(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).
The issue of salvation of the soul and its preparedness for life after death has agitated every descendant of Adam since the fall of man. Instinctively, every man knows he’s on the wrong side of God, and like Adam, tries to hide from the divine presence. Sin is at the heart of man’s apprehension to meet God. God is holy and can’t behold iniquity, whereas every man is born in sin and is full of iniquity. Since Adam, every man, from philosophers to artisans, in confronting the sin problem, has sought to find a satisfactory answer to the question, “what must I do to be saved?”. The question can also be asked in another way: ” How do I prepare to meet God?”. Until we find a satisfactory answer to this all-important question, we’re not ready to live and, even less ready to die. This article seeks to answer this question that’s as old as mankind, from the Apostolic point of view.
The Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
The Acts 16:26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
The Acts 16:27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.
The Acts 16:28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
The Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
The Acts 16:30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
The Acts 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
The Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
The Acts 16:34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
The Philippian jailor was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to ask this life-defining question to the people who could give him the right answers. Having seen the miraculous manifestations of God’s power in the lives of the Apostles, the jailor believed them to be servants of the most high God who could show him the way of salvation. Overwhelmed by the presence of the supernatural in the ministry of Paul and Silas, their jailor fell at their feet and popped the all-important question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”. The answer he received was brief but life-transforming: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, for only Christ paid the ransom for men’s souls on the cross of Calvary. Only Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was found satisfactory by God as an atonement for men’s sins. Only the blood of Christ can blot away sins and reconcile fallen men back to God. To be saved, one must believe in Christ’s death as sufficient atonement for his sins, and must confess him as Lord and Saviour, repent and be water baptised. Whoever does that genuinely will be saved and become a child of God. It’s that simple! This simplicity of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus is corroborated throughout the New Testament.
Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”
Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
Romans 10:7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
Romans 10:9 that 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.
Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
How simple God’s provided way of salvation is! How free it is to mankind, though it cost the life of God’s only begotten Son! It doesn’t require us performing tedious tasks or acts of penance (like the labours of Hercules) before we can be saved. It doesn’t require us getting a profound knowledge of theology before we can be made right with God! It doesn’t even require us to change our ways on our own before we become acceptable to God! For, how can we change our ways on our own without God’s help? If we could change our ways on our own before coming to God, then there would have been no need for Christ to die on Calvary in order to redeem us back to God. If we could have mended our ways on our own, we wouldn’t have needed a Saviour! We can’t work our way to salvation. If we needed to do any works of righteousness on our own to be saved, then salvation would not be a free gift. It would be a reward, an earned wage, in that case. But God has made it a free gift! It’s all a work of grace. It’s all dependent on the merits of the works of Christ on Calvary. From A to Z, salvation is of the Lord!
Isaiah 55:1 Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Isaiah 55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David (ESV)
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
Romans 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Justification (being made right with God) is thus entirely by faith in Christ Jesus and obedience to his gospel. By placing our faith in his finished works on our behalf at Calvary and by repenting and being baptised in his name, God pardons our sins and imputes righteousness unto us. By accepting that Christ died for our sakes and obeying his command to be baptised in his name, God reckons we died with him too. And when he rose up again the third day, we rose up with him too. And right now, we’re seated with him in heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers. If someone has paid the price for our sins, why should God still hold us accountable, if we identify with our substitute and place faith in him? God will not be righteous if he holds us guilty still, after the ransom for our soul has been paid. But because Jehovah is the righteous judge, he accepts our righteous and perfect sacrifice, and so declares us not guilty. By believing in Christ, we become free from the guilt and penalty of sin! Hallelujah!
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 5:2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 5:11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
Romans 5:16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
Romans 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Romans 6:7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
John 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
We cannot make peace with God any other way. Salvation can be found in no other way, for there’s no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved. There is no other person to reunite fallen mankind with God other than the only mediator there is between God and men. There is nothing else we can give to ransom our souls. Our silver and gold and the entire riches on earth cannot be given in exchange for our souls. The wages of sin is death, and only a fellow sinless man can act as kinsman redeemer on our behalf. And, in the entire human race from Adam to this moment, only one person has met that qualification of perfect sinlessness required to redeem man. Only the Lord Jesus Christ, immaculately conceived and virgin born, who lived a perfect and sinless life, was found worthy to pay the ransom for our souls by the sacrifice of himself. It’s no other person than God’s only begotten son himself, manifested in human flesh, that was found worthy to vicariously die for Adam’s race and redeem us thereby, having become kinsman to us through the incarnation. At once, we see both the justice and the mercy of God at play. Divine justice demanded that God punish sin severely, but his mercy triumphed over his judgment, by providing the sacrifice to atone for our sins himself. God loved us so much that he sacrificed his only begotten Son to pay the penalty of our rebellion against him! Oh, the length and breadth and height and depth of God’s love! What riches of mercy and grace God has shown to mankind in Christ Jesus! Glory to his name!
The Acts 4:5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,
The Acts 4:6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
The Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
The Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:
The Acts 4:9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,
The Acts 4:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
The Acts 4:11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’
The Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Mark 8:35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Mark 8:36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Mark 8:37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Psalms 49:7 Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life,
Psalms 49:8 for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,
Psalms 49:9 that he should live on forever and never see the pit.
Psalms 49:10 For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.
Psalms 49:11 Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names.
Psalms 49:12 Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.
Psalms 49:13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah (ESV).
To believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ then means to believe and accept the fact the sinner’s salvation was procured by Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice of himself at Calvary. Having thus believed, the sinner must repent, confess his sins to God and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, as evidence of his faith and submission, for the remission of his sins. He will then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, as God’s evidence of acceptance of his faith, the Holy Spirit being the seal of God and the earnest of our salvation. That’s how to be saved—when we have faith in Christ’s finished work at Calvary, repent, confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour, get baptised in water in his name and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen (AKJV).
Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.
Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen (AKJV).
The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?
The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls (AKJV).
Ephesians 1:13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory (AKJV).
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption (AKJV).
In conclusion, the most important question in life is that of the salvation of the soul. Until we have answered that question satisfactorily, we’re not ready to meet God. Thankfully and mercifully, God has provided a way of salvation for the soul, in the sacrificial death and resurrection of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. All we need to do to appropriate God’s salvation is to repent, believe and confess Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and get baptised in water in his name, for the remission of our sins. Then God will give us the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is the seal of our salvation. That’s how we are made new creatures by God, and thus saved from the wrath to come. That’s how to escape from the second death in the lake of fire, which is the deserved punishment for all sinners. That’s what we all must do to be saved!
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