The Bible teaches about Jesus of Nazareth many things. It teaches that Jesus was born to a virgin. It teaches that he was without sin yet suffered, died, and rose again for us. It also teaches that he is the Messiah, the Lord, the Son of God, the Saviour etc.

My question to the Evangelical Christians is what is the minimum requirement for a sinner as per the Biblical teaching in order to be forgiven and receive eternal life, which form the salvation offered in the name of Jesus of Nazareth?

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    After Edited Question : One believes on Jesus Christ : himself : personally. One does not learn a catalogue list of data. ; a list of things to tick. Faith works by love. We love him, because he first loved us. It is that which brings us 'into the family'. "This is eternal life ; that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 23:06
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    @TeluguBeliever We cannot be saved by believing certain statements alone. The formula is "justification by faith alone", NOT "justification by believing a list of statements alone". Faith is not even enough for "salvation", only for "justification". God's role is instrumental, who works in our heart. Our conscious part is in responding to God's work. This response manifests in our mind as agreement, in our will as love, in our emotion as gratitude, in our action as forgiving our enemies, etc. Please see my answer for details. Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 0:40
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    This is a straight-up opinion question. Might as well ask which church is true, or whether God even exists. I suggest your personal search for God not be totally informed by asking random people on internet forums for their understanding of scripture, which literally varies from person to person and denomination to denomination to the point of incompatibility, but to instead pray and read and study and seek. That is, accept other’s opinions as that, and ask God to lead and enlighten you, should you think that that it possible.
    – Dúthomhas
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 5:27
  • @Dúthomhas. Agree and have voted to close. The fact that there are 8 answers is a strong sign that it should have been closed too.
    – Kristopher
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 17:39
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    Well I'm not sure non-Trinitarians even occurs to the authors of christianity.com. That is not a quality article - such as claiming that Evangelicals all believe in the rapture! The theological origins of Evangelicalism is firmly within Protestantism, even if it's sometimes extended a little more broadly now. I'm not aware of any non-Trinitarians who want to claim the label Evangelical, but if you can find some published sources then I'd definitely reevaluate. But probably it would stop being a useful scope for this site.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 10:04

9 Answers 9


This question really focuses the mind on what the essential point of saving faith amounts to! It is true that the New Testament has many 'condensed' gospel presentations, but some seem to highlight different points to the others. Consider the famous answer of Paul to the Philippian jailer's urgent question, "What must I do to be saved?" He is told, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" but no doubt he was told more about that, prior to being baptised that very night (Acts 16:25-34). Note how it was belief that was needed, before any action? But a particular belief about Jesus Christ, as Lord. What are the particulars?

In Acts chapter 10 we learn of what another Gentile, Cornelius, was told by Peter to believe in, for salvation. He started by saying Jesus is Lord of all, "after the baptism which John preached". Peter goes on to speak of Jesus' resurrection on the third day, linked to Jesus being the judge of the living and the dead. He concluded with saying all the prophets witnessed that through Christ's name, whosoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins, at which point the Holy Spirit fell on the household, confirming that all these Gentiles should be baptised.

Previously, Peter had preached to the Jews that the fulfilment of the prophesy (God's Spirit coming on people in the last days) was for those who called on the name of the Lord, that name being the name of Jesus, whom God had raised from the dead, making him Lord and Christ (Acts ch.2 & 4:10-12).

This helps us grasp what Jesus said (before his death and resurrection), about the essential point of belief. It's in Matthew 16, where Jesus asks his disciples who they believed him to be (vss 15-21). It was only Peter who bluntly came straight out with it:

"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" causing Jesus to respond:

"Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

However, almost straightaway, Peter blundered into statements of ignorance about Christ, protesting that his Lord should not be killed (even though Jesus had added that he would be raised again the third day). Jesus sternly rebuked the one he had very recently commended for a divinely revealed insight as to who Jesus was. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said to Peter, who was no longer speaking the things of God.

Fortunately, thereafter Peter learned exactly what Jesus being the Son of God meant, due to Christ's death and resurrection. It was that which enabled him to then speak so powerfully about saving faith that, in one day, some three thousand men were converted.

