MUST WE DO GOD’S WILL TO BE SAVED?
Wayne S. Walker
QUESTION: “Is it right to say that we must do God’s will to be
saved when God’s will is that we believe and repent to be saved by the
shedding of blood and we can’t add anything else?”
There are many, many passages of scripture which teach that we must
do God’s will to be saved. Jesus Himself asked in Luke 6.46, “But why do
you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” To
acknowledge Jesus as Lord is more than just to confess Him as Lord with
our lips. Accepting Jesus as Lord means doing what He commands us to do.
Can a person be saved without loving Jesus? The obvious answer is no.
Yet Jesus again said in John 14.15, “If you love Me, keep My
commandments.” If we truly love Jesus, we will do everything that He
tells us to do by keeping all His commandments.
Yes, it is certainly God’s will that we believe on Christ. Jesus
said in John 8.24, “Therefore, I said to you that you will die in your
sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
And it is surely God’s will that we repent. Jesus said in Luke 13.3, “I
tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
And there is no doubt that we are saved by the shedding of Jesus’
blood. In Matthew 26.28 Jesus said regarding what the fruit of the vine
in the Lord’s supper would represent, “For this is My blood of the new
covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Without the
shedding of Jesus’ blood, there could be no remission of sins. But
consider this. According to the passages already cited, belief and
repentance are things that WE do to be saved. We choose to accept the
evidence presented by God and believe (John 20.30-31). We choose to turn
from our sins and repent (Acts 17.30-31). So when we believe and repent,
we are DOING God’s will to be saved.
However Jesus also said in Mark 16.16, “He who believes AND IS
BAPTIZED will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Jesus NEVER said, nor did any of His inspired messengers including the
apostle Paul ever say, that all we have to do to be saved is to believe
and repent. No mere human being added baptism to God’s plan of
salvation. Jesus Himself taught that we must be baptized to be saved.
So did Paul, as he wrote in Galatians 3.26-27, “For you are all sons
of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were
baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Where are children of God
found? They are in Christ. How did they come to be in Christ? They
came to be in Christ by faith. When did they come to be in Christ? When
they were “baptized into Christ.” So faithful Christians are not adding
anything else when they teach what Jesus and Paul taught, that he who
believes AND IS BAPTIZED will be saved, and that we must be BAPTIZED INTO
CHRIST to put on Christ.
Here is one other thought. We read where Jesus said that Hs blood
would be shed “for the remission of sins.” In carrying out Jesus’
command to preach the gospel to every creature, Peter in Acts 2.38,
answering a question concerning what to do to receive remission of sins,
said, “…Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of
the Holy Spirit.” Just as Jesus shed His blood “for remission of sins”
to make it available, so we must repent and be baptized “for remission of
sins” to receive it.
Therefore, to the honest Bible student there can be no doubt that we
must DO God’s will to be saved. Now, we must remember that the grounds
of our salvation is the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross of
Calvary. Our doing is not the grounds of our salvation. It is merely
the condition of receiving that salvation. But it is essential. “Not
everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7.21).
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