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 Vol. 5, No. 6 

June 2003

Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*

~ Page 16 ~

What Must I Do to be Saved?

By Marilyn LaStrape

Image How we "get saved" is an issue that is discussed in all religious groups. The religion of works tells us that we will need to clean up our lives, start doing some good works, and somewhere along the line somebody will get back to us. Where in the Bible does it say that?

The Book of Acts tells us exactly what people did in order to come into a covenant relationship with God. In all cases, the Gospel was preached to them and they responded in obedient faith. Listed below are biblical accounts of how people were saved.

When Peter preached the first Gospel sermon on the Day of Pentecost, there were devout men, dwelling in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven. After their hearts were pricked with the realization that they had crucified the Lord, the question was asked, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). The response was: "...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."

When the Holy Spirit instructed Philip to join the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch, Philip preached Jesus to him. They came to a certain water and the question was asked, "What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36). The response was: "...If you believe with all your heart you may" (Acts 8:37).

When Ananias was directed by the Lord to go to Saul, who later became Paul, he was praying. Ananias informed him that the Lord had sent him that Saul might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 9:18 says, "Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once, and he arose and was baptized."

When Peter was sent to Cornelius, he had invited his relatives and close friends to hear what they needed to do to be saved. After Peter had preached the Gospel to them, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the Word. When Peter realized that the Holy Spirit had been extended to the Gentiles, he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord (Acts 10:44-48).

When Paul and Silas had been jailed for preaching the Gospel, a great earthquake shook the prison where they were being held. The foundations of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed. The keeper of the prison thought that everyone had escaped and was about to kill himself. Paul told him not to harm himself for they were all there. The Philippian jailer asked the question: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). Paul and Silas taught the jailer and his household the Gospel, "And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized" (Acts 16:32-33).

These examples show us how the grace of God works in our lives. Paul tells us in Titus 3:11, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." Exactly what is this grace of God that has been extended to us?

  1. His divine initiative -- Genesis 3:15 -- "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed, He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."

  2. His unmerited favor -- Romans 5:8 -- "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

  3. His favorable regard -- Psalms 84:11 -- "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."

  4. His redemptive mercy -- Titus 3:4-5 -- "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."

  5. His generous gift -- Ephesians 2:8 -- "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."

  6. His sympathetic compassion -- Psalms 103:12-14 -- "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him, for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."

Even though our salvation is a gift of God, we cannot make the mistake of believing that once we are saved, we are always saved. In the parable of the tares, Jesus tells us to let the wheat and tares grow together because while we are trying to gather tares, we are uprooting wheat. He further states, "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness" (Matthew 13:41). His kingdom on earth is the church.

In the parable of the dragnet, the kingdom of heaven, which is the church, is compared to a dragnet that gathers some of every kind. The good is gathered, the bad is thrown away. "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:49-50).

If we attempt to be justified by the law, that is to think that we can "earn" our salvation through law keeping, we need to heed the warning of Galatians 5:4, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace."

These passages remind us that a life of faithful obedience is the expectation once we are saved. Our entire lives are to be lived in service and thanksgiving for us being saved from eternal destruction.Image

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