Is accepting Jesus a sufficient condition of being saved?


#1

One of the criticisms I hear of Universalism by followers of Arminianism is that Universalism seems to minimize the sufficiency of accepting Jesus to salvation. The criticism centers on the Universalist claim that, in some cases, not only is acceptance of Jesus required for a person to be saved, but also corrective punishment.

To say that accepting Jesus is a sufficient condition of salvation is to say that simply accepting Jesus implies that one will be saved. While most of the Bible seems to support sufficiency, at least one verse seems not to. Consider 1 Corinthians 3:15.

If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

This verse seems to show that some who accept Jesus (i.e., some who have established Jesus as the foundation of their faith) are not saved without the intervention of something more. That is, to be saved, one needs also the help of whatever it is that fire represents.

So this criticism of Universalism seems unfair because Arminianism, too, sometimes requires something more than just acceptance of Jesus. It, too, seems to minimize the sufficiency of accepting Jesus in some cases.


#2

So this criticism of Universalism seems unfair because Arminianism, too, sometimes requires something more than just acceptance of Jesus. It, too, seems to minimize the sufficiency of accepting Jesus in some cases.

But accepting Jesus as what? It’s not hard to accept him as Savior but accepting him as Lord takes a lot more.


#3

Romans 10:9 is the sort of evidence I had in mind concerning the Bible’s support of sufficiency, i.e., that accepting Jesus is a sufficient condition of being saved. And this verse specifically mentions accepting Jesus as Lord.

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;”


#4

To say that accepting Jesus is a sufficient condition of salvation is to say that simply accepting Jesus implies that one will be saved. While most of the Bible seems to support sufficiency, at least one verse seems not to. Consider 1 Corinthians 3:15.

If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

OK but accepting Jesus as Lord is a lifelong commitment so i wouldn’t describe it as “simply accepting Jesus.” The verse you quoted doesn’t give enough detail to support any particular doctrine IMHO. Lastly CU to my knowledge makes no adjustments to the principal of accepting Jesus as Lord. Even if someone is corrected in the afterlife they still would have to accept Jesus as Lord.


#5

By using the term simply accepting Jesus, I merely meant nothing else is required in addition to accepting Jesus. But 1 Corinthians 3:15 seems to support the idea that more than accepting Jesus is required to be saved, in some cases. Thus, it would seem that on the basis of that verse, simply accepting Jesus is not enough.

I never said accepting Jesus was not required in Christian Universalism. I said more than accepting Jesus might be required in some cases. For example, corrective punishment might be required, in addition.

To make this point more definitively, I might say, accepting Jesus is a **necessary condition **of being saved, both in Arminianism and Christian Universalism. Necessity when used in this way means if one is saved, one must also have accepted Jesus. Thus, in necessity, being saved implies accepting Jesus, unlike the situation in sufficiency. in which accepting Jesus implies being saved.


#6

Just “accept Jesus” has become a formula for assurance of justification, even though it does not appear to be the typical verb that Scripture uses for this. My impression is that terms like repenting and ‘trusting’ in Christ as Lord imply more of a personal commitment of our life than does “accept,” which can more easily be understood as simply intellectually acknowledging something about Jesus to be true (sometimes e.g. it’s close to just cognitively agreeing that penal substitution has made obedience irrelevant to my salvation). If that is the definition of “accept,” then much more than ‘accepting’ appears to be what is required.


#7

I was searching for a word to concisely capture the essence of what is required to be saved, and then to use context to complete the story. I settled on the word accept because as you said, it has become a formula for assurance of justification. Using a concise word like accept allowed me to focus better on the key issue in my post, which is sufficiency, and the way it is viewed by Arminian and Universalist followers.


#8

Belief and confession both imply some course of action on the part of the adherent. Back in the day to confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ as opposed to ‘Caesar is Lord’ was risky business… thus in the context of 2nd Temple Judaism one has to ask – what didyou will be savedmean, i.e., HOW did THEY understand Paul’s injunction? Was their understanding that of popular evangelicalism? IOW… saved from WHAT?


#9

Yes, I assume that what the term be saved meant naturally flowed from the rest of the chapter and that is receiving salvation.


#10

Hi lancia… yes, but my question is, did “receiving salvation” mean to THEM what evangelicalism says it means today?


#11

I think 1 Corinthians 3 is written in such a way to suggest that Paul and his listeners viewed being saved and salvation as we do now. For example, in verse 13, the term *the day *suggests judgment day.

each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.

The rest of the chapter, too, seems to flow in the direction of addressing post-mortem consequences of our present behavior.


#12

“Saved from what?” is the essential question here.

If it means “saved from going to Hell”, then I would say that’s a non-question since no one is in danger of going to an imaginary place.

If it means “saved from sin”, then I would say that we must be utterly purged of all sinfulness to be thoroughly saved. It’s not a question of saved or not. It’s a question of how much:

Well-meaning but simplistic Christian: “Are you saved?”

Christian who has been around the block: “Well, let’s talk about that. When I first came to Christ many years ago, my marriage gradually got rebuilt to its strong status it has today. That’s been saved. I used to be a very angry person, and now the anger has pretty much all gone away. I’m thus saved from anger. I still struggle with spending too much money on drink. Some weeks I’m good, but other weeks the money gets wasted. I’m still struggling with that, so I haven’t been saved from drink yet, but the struggle is on-going. I haven’t even started a serious struggle with my gluttony. I just eat whatever and whenever I want, and it’s too much. I haven’t yet been saved from gluttony.” Etc.


