If Belief Alone Saves Then Why The Jailer Asked Paul and Silas, What Must I do to be Saved?

The Book of Acts
what-must-I-do-to-be-saved

Updated:2020-09-20

What Must We Do To Be Saved?


After we witnessed devils and demons worshipping El Elyon, the Most High God, now we are at a most controversial juncture. Namely, what must I do to be saved?

Today, our Book of Acts Bible Study has its roots in Acts 16:22-40. This is our primary reference.

Even though the Bible explicitly tells us how to inherit salvation, many “Christians” enjoy twisting the Word of God for personal benefits.

But, mainly, most are ignorant of the true Word of God. So, in this Bible study, we will illuminate the most essential aspect of what must I do to be saved.

Two Aspects Of What Must I Do To Be Saved

There are two aspects to receive the benefits of salvation. One, the section that only the Lord God can execute, and two, the part that we must do to be saved.

We cannot accomplish the “God-part” and He will never fulfill our role in this regard. The first Advent of Jesus Christ fulfilled the role of God in our salvation.

The God-Part: What Must I do to be Saved?

Because “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation?” (2 Corinthians 5:19).

This tells us that Jesus Christ was more than a man. And what he did for our salvation is the works of the Lord God. He who had no sin, but He became sin for humanity.

This was essential because of the transgression of Adam. His sin is “the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Because of his sin, every subsequent person who was born in the world became a sinner.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

So, it was necessary for Him to pay the price (atone) for the sin of humanity and reconcile us to God. But no human could do this because all have sinned, (Romans 3:23).

His Own Arm Brought Him Salvation

Consequently, God has to do it Himself. The Bible describes it thus, His own arm brought Him salvation (Isaiah 63:5).

A sinless God became a sinless man (Jesus Christ) to redeem us from sin to God (Himself). This is the gift of God to us.

We didn’t do anything to deserve it and we can do nothing to influence it. But if we fail to believe it we condemn ourselves. Mainly, because our unbelief makes God a liar.

But let every man be a liar and God be true, (Romans 3:4).

How Did God Reconcile Humanity to Himself?

Even though now, we must believe to be saved, but it’s the work that Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross which makes faith in God feasible for us. Therefore, belief or faith by itself is powerless. It can achieve nothing alone (James 2:20, 26).

However, in the Holy Bible, we cannot enjoy remission of sins without blood. And the blood that is utilized for atonement the Lord God has to define it. We couldn’t use any blood. He must inform us what blood to use.

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

But the Lord God is a Spirit (John 4:24). A spirit has no blood. And for that reason, He became a man (Jesus Christ), so He could bleed for our sins.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9 and Psalm 8:5).

Therefore, every place, in Scriptures, that Jesus bled, His blood paid the price for our sins. His precious blood redeemed us from sin to God.

Where Did God Reconcile Humanity to Himself?

This included when they flogged him. When they placed the crown-of-thorns on his head; when the soldier pierced his side while he was on the cross; and finally when they nailed his hands and feet to that cruel tree.

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34).

He endured these acts of cruelty for you and me. These are important miles stones because of them, now we can believe and receive salvation.

But without them, we would have no sinless and precious blood to purchase our salvation. Without them, we would have to, by the requirements of the Law, die for our own sins.

But thanks be to God, Jesus died in our place.

Our Part – What Must I do to be Saved?

Therefore, because God, through Jesus Christ, satisfied the requirements of the Law for the payment of our sins, now we must do our part to inherit salvation.

Our part, in inheriting salvation, begins with believing in this work that the Lord God has accomplished through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, it does not end there.

Our part resides with us. It’s contingent on whether we believe and obey the true Word of God or not.

Our belief in Jesus Christ is never passive. Nobody, in Scriptures, or in life believes and does nothing.

If we believe that the work of Jesus Christ has redeemed us to God, we will speak about it; we will obey his words; and finally, we shall do his commands.

