In life we have various requirements when applying for a position in the working environment. This is true with many other areas of life. Say you were applying for a teaching post, the requirements at a minimum would be something like this … a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field (geography, history, science, mathematics, etc.), a knowledge of teaching methods and educational procedures, good written and verbal communication skills, well organized leadership abilities coupled to good interpersonal and presentation skills. Other careers will follow a similar pattern of requirements (requisites). To be short listed as a potential appointee, you would need to meet the criteria requirement.
Most of us would agree that many people have been appointed to positions in the secular and government sphere who do not have the correct requirements and the results soon speak for themselves. In a similar way, even though it’s not a career or employment, there are requirements to be a Christian … to be saved … to belong to God and to enjoy the benefit of Jesus’ salvific work at Calvary. You will find other requirements but I want to list three. These to me are the three most important requisites to be believer in Jesus Christ.
The first requirement to be a Christian is conviction. Like many words, “conviction” could be used in a variety of ways. It could be strong political convictions; it could be that you are convinced about what you believe with reference to a certain matter and it could be the judge finding you guilty and you appealing his conviction. Religiously, you might be convicted that there is a God; that the Bible is the Word of God; that Jesus is God; that the gospel is Truth, that Jesus is the only way of salvation or that there is a deep conviction in your soul that you are a sinner in desperate need of salvation.
The flow is important here … before you can be convicted of sin, you need to be convicted that the God of the Bible is real and His requirements are to be obeyed. This conviction believes that the Bible is inspired, inerrant and authoritative; it believes that Jesus is God incarnate and that He came into this world on a rescue mission to save lost souls who cannot save themselves without the merits of the Cross; it believes all people including self are lost in sin and enemies of God; it believes the consequences of personal sin leads to damnation. Put another way, it is conviction that sin is offensive towards God and not dealt with faces the wrath of God. Conviction in this way is absolutely essential as the first requirement leading to salvation.
Isa 6:5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Lk 5:8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
The second requirement to be a Christian is confession. There are two dimension to confession. The first is confessing sin and the second is confessing Jesus as Lord. Once conviction takes place, you realize that you need to present yourself to God … but because you are now aware that your sin is so detestable in God’s sight, you confess your is to God for pardon. Although separate, I include repentance in confession in the sense that you confess your sin seeking forgiveness and cleansing and commit yourself to live a repentant lifestyle before God as proof that you are sincere and genuine in seeking His pardon.
Ro 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Ps 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
The third requirement to be a Christian is conversion. The sequence is important. Conviction of sin leads to confession of sin which leads to the conversion of the sinner! There can be no conversion without confession of sin and until there is conviction there cannot be genuine heart felt confession. By conversion I mean true salvation. I do not mean converting from one religion to another. There is no saving of the soul for eternity this way. Conversion in Christianity means the individual has surrendered … not to a religion or a church, but to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Conversion means the individual relinquishes reign and authority over their heart and life … and installs Jesus there as Lord. Now there is a new Owner … a new Master … who directs the convert through His Word by His indwelling Holy Spirit. Look at the way Peter speaks in Acts 3:
Ac 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”.
He calls people to “turn to God” … that is to convert from self and religion (paganism) to God! When Paul defended himself before king Agrippa, he said:
Ac 26:20 “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
Turning to God or conversion includes proving repentance through good deeds. Good deeds follow salvation and prove salvation (Eph 2:10).
Without these three requirements, in the sequences presented above, no person can be a Christian. These steps or requirements guide and direct the person into a true, lasting salvation and a life of discipleship, serving Jesus as Lord and King.
Dear God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for the process of salvation that makes so much sense. Once we are convicted of our sin, we are pressed by the Spirit to confess after which true conversion takes place. Lord, not only have you designed such a perfect way of salvation, this way instructs us of the true lasting benefits of a proper understanding of the stages provided to receive eternal life. Thank you that I belong to You through the Blood of the Lamb of God that saves me from all sin and guilt. I praise You in Jesus’ Name. Amen.