What must I do to be saved?

Questions similar to this one were posed a few times in the New Testament, and the answers that were given in response all state the basic tenets of salvation.  Salvation is a work solely accomplished by God in the person of Jesus Christ, but we are called to respond to His gracious acts properly and responsibly. 

Although there are things we must do in response, we must admit that they are all non-meritorious acts on our part.

The Apostle Peter was asked, ". . . what shall we do" in response to a sermon he preached in Acts 2.  He told 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.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The Apostle Paul was asked, ". . . what must I do to be saved?" in Acts 16.  He told the man, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes.  And immediately he and all his family were baptized."

Therefore, the proper response to the Gospel is simple:

First, you must hear the Gospel message of Christ from the Scriptures.
Second, you must repent of your sins.
Third, you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fourth, you must be baptized in water.
Fifth, you must persevere in that faith until the end.

These responses are fairly simple for those who have truly believed the Gospel.  We should say, once more, that these five actions are not works of our own that will save us.  We simply trust in the works of God which have already been done in the accomplishments of Christ Jesus and respond properly.

The Gospel message is that God became man, never committed a sin, but became sin for us when He died on the cross.  He bore our penalty as our substitute.  He was raised from the dead to never die again, and He will return again someday to judge the living and the dead.

When we hear the Gospel, we must repent of our sins.  To repent means to turn away from.  We must turn away from sinful pasts and face the Lord.  We have to do a 180.  This does not mean that we have to clean ourselves up before we can be saved, commit to Christ, or go to church.  That is the wrong idea.  What it means is that in our minds we have decided that we have sinned against a holy God and with our mouths we will confess that fact.

When we repent, we not only turn away from our sin, but we turn to Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  To believe on Him is not to simply agree in your mind that He was/is real.  To believe on Him is to trust that what He has done in His death and resurrection is enough to save you from yourself, this world, and the wrath of God which is to come.  To put your faith in Him is to believe that He has secured eternal life for you, delivering you from eternal death in Hell.  Salvation is "from faith to faith."  We cannot begin our salvation experience by faith and complete it by our own righteous works.  No, we will be saved if we trust Christ from the beginning of our Christian lives until the end of our lives.

The New Testament pattern for those who first come to faith in Christ is to be immersed in water.  In the first century there would not have been a believer that would not have been baptized.  If by chance there was, they were always then commanded to be baptized.  Romans 6 teaches that baptism is that moment in time when the believer is united to Christ.  We are united in the likeness of His death and resurrection as we are "buried" in the water and "raised" out of the water to newness of life.

Lastly, it should go without saying that we must continue in this faith.  As stated above, we must endure until the end to be saved.  We must continue in the faith, established and firm, not moved away from the Gospel we heard at first.  Our own efforts, our own religious performance, our own righteousness cannot and will not ever save us.  Only the person and accomplishments of Christ can save us.  We must trust and treasure Him.

For Progress and Joy in Christ