My answer is that knowing what Jesus said and did won't save anybody. Knowledge about the person of Christ is just a head-trip. Huge numbers of people know a great deal about Jesus (with some erudite scholars teaching the Bible included) but they do not have saving faith as as consequence. Why not? Because they do not believe this Jesus to be the only-begotten Son of God who came to earth to die for repentant sinners, his resurrection proving him to be who he claimed to be, both Son of Man and Son of God (Romans 1:3-6). They will not bend their knees in Jesus' name. They will not acclaim him as both Lord and Saviour, for nobody can do that without the Holy Spirit's enabling. Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 12:3 show how (as with Peter having that revelation of Christ, from the Father) revelation as to who Jesus is has to be gifted to an individual, by the Holy Spirit. He ensures that they then know what they need to know about Christ, so as to believe and have saving faith.

This is supremely shown in Romans chapter 9. First Paul exposes the trap of seeking to establish one's own righteousness (by deeds), for that will prevent a person submitting to God's righteousness:

"Christ is the end of the law, so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes [the righteousness of faith] ...the word of faith we are proclaiming - 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. For it is with the heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that to confess and are saved. ...'For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'."

That is the core, the essence, the bottom line of what a person needs to believe to be saved, and so brought into the family of God. Romans chapter 8 is essential to this, so anyone wanting the full details should read at least all of it and chapter 9.

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    My question boils down to "what's the saving faith?" Therefore, did one of the thieves crucified on the side of Jesus' cross had that 'saving faith?' If so, what's that? Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 16:40
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    @TeluguBeliever I did not mention the believing thief because there's a lot about him that we don't know e.g. how much of Jesus' earlier ministry had he witnessed, and how much had he heard about Jesus? The fact that he reproved the other thief, admitting that they deserved to die but that Jesus did not, showed some knowledge and faith (and repentance?). He expressed belief in Christ's kingdom and in the resurrection, and Jesus assured him of Paradise. But the gospel message is stated by the Apostles.
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 16:48
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    Jesus did preach 'the gospel.' Later, apostles expounded upon it. We don't know how much of it the thief was exposed to, which is irrelevant to my question. What is certain about that thief is the fact that he had been repented, expressed his faith in Jesus, and was saved. Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 16:57
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    Amen Anne! Your passion for the gospel core shines through - and I knew it was you from just reading the first paragraph. 😄🙏
    – user56152
    Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 17:02
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    @TeluguBeliever You never mentioned that thief until your comments to me, nor did you hint at baptism. What you have now said sounds like a different question. Nevertheless, I have said enough about what must happen prior to baptism to show that faith must come first. I'll throw in (at no extra charge) that baptism in itself does not save anybody but should accompany a verbal, public declaration of saving faith in Christ.
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 18:13

Paul seems to have answered this question directly in Romans 10:9-10:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

The word 'Lord' here can also be translated as 'Master'. It is not the divine name. So Paul is saying you must confess to other people that Jesus (Yeshua) is your Lord, your Master. You submit to His authority over you. You must also sincerely believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.

These conditions imply some level of awareness of a few other things:

  • The identity of Jesus (ie that he is the promised Messiah [Christ] of the Jewish people)
  • The circumstances of Jesus' death and resurrection
  • What it means for you, how your life will change, now that you follow Him

Simon Peter in his famous sermon of Pentecost, preached in Jerusalem near the Temple Mount, in Acts 2:38-39 exhorted the people to:

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

These two passages agree more closely than it may seem at first. To confess Jesus as your Lord/Master is to repent from your former, wicked ways. The justification in your heart that Paul wrote about is a purification (baptism) of your soul; this was a defining characteristic of "John's baptism" that Simon Peter was preaching (see Matthew ch. 3), as distinct from the common baptism that purified the Jew's body only.

Luke writes in Acts that those who responded to Simon Peter's message and were baptized with repentance were "added to their number"; so this was recognized as what we would today call a salvation experience.

Exactly what minimum level of knowledge is required to make a confession of faith sincere is not discussed in scripture. But I can tell you from practical experience, it's not a high bar. This is an exercise in love, not knowledge. There are plenty of people out there who knew only that Jesus is the begotten son of God, that He was brutally killed in our place, and that God raised Him from the dead and He rules an eternal kingdom, and believed in Him. Not even really knowing exactly what that all means at first, the laws, history, prophecies, doctrines, etc. They knew enough to know that they needed Him.

Song of Songs 3:

All night long on my bed
    I looked for the one my heart loves;
    I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
    through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
    So I looked for him but did not find him.
The watchmen found me
    as they made their rounds in the city.
    “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
    till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
    to the room of the one who conceived me.

