Is God exclusive? In some ways, yes, and in some ways, no. He offers salvation to all men, 2 Peter 3:9, NLT. So, He’s not exclusive in that sense. But all men will not accept His offer, Matthew 7:13-14, NLT. However, some will accept His gracious offer. Either one is a Christian, or one is not a Christian. There’s no middle ground, no gray area about this. There’s a group of people who are saved and an enormous group that isn’t saved. And when I say “saved,” I mean some will be in heaven, and when I say, “aren’t saved,” I mean they are hell-bound. That’s simply what Jesus taught – and after all, He is God.
Tell me again, how is one saved? Well, one must trust Jesus, what He said, and what He promised, and believe that He is God’s Son and Christ (the one appointed by God to come to earth and make salvation possible). Then, of course, one must repent of their earthly life – people must change their sin-life to God-life. After that, one must make a public confession that Jesus is Lord, Matthew 10:32, NLT, and Romans 10:9, NLT. Finally, one must be baptized to wash away sins, Acts 22:16, NLT. And then, of course, one must live a godly life, 1 Peter 1:16, NLT. Please note, when one receives salvation, He is admitted to Jesus’ church, Acts 2:47, NLT, called the church of Christ, Romans 16:16, NLT.
Well, that’s salvation by works! Not at all. God offers salvation – that’s grace. He didn’t have to offer salvation, but He did because He loved men’s souls, John 3:16, NLT. Some say salvation is by faith alone, while others state salvation is only accorded to a select few. Both are incorrect thoughts. Ephesians 2:9, NLT states works do not save us. That’s true, but James 2:14, NLT, states we are justified, saved, by works. Since Scripture cannot contradict itself and God is never wrong, consider another thought. There are works in the Bible known as Godly works. These are works ordained by God and commanded for men to follow.
In John 6:28, NLT, the question is asked, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” Jesus replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent,” John 6:29, NLT. Observe that a “work” of God requires a human response. “Works” are the means of obedience, Revelation 2:26, NLT. The one who “keeps my deeds,” NASB, is the one granted authority. If all works are excluded, then faith is excluded. And we’ve also stated that repentance is required for salvation, but it’s a work, a thing to “do,” commanded by God. Here’s an example of a godly work. God saw the “works” of the Ninevites – that they turned away from evil, Jonah 3:10, NKJV. The works that God commands are the way to salvation.
And baptism? Folks usually don’t have a problem with faith and repenting but almost always have an issue with baptism. Surely that’s a work and not necessary for salvation, the thinking goes. Check out Colossians 2:12, NLT, which shows that one is buried with Him in baptism. Submitting to baptism for the remission of sins is a God-work, not a man-work. Not once in the New Testament does God state that baptism is a work of merit toward salvation, Acts 2:38, NLT, Acts 22:16, NLT. God is very exclusive in this. Baptism is part of God’s plan of salvation.
Are you saying that Jesus’ church is exclusive? Yes. If one is not saved, he is not a member of Jesus’ church. Consider all the religious folk in the world, believing they are saved but not realizing they are not saved. They are not saved because they did not follow God’s way of salvation. God is very exclusive about this. God’s way is the only way to salvation, Jesus’ church, and heaven.
Is God exclusive then? In terms of salvation of the lost, yes. We are always blessed doing what God commands.