#13

To say that accepting Jesus is a sufficient condition of salvation is to say that simply accepting Jesus implies that one will be saved. While most of the Bible seems to support sufficiency, at least one verse seems not to. Consider 1 Corinthians 3:15.

If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

This verse says “he himself will be saved” so he didn’t lose salvation but he may have lost certain rewards in heaven. This phrase “as through fire” is not detailed enough to project it as “through the lake of fire.” Plus to my knowledge there is nothing else to support that thought. The CU position as far as i know does not claim that believers who are not pure enough must go through the lake of fire purification process to merit heaven. That would be the RCC position concerning purgatory.


#14

Again, I never said he would lose his salvation; being saved is a necessary condition of accepting Jesus. But note that according to 1 Corinthians 3:15, something more must occur, and that something more involves fire. Thus, more than accepting Jesus is required in some cases to be saved.

I think the narrative of 1 Corinthians 3 makes it likely that the fire represents something about judgment and purification. Consider especially 1 Corinthians 3: 9-15.

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

As we can see from this passage, each person is metaphorically a building, which will be judged on the day. But some persons, i.e., buildings, are flawed. Something of them must be changed and that change will be accomplished by testing with fire. They will thus suffer a loss, but a beneficial loss, in that by fire, these people will be saved.


#15

… as many as received Him, to those who believe in His name, to them He gave the authority to become children of God. (John 1:12)

Those who received Him (or accepted Him) were given the authority to BECOME the children of God. The were not the children of God immediately upon accepting Him. Thuse accepting Him is not a sufficient condition.


#16

Good point. Thanks for contributing another relevant verse.


#17

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

As we can see from this passage, each person is metaphorically a building, which will be judged on the day. But some persons, i.e., buildings, are flawed. Something of them must be changed and that change will be accomplished by testing with fire. They will thus suffer a loss, but a beneficial loss, in that by fire, these people will be saved.

lancia

Posts: 65
Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 11:51 am

An interesting possibility, as i never gave this much thought. At the great white throne judgment it sounds like only the unsaved enter the lake of fire. Any thoughts on this?


#18

An interesting possibility, as i never gave this much thought. At the great white throne judgment it sounds like only the unsaved enter the lake of fire. Any thoughts on this?

steve7150

Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:01 am

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I was thinking about my own question and maybe having ones name in the Book of Life is slightly different then “being saved.” Maybe being saved is a process and the completion is having your name in the Book of Life. So perhaps the process of being saved may start in the LOF and culminate in the Book of Life. So far not a lot of evidence but it’s possible.


#19

I think the kings of the earth mentioned in Revelation may be such individuals who start the process of being saved in the LOF. Here is a link to a post in which I explore this idea.

[Is the term Kings of the Earth an Idiom?)


#20

Lancia,

I think that scripture is fairly clear that it is our sin, and the death to which it leads, from which we are saved. We were in bondage to sin, but now we’re not, if we have confessed with our mouths/believed in our hearts, been baptized, or whatever your favorite flavor of salvation ritual may be. I think the thing is to recognize that we’re free. So the salvation (the authority to become the sons of God) is there for anyone who believes it’s there through the Name. If you don’t believe it’s there, then for you, it may as well not be there – until you do believe.

So . . . we are saved.

But, we are also BEING saved. It takes a long time for a slave to become free. A woman freed from literal chains of sexual slavery may take many years to recover her virtuous ways of thinking and being, to recover the lost image of purity in her own heart, her sense of her own worthiness and beauty and value. In the mean time, she may voluntarily enslave herself in many ways, including sexually. She is physically free to do as she will, but her psyche is still enslaved in so many ways. It’s easy to sympathize with the lady in question (in theory at least), but harder to sympathize with the man who just can’t seem to conquer his anger. The anger has been conquered in Christ, we say, yet this man continues to yield his members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin (as Paul said). It will also take him time to apprehend and build on that freedom that Christ so dearly purchased for him. We ALL need to apprehend this freedom from sin, for even though we are free, sin (if we choose to continue in it) still leads to death. The death spoken of here obviously must refer mostly to spiritual death, since even the most pure amongst us still die physically.

And that leads to the third aspect of salvation --> the adoption of our bodies through the resurrection. Our physical bodies must be renewed and transformed; must die as a seed planted in the ground, in order to give birth to our spiritual bodies (which are still BODIES, according to Paul.) This happens at the resurrection, however that looks.

I think that Paul’s “yet as through fire” and Jesus’ “you will all be sprinkled with fire” can happen now in this life or later in a life to come. This is the final purification of the believer, not necessarily the lake of fire, but the polishing of fire (as it were) for those who are already mostly ready – or at least somewhat advanced along the road. Everyone will travel that road with the help of the Good Shepherd, but some come sooner, some later. All need the freedom from sin that Christ bought for us through His death to this world, to sin, for the sake of Adam’s children. That having been said, all also need to make that journey from the place at which we are when we first believe to the place of blessedness, our forever home. For some, maybe it will be through a metaphorical “lake of fire” (and I think some of us have swum a few laps through that already) or maybe through a sprinkling of fire, but we all will approach the consuming fire who is our God. The question of intensity probably has something to do with the quantity and nature of the things left in us that can and must be consumed, and also, with our determination to hold on to and protect those things from the fire, or with the wiser inclination we ought to have, to present willingly ALL the chaff to be burned away.

That’s salvation, in my understanding – which is, I know, incomplete. Great topic, Lancia!