Vol.XIII No.II Pg.5
April 1976

To Be Justified... Saved?

Robert F. Turner

(continued from previous page)

One thing man must do in order to be saved is to truly believe — place trust —in Jesus Christ. This is something man does — it springs from the human heart in response to evidence (Rom. 10:l3-l7). It affects his destiny. Jesus said, If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins (Jn. 8:24). Here is choice, with differing destinies. Some seek to avoid the human aspects of faith by saying it is a natural response to grace, but this begs the question. Is it human behavior, human response? It is unless — unless — we are ready to accept the Calvinistic concept that faith is a gift of God. I will be pained but not surprised to hear this (or derivatives of it) among brethren who are now toying with Calvinistic concepts of redemption.

Now, is this faith acceptable in the absence of overt demonstration? I know God can see the heart — I know He is a Just God — but at what point does God say He will forgive sins? Is there scriptural reason to believe we are forgiven of past sins before we do His bidding, or when we obey Him? John 12:42-f. records, Many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. But we are told, this was not a trusting faith. How do we know it wasnt? Because it did not manifest itself — and that is the very point Jesus makes. he that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. We have no assurance of justification or of acceptable judgment except as we heed and conform to the message of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gave us specific answers to the query, What Must I Do to be Saved? and we are foolish who allow theological speculations about faith to lead us away from these simple answers.

The Jailor was told to Believe — and then Paul and Silas preached to him. Believe was an incomplete answer in the absence of the word of the Lord for there is no reason to think the jailor had even heard of Jesus Christ. When he had been taught he came to the Lord, being baptized. (Acts 16:30-33) On Pentecost, after hearing that Jesus was the Christ of their hope, the Jews asked, what shall we do? and were told, 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: 37-41). And Saul, who had heard much of Jesus but rejected His claims, was allowed to see the Lord in glory. He believed, and was penitent (Acts 9:3-11); so Ananias said, Why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16)

Man must recognize his lost condition and be taught that Jesus Christ died and lives again for his salvation. Denying himself (Matt. 16:24) he must repent of his past, and be buried with Christ in baptism (Rom. 6:3-8) whereupon he is freed from past sins, and is expected to live for Christ.

Mans doing is not the price of redemption but it is the condition upon which God receives and blesses.