It all comes down to two things. See the radical simplicity and consistency.
In scripture the questions of “What must we do to be saved?”, or, “Who will be saved?” have several common replies.
I usually say that it’s all about accepting or rejecting Jesus. To accept Jesus can be seen as two steps:
You first need to know who you are accepting, that is who he is and what he did.
Then you have to accept Jesus for who he is, that is accepting his authority, Lordship, over you as the son of God.
So although the Bible uses slightly different terminology in different places, it always comes down to accepting Jesus, knowing what he has done on the cross and his authority as the son of God.
Jesus would talk about “I in you and you in me” (John 14:20, John 15:4). Here are the steps again:
And by his authority what did Jesus tell us to do? He commanded us to love one another as he loved us (John 15:12). In fact this is the one rule that all the Old Testament law was based on (Matthew 22:37-40).
The once off baptism to remind us of the once off sacrifice he made to separate us from our sin (Step 1). Then an everyday reminder, as often as we eat and drink, to stay in fellowship with him and under his mantle of love (Step 2).
Suppose I describe the two salvation steps as:
Now look at the two quintessential tests for the Church during the end times. You must not worship the beast and you must not receive the mark of the beast. It is repeated clearly in all the following references: Revelation 14:9-11, 16:2, 19:20, 20:4. This level of repetition makes it very important.
Now let’s look at how these two things attack the two essential steps in salvation:
Never forget or deny what Jesus did and our response to who Jesus is.
Finally, recall how Revelation 7 describes those who serve Jesus during these times as being sealed. Later it describes those who have white robes, made so by the blood of the Lamb, and they also receive the honour to serve Him. The end times seem to bring everything back to the fundamentals — there are no subtle theological twists. You either have the mark of the blood and serve Jesus, or you have the mark of the beast and serve the beast.
It always comes down to these two things:
It’s not about rules and rituals. However you have achieved these two things, you are in! The way you stay in is the same way you got in.