I'm going to try and make this simple. This is what the Apostle Paul stated at 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also YOU STAND,

Vs2, BY WHICH ALSO YOU ARE SAVED, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. Vs3, For I delivered to you as of first importance WHAT I ALSO RECEIVED, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, Vs4, and that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

What I just gave you is considered a "Creed." A Creed is a formal statement of Christian beliefs or a set of beliefs or aims which guide someone's actions. The thief on the cross exhibited his faith in Jesus Christ while on the cross. Jesus Himself acknowledge the thief's faith. Jesus also knew the thief had repented when the thief stated to the other thief "we deserve what were getting" and then he says to Jesus, "Remember me when you come in Your kingdom."

Jesus replies, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:42-43. Notice that the thief did not get water baptized or do anything else. People even get saved on their death bed as well.

The bottom line, You take Jesus at His word because He already knows your heart if your serious or not. 1 John 5:11-13, "And this is the witness/record, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in the Son, he who does not have the Son does not have life. Vs13, "Thes things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, IN ORDER THAT YOU MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE." Again, faith is taking God at His word.


I hesitate to refer to any of this as a minimum requirement.

One must believe that God is true:

He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. - John 3:33

One must agree with God's diagnosis of humanity in general:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God - Romans 3:23

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. - Romans 3:10-12

One must accept this diagnosis personally:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. - Luke 18:10-14

And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. - Luke 5:31-32

One must acknowledge that they cannot work to improve their state before God:

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. - Romans 3:20

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. - Ephesians 2:1-3

One must recognize God as the only possible means of escaping judgement:

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: - Ephesians 2:12

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. - Acts 2:21

One must put all the weight of one's hope for salvation in Jesus:

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. - Acts 4:12

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. - Romans 3:24-26

In short one must accept that they are justly and inescapably condemned by a Holy God, abandon all thought of making oneself acceptable to God, believe that God has provided a way of reconciliation in his Son Jesus, and accept that fact humbly asking Christ to send the Holy Spirit and thereby reign in one's heart as Lord. One must believe this:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. - John 3:16-19

It is not a belief that one can undertake without radical, sweeping change in one's life and worldview. It is a second birth. It requires an act of God.

  • Fantastic answer. I like the slightly different slant.. Personally, I think asking for “minimum requirements” misses the point - and perhaps the boat as well. It’s like saying “What are the minimum requirements for a 100km journey by foot?” Well - feet, surely. Water. Some food. A place to sleep. But what about a heart, blood. What about intestines? Toenails; nostrils? But what are the MINIMUM requirements! Boat missed? Hopefully not.
    – user56152
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 11:07

Evangelical Answer

The facts to know are actually very few YET significant, since they are life changing. But to accept the facts with your mind AND to take action based on those facts with your will require grace that only God can give. Once this grace comes, here's what you can observe within you as you do the following in faith with your mind and will:

  1. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: Realize that you (along with the rest of humanity) are enslaved by the power of sin (John 8:34)

  2. UNDERSTAND THE OFFER: Believe that God, the creator of the universe, loves you and wants to redeem you and to make you whole through His Son Jesus (John 3:16)

  3. DECIDE AND TAKE ACTION: Receive the gift as supreme treasure (Matt 13:44, greater than anything the world offers) and commit your whole being and your whole life to Jesus as your Lord and Savior:

    • Address this Jesus as a Person, not by believing a set of facts about who Jesus is, but address Jesus as you would to someone who offers you a helping hand while you are chained by your captor in a deep pit, even though you may not know much about Jesus yet, and even though you may not know everything that Jesus would expect you to do as your Lord.
    • Say the Sinner's prayer to him such as:

      Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen.

  4. START THE JOURNEY: Get to know more about your new Savior and your new Lord so you can be a grateful disciple (John 12:26, John 8:31-32) in joy as well as in suffering, always knowing and be satisfied that you are precious and beloved in the eyes of God so that you can always pray Psalm 103 from your heart every day.


Alternate Answer

This used to be my original answer, framed more to contrast "believing about" and "believing in", as well as to distinguish justification as a state from the larger salvation process.

First, clarification of terms

"What to believe about Jesus" is very different than "believing in Jesus".

