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What Must I do to be Saved?

One of the greatest questions that has ever been asked by man regards his salvation. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” was the question asked by the jailor at Philippi (Acts 16:30). His good question pertained to initial salvation or salvation in regards to the non-Christian. In the first place, consider the fact that this pagan knew there was something he had to do in order to be saved. Did he possess some heathen “salvation by works” concept of salvation; hence, the wording of his question? The fact that Paul and Silas did not rebuke him in view of the wording of his question but proceeded to answer him shows his question was legitimately worded (vs 31 ff). You see, God has provided the necessary grace and has made it available to all men, but God requires man to appropriate this grace to himself (Tit. 2:11ff.). This is what Peter meant when he urged, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). There are no works man could possibly perform to earn his salvation (Tit. 3:5). However, there are things man must do in order to be saved (matters involved in accepting God’s grace, Tit. 3:5). Alas, most will not make use of God’s grace; therefore, only a few will be ultimately saved (Matt. 7:13, 14).

What was the answer of Paul and Silas to the question “what must I do to be saved?” Belief is where it all begins (notice I said “begins,”” not “ends). Hence, we read: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (vs. 31). Belief is initial and required to prompt other requisite acts of obedience required by God (Heb. 11:6). A dead faith, though, never saved anyone (Jas. 2:14ff). Even the demons believe and tremble (Jas. 2:19). Since faith or belief comes by hearing the word of God, Paul and Silas had to present the word to the jailor (vs. 32). The fact the jailor “washed their stripes” was indicative of his repentance (vs. 33, see the necessity of repentance in Luke 13:3, 5 and Acts 17:30, 31). Repentance is a change of mind or will, that is brought about by godly sorrow and leads to reformation of life (Matt. 21:29; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10, 11). We are not expressly told that the jailor verbally confessed Christ’s deity; however, we must infer that he did. We say this because such a confession was required of the non-Christian in order to be saved (Rom. 10:9, 10, see exemplified in Acts 8:37, KJV). After the jailor had believed (begun to believe), repented, confessed Jesus’ deity, we read: “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his straightway” (vs33). We consistently read in the recorded cases of salvation that provide full detail that people were immediately baptized (they did not practice weekly or monthly baptism meetings). This immediacy of action in the case of baptism was because water baptism was (is) for the remission of sins and to place one in Christ where salvation is experienced (Acts 2:38, 22:16; Gal 3:26, 27, 1 Cor. 12:13). After the jailor rendered primary obedience, we read “And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (vs. 34). The jailors question was not only answered, but the jailor (and his family) has now done what he was told to do to be saved. Thus, the jailor is saved at the point of verse thirty-four. Therefore, he “rejoiced, believing in God.”

A look at other recorded instances of salvation. The book of Acts is the history book of the New Testament. As such, it records how people became Christians or were saved. These examples are for our following and duplication today. If we are to enjoy the same salvation, we are to be saved in the same way people of the First Century were. To simplify our study, we shall supply the text that records the salvation example. We shall then briefly notice what was done by considering the “subject,” “what they did,” and the “results.” We shall begin with Acts 2:22-41.

The subjects: The Jews of every nation (vs. 9-11). What they did: They heard the faith producing word, believed, repented, confessed (inferred, Rom. 10 1-10), and were baptized (2:37; vs. 36; vs. 38-41). The results: They were saved from their sins (Mk.16:15, 16).

Notice the breakdown. The subjects: The Samaritans. What they did: They heard the gospel, believed, repented (inferred based on Acts 17:30, 31), confessed (inferred based on Rom. 10:1-10), and were baptized (Acts 8:6; vs. 12). The results: They were saved (cp. Mk.16:15, 16).

The subject: The man from Ethiopia. What he did: He heard, believed, repented (necessarily inferred, Rom. 10: 1-10), confessed Christ’s deity, and was baptized (vs. 35; vs. 37, KJV: vs. 37; vs.38). The results: He was saved (vs. Mk. 16:15, 16, Acts 8:39).

Let us briefly examine the case of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 22: 3-16).

Consider our analysis. The Subject: Saul. What he did: He heard, believed, repented (necessarily inferred, Acts 17: 30, 31), confessed (necessarily inferred, Rom. 10:1-10); and was baptized (22: 7, 13-16; vs.10; vs16). The results: Saul was saved (Mk. 16:15, 16). The subjects: Cornelius and his household. What they did: They heard, believed, repented, confessed (necessarily inferred, Rom. 10: 1-10,) and were baptized (vs. 33; vs 43; vs.11:18; vs. 10:48). The results: They were saved (Mk. 16:15, 16, Acts 11:18).

Lydia and her household (Acts 16:13-15).

