What must I do to be saved?

It is the most important question anyone will ever ask. What could be more important than to find out what God requires of us to be saved from sin and given the hope of eternal life with Him. Of equal importance is the question, “What is Truth?”. That is a question Pilate asked of Jesus (John 18:38) as Jesus stood before him accused of the Jews who were seeking to have Jesus put to death. On one occasion Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) So, what is the true answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” In John 17:17 we read, “Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy word is truth.” The answer can only be found in an honest examination of the Word of God.

Let me begin by emphatically stating there is no one verse in all the Bible that teaches the “whole” truth of what one must do to be saved. In Psalm 119:160 we find, “The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Until we have considered all the verses that deal with each thing one must do to be saved we have not truthfully answered the question. We might not look at every single verse that answers the question but look at verses that speak of each of the things required of one unto salvation.

First, Romans 10:17 tells us, “Now faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of Christ.” No one denies that faith is essential to one’s salvation. But we must ask “what faith” and what must we “hear” to have that faith? One thing we have to hear is the fact that we are sinners condemned before God due to our sins. We looked at that in the previous article. No one will seek God’s will unto salvation until they realize they are sinners, separated from God through sin and destined to eternal hell unless saved from their sins. Also, in Romans 1:16 we are told, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” But, what is this “gospel” one must hear? In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 we read, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Second, Jesus said, “Therefore, I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” The faith that comes from God’s word necessary unto salvation is faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who makes salvation from sin possible. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) We have only one hope of salvation and that is in Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, Jesus Himself said, “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) When asked what they needed to do to have forgiveness for putting the Son of God to death, the throng of Jews were told by the apostle Peter, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

The fourth thing we find in Scripture that is part of the “whole truth” concerning salvation is one must confess their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. “…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10) When the eunuch asked Philip what prevented him from being baptized into Christ, Philip replied, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.” The confession we make unto salvation is our faith in Jesus as God’s Son our only hope of forgiveness.

Lastly, the Scriptures teach us that one must be “in” Christ in order to be saved. All spiritual blessings are “in Christ” according to Ephesians 1:3. Obviously, then we must be “in” Christ to receive these blessings of salvation. So, how does one get “into” Christ? There are only two passages of Scripture in all the New Testament that tell how we get “into” Christ. Romans 6:1-6 says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” Also in Galatians 3:26-27 we read, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” The final step of obedience that saves us is to be baptized into Jesus Christ. That is why we read in 1 Peter 3:18-21, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Clearly, those with “good and honest hearts” (Luke 8:8) can see that the “sum” of God’s Word about salvation is that these steps must be taken: (1) hearing (2) believe/faith (3) repentance (4) confession (5) baptism.

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