What Must I Do To Be Saved?

In Acts 16:30, a very troubled man asked: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" This is the most important question of the Bible, but unfortunately, if you were to walk up and down the streets of your hometown and ask it today, you would receive many different answers. Some would tell you that there is no God and therefore the question is irrelevant (Psalm 14:1). Others would tell you that you must do nothing at all, for God has already decided who is saved and who is lost. Still others would tell you all you need to do is believe on the Lord (see James 2:19-20). What does the Bible say?

(1) You must HEAR the word of God, for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). It will not be the words of family, friends, preachers, or others that will save you, but the words of the Lord (John 12:48). Many people today are asking the important question "What must I do to be saved" but they are listening to the wrong answers. God's word is the only standard (2 Timothy 2:15, Hosea 4:6, Matthew 7:21).

(2) You must BELIEVE what you hear. Knowledge will do no good without faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus said, "if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).

(3) You must REPENT of your sins. Jesus said "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). Repentance is more that being sorry for one's sins. To repent means to change the mind, or to change directions. A good example of repentance is found in the parable of the two sons; Matthew 21:28-29 "But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went."

(4) You must CONFESS Christ as the Son of God. Jesus said that if we confess Him before men, He will confess us before His Father which is in heaven, but if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His Father (Matthew 10:32-33). Paul said "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10). A good example of this confession is found in Acts chapter 8, where the Ethiopian eunuch heard the gospel from Philip: Acts 8:36-37 "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Many today confess their sins and their unworthiness, but few make the public confession that Jesus is the Son of God.

(5) You must be BAPTIZED for the remission of sins. Jesus said in Mark 16:16; "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." On the day of Pentecost (the beginning of the church, Acts chapter 2) Peter preached to those who had crucified Christ. When they heard what he said, they were pricked in their hearts (Acts 2:37) and cried out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter replied in clear and certain terms: "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 2:38). Remission means the removal of sins. Although some would argue that Peter did not mean that baptism is necessary for salvation, please notice what Jesus said in Matthew 26:28 during the institution of the Lord's supper. "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." The words "for the remission of sins" are the same words that Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). They are not only the same in the English, but also in the Greek language (of which the New Testament was written). Why is this significant? The conclusion is simple: If Jesus shed His blood for the remission of sins (which all who claim to believe in Him affirm) then baptism is for the remission of sins. If baptism is not for the remission of sins, then Jesus did not shed His blood for the remission of sins! Remember, the words are the same in the English and in the Greek (Acts 2:38, Matthew 26:28). But there are other verses that make the purpose of baptism clear as well. Saul was told in Acts 22:16 "And now, why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Baptism is a beautiful act that shows the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4). The word baptize means to immerse. That is why those who are truly baptized according to the scriptures are not sprinkled. Notice also that Jesus said "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). Babies are not candidates for baptism as they cannot believe. Paul taught that baptism puts one into Christ (Galatians 3:27). On the day of Pentecost the Bible tells us "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). Upon doing this, the Lord added them to the church (Acts 2:47). It is a shame that there is so much confusion over this beautiful act of obedience that puts one into Christ and into His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). Make sure your information on this vital subject comes from the word of God instead of the traditions of men. "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4).

Have you done the things that the Bible teaches you must do in order to become a Christian? Good intentions are not enough, for Jesus said "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Why not look up the local Church of Christ in your hometown and ask someone there to assist you in obeying the gospel? If you cannot find one, e-mail this web site, and we will do our best to locate one near you!

"What Must I Do To Be Saved" copyright 2000, Jim Gillaspie

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