“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” --Acts 16:30
Eternal life: what is it that I must do to make it mine? I suppose nearly every rational human being has pondered this question. Haven’t you?
This question reveals at least two things about the asker. Firstly, it demonstrates the universal belief in life after death and also our insecurity of being worthy of it. Mankind has this nagging feeling that something in us is lacking, that we all fall short somehow.
This belief is validated by the Word of God. In the Bible we are told that “the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” - John 5:29-29. This should make us fearful for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” - Romans 3:23.
Secondly, it manifests the common misconception that there is something that we can do to correct our problem. There must be a ceremony to be performed, a commandment to be obeyed, an example to be followed, a price to be paid. That is how we think.
This belief is repudiated by the Word of God. Scripture says, “Now to him that works not, but believes on Him that justifies (declares righteous or good) the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” - Romans 4:5. In Ephesians 2:8-9 we read, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
There is no work that we can do! This is because our salvation is the work of God in Christ. Eternal life is not by what we do, but by what Christ has done.
Jesus bled and died on Calvary’s cross as the sinner’s substitute. In making the all sufficient payment for our sin debt He could cry, “It is finished” - John 19:30. Christ’s bodily resurrection three days later is proof that the work of providing salvation to the fallen descendants of Adam is done.
The multitudes ask Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” - John 6:28. Jesus replied to their error, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent” - John 6:29.
In answer the question of the Philippian jailor, the Apostle Paul declared, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved” - Acts 16:31. The only response that God will accept is not a work at all. It is simply to believe, to trust, to rely upon the One who did the work, Jesus Christ.
We can never earn salvation. We could never deserve it. But a loving God makes eternal life a gift to anyone who will take God at His word and trust His Son.
Friend, won’t you trust Christ today? That is all that you can do to be saved!
by David Cannon