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The 3 Requirements of Salvation

Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Romans 4:5

This small verse carries a big punch, actually three of them. In its 21 words we discover the 3 prerequisites of salvation. They are simple and stunning.

1. You must not work.

Salvation cannot be achieved. It is not a reward for a life well lived or a paycheck received for hard work done. Those who try to earn the free gift of salvation spit in the face of the Giver, God himself.

Eternal life was earned, achieved and worked for by the only One who deserved it, Jesus Christ. His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, crawl up a hill called Calvary and slow death on a cross of word earned our forgiveness. When we try to deserve this free gift based on what we’ve done we are despising what he’s done on the cross.

To be saved you must not work.

2. You must trust God.

Salvation is not earned through good works it is received through simple faith. We believe that Jesus died in our place, for our sins and we are forgiven. Salvation can only be purchased through divine currency, the blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:22 reminds us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Because Jesus’ body and blood were human he could die for other humans. Because Jesus was God in the flesh his payment for sins was infinite.

“Sola Fide” (aka “Faith alone!”) was the battlecry of the Reformation and is still the game changer today. It is the way of trusting vs the way of trying. It pits the humility that is required by trusting in someone else to save us vs. the pride that erupts from trying to earn this free gift through self-effort. In this battle of belief systems faith wins.

You must not work.
You must trust God.

3. You must be wicked.

“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Romans 4:5

We usually reserve terms like “wicked” for witches, dictators and murderers. But we are all three wrapped up into one. We conjure up our own idols to serve, dictate our lives by our own rules and murder people in our minds when we are angry.

We are wicked, sinful and selfish to the core, and Jesus came to save sinners just like you and me. If you have a hard time seeing this just know that on the day you stand before God and give account he will illuminate every lustful thought, every “white lie”, every selfish deed and every prideful thought. In a flash you’ll see that your life erupted from motives that found their epicenter in the flames of hellish pride.

Do you want to be saved? Accept the fact that you are wicked, stop trying to earn your salvation and put your faith alone in Christ alone.

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