The word "saved" is used in several different senses in the Bible. For example: Noah was "saved by water" (1 Pet. 3:20), Joseph "saved" the Egyptians (Gen. 47: 25, etc.). In this article only one type of salvation will be discussed -- salvation from past sins. A failure to distinguish between this type of salvation and eternal salvation in heaven is very confusing to one who is seeking to know what to do to be saved.


Since the Bible contains two distinct laws, the law of Moses and the law of Christ, both of which could not be effective at the same time (Heb. 10:9), it would be absurd to think that we can find the answer to the above question in any part of the Bible in which we may chance to look. We, today, are living under the law of Christ as revealed in the New Testament.

The law of Christ did not go into effect until the first Pentecost after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The events of that memorable day are recorded in Acts 2.

Things that people were told to do before that day are not necessarily the things that people are to do today. In the first four books of the New Testament only those things that Jesus told His disciples to teach after His kingdom or church was established are required of us today. Jesus' answer to the lawyer (Lk. 10:26) is not applicable to us now, for Jesus' new law did not go into effect until about fifty days later.


In Matt. 28:19,20; Mk. 16:15,16; Lk. 24:46,47 and John 20:21-23, we have a brief statement of what Jesus told His disciples to do when the kingdom or church was established. After telling them to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature He told them, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mk. 16:16). "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem." (Lk. 24:47). "But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." (Lk. 24:49).


When Peter preached on Pentecost (Acts 2) he preached the gospel of Christ as he had been told to do by Jesus Himself. After explaining the descent of the Holy Spirit as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, and then showing that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecies concerning the promised Messiah, he said, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36). This is a very forceful way of telling them to believe that Jesus was the Christ.

"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in thier heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and Brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:37,38).

In the great commisssion Jesus said that people were to believe, repent and be baptized in order that their sins be forgiven. Peter preached these same conditions of pardon in the very first sermon in establishing the church. An examination of the "Acts of the Apostles" shows that Peter and the other apostles continued to preach these same conditions of remission of sins.

Evidently this is the answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:41).

By Elam B. Kuykendall in Gospel Digest.

Return to the General Articles page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /