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No Prerequisites

Acts 16:31

 

There are no prerequisites to faith in Christ. God does not tell sinners they must know this or that doctrine before they can believe. God does not tell us that we must experience certain feelings before we can believe. God does not tell us that we must pass through great times of darkness before we can believe. God does say in his Word to poor, lost, ruined, doomed, damned sinners, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!

Self-righteousness is like the pesky mole. Drive it out of one hole and it will quickly find another in which to make its den. We have fairly well beaten it out of the den of good works as a ground of hope before God. But it has found another hiding place. The dark den where self-righteousness hides with little possibility of detection is called by many names: “Fitness for Faith,” “Conditions of Conversion,” “Suitability for Salvation,” and “Qualifications for Grace.”

No matter what name you hang over the hole, it is a den of iniquity. It teaches sinners that in order to have true faith in Christ there are certain conditions that must be met. The doctrine goes like this: “Salvation is by grace alone. It is not what you do, but what Christ has done that saves you. But before you can truly trust Christ and be saved, you must be terrified with conviction, you must weep and mourn over your sin, you must desire holiness, you must repent, you must long for Christ, you must come to see yourself as a lost sinner, and then earnestly seek the Lord.

That is a round-about way of preaching salvation by works. There are no prerequisites, no conditions, no qualifications to be met by sinners before they trust Christ. The gospel of Christ is addressed to sinners as sinners, not awakened sinners, not sensible sinners, not convicted sinners, not lost sinners, not repentant sinners, just sinners! God does not command sinners to feel a certain way, experience something, or come to realize something about themselves. God commands sinners to “believe on his Son, Jesus Christ.” The moment a preacher places any condition or qualification of any kind upon the sinner before he can trust Christ and be saved, he ceases to preach a gospel of pure grace. Repentance, conviction of sin, lamentation and sorrow over sin are not prerequisites for coming to Christ and trusting him. These things do not precede faith. They are the results of faith (Zechariah 12:10; John 16:7-14).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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