Chapter 12: Some questions about the requirements

We have now examined all the requirements for salvation and answered several questions about each specific requirement. In this chapter, we answer some interesting questions regarding the requirements in general. In particular, we will answer the following questions:

  • Are the requirements independent of each other?
  • Are all the requirements needed to be saved?
  • How can a free gift have requirements?

Are the requirements independent of each other?

In this section we will study the independence of the requirements for salvation. By "independence" I mean that the presence or lack of any one of the requirements may occur irrespective of the presence or lack of any other of the requirements.

For example, I am saying that it is possible for a person to repent yet not believe, or to believe yet not repent. It is possible to repent and believe, but to not forgive, or to forgive and repent, but not believe. Any combination is possible. Let us consider every pair of requirements.

  • Repent and not yet believe
  • It is quite possible to repent and yet not believe in Jesus. People sometimes repent to receive healing, or to please their spouse, or to stay out of jail. There are many devout Hindus and Muslims who try their best to be good people and yet they will refuse to believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation.

    There are however times when people don’t believe because they don’t want to repent (as mentioned in Chapter 7).

  • Repent and yet not forgive
  • It is quite possible for a person to want to not sin and yet refuse to forgive someone who has sinned against them. These are the people who feel a bit self-righteous about their own spiritual state.

  • Repent and yet deny Christ
  • It is quite possible to want to not sin and yet lack the boldness to confess Christ when faced with persecution. These are the people who are timid but have a sensitive conscience.

  • Believe and yet not repent
  • Consider the following example where people believed first and then may or may not have repented.

    Ac 2:37,38 Now when they heard {this,} they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Peter {said} to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

    Ac 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

    In Ac 2:37 we see that the people believed what Peter preached regarding Christ. They were pierced to the heart because they realized that Peter spoke the truth. Then they asked what they should do to be saved. Peter, seeing that they had already believed, told them that they should repent. They all may have not repented, as verse 41 indicates. The point to note is that their believing didn’t depend on whether they had repented or not. In other words, faith is not dependent on repentance. It is possible to believe and still not repent.

    Also, consider the story of the rich young ruler (Mk 10:17-25; Lk 18:18-25). He believed that Jesus was the key to eternal life because he asked Him about how to get eternal life. However, he was not willing to give up his love for money in order to obtain eternal life. In other words, he could not repent of his love for money. So we see that it is possible to believe in Christ and yet not repent.

  • Believe and yet not forgive
  • There are many people who believe in Christ and confess Him as their Savior and Lord and yet refuse to forgive some of those who have hurt them. The slave in Mt 18:21-35 is a good example of such people. He believed and knew who the Lord was, yet he had a hard heart towards his fellowmen. Therefore, it is quite possible to believe and yet not forgive.

  • Believe and yet deny Christ
  • Jn 12:42,43 is a good example of those who believe but yet deny Christ as their Savior and Lord in public because of their love for the approval of men.

    Jn 12:42,43 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing {Him,} for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

    Thus, it is quite possible to believe in Christ and yet deny Christ.

  • Forgive and yet not repent
  • There can be people of other religious faiths who are kind-hearted and forgiving of others, and yet they themselves love sin and desire to continue in it. Thus it is quite possible to forgive others while remaining unrepentant of one’s own sins.

  • Forgive and yet not believe
  • There can be people of other religious faiths who are kind-hearted and forgiving of others, and yet refuse to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Thus it is quite possible to forgive others while remaining in unbelief regarding Christ.

  • Forgive and yet deny Christ
  • It is quite possible to forgive everyone but lack the boldness and courage that is needed to stand up for Christ when others around you are denying Him.

  • Confess Christ and yet not repent
  • Mt 7:21-23 is a perfect example of those who confess Christ but do not repent.

    Mt 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven {will enter.} Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'"

    These people acknowledge Jesus as their Lord. But they practice lawlessness (which is the same as saying that they are unrepentant). From this, we see that it is quite possible to confess Christ and yet be unrepentant.

  • Confess Christ and yet not believe
  • There are many people today who call themselves Christians (and thereby confess Christ) but do not acknowledge that, while on the earth as man, Christ was tempted exactly like we are. Some do not even believe in His virgin birth. Thus, it is possible to confess Christ and yet not believe all the things needed for salvation.

  • Confess Christ and yet not forgive
  • There are so many people who confess Christ as their Savior and Lord but who hold grudges against those who have hurt them. These are good examples of those who confess Christ and yet do not forgive others.





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