After great efforts to save the ship, and the sailor’s attempt to abandon it, the Apostle Paul issued the following warning to the centurion: “”Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 27:31). In this statement we find an absolute requisite for the salvation of those who were on the ship. Their very lives hung on the balance of this exception. Everything depended upon the word “except”. The ship, and all those who were on it were lost, “except” those who would remain in the ship. Remaining with the ship was the condition upon which all lives could be saved. As already stated, it was an absolute requirement.

This same emphatic, conditional and provisional word “except” is employed in the Scriptures to express the absolute conditions upon which God offers salvation from sin, and the promise of eternal life. To ignore the “exceptions” of God’s instruction is to jeopardize one’s opportunity to be saved. In view of this, it can be said that Christianity is an “exceptional” religion. It is imperative that man recognize every such “exception” found in God’s plan of salvation. This article will assist us in seeing them.

EXCEPT THE LORD BUILD THE HOUSE – PSALM 127:1 – Man must conclude that God alone can build the “house” that is worthy, and will stand eternally. Further, we must conclude that God alone can keep the city. When we understand that the church, as God’s house, is to be built by none other than Deity, we will understand how that those who attempt to do otherwise labor in vain (1 Timothy 3:15). The Lord promised to build but one church (Matthew 16:18). Further, we see that the New Testament teaches that Jesus is the head of but one church (Ephesians 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18). Jesus clearly warned about the result of those “plants” which His Father did not plant (Matthew 15:13). Many religious groups exist, having been built by man, with human creeds, wearing human names that are waiting the day of which they will be rooted up.

EXCEPT YE BELIEVE IN JESUS – JOHN 8:24 – Herein, Jesus warned concerning the necessity of belief, and the consequences for failure to do so. To die in one’s sins is to face eternal condemnation. Yet, there is an exception to such a death. One can believe in Christ. This is an absolute condition, stated herein, for salvation is of faith. The world is lost without salvation. Except man turns to God in belief, he will die in that condition. It is imperative that we note that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).

EXCEPT YE REPENT – LUKE 13:3, 5 – In these passages, Jesus spoke clearly of this exception. Here, we see clear evidence that those who refuse to repent of their sins will be lost eternally. The Apostle Paul spoke of the same need of repentance in Acts 17:30, 31. It is important to understand that one cannot find life in Christ without repenting (Acts 11:18). It is also important to understand that God does not desire that any perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN – JOHN 3:3, 5 – When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night to inquire of salvation he was told of the necessity of the new birth. Thus, for one to enter the Kingdom of God, he must be willing to be born anew. This is an absolute requirement! To understand what is meant here we turn to the first gospel sermon preached following the ascension of Christ (Acts 2:37-41).

EXCEPT YE ABIDE IN ME – JOHN 15:4 – As children of God, it is important to realize the necessity of abiding in Christ. Herein Jesus taught that He is the vine, and we are the branches, and so long as the branches remain attached to the vine they are seeking to bear fruit. But apart from the vine, they are barren. Jesus issued a clear warning concerning the need to constantly abide in him (John 15:6, 7). Abiding in Jesus is so important due to the fact that it is in him that so much happens:

  1. In Him have all spiritual blessings – Ephesians 1:3.
  2. In Him we become new creatures – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
  3. In Him we obtain salvation – 2 Timothy 2:10.
  4. In Him we have no condemnation – Romans 8:1.
  5. In Him we are made alive – 1 Corinthians 15:22.
  6. In Him we triumph – 2 Corinthians 2:14.
  7. In Him we are made one – Galatians 3:28.
  8. In Him we are made partakers of the promise – Ephesians 3:6.
  9. In Him we rejoice more abundantly – Philippians 1:26.

 Clearly we see the exception here on each of these points.