MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
What is the greatest
question ever propounded by mortal man? Some businessman might say
it is the question of how to make a fortune. Those old and feeble
might say it is the question of how to live to be one hundred years
of age and remain in good health all that time. The sick might answer
that the greatest question has to do with a cure for cancer, tuberculosis
and diseases of the heart. However, the statesmen might contend
that the greatest question is how to promote peace among nations
and prevent all future wars. While these are all important questions
they have to do with the fleeting things of time and this life only.
Must I Do To Be Saved?"
But it must be agreed
by all those who believe the Bible that the world's greatest question
is, "What must I do to be saved?" or "What
shall I do, Lord?" or "Men and brethren, what shall
we do?" (Acts 22:10; 2:37; 9:6.) This question has to do
with the soul of man and eternal destiny. The soul of one man in
one side of the balances would outweigh the whole world in the other
side! Jesus said, "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?" (Matthew 16:26.) The soul is
the skyscraper to stand through the eternal ages, while the body
is no more than the scaffolding and ladders round about, and very
temporary in nature. Once the soul is lost eternally, it will be
too late to do anything about our great question.
But let us analyze
our question and show that it is exceedingly simple. First of all
there are two parts to the question. "What must I do"
refers to the sinner's part, and "to be saved"
refers to God's part of the plan. In other words the sinner must
believe and put his faith into obedience in order to be saved of
God, and on God's terms. But let us further analyze the question.
"What" - of all things possible to be done, just
what must one do to be saved? "What must" - it
is not what may one do. Jesus said, "It shall be told thee
what thou must do." (Acts 9:6.) Again, it is "What
must I" - it is not what must God, Christ, or the Holy
Spirit do. All heaven has already moved and done its part, and it
is our move next. It is "What must I do?" It is
not how must I feel or what must I imagine, or what must be done
to me, but "What must I do?" it is not what must
I do to blot out my own sins apart from God but what must I do "to
When the jailer asked
"What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30), he
knew little or nothing about Christ and had no faith in Him. However,
the earthquake of the occasion and the miracle in evidence confirmed
the fact that Paul and Silas were servants of God. In answer to
his question they began at the very first and said, "Believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
This was a sort of blanket proposition meaning that he would have
to obey Christ and trust in Him for salvation. They then preached
Christ unto him so he could believe, for faith comes by hearing
the word. (Acts 16:32; Romans 10:17.) He evidently believed and
repented for he took them and tried to undo the harm done, and washed
their stripes. He also was baptized the same hour of the night -
at midnight. (Acts 16:25, 33.) He was then saved by Christ who had
said in the commission, "He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved." He rejoiced after his baptism. He did
not "hit the saw dust trail" to have his sins prayed away
at an altar. He also was saved by obedient faith and not by faith
only. (Hebrews 5:9)
When many asked our
great question on Pentecost saying, "What shall we do?"
(Acts 2:37), unlike the jailer, they had just heard about Christ
and been called upon to believe in Him as "Lord and Christ."
(Acts 2:37) They had been pricked in their hearts by the truth which
they had heard pointing out their guilt in the murder of Christ.
(Acts 2:37) Since they were already believers, but had not put their
faith into obedience, they were simply told what to do by faith
in order to be saved. The apostle said, "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) They were to do this "for the remission of sins"
for which Christ had shed his blood. (Matthew 26:28.) When the service
was over, there were no seekers turned away with the explanation
that they should keep on seeking in prayer until they should find.
But the record says, "They then that gladly received his
word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them
about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:41) The last verse
says, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should
be saved." (Acts 2:47) In no case were any said to be saved
who had not heard the gospel and obeyed it. Furthermore, the Lord
added all of them to the same church, the church of Christ which
he had said he would build. (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47; Ephesians
1:22, 23; 5:23; 2:16; 4:4) They were simply Christians and wore
no human religious name. (Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16; James 2:7) They
subscribed to no human creed and were members of no denominational
church. They were united in the one body as Christ had prayed that
they should be. (John 17:20, 21; Ephesians 4:3)