Thus, we need to address what does "believing in Jesus" means, what does "saved" means, and how both are connected to "what to believe" (the intellectual content of what the believer needs to keep in his/her mind):

  • "believing in Jesus" means entrusting ourselves completely to God like a sparrow (Matt 10:28-31) or lilies of the field (Matt 6:28-30). Like trusting a surgeon to open up your body while you are unconscious or trusting a dentist who needs to hurt you to save your teeth (before anesthesia was invented). We trust in the surgeon & dentist's goodness and skill. Jesus is this surgeon/dentist.
  • "what to believe" / the intellectual content / "what the mind agrees" should be distinguished from TRUST / "believing in" (which is an act of the whole being) and from FAITH (which is a gift from God).
  • "saved" means to be made whole (fully redeemed at the end) through a process that involves not only God's grace, but our continuing obedience (walk in the spirit, see Jesus as our Lord), gratitude (Jesus as our Savior), hard work (of love), and eating humble pie (repentance). We need to persist in this to the very end (until we die), not quitting in the middle (backsliding / apostatize).


  • TRUST is in God, a person, a living being. Intellectual content is our concept of that person.
  • TRUST is an act of the believer's whole being, thus involves the will, emotion, action in addition to mind. We are to love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength (cf. Deut 6:5). See the BibleProject episode series on the Shema.
  • This intellectual content does NOT need to be complete or perfect. It just needs to be enough to move the will, to regulate emotion, and to result in action so that we ARE in the path of this saving process.
  • Much is said in Protestant circles that justification is by faith alone. But what is FAITH? Faith is what enables our mind to agree with the intellectual content, which in turn moves our whole being to TRUST Jesus who saves us. Where does FAITH come from? It's a gift from God, a grace.
  • When we find that our mind agrees to the intellectual content described below, it is an observable sign to us that we have this God-given FAITH. The mind's agreeing to the intellectual content does NOT produce faith, but is the result of that faith.

A preface to "what to believe"

One way to formulate the answer to your question is to work from the end result: finding ourselves in the saving process. So I can rephrase your question this way:

What is the minimum requirement that our mind needs to know so that our mind can lead and guide our whole being to BE and to REMAIN in the Christian saving process and also for us to increasingly TRUST Jesus who is absolutely instrumental to perform "surgery" in your body and soul?

Various Christian traditions and practices will have their own answers. But they agree that intellectual content is only an aid to salvation, a means to an end. Christianity has more than 2000 year experience leading people to Christ. Church leaders have experience dealing with various heresies whose concepts of God, Jesus, and Salvation are distorted, leading people into the wrong paths of the saving process. That's why although there is no single correct list there is a common thread. An example of the "minimal requirement" is given in the next section.

The "minimal requirement" of what to believe: an example

  1. We start with the trustworthy knowledge of God as revealed in the Bible, which means Christians exclude anything else as either error or less trustworthy. This gives us the source of the knowledge.
  2. From the Bible we learn that God is an almighty person-like being (Ps 103:7-18), who knows us intimately (Ps 139), who established his reputation through the revelation of his character to Moses and his deeds to his chosen people Israel (Ps 103:7, book of Exodus), and who later incarnated as full human being by being born as baby Jesus, who then offered his life on the cross for us, but whom God raised from the dead (the Gospels). This presents God and Jesus as wanting and able to save us.
  3. This Jesus is actually God himself as the second person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is the living Jesus who needs access to operate in our soul so we can be made whole by the Holy Spirit purifying us from corrupt will, emotion, and reason. At the end of days, Jesus will come again to separate good from the wicked. The good will be resurrected like Jesus and live with Him forever. This describes how God saves us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as well as our eternal destiny.
  4. Our job is to repent from our life of sin, start trusting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit (by walking in the Spirit, Gal 5:16) so He can produce fruits in us (Gal 5:22) by which our character and our being is transformed to be more and more like Jesus (thus uniting us with him in death and resurrection). This shows how we need to respond to God's saving act, our part in the covenant.

SUMMARY of the PROCESS: Faith Assent (mind's agreeing to Intellectual Content above) Justified before God Trust (by our whole being) Sanctification (we increasingly love God) Finally Saved (when we die).

Notes and a defense of framing the answer this way

  1. I realize that I am taking a somewhat unconventional approach in answering the question. I do this for 2 reasons:

    • to avoid new believers who are confused or even misled into thinking that all it needs to be Christian is to hold certain statements in his/her mind and mistakenly calls it "faith" ! To me this cause many to be "cultural Christians" in the church that brings really bad name to Christianity.
    • to avoid unnecessary fights between denominations, by uniting everyone on personal trust and relationship with Jesus instead of fighting over what's minimal content of believe and over definitions.
  2. "justification by faith alone" does NOT mean "salvation by faith alone" (see Ask John Piper episode 1166 Will We Be Finally 'Saved' by Faith Alone?).

