13th September 2012

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

“He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be savedyou and your household.’”
Acts 16:30-31 (NIV)

During the Olympic Games, the spotlight is put on personal and team performances. The training schedule was completed and the time for doing and achieving has come and gone. Medals and titles were won or lost, tears of joy or disappointment shed, depending upon how well the athletes have done in their events.

At the beginning of his spiritual journey, it seemed natural for the jailor at Philippi to assume that salvation was also about doing and achieving. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He assumed that salvation was somehow tied up with doing works and could be gained or lost depending upon personal performance.

The reply of Paul and Silas was a simple broad statement that needs to be unpacked. To “believe in the Lord Jesus” goes far beyond accepting the fact that Jesus existed. Although this is an essential starting point, it is by no means the whole picture. The Greek word translated as “believe” can also mean “to have faith” or “to trust.” Thus Paul and Silas were saying, “believe in, have trust in, have faith in, the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

This belief in Jesus is much deeper and qualitatively different from that described by James in his epistle, which clearly does not involve faith and trust in God. “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19). This type of belief did not lead to peace with God.

Thus at the beginning of the jailor’s Christian journey, Paul and Silas delivered the fundamental gospel message to believe, trust and have faith in Jesus. That Jesus has done all that is required for salvation.

The Bible, however, also reveals that true belief results in the “obedience that comes from faith” (Romans 1:5), and also “faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6). Salvation is by grace alone and not dependant on works; nevertheless, Christian living includes good works since they are an outward expression of that inward belief, trust and faith.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the free gift of salvation and we ask for your help to live a life that more closely reflects that of Jesus Christ.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh