What Must I do to Be Saved?
By Joseph Ametepe
• In about A.D. 50, a fearful, frightened and panic-stricken Roman jailer asked Paul and Silas, missionaries who brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to the city of Philippi:"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). The unnamed jailer came close to committing suicide. He knew the Roman law. Should a prisoner or prisoners under his care escape, he would without doubt lose his life. Paralyzing fear gripped his heart when he realized that the doors of the jail were opened after an earthquake struck the jail. Supposing that his prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself (see Acts 16:25-27). My friend, fear can cripple us to the point of acting insane and injuring ourselves physically and eternally. There are many who are fearful and frightened today. Some in their fear have taken their own lives. Others, in their state of panic, have injured both themselves and others close to them. Your life does not have to end that way. There is a better way to deal with fear. Perhaps, your fear is one of failure. Perhaps, it is the fear of terrorism. Or perhaps, it is the fear of the future. Your fear may be the fear of death. The point is this, fear is real and can paralyze us. But thanks be to God, He is more than able to deliver us from all our fears! King David of Israel experienced that in his life. This is his inspired testimony. "I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:4). The jailer also was saved from his fears. And you can be rescued from your fears as well.
• Deliverance from all our fears begins with the most basic question of all: What must I do to be saved from self, from sin, from Satan, from my guilty and accusing conscience, and, above all, from hell, from condemnation, from the wrath and righteous judgment of God which I have brought upon myself by reason of my being a guilty and cursed sinner before a great and holy God? My friend, this is the most fundamental question you need to deal with in life. You cannot ignore seeking a sincere and truthful answer to this question. Those have sincerely sought God for His answer to this question and responded to His wise answer have experienced true peace and freedom from fear of judgment and condemnation.
• The frightened and fearful jailer received a sincere and simple answer to his question of"What must I do to be saved?" It was brief and bold. The answer was clear and concise. It was convincing and cogent. It was simple, sincere and straightforward. The answer given to him was true and trustworthy for all time. It was precise and profound. It was unique and useful. He was confidently told: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:31). It is as simple as that. Notice he was not told to perform a list of good works before he would be saved. He was not even told to get baptized or circumcised before obtaining salvation. This is because God's gift of salvation is a free gift given to those who sincerely express total trust in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross for the redemption of sinners. Elsewhere the Bible says, "He [God our Savior] saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy..." (Titus 3:5).
• Please take note of this! Getting to heaven, the Bible insists, is not primarily a matter of being and doing good. You can be ever so good today, but that will not erase your sins of yesterday. And even today you cannot be good enough to stand in the sight of a holy and righteous God. The Bible declares: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
• Getting to heaven, rather than being a matter of being good, is first of all a matter getting right with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved except the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
• God in His kindness and love for people has prepared a way of escape from our sins, from Satan, and from His furious wrath and His righteous judgment against our sins. That way of escape is found only in one person in the entire history of mankind. That way leads only through and is found in Jesus Christ alone. There is no other way of escape from God's curse and condemnation, and from His wrath and righteous judgment against our sins, but that which He has graciously provided in Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners!
• This is why Paul and Silas unashamedly gave this simple and straightforward answer to the frightened jailer who asked, "What must I do to be saved?" He was pointed to Jesus Christ and Him alone. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved."Notice the certainty of being saved. "You will, not you may be saved." In other words, as soon as a person expresses sincere, genuine and unfeigned trust in Jesus Christ as the Eternal Son of God, as the only One who can save sinners from their sins, on the basis of His sacrificial and saving work on the cross for sinners, he or she is instantly saved. Immediately, you will be rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God's Beloved and Blessed Son, Jesus Christ. You will be made a new creation. The Bible says; "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). In other words, by expressing genuine trust in Jesus Christ, one is made brand new in the inner person. A radical change occurs in one's heart and disposition in life. The saved frightened jailer is a perfect example of this truth. Prior to experiencing God's saving grace, he was cruel and mean to Paul and Silas. They had been severely flogged and wounded. But when they were brought to the jail, he cared less about their condition and showed them no sympathy. However, after believing in the Lord Jesus, he was a different person, a brand new person. He extended kindness and hospitality to them. He washed their wounds and brought them into his house and set food before them, and even rejoiced greatly with them for his new found faith and relationship with Jesus Christ (see Acts 16:22-34).
• Do you desire God to save you and begin His work of changing you into the likeness of His Son Jesus? Believe, as the fearful jailer in this story, that without Jesus Christ you are a guilty, condemned, lost sinner bound for the fires of hell. For, indeed, you are! Believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is indeed the Son of God and when He died on the Roman cross in the city of Jerusalem, nearly 2,000 years ago, He paid in full the penalty of all your sins. He took the punishment you deserved for your sins in His own body, a punishment which if you had received in your own body, you would still be headed to hell. Jesus was fully God and fully man when He died for you. He was sinless and you are sinful.
• Friend, believe that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead on the third day after His death, conquering the power of sin, death, Satan and hell. Believe that Jesus ascended into heaven, sitting now at the right hand of God the Father, praying for and preparing a place for all those who put their complete trust in Him alone for their salvation. Believe also that one day soon, Jesus will come again from heaven visibly, to take all who have a true relationship with Him to Himself and that forever, they will be with Him and reign with Him.
• What must you do to be saved? The answer to this question has been and is still simple and straightforward. Believe in Jesus, not being good. Believe that you are a guilty sinner who needs a Savior, who is Jesus Christ.
• Since Jesus is the One who alone saves, would you please now tell Him of your heart's desire to be saved. "Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and that You died on the cross for my sins to save me from eternal death, that is, eternal separation from a loving God. I believe that You are the Only One who can save me from my sins. I admit to You that I am a sinner in need of Your salvation. I open the door of my heart to You and receive You in my heart as my Lord and Savior. I accept the work You did on the cross on my behalf. I thank You for taking my place on the cross and receiving the punishment I deserve. I give You my life. Please help me to be what You want me to be. Help me to grow in my life and love for You and Your Word. Thank You Jesus for saving me. Amen."
• If you have prayed this prayer to Jesus, the Only One who saves us, please contact us and let us encourage and guide you in your new found relationship with Jesus Christ.