Randy, one of our readers asked: “What Must a Person Do to Be Saved?”
Firstly, we should start with the presumption that man was made in the
image of God. One of the attributes of Deity is His possession of a will, the
ability to make choices. God, we understand this from a complete reading of the Holy Scriptures, gave humankind the ability to exercise his will, ability to
make choices. Even the angels were created with a will, but some, including the Devil willed and chose not to stay within the boundary set by God. See
suggestions in Isaiah 14:11-15 and Ezekiel 28:13-15. See also Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4.So they were judged.
Did Adam and Eve exercise free will or not? Did God predestined them to be rebellious and then pronounced upon them disobedience? Is it reasonable to think that God made and predestined Adam and Eve as disobedient and then God became displeased when they were disobedient? If a scientist programs a robot to be disobedient and when he commands the robot would the scientist be angry if the robot follows what it is programmed to do, to be disobedient? No. Is God worse than a scientist? No.
We could not talk about faith and trust in God if there were no free will.
Abraham is honored for his faith because he wisely exercised his choices: to
trust in God when things were difficult and even impossible. (See our previous posting on Abraham). When God made a covenant with the nation of Israel, God made the people to exercise their choice. See Exodus 19:5-8. There are many passages that teach God’s expectation for man to
obey. Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 6:46 and many other verses teach free will as the basis of God showing pleasure on those who obey. The last chapter of Revelation (22:17) says, “And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Clearly, there is free will in man. There’s man’s participation in his salvation.
Secondly, let’s make it clear that man’s actions or responses to
the invitation and directives of God should NOT be an attitude of DOING
LABORIOUS WORK THEN DEMAND WAGES FROM GOD. Rather, the attitude should be humility, gratitude for free provisions as basis of salvation (sufferings, death, burial and and the easy steps to take to show
obedience). The attitude in response to God’s invitation is “faith unto
faith” which means start with faith in one’s heart and continuing with
faith up to the end of life. See Habakkub 2:4 and Romans 1:16-17.
Response with faith in one’s heart towards the directives of God are expected. These responses taken in small steps should not be viewed as a laborer’s efforts that demand legal remuneration. These efforts should not make God indebted to a laboring person. Rather, the attitude should be likened to an indigent person who goes to a hospital’s emergency room asking to be saved from certain death if not attended to. The doctors and nurses will ask the person to do several things: answer interview questions, lay down on the bed,allow an ampule of blood drawn from his vein for examination, allow technicians to take the ECG, do X-Ray, open his armpit for the thermometer, open his mouth for the medicines, swallow medicines, inhale the nebulizer smoke, take in several medicines, eat food supplied to him in his bed, so on and so forth. Suppose the indigent, sickly person refuses to obey? Will the hospital staff help him? Certainly not.
Generally speaking, here are the basic steps taken by the alien sinner so
that he could properly respond to the directives issued by God:
1. Hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17; Acts 16:32).
2. Believing what is taught about Christ the Savior (Mk16:16; Heb. 11:6).
3. Repentance (Acts 2:38; Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30).
4. Confession that Jesus is the Christ (Rom 10:9-10; Acts 8:37).
5. Be baptized (Acts 2:38; Mk 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Rom 6:1-13).
6. Faithful, Christian living (1 Pet.2:11,12; Titus 1:11-14; Rev. 2:10).
I trust that the above is sufficient to give the basic guidance in what
must a person do in humbly responding to God’s invitation. We shall
appreciate any comment to this view submitted herein. — Eusebio Tanicala