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Joe Paul Bryant

During their stay in Philippi on the second missionary journey, Paul and Silas were plagued by a young girl who was a soothsayer or, as we would term it, a fortune-teller. This young girl was in the employ of local men who were using her affliction to their own gain. She told fortunes and they became rich! Paul and Silas recognized that the girl's powers were not of God but of Satan. Therefore, after some rather trying experiences with her, Paul commanded the spirit to come out of her, (Acts 16:18). Realizing that any hope of future gain from the girl's fortune-telling powers were gone, her evil masters had Paul and Silas brought into court. They manufactured false charges to the effect that Paul and Silas had "set forth customs which it is not lawful for us to receive, or to observe, being Romans." The two men were promptly beaten with rods and cast into prison. This set the stage for one of the most dramatic of all New Testament accounts of conversion. Read Acts 16:25-34. This story has long been a favorite of Bible readers. Surely there are at least two reasons why this is the case. First, the jailer's question is our own. Second, it demonstrates the availability of salvation. If, while reading this article, you would visualise yourself as an honest inquirer before God who is anxious to be saved; you will find what God requires of you to receive salvation.

The Urgency of Salvation

There have always been many questions for which we would like answers. These questions concern economics, medical science, democracy, the future of our children's lives, etc. These questions are uppermost in the minds of people today and yet they have no direct bearing on one's relationship to God and his eternal salvation. The most important question of life is: What must I do to be saved? A man's soul is more precious than all the petty things that occupy his thinking most of the time. This truth was emphasised by Jesus in Mark 8:36-37.

To further demonstrate how important a consideration salvation is we must consider the fact that the terrors of hell are real. Satan is no joke and hell is not a figment of man's imagination. Thus, we are brought back to our original question, the question asked by the jailer at Philippi, "What must I do to be saved?" We shall look briefly at the negative side and then tum to the positive answer from the word of God.

Some Things You Must NOT Do

First, if you really want to be saved, you must not deny your need for salvation. You cannot afford to be indifferent toward Christ. Without him you are lost and under sentence of eternal death, (Romans 6:23, Ezekiel 18;4, Romans 3:23). If you are still in your sins, you are lost. You have no hope before God in this hour. You cannot deny your sinfulness, (1 John 1:8,10).

Second, if you desire salvation you must not imagine that you have nothing to do in your salvation. There are two sides to salvation -- the divine side and the human side. The divine side is surely the greater side and involves more responsibility. We must not assume that the human part is unimportant and not necessary. Quite the contrary, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21).

Third, you must take care not to be deceived by a false theory of salvation. There are so many doctrines of salvation taught by so many different religious groups. How can one be sure what is right? How can one know that he is saved? Whatever men teach about salvation must be tested by the word of God. God's written revelation is absolute truth and is our only source of correct information about salvation.

Fourth, if you would be saved you must not wait for a better or more convenient time. Salvation is too urgent to be put off, (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Things You MUST Do

First, if you would be saved, you must renounce yourself. You must give up your attempts at justification through self-righteousness. There are many good people in the world, yet the majority of them do not have the salvation that comes through the word of God. You must measure up to God's standard, not the standard of self.

Second, you must accept the New Testament as your only reliable guide in matters pertaining to salvation. You cannot afford to take the word of some religious group. Neither can you trust the word of some good person whom you know. He might be mistaken. Men of our generation are subject to the New Testament, the gospel of Christ. Paul expressed this confidence in the gospel in Romans 1.16-17. You must accept the righteousness that's revealed in the gospel and allow that truth to produce faith in your heart. You must accept the New Testament as your only source of truth on the subject of salvation.

Third, you must obey the commands relative to your salvation which are bound in the word of God. There are surely some things in the word of God that are difficult to understand. But there is no obscurity about God's commands relative to salvation. God's will has been made so plain and obvious in this regard that we are immediately impressed with it upon reading the New Testament with an open and honest heart.

What are the commands which must be obeyed unto salvation from sin? One must first believe on Jesus Christ and his power to save men through the gospel. He said, "Except ye believe that l am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24). One must then turn away from all his sins in repentance. "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish," said the Lord, (Luke 13:3). He must next confess his faith before men. "Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven, " Christ declared, (Matthew 10:32, cf. Romans I 0.10). Then, in order to have the remission of his past sins and to become a child of God, one must be be immersed in water for the remission of sin. Jesus commanded His apostles to preach., "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16; cf. Acts 2:38). When one has obeyed these commands unto faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, he receives the pardon of all his past sins and is made a member of Christ's spiritual body, the church. (Acts 2:41,47). As a saved man, such a person must then live a life worthy of his citizenship in the kingdom of God. (1 Peter 2:9)

There can be no doubt that these commandments constitute the Lord's will for our salvation. The authority of God himself stands behind each one! Thus is answered the question, What must I do to be saved? Anything less than full obedience to the gospel would be too little. Anything more than this would be too much. You need to be saved. You may have divine pardon and the hope of eternal life by surrendering yourself to the will of Christ in full obedience to his will.



Joe Paul Bryant,

201 CuIberson Road

Hohenwald, TN 38462 USA

Telephone: (615) 796-5193


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