). The only thing that keeps one from being saved is his lack of faith sufficient to move him to submit himself in humble obedience to the Lord (Heb. 4:2; Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 35-38; 16:31-34).
Step Number 2. One must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Paul’s answer to the Philippian jailer was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house.” This is not “faith only.” It is faith, the essential reason and motivating power, that moves one to accept Jesus as both Lord and Christ and to obey Him (John 1:12; 1 John 5:4-5). “But without faith it is impossible to please him . . . .” Jesus said, “For if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24; Heb. 11:6). He also said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:15-16). James plainly states, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone,” and adds, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:17, 20, 24). Surely, it is “faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6). If one truly believes, he will seek to know, trust, and obey Jesus (Acts 2:41-42; 18:8; Rom. 6:16-18). Saving faith is not saving oneself by his own works or righteousness, but rather, submitting himself completely to the Lord to do His will (Phil. 3:8-11; Gal. 2:20).
Step Number 3: Jesus commands all men to repent (Acts 17:30; 2 Pet. 3:9). Repentance is the turning point, changing of one’s mind from his own thinking and ways to accept God’s thinking and ways (Isa. 55:6-9). One must have sufficient faith to convict him of wrong and convince him of what is right. This induces “godly sorrow (which) worketh repentance unto salvation,” or which leads one to repent (2 Cor. 7:10). Jesus said, “I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Repentance is an act of faith, the changing of one’s mind or will from wrong to right, from Satan to God. Jesus gave a good illustration in the parable of the man who had two sons “and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.” He said, “I will not: but afterward he repented, and went” (Matt. 21:28-29). The “and went” was an action after the repentance. Repentance was the changing of mind, the result was “and went,” with the idea to work understood. Peter said, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). Repentance, then, is the making up, settling down, establishing one’s own mind in true conviction of what is the right life to life. True repentance encompasses the determination to live for Christ.
Step Number 4: With the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:10). Faith is an absolute essential every step of the way to Jesus (Heb. 10:39). The confession is a public acknowledgement of one’s faith in Jesus without reservation. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shalt confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32). This is the good confession Philip called upon the Eunuch to make that he might be baptized .into Jesus Christ (Acts 8:35-39).
Step Number 5: One must be baptized into Christ for remission of sins. Why be baptized? (1) Not because water saves; (2) not because he can save himself without the Lord; and (3) not because she can do enough good works to earn salvation. There is no power in the water. One can not save himself; man does not even know what to do, much less can he do enough to earn salvation. One must commit himself to the, Lord for salvation (2 Tim. 1:12-13). He said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). He commissioned His apostles to go into all the world and preacher the gospel: “make disciples. . . baptizing them into 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. . .” (Matt. 28:19-20). Peter preacher of the first sermon ever preached after the commission was given. Those who heard were pricked in their heart and asked, “What shall we do?” Peter answered, “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). Their repentance and baptism was for the same purpose, “unto remission of sins.” If baptism was because of salvation, then repentance was also because of salvation. Each (baptism and repentance) is an act of faith in order to the forgiveness of sins. These are commands to be obeyed. The result which is promised is remission sins.
Why be baptized? (1) To obey Christ’s teaching (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:16). Those who rejected John’s baptism rejected the counsel of God (Luke 7:30); much more, those who reject Christ’s baptism reject the counsel of God (Acts 19:1-5). (2) To follow the Spirit’s teaching (1 Cor. 12:13); and (3) to obey the apostles teaching (Acts 2:38; 10:48; 18.-8; 19.-1-5; Rom. 6.-3-4; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21). The New Testament’s purpose for baptism is explained in the following words: (1) “born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5); (2) to be “saved” (Mark 16:16); (3) “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); (4) to “wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16); (5) “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:4); (6) “the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5); and Peter plainly states, (7) “Baptism doth also now save us” (1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism is emphasized by Noah’s salvation from the old world to the new. Water was a means God used to save Noah and family. Baptism is a means, an act of faith in obedience to Jesus’ command and in acceptance of the promise to save. He said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Do you believe Him (Luke 6:46)?