Action required of an individual in order to become a Child of God.
– Look around and you will find people telling you a variety of things that you are required to do to become a Child of God.
- Since God will be our eternal judge, it is what God says through His Word that is important, as we look for an answer to the requirements to become recognized (by God) as one of His children.
- I hope you will open your Bible and study each of these passages.
-Perhaps we should first establish that there is something for you to do, if you desire salvation.
- Some of those listening to Peter speak, asked: “Brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37
- When Christ appeared to Saul, Saul asked, “What shall I do, Lord?”Acts 22:10
- After the Philippian jailer narrowly escaped death, he asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”Acts 16:30
- Christ died for all mankind, Titus 2:11, but this does not mean that all will be saved. Matthew 7:21-23
- Jesus spoke of two ways which men travel: a narrow way “that leads to life” and a broad way “that leads to destruction”.He emphasized that “many” are on the broad way and “few” are on the narrow way.Matthew 7:13,14
- Salvation is a gift, but a gift can be accepted or rejected.
- Each individual decides whether to accept God’s gift of grace or to reject it.
- Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7 declares that more will reject God’s gift than accept it.
-How can we accept the gift of salvation?
- The author of the book of Hebrews wrote, concerning Jesus, that “He became, to all those who obey Him, the source of eternal salvation”.Hebrews 5:9
- Thus, we are required to accept His Word or His commandments through obedient faith.
- Does this mean that, by man having something to do in order for God’s salvation to be given, salvation is no longer by grace?
- We must clearly understand that our obedience does not earn our salvation.
- Rather, by being obedient, we make it possible for God to give that salvation.
-What is involved in our response of faith and obedience in accepting God’s gift of salvation?
- Jesus instructed His followers to: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.” Mark 16:15,16
- Paul said that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ”. Romans 10:17
- Paul said that the Gospel is “the power of God to salvation”. Romans 1:16
- Movement towards salvation begins with learning about Jesus and His Way.
-Once one begins to know about God and His will, that individual is required to have faith or believe in the message of salvation.
- Jesus said that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”John 3:16
- Acts 16:31, Romans 5:1, and Ephesians 2:8,9 are among the many passages which teach that faith is a necessary ingredient in the salvation process.
- “Belief” and “faith” mean the same thing, being two different words in many translations of the Bible but both having been translated from the same Greek word.
- To be saved, we must stop trusting in our own goodness and start trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- Faith is the foundation of every other positive response to the Lord.
- Faith is the beginning, not the end, of our response.
- James wrote: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” James 2:24
-Once one knows what he needs to do by hearing the message of salvation and believing what God’s Word says, then one is required to repent of his sins.
- Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”. Luke 13:3
- Peter told his listeners, “Repent, and each of you be baptized”.Acts 2:38
- Paul said, “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent”. Acts 17:30
- What exactly is repentance?
- Some think of repentance as sorrow for sin.-Others think of it as a change of life.
- When a man truly repents, he will be sorry that he has sinned, and his life will be changed.
·Paul says that repentance stands between these two actions.2 Corinthians 7:10 “the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance … leading to salvation.”
- A change of life is the result of repentance.
- The Greek word translated “repent” literally means “to have a new mind”.
- When applied to people, repentance is a change of mind concerning sin.
- True repentance will always have an effect on a person’s life.
- It will not produce a perfect life, because no one is perfect (other than Jesus – 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22); but it will change the life for the better, one striving to become Christ-like.
- If there is no change of life, there probably was no repentance.
- Some believe repentance to be the hardest part of the conversion process because, for most, it calls for a significant change in lifestyle.
-Another way that faith in Jesus expresses itself is by the confession of that faith.
- The close relationship between faith and confession can be seen in Romans 10:9,10.“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
- If we want to be saved, we must confess Jesus as Lord. Jesus said: “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”Matthew 10:32,33
-What does it mean to confess Jesus as Lord?
- It is a confession of faith in Jesus, not a confession of sins.
- It is a confession with the mouth.
- It is a confession before others.
- One confession of faith is found in Matthew 16.Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was.Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16
- Confession is to be made before baptism. Mark 16:16
-Obedience in becoming a Child of God ends in baptism.
- Baptism is a necessary action required before one will be given salvation.
- The Apostle Paul, in telling about his conversion, says that he was told that he needed to “be baptized to wash away his sins”. Acts 22:16
·In other words, his sins were not washed away prior to his being baptized.
- We are told, in the story of the Philippian jailer, that, after asking what he must do to be saved, that he was told that he needed to believe. Acts 16:31
·Believing in what he had been taught was necessary before he would be willing to take any further actions.
·In Acts 16:33, we are told that “immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.”
- On the day of Pentecost, Peter instructed those gathered before him to “Repent each of you and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.” Acts 2:38
·Continuing in Acts 2:41, we are told: “So then, those who had received his word were baptized: and that day there were added about three thousand souls.”
- Peter wrote: “God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you.” 1 Peter 3:20,21
- Baptism involves immersion in water.
- I would urge you to read the book of Acts. Many call it the Book of Conversions.
- Every example, where we are given the details of the baptism process, involved immersion in water.
- History bears out that for hundreds of years after the establishment of the New Testament Church, in the first century, baptism was by immersion.
- It has been only in later years that man has deviated from that practice.
- The English word “baptism” is translated from a Greek word which literally means “immersion”.
- As we study the scriptures, we find that in order to be given salvation by God, we must believe, repent, confess, and finalize our obedience process by immersion in baptism.
- Those actions are required after hearing what God’s Word teaches.“So, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
- Won’t you hear and obey what God’s Word teaches?
Contact a congregation of the Lord’s Church, the Church of Christ, for further study from God’s Word.
Charles Hardison – Cornersville Church of Christ