What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Posted: November 20, 2011 in Theology

The message of the gospel is clear, salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.

What about repentance?

Repentance from what? All sins? Do you know them all? Before Christ came, the Jews practiced a baptism of repentance which was accompanied by a confession of sins (Mt.3:1-12). Even the Pharisees participated in this baptism which provoked John to warn them of the baptism that was to come. The problem with viewing repentance as necessary for salvation is that the “heart is wicked and deceitful and who can know it?” (Jer.17:9) Even the Pharisees thought they were justified by repentance as they confessed “all their sins”.

This deceitfulness of self-righteousness is illustrated in Christ’s encounter with the rich, young ruler.  He demonstrated how useless it is to depend on your ability to self-evaluate your righteousness. Mt.19:16-22. The man was undoubtedly a good, moral person. He felt that he had done what he needed to do to achieve righteousness. But after a 30 second encounter with Christ, he went away disturbed. Christ pointed out one major flaw in the man’s bid to achieve righteousness. While it was not necessary to continue, I’m sure Christ could have listed many more.

Seeing that the man was deluded in thinking that he would be saved by his works, Christ explicitly said “if you wish to be perfect go and sell everything.” The intent of the Law was to make clear the degree of perfection required for one to achieve righteousness by works. Christ mad this clear in His first sermon as he restored the Law from the dumbing-down that it had suffered at the hands of the Pharisees. (Mt.5:20; 5:48)

Repentance is not a precursor to salvation as it is a work. And, as is made clear by Paul, (Gal.2:16, 3:11) you can’t be justified by works.


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