Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

The Philippian Jailer
"What must I do to be saved?"

This was the question of the Philippian jailer, and it seems like the simplest question. Ask any child in your average Sunday School class and they'll probably get the answer right.

Yet there are also a lot of people out there who would confuse and complicate the answer (some intentionally, others not so). But with lives literally hanging in the balance, clarity on answering this question cannot be overemphasized.

Recently I received this very question in response to a video I recorded last year for my church addressing the question, "How were people saved before Jesus died for our sins?"

He asked,
What exactly does the Bible say that a person absolutely must do in order to achieve salvation.  And could you cite the verses that confirm this?

( I can't figure out if a person needs to be baptized, or if he must believe that God in the body of a man was executed as payment for our sins, or of you just have to believe in God, or if you just have to try to be a good person.)
This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but these are the most explicit verses I've found declaring what you must do to be saved. (Feel free to comment below with any I've missed!)
    But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
(John 1:12-13 ESV)

    Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:9-13 ESV)

    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 ESV)

    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “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.
(Acts 2:37-38 ESV)

    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
(John 3:36 ESV)

    And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
(Acts 16:29-31 ESV)
It seems to me the harmony of these verses is this:

Believe Jesus was who he said he was and is (God) and receive (or trust in, which means you repent and turn from trusting in yourself) what he said he would do (die for your sins, rise again, give us his Spirit) to be saved, and consequently some of your first acts of obedience should be baptism and professing (confessing) with your mouth that "Jesus is Lord".

Or to be less wordy: Believe Jesus was who he said he was (God) and receive what he said he would do (die for our sins, rise again, give us His Spirit) to be saved. 

Feedback: How would you answer this question? What words or phrases would you add or omit to my answer? What verses might you add to my list? 

2 comments:

Carol said...

I love the sure simplicity of 1John 5:11-12.
"And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. So whoever has God's Son has life; whoever does not have His Son does not have life."

Steve Finnell said...
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