November 18, 2018
In this issue: What Must I Do to be Saved?
The most important question man will ever ask is: What must I do to be saved? The ramifications of the answer given are eternal. Therefore, it is imperative one allows the author of man's salvation (Hebrews 5:9) to give the answer. God has provided man with everything he needs in relationship to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). This knowledge comes through the Bible, which is His inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16). Since all Scripture is inspired, whether spoken by the prophets of the Old Testament (Hebrews 1:1), Jesus (Hebrews 1:2), or the apostles (John 16:13), one must use all of Scripture to find the answer. No new revelations from God have come since the Bible was completed (Jude 1:3; Revelation 22:18-19). Therefore, the Bible is the only source of information qualified to tell man what he must do to be saved. Since the same inspired Word is to be the standard by which man is judged on the last day (John 12:48), it is the final word on man's salvation.
What does the Bible say in answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" When the rich young ruler asked the question, the answer given by Jesus was: be obedient to God's law and follow Me (Mark 10:19-21). Even though the Old Law was fulfilled and taken out of the way (Ephesians 2:15), God still requires obedience as a step in salvation (Hebrews 5:9). Man's part in salvation begins with a willingness to obey God's new law, the law of liberty (James 1:25), and a willingness to seek and follow Jesus (Hebrews 11:6). When the Philippian jailer asked the same question, he was told to believe on the name of Jesus and he would be saved (Acts 16:30-31). Since he was a Gentile and it was unlikely he had ever heard the Gospel, Paul and Silas taught him the Word (Acts16:32), so he could believe (Romans 10:17). When he heard the Gospel and was able to believe in Jesus, he was baptized (Acts16:33-34). His belief made him a candidate for the rest of God's plan. In the same way, when the Jews on Pentecost posed the question, "What must we do?" they were commanded to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:37-38). The Gospel message preached by Peter and the other apostles had convicted their hearts of the fact they had murdered the Messiah. They were convinced that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. Since they had already come to believe in Him, the next step was repentance. Repentance is a change of heart and mind, caused by godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:9-10), which results in a change of life (Matthew 3:8). Until convicted by the message, they had been antagonistic towards Christ and his message. Therefore, the call to repentance was a call to leave their lives of sin and become obedient to the Gospel. The second condition given to them to save their souls was baptism for the forgiveness of their sins. Their belief and willingness to live right had no value as long as sin remained. Peter urged them to be saved (Acts 2:40), prompting 3,000 who had believed to be baptized. Notice, even though they believed and were willing to repent, Peter did not consider them saved before they were baptized. Saul of Tarsus received a similar command when he asked the same question on the road to Damascus (Acts 20:10). Jesus instructed him to go into Damascus, where he would learn the answer. The appearance of Jesus convinced him Jesus was indeed Lord. Three days of praying and fasting (Acts 9:9) showed him to be penitent. Nevertheless, when Ananias saw him, he recognized Saul had not been forgiven of his sins. Therefore, the answer to Saul's question was: "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16). Saul's belief, his time of prayer and fasting and his repentance had all left him in his sin. He would not be forgiven until he was baptized and he could not call on His name without the act of baptism. Notice, if anyone could be saved by saying a "sinner's prayer" it would have been Saul. Yet, Ananias interrupted his prayers to tell him how to be washed of his sins.
Since God's Word must be taken as a whole (Acts 20:27), one must take all of these examples together to come up with God's complete plan of salvation. God's plan for man's salvation is the same today as it was in the days of the New Testament! God loves man (John 3:16) and it is His desire all men be saved (2 Peter 3:9), but not all men will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). Man must do his part and allow grace to make up the rest (Ephesians 2:8).
Therefore, man is saved by:To receive this salvation, man must hear the Gospel, so he can develop faith (Romans 10:17). He must then believe with all his heart that Jesus is the Son of God (John 3:16). He must repent of his sins (Acts 17:30) and confess Jesus before God and man (Matthew 10:32-33). Finally, he must be baptized into Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins (Mark 16:16) and live faithfully unto death (Revelation 2:10). Living faithfully means he strives towards perfect obedience (Hebrews 5:9) and does the works of God (James 2:24), while relying on God's grace to forgive him when he sins (1 John 1:7, 8, 9). ~
Grace — Ephesians 2:8
Faith — John 8:24
Repentance — Luke 13:3
Confession — Romans 10:10
Baptism — 1 Peter 3:21
Obedience — Hebrews 5:9
Work — James 2:24