What Must I Do To Be Saved?
This question appears three times in the New Testament (Acts 2:37; 9:6; 16:30). What does it imply? What does it suggest?
1) "What" - There are terms or conditions to be met.
2) "Must" - These terms cannot be dispensed with, they are essenial (i.e. not optional).
3) "I" - It is an individual matter and personal in nature, not collective.
4) "Do" - This is a verb, a word of action. The religion of Christ is one of duty and doing.
5) "To Be" - It indicates that the questioner is not saved, but lost.
6) "Saved" - Shows the end or aim in view (i.e. salvation or forgiveness of sins).
The question is not: (1) What must God do in order for me to be saved? (2) What did Christ have to do before I could be saved? (3) What part does the Holy Spirit play in an individual's salvation? (4) Are God's grace, mercy, love, and the precious blood of the cross important? While these questions are important they are not relevant to the matter of "What must I do to be saved?"
Now that we have defined the question, let us discern the answer. The answer we give is not: (1) Determined by what "your church" or "my church" teaches. (2) Decided by what any man or preacher says or thinks. Let us now see the answer the Bible gives.
I. Acts 2:37-38 - "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins". This was the answer of the Spirit of God (Acts 2:4). This is consistent with what Jesus said (Mk. 16:16). Accordingly, those who "gladly received the word" were baptized (Acts 2:41). Those who did not "gladly receive the word" were not baptized "for the remission of sins". The same is true today.
II. Acts 9:6; 22:16 - Before the apostle Paul was saved he asked, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" The Lord told him to "go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." When God sent Ananias to Paul he told him to, "Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord".
III. Acts 16:31-34 - When a jailor in Philippi inquired he was told to, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17). Since Paul and Silas told the man to believe, it was necessary for them to preach the word so that he might do so. After hearing the word of God, the jailor "rejoiced, believing in God." He demonstrated his repentance by washing the wounds he had helped inflict on the apostles. Finally, he was baptized.
We have learned that there is something one must do to be saved. To one who does not know the Lord, the answer is – "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). To those who have believed, the answer is – "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). To one who has believed on the Lord and repented, the answer is – "Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Remember, we must take all that the Scripture says in answering the question, "What must I do to be saved?" When we do that we find that one must believe, repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. This is how the Holy Spirit answers the question, "What must I do to be saved?"
(By Larry Hafley)
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