The Grounds of Salvation

For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion’…Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills…” (Romans 9:15, 18).

A recurring reason the gospel is rejected is because of a fundamental mistake about the basis from which salvation arises. Like the Jews of Paul’s day, many today believe they can be right with God based upon their own righteousness.

As Paul so emphatically proved in Romans 3, this belief is built upon a foundation of sand—“There is none righteous; no, not one…For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (vv. 10, 23). Isaiah’s words are equally as graphic: “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

Any unrighteous human who desires deliverance from Jehovah can only do so on His terms. Salvation is available only because of God’s mercy and compassion. Its conditions and terms are purely the prerogatives of the offended.

Therefore, when Jesus declares at the onset of His ministry among the lost sheep of the house of Israel that “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) and commissions His apostles at the close of His earthly sojourn to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16), the terms and conditions of salvation are pretty clear—unbelief must be repented of, belief in the gospel is essential, obedience to the gospel necessitates baptism/immersion in water, and a failure to comply with the commands of Christ’s gospel results in eternal condemnation.

The grounds of salvation is not our righteousness, but Christ’s. The conditions/terms He has placed upon receiving this wondrous gift made possible by His mercy and compassion are plainly stated.

Your responsibility is to obey God, not argue with Him.

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Author: jchowning

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