The subjects: Lydia and her household. What they did: heard, believed, repented (necessarily inferred, Acts 17: 30, 31), confessed (necessarily inferred, Rom. 10:1-10), and were baptized (vs. 13; vs. 14; vs. 15). The results: They were saved (Mk. 16:15,16).

Let us notice one more example from the book of Acts (Acts 18:8).

“8: And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house: and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18).

The subjects: The Corinthians. What they did: They heard, believed, repented (necessarily inferred, Acts 17 Romans 10:1-10:30, 31) confessed (Rom. 10:1-10), and were baptized (vs. 8). The results: They were saved from their sins (Mk. 16:15,16).

The findings and conclusions or our composites. In the foregoing seven examples of salvation, we saw that each pertained to the non-Christian becoming a Christian. We observed that there were three items that were specifically mentioned in all seven cases of salvation: hearing the word, belief (Click on, “Saving Faith” to learn more), and water baptism (Click on “Baptism, How, Who, When, and How” to learn more about water baptism). In view of the teaching of Acts 17:30, 31 that all men must repent and Romans 10:1-10 that confession of Christ’s deity is required for primary salvation, we necessarily inferred that these acts were performed in all seven cases (only specifically mentioned in two and one, respectively, click on “Biblical Repentance” and “The Act of Confession” to make your study of salvation complete). Since Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” we conclude that the people of all seven cases were indeed saved (repentance and confession are necessarily inferred in Jesus’ statement, cp.Lk. 24:47, Rom. 10: 1-10). Hence, belief, repentance, confession of Christ’s deity, and water baptism were required in the First Century (and today) in order to be saved.

There were some incidentals to salvation mentioned in the seven cases. The performance of miracles (the Samaritans, performed by the apostles), Saul saw a light and the Lord to qualify him for apostleship, Cornelius experienced the baptism of the Spirit, for instance. These were incidentals because they were not required to the salvation enjoyed.

What are the practical lessons to be drawn from our Study? If we are to be New Testament Christians (there really is not any other “type” Christian), we must do what people did in the First Century in order to become Christians. Once again: They believed, repented, confessed Jesus’ deity, and were baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Such action placed them in Christ (his Spiritual body, the church, Gal. 3:26, 27, Eph. 1:22, 23, I Cor. 12:13). They (we today) were to grow and exercise the responsibilities God enjoined on them as Christians (Col 1:10, 2 Pet. 1:5-11).

The Gospel

Gospel is that Jesus died for sinners on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead (1Cor, 15:1-4). His death was a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God
(1John 2:2). This is the only way to be saved.

Jesus is the one who died for the sins of the world (1John 2:2). He is the only way to the God the Father (John 14:6). He alone reveals God (Matt. 11:27). He has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). It is only through Him that you can be saved from God’s wrath (Eph. 2:3). He can forgive you of your sin (Luke 5:20; Matt. 9:2). He can remove the guilt that is upon your soul. Jesus can set you free from the bondage of sin that blinds your eyes, weakens your soul, and brings you to despair. He can do this because he bore sin in His body on the cross (1 Peter. 2:24) that those who trust in Him would be saved.

If you are not a Christian, and want to be delivered from the righteous judgment of God upon you due to your sin against Him, then come to the One who died for the sins of the world. Come to the One who died for sinners (Matt 11:28) Turn from your sins. Believe and trust in Jesus. Receive Jesus, who is God in flesh, who died and rose from the dead (1Cor.15:1-4) as your Lord and Savior. Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins. Receive Christ (John 1:12).Only He can was you clean from your sins and only Jesus can deliver you from the righteous judgment of a holy and infinite God. Pray to Jesus. Seek Him. Ask Him to save you.

He will.

Here is a sample prayer you can offer to Jesus. It does not have to be exact, but you will get the idea.

Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned against you. I know that I am not perfect and that I cannot please you through my own efforts. I know that I deserve to be judged according to my sins. And, I know that I have nothing to offer you.

Lord Jesus, I ask you to forgive me of my sins. Please cleanse me and make me right before you. I trust in what you have done on the cross. I do not rely on myself but only on you and I receive you as Lord if my life and as savior of my soul. Lord Jesus, save me. I look to you alone.

I would like to note, that the Jesus of Mormonism (the brother of the devil), the Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (an angel made into a man), the Jesus of the New Age (a man in tune with the divine consciousness), etc, cannot save you from your sins. Faith is only as good as who you put it in. Only the Jesus of the Bible can do that. Jesus is God in flesh, the creator. God is a trinity and Jesus is the second person of the trinity. If you have prayed and asked Jesus to deliver you from your sins and save you from God’s wrath, then please call us now.