I have spoken often about the Church and the different aspects of Christians who comprise the Church, but I would now like to speak directly to those who do not know Jesus, and how they can know Him as their own personal Savior.
The Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas, “…Sirs, what must I do to be saved” They answered him, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” (Acts 16:30-32)
All that was required of the Philippian jailor and his family was to believe on, or put their trust in, Jesus Christ. The same is still true today. Jesus has done all the work. He has done all we could not do. He has paved the way to Heaven, providing the only possible means to be given eternal life and an eternal home in Heaven with Him. There are many paths we could wander down from this discussion, but they all lead to one indisputable fact; i.e. whether or not we become a Christian, or follower of Christ, depends on our believing in Him and Him alone. Consider the following;
· We have all sinned against God and come short of His glory.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)
· Because we are all sinners, we will all die, but God provides a gift, eternal life. However, this gift only comes through our belief on His Son, Jesus Christ.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
· God provides His Son as our only entrance into Heaven.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
· We receive this gift of eternal life through our faith in Jesus Christ. It is because of God’s grace that it is even offered. We can’t work for it. We can’t earn it. Therefore, there is nothing we can brag about by having this gift, except in Jesus Christ.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
· Once we have put our faith in Jesus, He guarantees our acceptance by His own Spirit.
“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:22);
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13);
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
· As a child of God, He will provide us with the power and the desire to live for Him.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
This is just a miniscule sampling of the great treasures of God’s Word. If you have put your faith in Jesus, He will do His part to help you grow in Him. Be a student of the Bible.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
As you search the enormous depths of the Bible, you will grow and be astounded at the riches of His Word.
Before closing I wish to elaborate on “what does it mean to believe.” Remember, Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailor to “believe” on the Lord Jesus Christ and he would be saved. I think James explains true belief quite well in the following verses:
“17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:17-26)
We might say today that to “believe” is to “walk the talk.” As James pointed out, the devils believe there is one God, and they tremble, but they are still devils. They do not believe, in the sense of being saved. They have put no confidence of trust in Jesus. Also, now the question is, “saved from what?” The answer must be, “saved from the damnation of sin and the judgment of hell it brings with it.”
James makes it clear that to “believe” in Jesus is not to produce works and then because of those works, we now have belief. No, it is very clear that he is simply saying that works will follow true belief in Jesus. For example: If Rahab had not had true belief, she would not have followed through by receiving the messengers and sending them out another way. If Abraham had not had true belief, he would not have followed through by offering Isaac on the altar. Their belief was proven to be true belief by the works that followed. Works do not save. Works only provide proof that the belief is real. This is what Paul and Silas were saying by, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
One of the best places in Scripture to read the Gospel message in its entirety but in short form is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8,
“1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.7After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”
Notice specifically verses three and four. To “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” cannot exclude our knowledge and acceptance of that profound truth; i.e. that Jesus died for us, He was buried, and rose again on the third day just as the Scriptures said would happen.
Obviously, Paul and Silas made the Philippian jailor aware of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Notice again Acts 16:30-32, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” Now notice verse thirty-two, “And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” There is no doubt that Paul and Silas made 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 very clear not only to the Philippian jailor, but also to his household.
So “what must I do to be saved?” As the Publican, repent and believe on Jesus Christ. As the Philippian jailor, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. They both submitted themselves to Jesus as their Savior.
I have tried to keep this short and simple. I leave you with one other verse,
“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time(emphasis mine); behold, now is the day of salvation (emphasis mine.)” (2 Corinthians 6:2)