I caught myself being sucked into the mainstream media's whole "the sky is falling" mentality the other day and didn't even recognize it at first.
What must I do to be saved? Here in the simplest, shortest form is put the question to which every man must learn the answer, or spend eternity lost, away from God, suffering the torments of the damned!
"Then he called for a light and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
"What must I do to be saved?" "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"! There is God's plan of salvation, the only plan He has for every man, woman and child who was ever born into the whole world.
Sinner, there is something you must do if you would be saved. There was hope for this jailer because he saw himself a lost sinner and came trembling to inquire, "What must I do?" Reader, you are a sinner. The Word of God from beginning to end emphasizes that fact. In Isaiah 53:6 we learn:
"ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us ALL."
Oh, I beg you, see it today! You are a poor, lost sinner, a Hell-bound sinner! Your heart is black. You have hardened your heart, you have resisted the call of God, you have rejected Christ. However good you are in man's sight, you are a terrible sinner, and unless you turn to Christ you must spend eternity in Hell. A SINNER! That is what you are. Admit it in your own heart, confess it to God. You are a sinner and you need saving worse than you need anything else in the world.
If you have settled in your heart that matter, then you are ready to learn God's answer to your question, "What must I do to be saved?"
Here is God's simple way to be saved. You are a sinner, your heart is wrong, you cannot save yourself, you are already condemned. The thing you are to do then, to be saved, is to simply trust the Lord Jesus with that matter. When you do trust Him, then you have God's promise, "Thou shalt be saved."
Of course, you do not deserve salvation. There is nothing you can do that will make you worthy of it. You cannot be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments, for the Scripture clearly shows that you have not kept them. Romans 3:20 says:
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his own sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
The same thing is told in Galatians 3:11 which says:
"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith."
Many, many Scriptures repeat again and again that there is no salvation through human goodness.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."--Titus 3:5.
"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."--Eph. 2:8, 9.
"Without Shedding of Blood Is No Remission"--Hebrews 9:22
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."--Rom. 5:6.
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."--Isa. 53:6.
Peter tells us that all of us are bought by the blood of Christ:
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."--1 Peter 1:18, 19.
Does not the Bible say that we must repent? Yes, the Bible plainly says that "God ... commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30), and again, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3, 5). This was the preaching of John the Baptist, of Jesus, of Peter and of Paul, that men should repent. And certainly repentance is God's plan of salvation. The trouble here, however, is that men misunderstand what repentance means, and there has grown up an idea that repentance means a period of weeping and mourning over sin, or sorrow for sins.
"Could my tears forever flow, Could my zeal no respite know, These for sin cold not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone."
The jailer did not go through a period of mourning. He was told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; he did just that and was saved, and his whole family was saved the same way, immediately, the same hour of the night. Everywhere you look through the New Testament you find that people were saved all at once without any process, without any period of mourning.
"This day is salvation come to this house." When Peter told Cornelius and his assembled household that they could be saved by believing, immediately "while Peter yet spake these words," the Scripture says, the Holy Spirit came on them and they were happily saved (Acts 10:44-48). The thief on the cross, wicked sinner that he was, who a few minutes before had been railing at Jesus, was saved immediately when he inquired of Jesus (Luke 23:42, 43). In the first chapter of John, verses 35 to 49, we see where Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip and Nathanael were all converted, one by one, immediately by faith in Christ. There is no record of any person in Bible times who was ever told to wait, or mourn, or weep over his sins before trusting Jesus and being saved! One who believes in Christ has repented. Repentance and faith are the same thing put in different words, and neither requires a long period of time, nor a process of mourning and sorrow.
In the Bible there are many cases of sinners who prayed like the thief on the cross or the publican in the temple. In fact, Romans 10:13 says:
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Many people believe that a sinner cannot be saved without a period of prayer, without consciously calling on God. However, the Bible does not say that a sinner must pray in order to be saved. In fact, immediately following the verse in Romans 10:13 is an explanation which shows that calling on God is an evidence of faith in the heart and that it is really faith which settles the matter. Read it again.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?"--Rom. 10:13, 14.
This simple way of being saved by faith seems so easy, and it is. Some sinner may say, "But I thought one must have a change of heart." So you must, dear sinner, but that is God's part. Jesus was talking to Nicodemus when He said, "Ye must be born again," and in the same chapter He tells Nicodemus how to get the new birth.
"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.
The change in your heart, sinner, is God's part and you may be sure He will attend to that. Your part is to simply believe in Him. Whatever else is necessary in your eternal salvation, the Lord attends to when you trust in Him, or believe in Him.
Some people have an idea that the change of heart is a matter of feeling. Some do not want to claim Christ as Saviour until they have the mysterious feeling that they want. Do not let the Devil deceive you here. I believe in heartfelt religion, and thank God for the joy which He gives to me day by day. But the Bible nowhere tells how one must feel before he is saved, nor does it anywhere say how you feel after you are saved. In fact, people do not feel the same. Feeling varies with the person saved.
Some cry when they are saved, some laugh, and a few shout aloud the praises of God. One is no more saved than the other.
Every person who is saved ought to publicly confess Christ. Matthew 10:32 and Romans 10:9 plainly teach that God will claim as His child any of us who will claim Christ as our Saviour, but we simply confess with the mouth what we have already trusted in our hearts. Concerning that very matter Romans 10:10 says:
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that BELIEVE on his name."--John 1:12.
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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 3:14-16.
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that BELIEVETH not is condemned already, because he hath not BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God."--John 3:18.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and BELIEVETH on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."--John 5:24.
"What must I do to be saved?"
"BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."--Acts 16:30, 31.
If you had committed a crime and were thrown in jail, probably the first thing you would do would be to send for some lawyer in whom you had confidence and trust him with the entire matter of your defense. In God's sight you are a criminal, condemned already and with the wrath of God upon you day by day. But God has provided somebody to take the part of us poor sinners, criminals before the bar of God's justice, and Jesus is that lawyer, for the Scripture says:
A young man and young woman stand together, side by side, before the preacher. The preacher says, "You will join right hands." Then to the young man he says, "Do you take this young woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love her and cherish her until death do you part?" He answers, "I do." To the young woman the preacher says: "Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband until death do you part?" She answers, "I do." Then the preacher says: "I pronounce you man and wife," and they are married in the sight of God and man.
The way is plain and you can be saved this moment if you will.
Surely it has become plain, dear lost sinner, that it is your own fault if you are lost! Do you hate Jesus Christ? Will you hold on to your sin and go to Hell for your stubbornness? Nothing in the world could show your wickedness like postponing this matter. You can be saved right now, this minute. I beg you, do it now. Turn your whole heart from sin to trust in Christ. Choose for Heaven against Hell, choose for Christ against Satan. Do not let Satan deceive you any longer. If you delay, it may result in a hardened heart, a wasted life and a tortured soul in Hell! And if you are not saved, when God has made the way so plain and paid the price for your sins, then you have no one to blame but yourself. Will you trust Jesus Christ today and be saved?
God has given you this heartbeat, this breath, this moment in order to trust Christ, but there is no promise of another. I beg you do it right now, and then claim Him as your Saviour.