A common response to the question, “Does God require anything of us to be saved?” is “No”. I have asked multiple people this simple question throughout the years, and many seem to think that God would have us do nothing. Is this a proper response? Does the answer, “no” to this ever-important question have any truth to it?
I want to begin by stating that anything God has commanded becomes a salvation issue. If we are derelict and indifferent toward Gods commands it always has and always will involve salvation. God will not tolerate or be indifferent toward disobedience (Habakkuk 1:13). So, the question remains- does God have anything for us to do?
The holy text is brimming with the fact that God has called the human family to action. From the lush garden of perfection to the ends of the earth God has given His people task to accomplish. The perfect garden needed to be tended (Genesis 2:15). It was perfect! Adam nor Eve could add one wit to its beauty or perfection, yet, God had something for them to do to it. They were called to action. God created these two, a man and a woman, and commanded them to “fill the earth” (Genesis.1:28). Another call to action- but the Bible is full of them. Abraham (Genesis.12:1) Moses (Exodus 3:10) Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:7; 34:9) Elijah (1 Kings 17:2) were all called to action. We could add to this list indefinitely, all the men and women of the Bible God charged with some tasks. If you choose to look over the text or characters chosen, you will notice that God calls people to a lifetime of service. These “task” lead into other and greater works for God.
It is very interesting to take note of just how involved the human family is within the divine narrative. The human family introduces the “villain” into the divine story- SIN. Sin is the plight of every man since the garden of Eden. Sin is the bad guy! God, is the only one in the divine narrative that can fix the problem, and so He takes up residence with the human family. He puts on flesh- God embodied as a man. One hundred percent man, “the God man”, Jesus Christ. He remedied the ailment of all humanity. This incontrovertible fact puts the exclamation point behind the idea that God is a God of action. He is the God of action. He is the only true and living God (1 Thessalonians.1:9) and all others cannot produce a single thought or spark (Deuteronomy. 4:28).
“El Shaddai” has proven to be a worthy name because no action or cumulation of actions has reduced the storehouse of Gods inexhaustible power. He is truly “God Almighty”, and God used and uses His power to bring about great things. God’s power is seen in creation and destruction, healing and killing, coming and going, God has demonstrated in superlative fashion the degree of His ability to do. But, not only is God willing, God is able (Ephesians 3:20). He spoke the world and the stars into being (Psalm 33:6, 9). He commanded the seas to come together and told them exactly where they would abide (Job 38:11). A very relevant passage regarding Gods great ability and His attitude toward His desire to “do” is found in Numbers 23:19. “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath he said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?”
Just as God is about action- all of His great people strived to be like Him. Abraham was called and he sojourned (Hebrews 11:9). Moses chose to suffer rather than enjoy (Hebrews 11:25). Joshua led generations into faithful service to God (Joshua 24:31). Elijah worked for God in such a way that he alone became a representative for the entire prophetic office (Matthew 17:3). When we consider the greatness of these people we are in awe of their accomplishments. God gave them work to do and he expected them to do it! God spoke to them and they took seriously their call to action.
God spoke to men in a very direct way in days gone by, but He speaks to every man directly today. His message is confined to the pages of Holy Writ, but the word is not bound (Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:9). If we are going to be the people of God, we are going to have to listen to the word of God and do what he would have us to do.
Let us consider one verse (James 1:22) in particular where God is calling us to action.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
This brings into consideration a great many things. Since the Bible provides for us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) we have a great deal of material to consider if we are to “do the word”. God has given his divine counsel on any subject matter that could possibly ever be relevant for the human family. And if we do not heed it then we are deceived. To heed and to hear are not synonymous. If I hear it and don’t heed it, I have deceived myself. If the Bible tells me to put away the filthy and wicked (James 1:21) and I choose not to do it- I am in trouble with God. It is a salvation issue. If God tells me to make His word a functioning part of my life and I don’t- it is a salvation issue. James says the engrafted word is able to “save your soul” (James 1:21). The failure to do just that is a failure to save your soul. If God tells me I will be blessed for continuing to hear and do, and I don’t… I will not be blessed in my deeds (James 1:25; John 10:27; 15:6-10). If God tells me to control my tongue (James 1:26) and I do not- that is a salvation issue. How else are we to interpret “this man’s religion is vain”? If God tells me to “visit the fatherless and widows” and I do nothing to help provide a need for either how can I view my faith as pure and undefiled (James 1:27)?
Here is the deal, when it comes to Gods call to action. Whether it be for salvation from past sins or to jump into the battle and advance God’s cause- God is seeking those who will answer His call to action (Isaiah 6:8). For forgiveness of past sins God calls men to faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). God calls for everyone to repent of a past wicked way of life (Acts 17:30). God calls everyone to confess the deity of His Son (Romans10:9-10). God calls everyone into the one baptism (Ephesians 4:5) to contact the blood of Jesus (Romans 6:3-6; Revelation 1:5; 1John 1:7) that washes away and makes us free from our sins (Acts 22:16; Romans 6:18).
Gods call to action is about a life of serving something greater than self. It brings a life of spiritual blessings and favor (Ephesians 1:3). The choice to not submit brings the opposite. Those who do not obey will endure everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9), but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Answer Gods call to action. If we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate or delay.