“What must I do to be saved?” How would you answer that question? If you are engaged in a spiritual discussion with a close friend, and they ask this question, do you know what to say? This is the most important question any person could ever ask, but it is not a question that someone is going to ask out of the blue.
When the question is asked in the New Testament, it is because people are motivated to ask. On the Day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2, the apostles are speaking in languages they have never studied. Peter tells the crowd that they are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy! Joel had foretold the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and the wonders and signs and the coming salvation. Peter says, “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel!” He then talked about Jesus, and how David pointed to Jesus, and how they had crucified Jesus. Peter declared, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” The Jews listening to Peter “were cut to the heart,” and they asked him the most important question ever: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Acts 9 tells of Saul of Tarsus, who was traveling to Damascus on a religious mission: he was going to identify followers of “the Way” and bring them bound back to Jerusalem. Along the way, something happened. A bright light from heaven caused him to fall to the ground, and he heard the voice of the Lord ask, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul realized that he had been on the wrong path and asked, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Saul of Tarsus became Paul the apostle, and is known for his evangelistic efforts among the Gentile world. Luke writes in Acts 16 about Paul and his teaching companion Silas getting arrested in Philippi. They were in the jail, singing and praying, when an earthquake hit. All the chains fell from all the prisoners, and they were free to go! When the jailer realized this, he drew his sword to take his own life. But Paul called out and prevented him, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” The jailer, trembling, asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Three very different situations, all leading someone to ask the most important question. What’s the answer?
The answer is one that all Christians should memorize. We are commanded by the inspired apostle Peter, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Do you know the answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?”
- 1) Hear (Romans 10:17)
2) Believe (Mark 16:16)
3) Confess (Acts 8:37)
4) Repent (Acts 3:19)
5) Be Baptized (Acts 2:38)
6) Be Faithful (Revelation 2:10)
Many Scriptures can be used in place of the ones listed. You might see different wording, or some may put repentance before confession, but the answer is generally the same. Even if you do not memorize the text of each verse, at least memorize the reference so you can find it quickly. It is not our aim to share our opinions on the matter of salvation, but to point honest hearts to what the Scriptures reveal.
Discussion and Action
1. Will everyone respond in a positive way? What are some of the objections your religious friends may have to this answer?
2. Memorize the six steps of the gospel plan of salvation and where you can find Scriptures for each step.
3. Take an index card and write the names of three non-Christian friends. Include them in your daily prayers, and look for opportunities to turn your discussions with them to spiritual matters.