Tag Archives: soteriology

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

This was the question that the Philippian jailer posed to Paul and Silas after the midnight earthquake in Acts 16:30. Their answer was short and simple, “Believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

I was asked by a fellow believer at my church recently, “What exactly do you think a person must believe in order to be saved?”

The content of saving faith has been a hot topic recently among some of the blogs that I frequent. The answers run the gamut of a broad spectrum of extremes, with many other positions between the two.

Believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

There are two texts that I believe shed some light upon exactly what it is that we must believe in order to be saved:

  1. Romans 10:9-10, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
  2. I Corinthians 15:1-4, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

Both Acts 16:31 and Romans 10:9-10 refer to Jesus as being “Lord”. This recognition of His lordship is where I believe we find the element of repentance imbedded in saving faith. This recognition is not a work of the flesh, but is indeed a “change of mind”, realizing that it is to Jesus that we are accountable and that it is He who holds the keys to eternity. He alone has the authority and the ability to provide salvation to those who believe. It is an awareness that we are a sinner, that we are not “okay” as we are and that we have a definite need to be forgiven of God.

When the angels announced His birth to the shepherds in Luke 2:11, they stated, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

His work as Savior was coupled with His lordship, even at His birth.

These texts also refer to Him by His name, Jesus. One must know in whom they are believing to be saved. Rom. 10:14, How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? It is not enough to receive Him as a mere teacher or prophet, one must believe that He is the Son of God, receiving Him as the light of God come into the darkness of this world. (John 1:12)

These texts also refer to Jesus as “Christ”. There can be no salvation apart from a belief in what Jesus did as the “anointed one” to cover our sins. The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world is the only worthy sacrifice for our redemption. It is only through the message of the cross that one understands their need of salvation. One must understand that they are a sinner in need of divine forgiveness and that Jesus has provided access to that forgiveness by His death, burial and resurrection.

If you are reading this post and have never put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I would encourage you to take this step. Anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved. Come to Him in faith, believing that He is the Son of God and that He died and rose again to cover your sins and you can receive His gift of eternal life.

A Call For Civility

It is with a burdened heart that I write this post. I am concerned about something that is occurring among Christian blogs even as I sit at my keyboard.

Over the past month or so I have observed and even participated in an ongoing discussion among evangelical bloggers. This conversation has primarily been among those who would identify themselves in alignment with Free Grace theology or a more centrist soteriological position. These are people that I believe are sincere in what they believe and I look at them as my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Debates among bloggers are certainly not unusual occurrences. Having often engaged in them myself, I find that they can be stimulating, challenging and generally enriching when conducted in a gracious spirit.

What concerns me in this particular situation, however, is the devolvement of the dialogue into a playground brawl. I have observed name-calling, childish attempts at deceit, intimidation tactics, taunting, false accusations and even people questioning one another’s salvation. Instead of getting better, the problems are escalating, even spilling over onto blogs that are not even a part of the discussion. Not everyone involved in the debate has stooped to such tactics, but many have.

I have watched as pastors, teachers, theologians, students, authors and lay-persons alike have sullied themselves in this fray and are doing so head-long with little regard to possible consequences.

Brothers and sisters, I implore you in the name of our Lord, let us put an end to this maliciousness. I am not asking anyone to compromise their beliefs, or even end the discussion. The truth of the gospel is always worth proclaiming, but let us do so in a Christ-like spirit.

Let us keep in mind that while we may consider this to be an intramural debate, this forum is visible before the whole world. We must remember that this is being observed by those who do not know our Lord. Do we honestly think that this will have the effect of drawing them to Him?

I am sure that each person involved is convinced of the rightness of their particular theological position. That is between them and the Lord. But nowhere does God ever give us license to treat each other with such acidic behavior, even if the other person is a “heretic”.

I do not write this to sound arrogant or judgemental. This is merely a plea from my heart to those who will hear it. Let us treat one another with the same grace that God has extended to us.