We find that sinful men and women are represented in the word of the Lord as being away from him in some sense, and the Lord so represents them when he says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:28).
So they are invited by the Saviour to come unto him and take his yoke, that is, his government; and he promises that they shall find rest unto their souls. But how do they come to him and how do they take his government upon them, which is the same as to enter into Christ? In order to learn this, we must learn what Christ requires sinners to do that they may be saved.
After Christ rose from the dead, he commanded his disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. But he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16). Here are two things the Saviour requires in order to salvation. When any number of conditions are expressed as necessary to salvation, the sinner cannot be saved with any less number than is there expressed. So the sinner cannot be saved without faith or baptism. We may find authority to add other conditions to these, but none to take either of these away.
Does the Saviour require anything else of the sinner? If so, what is it? He said “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47). As the Saviour required this, we have the right to add it to the number, and then we have three — faith, repentance and baptism.
But are there any others, and if so, what are they? “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32). Here sinners are required to confess the Saviour as God’s Son and, therefore, we must add that to the number.
Now we have faith, repentance, confession and baptism. We now ask, are there any others? If so, what are they and where are they to be found? I confess, I have not been able to find any others. But I am aware that the preachers around me — many of them at least — will say, “Sir, you have at least one non-essential in the number, and we think you ought to take that out, and put an essential in its place.” Well, which is the “non-essential?” The answer comes from many voices, “Baptism is the non-essential.” What then will you have me put in its place? And all those preachers answer with one voice, “Prayer.” But I have been calling on these preachers for 40 years to show the place in the word of the Lord where Christ, or any of the apostles, ever required prayer of an alien sinner as a condition of pardon, and to this time they have failed to do it. And I conclude, they cannot. And so, I will let the conditions remain as I have them. If a sinner complies with all these, they will bring him into Christ where salvation is.