The Conditions And Steps To Salvation
By Elder H.D. Hansboro
In this article I would like to discuss the plan of Salvation and the steps necessary for an individual to be saved. Let us look to the Word of God for light on the subject.
Romans 10:13-15 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Acts 2:38 `Then Peter said unto them, 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 ”
Mark 16:15-16 `And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned”
In God’s Word we find that the way of salvation is clearly outlined in many places. In order for a person to be saved, he or she must first of all, hear the gospel, believe what he or she hears, act on or obey, what they hear, and repent of their sins, be baptized in water in Jesus Name for the remission of sins, then God fills the repented person with His Holy Spirit. The person who is filled with the Spirit will speak in other tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utterance. In order to remain saved, a person would have to remain in the faith, maintain good works and live a Godly, Holy, dedicated life.
I would like to comment on the different conditions of salvation and also God’s plan of salvation.
THE FIRST CONDITION IS: HEARING
Paul said, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14.) The Word of God teaches us that in order for a person to be saved he must have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. How can he have faith in our Lord if he has not heard of Him? In our anxiety to get people to our altars and have them profess the Holy Ghost, I wonder if we overlook the fact that God’s salvation is perfect in its saving power and does not need any implementation on our part.
Paul said, in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” He clearly states that the preaching of the Gospel is what God uses to save souls. Paul also said, “The preaching of the Cross is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto we that are saved, it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18.) In Romans 1:16, Paul says that the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. Then in I Corinthians 1:18, he says that the preaching of the Cross is the power. Then we can safely say that the preaching of the Cross is the Gospel. In preaching the Cross, we lift up Jesus, show Him as the sinless substitute, as God’s sacrifice, as the Saviour of the world, and that all is to be done in His name. How much preaching of the Cross do we hear today? If we neglect this ministry in our churches, we may not have a church. Time after time we hear sermons preached around well known and also obscure texts of the Bible and never a word about the Blood or the Cross. Can it be possible that we are depending on sinners to hear about this somewhere else before attending our services? Do we have a right to expect sinners to be born into the Family of God who have never heard of the Atoning Blood of our Lord and His sufferings on Calvary?
Many times we boast of our great Spiritual services where no preaching was done because God blessed in such a great way yet the Word says that our Lord has chosen by the foolishness of preaching that men might hear, and by hearing believe and then repent and be baptized in Jesus Name and receive the Holy Ghost. Somewhere the foundation has to be laid. So often we have seen altar calls given when sinners were present for the first time and nothing was said during the entire sermon to lift up Jesus. The emphasis was placed on revival or something else. Yet these same sinners were asked to come forward and repent and receive the Holy Ghost. The Bible teaches that Godly sorrow worketh repentance. What causes Godly sorrow? It isn’t the sorrow of one who has been caught and is full of remorse. It is the sorrow that grips a sinners’ heart as he views Calvary and sees himself in the light of the Cross. I am afraid many of the production line converts of today have very little understanding of sacrifice and blood and such. No wonder so many don’t have a true love for the things of God. John said that all the things recorded in the book of John were written that men might believe. (John 20:31.)
THE SECOND CONDITION IS: BELIEVING OR FAITH
Again, we state that the purpose of preaching is that men might believe. Many people may have heard of Calvary and believe that such a place actually existed, may believe that Jesus died there and yet be forever lost. Even the devils believe and tremble yet are lost. This is not saving faith in itself. The faith necessary to Salvation will move a man to not only believe the Gospel but to be a supporter and follower of it. To adhere to and rely on it. To see that obedience to the Gospel is the only means of escape from the wrath of God and the judgment to come.
THE THIRD CONDITION IS: OBEDIENCE
One may hear of our dear Lord’s sacrifice, may believe the report of His redeeming blood, yet the hearer will die lost and be eternally damned unless he or she acts on what he hears and believes. It is not enough just to hear and believe. One must obey the scriptures concerning salvation. The first commandment God gives the sinner to obey is:
FIRST STEP: REPENTANCE
Peter commanded men to repent in his message on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:38.) Jesus said, “Lest ye repent ye shall also likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5.)
Repentance has been said to be a change of direction. Repentance represents death, water baptism represents burial. Many people no doubt, have been buried in baptism who have not died through repentance. Sometimes repentance may require making restitution.
You no doubt have heard it said that one can come in off the street and receive the Holy Ghost in two or three minutes. If so, there had to be a foundation laid somewhere else. Can a person receive the Holy Spirit without having Jesus preached to them? Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so must the Son of Man be lifted up that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:18-19.) The Word also states that no man can come to Jesus unless he is drawn of the Father. (John 6:44.)
