When someone asks you if you’re ready to go, the answer could be, “Yes, let’s go.”  It could also be, “Yes, but I still have to dress, wash up and eat.”  The second answer has stipulations that might alter an agreement.  This happened so often at our house that we coined the phrase—“Alls I got to do is …..” which we all used a lot.  When one adds limiting or restricting circumstances, he is using the conditional tense.  Most often it contains the words if and then.  Other words which imply the conditional are except, unless, until and when.

Very often people will quote a scripture without studying everything else that might apply to the topic.  Certainly those who believe will be saved (Jo 3:16).  However, God also says that belief has conditions.  “IF my people will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins…” (2 Ch 7:14)

Jesus told some would-be followers who had excuses that they would not be fit for the kingdom of God if they looked back.  They were putting various worldly tasks ahead of completely following Christ (Lk 9:57-62).  He also said, “…unless you repent, you too will all perish…” (Lk 13:3)  At another time he said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Lk 18:3).  He adds the conditional, “…unless he is born again…” (Jo 3:3)

Many other New Testament scriptures use the conditional or imply it.  Paul told his shipmates, “…unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:31) He declares later, “if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.” “Otherwise you have believed in vain.” (1 Cor 15:2)

Peter has some conditional words for those who desired the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 2:38)  Three thousand obeyed that day of Pentecost and are still obeying today.  Trust and Obey was the saving faith of that day and every day.

–Jim Bailey