    • We are forgiven and made right with God by faith alone. That's justification.
    • The hard work is our response to this faith, a proof that we are not deluding ourselves. Hard work as a response is necessary for the larger work process of salvation, which extends until we die. The hard work is part of what it means to TRUST God shown by our love of God, one fruit of our faith.
  3. Catholics put heavy emphasis on sacraments as a means of grace, but they will also tell you that faith is a necessary component to make sacraments efficacious.

  4. Of course a lot of important details are left out. The understanding is that the new believer will ADD MORE to this intellectual content by studying the Bible under the guidance of trusted pastor / Christian friend. The following are examples of the immediate things a believer commonly add right away:

    • That God is the creator of this universe, who is both not-dependent and yet involved in the running of the world and in the personal lives of every person
    • That no powers can frustrate God's plan, that he's the "God above all gods", ruling over all other spiritual beings
    • That we are sinner by nature and without Jesus we cannot be saved
    • Apostle's creed, Nicene creed, and Chalcedonian definition are trustworthy summaries of what we need to believe to have the right concept of God so we are in the right path of salvation
    • We need to join a fellowship with other believers united with Christ as vine and branches
    • If we are sincere in regarding Jesus as our Lord, then we need to have the habit of repenting from our sins and making a daily attempt to love God and others better. We also need to study Jesus's commandments so we have trustworthy guide for our actions, such as love our enemies, forgive people who hurt us, be to the weak/oppressed as we do to Jesus, etc.
    • etc.
  5. Please remember that it's not the precision of the list above that matters. It's how your mind use them to guide you in the saving process. Different churches will give you different list, but the above is what has helped me the most.


You need to repent of your sins and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and your only Savior from the coming judgment through His perfect work on the cross.

But as others pointed out, reciting a mere statement or a creed won't save anybody. Head knowledge about Jesus Christ doesn't save you either, but intensifies your judgment unless you repent of your sins.

Salvation is far from theoretical head knowledge, it is blessed personal knowledge of the Lord and Savior. There is a huge difference between knowing God personally and knowing about God as theology (mere religion).

Either Christ or Religion

Religion is men's crafted wayS to heaven and they will never make it, but Jesus Christ is the only Way.

Jesus saith unto him, I Am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. (John 14:6)

But this requires FAITH which is given by God, you cannot simply generate faith by yourself from within yourself, it is God's gift.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph 2:8,9)

Then you may ask, why cannot I give myself this faith to save myself? The answer is that salvation is God's work 100%, there is zero contribution from a sinful, spiritually dead human being. Jesus Christ did the salvation work perfectly and completely.

Salvation [is] of the LORD. (Jonah 2:9b)

Jesus Christ on the cross in the center and the two thieves, one on the right and one on the left is happened to be not only depicting what HISTORICALLY happened but also metaphorically the whole world: Jesus Christ is and has always been and will ever be the center of everything and there are only two groups of people though both of them are thieves yet; one who repent and one who don't repent of their sins (theft of God's glory) but continue to mock Jesus Christ.

Now, here is the challenge: if you say you believe in Jesus Christ and you are saved by His blood it is as good as nothing unless you prove this by test. This test is the way you live your life for Christ. I will support the above with Biblical verses:

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. (John 14:23)

This means not only talking the talk but walking the walk also (walking with God as Jesus Christ did is the test, was He baptized? How about you?).

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. (Matt 7:20,21) I advise you to read the whole chapter.

But many get stumbled by the works here, and say works then important to obtain the salvation, the answer is definitely NO. Sinful humans cannot present good works to God unless they are saved and obtain forgiveness of their sins by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Heb 9:22)

See how God sees the deeds of sinful humans, filthy as they are:

But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6)

Yes, works after salvation are fruits, not roots of salvation. You prove the test positive of salvation by good works after salvation but these works cannot be the cause of salvation or forgiveness. Think of someone dead, can the dead do anything?

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

With all this in mind, it forms the basis to understand this verse which has presented some difficulty in understanding:

What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (Jas 2:14)

Here the kind of works meant are the ones after salvation as a proof of the saving faith. There is a huge difference between someone who makes "good" deeds in order to obtain salvation and someone who makes them as a thankful reply to a great yet freely given grace.


