By Johnie Edwards
The greatest question ever ask by man is, “What must I do to be saved?” It is a great question because it involves man’s greatest possession – his own soul! Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matt. 16:26)?
The question, “What must I do to be saved?”, is of great significance. A simple study of the words in the question will help us see the importance of the question.
1. What. The word what shows that one is inquiring about the value or nature of a matter.
2. Must. The word must means that a thing is necessary.
3. I. I points to the individual. It is not a question of what others must do, but what must I do?
4. Do. The word do indicates there is something to be carried out, or executed.
5. To be. To be shows there is something in the future.
6. Saved. To be saved is to be delivered from. So far as this study is concerned, we are looking at the idea of being delivered from sin. The word saved is used at least two ways in the Bible. There is salvation from past sins and salvation in eternity with God, after this life is over.Paul refers to “the remission of sins that are past” (Rom. 3:25) and Peter refers to “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:5).
A Bible Question
What must I do to be saved is a Bible question. Acts 16 contains the events of Paul and Silas being in Prison at Philippi. The jailor was prompted by an earthquake to ask, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).
A Bible Answer
Bible questions demand Bible answers. A great majority of people have been taught and believe that one is saved at the point of faith without any other acts of obedience. Their false conclusion is based on the partial events of the conversion of the Philippian jailor in Acts 16. Many conclude that when Paul told the jailor to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shaft be saved” (Acts 16:31) that faith was the only condition of his salvation. But as one continues to read the story in Acts 16:32-34, he can easily see that the jailor repented and was baptized the same hour of the night!
Two Sides To Salvation
A failure to realize that there are two sides to salvation has caused some to conclude that God does it all and that man has nothing to do.
The Divine Side
There are some things God has already done to make salvation available to all. Let’s take a look at some of these.
1. God gave His Son. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
2. The grace of God has been bestowed. “For by a. ace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God – not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Paul told Titus, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Tit. 2:11). God has bestowed His divine favor upon men, making salvation possible.
3. Jesus shed His blood. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). God’s love for man caused Him to send His Son to die for sinners. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
4. The Holy Spirit revealed the truth. The revelation of the saving gospel was made by the Holy Spirit. Paul said, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words; whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) – as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit -” (Eph. 3:3-5). The Hebrew writer tells us that “God hath spoken unto us by his Son. . .” (Heb. 1:1-2) and we need to listen.
The Human Side
God has done His part and requires that man do his part to complete the process of salvation. Here are the essentials God requires of us in order to be saved.
1. Hear the Gospel. At the Mount of Transfiguration God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5). In order for man to know what God wants him to do, he must first hear what He has to say.
2. Faith in Christ. Jesus said, “For if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. . .” (Jn. 8:24). Some teach that man is saved by faith alone, but the New Testament does not teach that faith or anything else by itself will save us. James said, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (Jas. 2:24). Man cannot please God without faith (Heb. 11:6).
3. Repentence of sins. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). An example of repentance can be found in Matthew 21:28-31. In regard to working, one boy said, “I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.” What did he do when he repented? He changed his mind. So repentance is a change of one’s mind that results in a change of action or life.
4. The Confession. The confession is of one’s faith in Christ. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32). Paul said, “That if thou shalt confess the with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9-10). There is no better example of this confession than that of the eunuch when he said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. . .” (Acts 8:37). You will notice that this was not a confession of sins but a confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God!
5. Baptism. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). The very purpose of baptism is to wash away sin (Acts 22:16). Peter said that baptism is “for the’ remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). This baptism is a burial or immersion in water, not a pouring or sprinkling. The word baptism means immersion. In Romans 6:3-4, Paul calls it a “burial” and a “planting.” It is at this point that the blood of Christ washes away a man’s sins and we are “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:27).
6. Be Faithful. After one has obeyed the gospel, he then is added to the church (Acts 2:47). As a Christian and a member of the Lord’s church, one must then remain faithful in worshipping God, purity of life, and working for the Lord. It is summed up in these words, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. . .” (Rev. 2:10). One must “be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. . .” (1 Cor. 15:58).
“Salvation belongeth unto the Lord” (Psalm 3:8). Therefore, God has the right to tell us what He wants us to do to be saved. We bid you to hear and obey His will today.
Guardian of Truth XXV: 1, pp. 7-8
January 1, 1981