Repentance is the dying out to the carnal nature and its appetites. It is not only heartfelt sorrow for ones sins against his Maker but also a determination not to go back into the mire from which he was dug. Repentance is to be experienced before baptism. Sinners should be confronted with the fact before baptism that a Holy God demands separation from sin before a person is baptized. If a person is not willing in his heart to forsake sin you can be sure it is not Godly sorrow that motivates him. Let us face facts, God is not going to occupy an unclean, unconverted temple. At this point a man must clean up his thinking. We may get people to the altar. They may make a profession and claim the Holy Ghost. But, unless their life bears out that they are a new creation, they are not going anywhere. Neither have they received the Holy Ghost. Paul said in his letter to the church at Corinth, “Wherefore if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away, behold all things are become new” (1 Corinthians 3:17.)
SECOND STEP: WATER BAPTISM IN JESUS NAME
Water baptism in Jesus Name for the remission of sins is a part of God’s plan for the salvation of man. Mark 16:15-16 says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Peter, in Acts 2:38, commanded men to repent and be baptized in Jesus Name for the remission of sins. In answer to those who believe that he was only talking to the Jews, he commanded Cornelius, and his house, who was a Gentile to be baptized in Jesus name. This was after the Holy Ghost had already fallen on Cornelius and those gathered to hear Peter speak.
Apparently, in Apostolic days, men received the Holy Ghost as soon as they were baptized. No doubt it was due to the fact that Jesus was preached to them and they repented of their sins. Phillip went down to
Samaria and preached Jesus to the people. Peter preached Jesus at Pentecost. In both cases, after the people were baptized in Jesus Name, they received the Holy Ghost. It would behoove us to remember that only God gives the Holy Ghost. No doubt we have all seen men surrounded by workers in the altar and shook, patted, rubbed, and various other things done and at the same time, someone shouted in their ear, yet they did not receive the Holy Ghost. Could it be that the person seeking the Holy Ghost has not met God’s conditions? Can he receive the Holy Ghost without having heard or without repenting? It is true that in some cases the Holy Ghost is given prior to water baptism being administered but in most cases, it is only after a person is baptized in Jesus Name that the Holy Ghost is given. It also appears that in Apostolic days that as soon as possible after repentance, a person was baptized. Is it right for us to put off baptizing someone because the water is too cold or it isn’t convenient to baptize right away? I believe you will agree that after a person has met God’s conditions for Salvation and repented we, as ministers, should baptize them as soon as possible
We read in God’s Word that in order for a man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven he must be born of the water and of the Spirit. (John 3:5.) Therefore, a person must:
RECEIVE THE HOLY GHOST WITH EVIDENCE OF SPEAKING IN OTHER TONGUES
The Word states that the Lord gives the Holy Ghost to them that obey Him. (Acts 5:32.)
Some of the things seen today in Pentecostal Churches are almost unbelievable. If anyone should know how to instruct sinners on how to be saved, we Pentecostals should know. Yet men walk into our churches and may never hear preaching of the Cross, may never hear of the suffering of our dear Saviour. Yet God, in His Holy Word said, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32.) Many times sinners are encouraged to go to an altar where most of the emphasis is placed on their talking in tongues. We Pentecostals should know that the tongues will come if and when a person meets God’s conditions and obeys the Word of God. Many times the sinner is surrounded by altar workers (oft times ministers) who appear to be instructing the sinner on how to talk in tongues. Is there a precedent for this in God’s Word? If we aren’t careful, we will have our churches filled with people who have no real Holy Ghost experience with God. Don’t we know from experience that a person with no real Holy Ghost experience cannot be placed in the true Body of Christ? Without the experience of Pentecost they are pet unborn and unable to understand the things of the Spirit. Could it be that many who have come into our churches today have been pressured into making a profession without having a real born-again experience with God?
God help us that we may wait on Him. Help us to understand that our God will give the Holy Ghost to those who obey Him. Help us ministers to know that people can and do receive the Holy Ghost without the benefit of background music and without us trying to put words in their mouths. Help us to remember that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of peace, the Spirit of gentleness, the Spirit that is not of discord. And finally, help us to know that if we ministers do what God commands us to do, that God will honor our obedience to His Word and new sons and daughters will be born into the Church.
The Above Material Was Published By The Apostolic Standard, July 2004, Pages 6-7. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.