Vol.XV No.IX Pg.6
November 1978

Means And Conditions

Robert F. Turner

The difference in the MEANS by which a thing is accomplished, and the CONDITIONS upon which the means will be exerted or applied, is of great significance in understanding salvation by grace. Salvation is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son..." (Jn. 3:16). God expressed His love by giving His son to die on our behalf — a gift for "all" (1 Tim. 4:10). But these passages, and others like them, make it clear that particular individuals benefit by the "gift" only when they meet its conditions. "Whosoever believeth—".

Some wish to make this "faith" the 'gift of God" and thus avoid any hint of synergism in redemption. The power or means of redemption is all in the hands of God. Man forfeits his just right to being pronounced "free from guilt" when he sins, and "all have sinned." If we are saved at all it will be because of God's mercy. But the "faith" of the above and like passages is a human response to evidence. It is the condition which man must produce before he will be saved. When God promised the overthrow of Jericho He said, "See, I have given into thy hand Jericho..." (Josh. 6:1-f). Later Joshua said, "Jehovah hath given you the city" (v.16): but they had to "take" it (v.20). They had to meet certain conditions before God's power (the means) caused the walls to fall. Marching, blowing horns, and shouting were not the means by which the walls were overthrown. God exerted His power to do that — thus it was a gift of God. There is no conflict in grace and meeting such conditions — the "grace-works" conflict of Rom. 4:4 and 11:6 being a reference to hypothetical perfection on man's part whereby he would merit the pronouncement "free from guilt."

If the water of Jordan, and the seven dippings of Naaman, had been the means of his cure, then "grace" would have been negated. But when we realize that God's power healed this Syrian captain (2 Kng. 5:1-17) and the dipping was but the condition imposed by God, we can understand why Naaman gave God the glory.

And so it goes, in scriptural example after example. Jesus healed the blind man (Jn. 9:1-f.), but He did so only after the man had washed in the pool of Siloam. And Jesus Christ is our Savior — God's gift to the world. But Jesus said, "Go ...preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved". (Mk. 16:15-16). The gift was to the world, and all in the world who will meet the conditions will be saved. It should be clear, however, that those who refuse to meet the conditions are lost in their sins.

Trying to limit "faith" to anything less than a whole-hearted effort to serve God above all else — to be baptized, to worship and labor in His vineyard — is a vain exercise. If we concede that man must do the believing — that this is a condition man must meet — it is foolish indeed to try and remove the necessity for all expressions of this faith which God has ordained. What God relates to remission of sins, or eternal life, we must consider as essential.