“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
There is nothing about us to warrant such a gift, and we can never be good enough to earn it. Yet in spite of our own frailty and failings, God pardons us and saves us from the condemnation of our own sins because He loves us. Moreover, His salvation is universal, freely offered to all. Anyone anywhere can be saved!
But, though salvation is universally extended, “whosoever believes” does not mean it is without conditions or restrictions. He offers salvation universally, but He does not save universally. God’s free gift is conditional. He gave His only begotten Son that “whosoever believes in Him….” Paul explained in Ephesians 2.8 that we are saved by the grace of God, working in conjunction with our faith in His ability to save us through Christ Jesus. So in order to avail ourselves of God’s “free” gift we must satisfy the conditions that govern the giving of the gift. The New Testament teaches a person must –
- Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Mark 16.16; Romans 10.10).
- Repent of his sins (Acts 17.30; 2 Peter 3.9).
- Confess his faith in Jesus (Matthew 10.32-33; Acts 8.37).
- Be immersed (baptized) for the remission of his sins (Mark 16.16; Acts 2.38; 1 Peter 3.21).
These four conditions preclude salvation. They must be satisfied in order for God to save us. They are not works whereby we earn salvation – though we comply with all these conditions we still do not merit salvation! But seeing our faith – trusting Him to do what He said He would do when we do what He asks us to do – seeing our conformity to His conditions, He gives us His gracious gift – He saves us.