What Must I Do To Be Saved?

"And he brought them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'" (Acts 16:30).

The mind of man never conceived a more important question. The tongue of man never uttered a more needful question.

We are lost. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Sin is not something we inherit, it is something we do. Jesus said: "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" (John 8:34). We commit sin, we do not inherit sin from our fathers: "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20).

The question is not: What must God do? That was done long ago. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11). "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).

First Step

We have learned the first step in man's salvation. We must believe. Jesus told some unbelievers: "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). Because of the teaching of this verse, and others, some have concluded that we are saved by faith alone. This is not true for - "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). The word of God says: "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). We must obey Christ to be saved. We must have an obedient faith: "And the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7).

Second Step

"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). Repentance is a universal command. Jesus said: "Unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). We must repent in order to have the remission of sins. "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:38).

So, just as we shall die in our sins if we do not believe, we shall die in our sins if we do not repent.

Repentance is a two-fold action. We must turn from our sins as did the people of Nineveh (Matthew 12:41). We must resolve to do the Father's will as did the young man we read about in Matthew 21:28,29.

The Lord has said that those who sin must be punished. Why is the punishment so long delayed? "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

Third Step

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation" (Romans 10:9,10).

We must confess our faith in Christ in order to be saved (Matthew 10:32).

Fourth Step

Our Lord said: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15,16). Many people will not accept what the Lord says here. Many people put salvation before baptism. But Jesus put salvation after baptism. Do you accept the teaching of Jesus or of men? The doctrines of men will not save the soul.

Peter commanded baptism for forgiveness of sins: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

Although Paul had been praying and fasting for three days, his sins were not forgiven until he was baptized. Ananias told him: "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).

Baptism saves us through the resurrection of Christ: "There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21).

Baptism is a burial (Romans 6:4). Sprinkling or pouring are only human substitutions.


The Lord says: "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10b). Are you saved?

J. C. Bailey

Published in The Old Paths Archive (http://www.oldpaths.com)