That’s why the Bible says, “I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:

 I said in my haste, All men are liars” (Psalm 116:10-11).

And again, it declares, “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13).

Your Role In Your Salvation

Believing in the name of Jesus Christ is similar to loving our spouse.

We could tell him or her that we love him or her respectively, but if we never demonstrate it, how will our spouse have confirmation that we really meant what we declared with our mouth concerning our love for him or her?

Like loving, believing is active and not passive. It’s a verb and not a noun!

What you shall read below, is one of the consequences many first-century Christians experienced. They endured it because they were truly saved according to the Word of God.

Count the cost of your salvation. It will cost you dearly.

And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them” (Acts 16:22).

At first, many people would expect that because you are saved you wouldn’t experience the atrocities that Paul and Silas went through.

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely” (Acts 16:23).

Some Christians Still Experience Other Forms of Persecutions

Today, we may not be beaten or imprisoned but we still experience other forms of persecutions. Today, in many countries around the world, because of the name: Jesus Christ, some Christians are imprisoned, tortured, and executed.

Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks” (Acts 16:24).

Nevertheless, persecution is a must, if you are saved according to the word of God. It’s not only for early Christians, but for contemporary ones too.

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25).

Irrespective of the situation we find ourselves in, never allow it to dictate how we behave and conduct ourselves.

Therefore, “In [everything] give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

How Do You Serve God?

Please, don’t operate like some people I know. They think that’s OK to give God thanks for the bad things in life that they encounter.

But, note below, how the Lord God changed Paul and Silas’ situation because of their mindset. They were praising and worshipping Him, despite their present circumstances.

And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed” (Acts 16:26).

Because of their steadfastness in serving the true and living God, this one act of God changed everything for them.

It released them and it liberated them. But they knew that the Lord God had a bigger and more valuable goal than their liberty. The salvation of others!

And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled” (Acts 16:27).

Watching Prisoners at High Personal Cost

Why would the “keeper of the prison” kill himself because he thought that the prisoners had escaped? In those days, and especially popular within the Roman Army, soldiers watching over prisoners did so at great personal cost.

If the prisoner or prisoners escaped the Captain would command that those with the responsibility of ensuring that they remained secured were killed. It was their life or lives for the prisoner or prisoners respectively.

So, this soldier may have thought, since Caesar will execute me for this prison break, then I may well do it myself.

Sirs, What Must I do to be Saved?

But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here” (Acts 16:28).

This was unusual. The earthquake had released all of them but nobody moved. No one escaped!

Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas” (Acts 16:29).

Even this heathen soldier knew that he has a role to play in his salvation. Therefore, he asked the now infamous question.

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

From this point, onwards, is where many “Christians” lose their way. 

Then, “[Paul and Silas] said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).

Many Christians, ignore the teachings of the Bible and don’t realize that’s what they are doing because they are babes-in-Christ.

They fail to realize or acknowledge that “to believe” on Jesus Christ is not just an invisible activity but it involves actions on the part of the “Believer”.

What Must I do to be Saved – 4 Steps

Step 1 – Hear the Word of God

Recall that there are a God-part and a Believer’s-part?

Observe, immediately what these apostles did when the jailer asked them, “what must I do to be saved?

“And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house” (Acts 16:32).

This is the first thing that must occur for any person or persons to receive salvation. Such a one must hear the true Word of God. This is why we need preachers and teachers like myself.

Then, if you think there is nothing that you must do to be saved, why not ignore the Word of God? Your attitude and my attitude to it determines whether or not we are saved.

Do We Still Need Preachers?

Even though Paul and Silas told the jailer to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31), note that he didn’t start with believing.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? [And] how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? [And] how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

The “word of the Lord” is not a general statement. It relates to who Jesus Christ is and why we must believe on his name to be saved.

Therefore, Paul and Silas preached Jesus Christ to the jailer and his household. That’s the word of the Lord!

Before we can believe me must hear the word of God.

