Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
What would possess a man to make such a plea as the one found in Acts 16:30? Was he a loser, some type of wimp or was he in real trouble?
It is important to understand the man in the story. He was a Roman guard who was in charge of overseeing prisoners. If you could compare Rome during this time with present-day America I assure you, you would see many uncomfortable similarities. If you could compare this guard with the self-made man of America you would also probably find clear similarities. This man was not a looser or a wimp but he was in trouble when he called out.
What caused this plea? Acts 16:25 and 26 tell us that at midnight there was a great earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison.
Earthquakes can come in various forms in people’s lives such as illnesses, financial ruin and loss of relationships. These events can shake everything in a person’s life, especially his or her confidence in personal abilities and strengths. In the end, an earthquake can bring all men to the same common ground by showing the futility of every man’s life.
This guard was asleep to the vanity of his existence. When he went to sleep he felt everything was under control. When he was shaken awake, he found all the prison doors open, exposing his true vulnerability.
Escaped prisoners not only meant failure and disgrace for him but it meant death by the hands of his comrades. You might be saying right now that it was not his fault because he did not instigate the earthquake, but it did not matter to those over him. He was responsible for what went on in the prison regardless of circumstances.
He was ready to kill himself when he heard a voice in the dark. It was the voice of the one who always spoke about someone by the name of Jesus. This man was the Apostle Paul and he quickly assured the jailer that he did not have to take his own life.
In the light of great despair and fear the guard fell down before his newly freed prisoners and asked them that age-old question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Did this man need to be saved since none of his prisoners escaped? The answer is both no and yes.
This man was not in danger of dying by the hands of his comrades but the earthquake revealed another problem that was beyond his control. He discovered that he was a sinner. This spiritual condition made him an enemy of God who is the essence of real life. In fact, he was facing a death much greater than the one that had caused him to consider taking his own life. He was facing eternal separation from God-a separation that would cause great torment and sorrow for eternity. Revelation 10:15 warns, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Sin and Death
The Bible tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory (majesty and greatness) of God (Romans 3:23). Romans 6:23 states that the wages of sin is death. Romans 5:12 accredits this condition to a man named Adam. Because of his disobedient act in the Garden of Eden, we must all pay an eternal consequence. Romans 5:12 explains, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,for that all have sinned?” Does this seem fair? No, but it is reality.
But God being just and fair provided a way for all of us to avoid eternal consequences. Romans 5:18 states: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ” John 3:16 confirms this fact.
Jesus Christ is God’s provision or solution to man’s hopeless plight. The Apostle Paul along with Silas answered the man’s question with this declaration: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,…” (Acts16:31). Is salvation that easy? The answer is yes if you understand what Paul was really saying.
Believe, An Active Word
What does it mean to believe? Believe is not a passive word where you hear something and agree with it. Believe is an active word that not only engages the intellect but requires the will to act upon it resulting in action.
When you believe on the Lord Jesus, you are choosing to believe God about your sinful condition, allowing you to receive God’s intervention on your behalf.
The next step is to direct your belief in the right direction. You need to believe on the Lord Jesus. The word “on” means that you have come to a place of total reliance. In other words, to believe on Jesus means that you are totally relying on, or putting all of your hope and confidence on Jesus Christ. It is this reliance on Jesus that will save you.
He Is A Person
The next thing you need to realize is that you are not choosing to believe in some kind of religious order, creed or denomination; rather you choosing to believe on a living person. Romans 10:9 & 10 tells us one of the conditions to be saved is to believe in our heart that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Keep in mind that when Jesus was presented to this man as the solution, He had been crucified years prior. To the world, Jesus was another dead religious leader.
The truth is Jesus is the only religious leader that raised from the grave and now sits on the right hand of the Father as our High Priest and Intercessor (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7-8:1). The Apostle Paul said that if Christ had not risen, our preaching and faith would be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14).
By believing on the Lord Jesus, this man acknowledged that Jesus Christ is alive and is not only able to hear his pleas but will save him. He Is Lord!
Once you recognize He is a Person, you must now understand who He is and who He must be to you on a personal basis. He must be your Lord! (See Philippians 2:10 & 11).
Romans 10:9 & 10 tells us we must confess Jesus is Lord. In other words, we must willfully agree He is not only Lord, but He is my Lord. For Jesus to be Lord of your life means you actually belong to Him. He not only has total say over your life but He is also responsible to supply your needs and oversee your welfare.
The challenge for each new believer is to learn to give way to Jesus-Lordship on a daily basis. In fact, spiritual growth hinges on how much you submit to Jesus Christ’s leadership.
Jehovah Is Our Salvation
The Old Testament spoke in great detail about a Savior that would come and deliver His people from bondage. It prepared every willing heart, open mind and humble soul for His coming.
The first one to get a glimpse into the fulfillment of all of these detailed prophecies was a woman named, Mary. To her surprise, God had chosen her to serve as the means for the birth of this much-awaited Savior. She was given His name before the miraculous conception took place, “…and shalt call his name JESUS.” And when He was born in the manger, the angels proclaimed His identity in the heavens while humble shepherds declared Him on earth. His name was to be Jesus. “Jesus” means Jehovah Saves or Jehovah is our Salvation. The very meaning of His name invoked a stir. Was this the One who introduced Himself to Moses as the great I AM that I AM, ever present, ever willing to meet and save His people (Exodus 3:14)?
This Man Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies, but His commitment to save became visibly evident when He carried an old rugged cross up Calvary to die for every one us. It is amazing to realize He had to step outside of eternity, come by way of a manger, and leave by way of a cross and the grave in order to save us. He indeed is the visible expression of Jehovah our Salvation, but He must be present in our lives before we can experience His glorious salvation.
He Is the Christ!
Jesus’ complete name is the “Lord Jesus Christ.” We see ownership in the title Lord and salvation in the name of Jesus. But what about the name, “Christ?”
As Jesus, we can summarize two things about our Lord:
- He is the Son of God and
- He is God, the second Person of the Godhead.
But the term “Christ” gives us another picture of Jesus. Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully man.
The “term” Christ means the Messiah or Anointed One. As fully man Jesus was anointed to be the Great Physician who would heal the brokenhearted, set the captives free and restore sight to the blind. He was anointed to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18 & 19). He was also anointed to offer Himself as the final Passover Lamb on the cross (John 1:29). As God, He accomplished the impossible and secured salvation for us but as man He did what was necessary and died on the cross to obtain it.
Now That You Know
The man in Acts was told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. An earthquake had revealed his condition and faithful men told him the solution. Now all he had to do was believe and he would be saved.
What about you? Do you need a great earthquake to wake you up? If you are honest, you probably already feel some tremors trying to arouse you out of the sleep of disillusionment and fantasy.
First of all, you need to know you are already in trouble and secondly, you need to know God provided the solution. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. Won’t you choose to believe on Him and confess Him as your Lord and Savior? You will never regret it!
To find out the next step check out our Now What, Since I’m Saved page.