By Mike Willis
The most important question which any man faces is the question pertaining to his eternal destiny, “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus has said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). Hearing, believing, and obeying the truth will free one from the damnation of sin; hearing, believing, and obeying false doctrine will leave one in the damnation of sin (Matt. 7:21-23). Hence, knowing the correct answer to this question can make the difference in eternal damnation and eternal life.
Where Do I Find The Answer?
In order to find the correct answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” one must find the one who is qualified to answer the question. Sometimes I have automobile problems which I am unable to repair. I have found that some mechanics are not able to repair my automobile because of incompetence. In a similar fashion, many who claim to know the answer to the question relating to everlasting life are also unqualified to answer. They are spiritual quacks. Their cures are as useless as some of the cures sold at old-time medicine shows.
The only one properly qualified to tell us what to do to be saved is God, the one against whom we have sinned. He has the power to save and to destroy. He is the offended party, the only one able to pronounce us forgiven. He can forgive sins. Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh, performed miracles to confirm that “the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins” (Mk. 2:10). Therefore, He is the one who “hast the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68).
All that we know about Jesus is revealed to us in the Bible. The things which were written in the Bible were recorded in order that we might have life (Jn. 20:30-31). The Bible is our all-sufficient guide to show us how to be saved from sin and how to live so as to stay saved (2 Pet. 1:3-4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Hence, the answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?” should be found in the book of life, the Bible.
There Is Only One Way
Contrary to popular opinion, the Bible teaches that there is only one way to heaven. Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” No one can be saved without faith in God. Those who worship other gods (Buddha, Allah, Krishna, etc.) cannot be saved. Those who are atheists and agnostics cannot be saved. The God of heaven has spoken, teaching us that faith in God is essential to eternal salvation.
The Bible also affirms that faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God is essential for everlasting life. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). The apostles understood this message and preached it to all men. Peter applied the words of Deuteronomy 18:15 to Jesus as follows: “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22-23). Later, he added, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Many have accepted the modern doctrine that there are many roads to salvation. The Lord did not accept that concept. He revealed that the only way to heaven was through Jesus Christ. Those who have not been saved through Christ are lost, doomed to eternal damnation (Jn. 3:16-18).
How To Be Saved Through Christ
Even as one can only be saved through Christ, one can only be saved in the way which Christ revealed. Many people who believe in Christ act as if there are hundreds of ways of being saved through Christ. Each particular denomination teaches a different way to be saved through Christ but believes that any of them will save the soul. Again, we emphasize that this is simply not true.
The gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached, believed, and obeyed in order for men to be saved from sin. Let us look at the three records of the Great Commission to see how men can be saved from sin through the blood of Jesus. These accounts supplement each other as the various witnesses relate what Jesus said was necessary to be saved.
1. Matthew’s account. Matthew’s record of the Great Commission is as follows:
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matt. 28:16-20).
As one reads this, one can see that Jesus conditioned salvation upon one becoming His disciple. In order to be Jesus’ disciple, an individual had to be taught the gospel and be baptized. This new disciple was then to be taught all which Jesus had revealed.
2. Mark’s account. Mark’s account of the Great Commission is reproduced below:
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mk. 16:14-16).
Anyone reading this can perceive that salvation is conditioned upon hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, believing it, and being immersed (baptized) in water. The person who does these things “shall be saved.”
3. Luke’s account. Luke’s gospel records the Great Commission in these words:
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Lk. 24:45-47).
The gospel which is to be preached is explained to us in this account to apply to the vicarious death of Jesus in order that all men might be saved. Remission (or forgiveness) of sins is conditioned upon repentance – that change of mind which occurs when a person decides to quit serving self and the devil and to live pleasingly to God.
These three accounts of the Great Commission can be charted as follows:
|1. Matt. 28:16-20||Teach||Baptize|
|2. Mark 16:14-16||Preach||Believe||Baptize||Saved|
|3. Luke 24:45-57||Repent||Remission of sins|
Jesus laid down these conditions for salvation.
My friend, are you saved? You do not need to “keep your fingers crossed and hope.” You can know whether or not you are saved. Have you obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ? Have you believed in Him? Have you repented of your sins? Have you been baptized in water? If your answer is “no” to any of these questions, you are lost. The blood of Jesus has not cleansed you of y6ur sins. Why not be saved today?
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 2, pp. 34, 55
January 19, 1984