Step 2 – Repent

The second thing we must do to be saved is encapsulated in the behavior of the Roman Jailer after he heard the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway” (Acts 16:33).

What does the Jailer’s washing the wounds of the apostles tells us about him? He was repentant!

Before we can enjoy the benefits of the eternal finished work of Jesus Christ, we must repent. And we must produce fruits worthy of repentance. This man did.

All the New Testament (NT) prophets and teachers and many in the Old Testament (OT) preached repentance. Jesus, John, Peter, Paul, and many others did so.

There’s no salvation without repentance. But before we believe we must repent. However, this is true even if we are believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Step 3 – Believe

Believing the Word that you hear is actually the third step. And repentance always precedes belief.

Step 4 – Born Again

The fourth thing we must do to be saved is to experience water baptism. Get “baptized” in water. Note, that after this Roman Soldier and his household heard the word of God and repented, then they were baptized.

Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the Church of Christ taught this.

Baptism always follows repentance. Nobody in the Holy Bible baptized then repent. Even John the Baptist’s baptism unto repentance put repentance before water baptism.

For that reason Apostle Peter, emphasized the importance of the sequence of events involved in what must I do to be saved?

Born Again Has Two Major Components

He advised: “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).

This command from him came after they heard him preached Jesus Christ to them!

Note, Jesus already done his part. He died for us, but if we never fulfill or do our part, we cannot enjoy “remissions of sins” and thus, we cannot be saved.

We must hear, repent, believe, baptize, and then receive the Holy Ghost to be saved. But this chain of events started with believing in Jesus Christ.

What If I Never Received The Holy Ghost?

They weren’t saved before they were baptized, or else it would not be necessary. Baptism in Jesus Name is not an afterthought.

Jesus baptized all his disciples. He himself was baptized in Jordan. And John the Baptist did an identical thing to Jesus. And Jesus commands the Church to follow suit.

Not only is baptism a command of Jesus Christ but it’s proof that you believe in him. He informs us who will accept baptism as a prerequisite of salvation.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

Only that man or woman who believes this will experience baptism. Therefore, those who never get baptized are not Believers of Jesus Christ. Period! I didn’t say that the Holy Bible did.

So, if you believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotton Son of God you will baptize in His name and you “shall be saved”.

This is so simple! Yet many stumble over this! There’s no way around it!

Is there Salvation Without Baptism?

There’s no salvation without water baptism. None!

Additionally, he not only washed their wounds but he also provided accommodation and food.

And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:34).

Next, he believed in God. And “believing in God” only comes after hearing the preaching of Jesus Christ and repentance, not before.

These are four basic things everyone must do to be saved. But this is not all it is just the start. Apostle Peter will provide the other thing we need to do to inherit eternal life with Jesus Christ.

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).

No Amount Of Believe Alone Could Save Us

No amount of “believing” will save us from the lake of fire if we don’t possess the Holy Ghost. But we must believe the word of Jesus Christ to receive Him.

And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go” (Acts 16:35).

And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace” (Acts 16:36).

But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out” (Acts 16:37).

“The serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans” (Acts 16:38).

However, the soldiers “came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city” (Acts 16:39).

“They went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed” (Acts 16:40).

Why Did Not The Jailer Ask, “What May I do to be Saved?”

This question of the Roman Jailer, “What Must I do to be Saved?” has caused many Christians pain.

Note the language. He asked, “What must” not “may” or “what could” I do to be saved? This tells us that there is no other way.

This is what I must do to be saved. No one could do this for me! Nobody!

And if they don’t accept the true Word of God, it will result in their death, condemnation, and forfeiture of eternal life with Christ Jesus our Savior.

We are saved because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, we are saved because the Lord God has done his part to ensure that we receive salvation.

Who Has The Responsibility For Your Salvation?

Our salvation is not only about what God has done through Jesus Christ, but also about whether we believe and obey His instruction for our salvation or not.