According to the Bible, there are only two groups of people with regard to salvation (remember the two thieves), one group are really saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and repented (or will) because God's work is perfect, it is a blasphemy to think otherwise, all whom He shed His blood for, had (or will) come to repentance and to know Him personally as the only Savior. They live by faith after salvation and they conform to the image of Jesus Christ and will be with Him for eternity. Conforming to the image of Christ is sanctification by the Holy Spirit and through his Word (Holy Scriptures wondrously preserved and delivered to us unto salvation and sanctification), this can be different from one saint to another. Salvation is God's work and is independent of man, but sanctification is man's responsibility.

The second group had (or will) not repent and they continue to conform to everything except Jesus Christ, they continue to mock Him Who is God blessed forever, these belong to the Antichrist's spirit and body and will receive eternal damnation.

The tests mentioned above prove which group you belong to. I wish you the first one of course.

Update: A poem from a saint of the old who was saved could help to back up all of the above:

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This poem "God Who is Rich in Mercy" appeared once in the magazine “Thoughts from The Word of God” in 1912, page 49.

Meet the author of this old poem Percy H. Heward and his treasure of writings here.

  • Welcome to Christianity SE and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 13:31
  • Welcome to the site, doctorate . That's a profound statement, "works after salvation are fruits, not roots of salvation." I was going to suggest you elaborate a bit on that, but then you added that old poem, "God who is rich in mercy" and so you beat me to it!
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 14:34
  • 1
    @Anne glad to see this old poem work wonders today. More impressive though is the life of its author (see the updated info about him) who not only talked the talk and wrote it but walked the walk (his biography in Wikipedia is well written to witness just that). I feel ashamed when I see my walk today compared to his but may God revive His work in the days to come before His second coming.
    – doctorate
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 15:59
  • 1
    short version answer: the minimum requirement for a person to do in order to be saved is NOTHING. God's work and free mercy is EVERYTHING.
    – doctorate
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 16:16

It would contradict everything I understand about Jesus if there were a list of minimal requirements for salvation. Love doesn't check boxes.

One of Jesus' key messages was to do away with orthodoxy and receive even the most unlikely people with open arms. Why should that be any different today if He was here? And — isn't He?

Jesus is — positive — surprises, not predictable rules.

  • Spot on, in my view. Jesus did ask people to believe in him -- but he didn't ask anyone to recite the catechism. What he asked for most was not belief, but repentance. Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 11:55

OP: what's the minimum requirement for a sinner as per the Biblical teaching in order to be forgiven and receive eternal life, which form the salvation offered in the name of Jesus of Nazareth?

The jailor asked and was answered some 2,000 years ago.

Acts 16:30 And brought them [Paul and Silas] out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

Verse 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Simple, yet they didn't stop there for surely the next question from the gentile guard was who is that?

Verse 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

The word of the Lord refers to God speaking as recorded in the Old Testament. For example, God spoke, that is, foretold, that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Michah 5:2 and Mt 2:6

God spoke the Messiah would be born of a virgin.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isa 7:14 and Mt 1:18

God spoke that Messiah would suffer, die, and be resurrected. See Isa 53 and this example.

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27

So, per the Bible, what is the minimum to be forgiven and receive eternal life? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, grow in grace and the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18, Eph 1:17, Col 1:10).

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48

  • why the downvote? doesn't fit someone's Tradition?
    – SLM
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 18:56

The answer to your question depends upon which Gospel you consider to be true and reliably authoritative:

Gospel #1:

  1. Jesus died for everybody, thereby offering everybody the possibility of salvation from the wrath of God.
  2. Salvation requires the Grace of God, plus believing, saving faith, confessing, repenting, calling upon the Name..., according to my free-will.

Gospel #2:

  1. Jesus died to save His Sheep from their sins (Mt 1:21). His Sheep are those having been foreknown and predestined (Rom 8:29), chosen and predestined... before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4-5), and given to Jesus by the Father (Jn 6:39), thereby providing mercy and definite salvation from the Wrath of God for some, while giving justice to everyone else.
  2. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9), and by grace alone, NOT the result of anything that I might do, say, think, or desire (Eph 2:8-9).

The apparent Biblical conflicts between these two "gospels result from misleading translations of the Greek text, particularly Rom 10:9 and Act 2:21.

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