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WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
This and similar questions, “Brethren, what shall we do?” and “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life” are found in the New Testament. The answers that are given provide a basic outline as to our responsibility in the matter of eternal salvation. If we are truth seekers, we need to pay particular attention to these questions.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, you have answered correctly; do this, and you shall live.” (Luke 10: 25- 28)
And he called for light and rushed in and, trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be save, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all that were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. Acts 16: 31-34
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to the, “Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are afar off, as many as the Lord or God shall call to Himself.” Acts 2: 37, 38, and 39
These three examples set down the basic facts as to what man must do to be saved. These views represent synergism, the cooperation of man with the working of God. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work, for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2: 12, 13) Gone forever are the contemporary myths of our day:
In the first instance a lawyer, a Jew who lived under the Law, asked the question. His motive in asking the question may have been suspect but the answer he gave was correct as certified by our Lord. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Love is the fulfillment of the Law and the Ten Commandments; love is the more excellent way. Love is our motivation and our goal. (Romans 13: 10; 1 Corinthians 12: 31)
In the second instance the Philippian jailor knew nothing about God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son or the way. But because of the earthquake and the fact that the prisoners had not escaped he concluded that something extraordinary was taking place. After Paul cried out for him not to take his life, the jailor called for light and rushed into the prison with much fear. Then the jailor asked, “What must I do to be save?” He evidently knew something of the circumstances that surrounded the imprisonment of Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas responded, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” Faith is our connection with the grace of God. Paul and Silas then spoke the word of the Lord to the jailor and his Household. Did he repent of his part in the imprisonment? The record does not tell us in words but he washed their wounds and was immediately baptized, he and his household. After he had given them food, the record states that he rejoiced greatly having believed in God. The record also states that he and his household were immediately baptized.
To cite this account as an example of salvation by faith alone is irresponsible at best. We must remember that the Bible speaks truly but not necessarily exhaustibly in any particular passage.
The third account is of the Jews at Pentecost. After witnessing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and hearing the message that Peter spoke, they realized that they caused the Messiah to be crucified by the hands of the godless Romans. Pierced to the heart, they asked, “Brethren what shall we do?” Peter responded, “Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” These men were believers when they asked their question. Peter in keeping with the situation stated that those who repent and are baptized would receive the Holy Spirit.
These three examples demonstrate that man is not passive in regard to salvation. They also show that man is not dominant. It is God who has declared that we must love, believe, repent and be baptized into Christ. When we submit to His counsel our obedience is the work of God. He is at work within us both to will and to do.
The message to all is, “Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.”
The message to those who do not know God is, “Believe in Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.”
The message to those that already believe is, “ Repent and let each of you be baptized in the Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The three examples compliment one another. When taken together they provide a sketch of man’s responsibility.
Conclusion: Man’s responsibility in regard to salvation is:
God has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to those that obey.
We should recognize that while the above conclusion is true, it does not exhaust the subject of salvation. It is an outline of basic factors in the transition from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
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Last Update 09/26/12