Therefore, our salvation is no longer with God but with us. It resides in whether or not we will believe the work that the Lord God accomplished through the personage and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Many Christians will quote: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

But, here are three questions we should always ask ourselves to arrive at the truth of God’s Word. As this relates to what must I do to be saved, ask yourself, who is speaking, to whom is he speaking, and of what?

Who is Speaking and to Whom?

Apostle Paul is speaking to the Church in Rome.

Listen as he addresses them at the beginning of his letter.

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7).

So, Paul was writing to “saints” in Rome who were already saved. They were Believers! Therefore, when he explained that “whosoever shall call” on the “name of the Lord shall be saved” he was speaking only to them.

This letter that we read now was not addressed to us. We were never it’s intended audience. No, but we adopted it as our own. But if we take it out of its original context we will cause confusion and disseminate misinformation in the Church.

Consequently, “whosoever” cannot mean anyone for in context, it describes a Believer a “saint”. Paul was writing to born-again Christians. Not unsaved. They already believed on Jesus Christ.

Therefore, when Paul admonishes that any Believer who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, it was nothing more than him strengthening the Roman brethren.

What is Paul Talking About?

Today, many Christians teach that any unsaved person who conforms to Romans 10:13 is saved. But this is a subtle deception by the Devil. This is not true! Satan is using them to deceive others and divert them from salvation with Christ.

Additionally, in later verses in Romans 10, Paul explained the statement he made in Romans 10:13.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? [A]nd how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? [A]nd how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

If Romans 10:13 wasn’t for born-again Christians in Rome, what follows wouldn’t be applicable.

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? [A]s it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! “ (Romans 10:15).

Additionally, I explained above that when we believed the finished work of Jesus Christ concerning our salvation we will obey him.

If He Knew the Word He Won’t Ask – What Must I do to be Saved?

Listen as Paul speaks to this: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” (Romans 10:16).

We will obey Jesus’ command to be born again because we believed his words. Christians will obey Peter’s command to be baptized because they believed his words.

Our obedience to God is proof that we believed Him.

Therefore, in summary, to answer biblically, “What Must I do to be Saved?”

Conclusion

Summary – What Must I Do To Have Salvation?

First, we must hear the Word of God. We will never have faith in what God has done to save us if we never hear His story.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Second, we must repent! Note, my diction for it’s deliberate. “We must” not might but “must”. There’s no alternative.

Third, we must believe the Word that we heard.

Fourth, we must be born-again. We must experience the new birth not according to Christendom today, but conforming to the true Words of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:9; 2:38).

Why Must Be Born Of Water And Of Spirit?

Being born again means that we must baptize, by immersion in water, calling on the name of him who has saved us. And he is Jesus Christ.

This is when we are “born of water”. The water begets us!

Additionally, it also involves being “born of the Spirit”. Similarly, the Spirit begets us.

This means that we receive the Holy Ghost according to the Holy Bible and not in agreement with the doctrine of any man or organization.

Abraham Didn’t Ask – What Must I do to be Saved?

These are the things we must do to be saved.  The Bible is our blueprint. The Lord explains what we need to do to receive salvation in it we just need to follow it.

Don’t change or amend it! Just follow it!

In closing, if believing alone could save us Abraham wouldn’t be saved. He heard God’s Words, believed them and obeyed them.

If believing alone had the power to save us Nicodemus wouldn’t be saved. He heard it, believed and obeyed.

And if you don’t receive this Word, believe it and obey it you have no salvation with Christ Jesus our Lord!

The problem most Believers have with the captioned question is not determining what salvation is or is not, but not knowing that they play an integral role in their own salvation.

Similarly, the focus of “What must I do to be saved?” is not on what we are saved from but on a realization.

This realization is that salvation is two-fold: what God did and what we must do.


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After we witnessed devils and demons worshipping El Elyon, the Most High God, now we are at a most controversial juncture. Namely, what must I do to be saved?
There are two aspects to receive the benefits of salvation. One, the section that only the Lord God can execute, and two, the part that we must do to be saved.

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