What must I do to be saved?


Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Acts 16:30-31


Life is filled with many questions. What college will I attend? Who will I marry? Where will I live? How many children would I like? While all are important questions, none is more important than this: What must I do to be saved?

This is the very question a jailer asked a pastor and church planter by the name of Paul. Paul’s answer is a bit jarring, completely paradoxical, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Clearly, this man was under the assumption that he needed to do something to be saved. Surely, he’s been exposed to religion. He likely had a run in with a bunch of highfalutin church folks, which resulted in a performance based understanding of salvation (salvation means deliverance). The jailer wanted to do something to earn a way to God.


The real good news is you don’t have to do something to be saved. Paul told the man he needed to BELIEVE SOMETHING. Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. That is a beautiful promise. It’s simple. The moment you believe that Jesus’ perfect life, his sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection count for you, as payment for your sins, you are saved. God looks at you with absolute forgiveness as if you lived a perfect life, without sin, like Jesus.


It is hard to remember that our task is to rest in what Jesus accomplished. It’s easy to give in to licentiousness (irreligious - live how you want) when the culture around us is increasingly tolerant. It’s just as easy to put energy into being a better person. That is no more admirable—it’s legalism, an effort to earn God’s favor and approval, which is impossible, without Jesus.

“In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15

We must labor to believe the Gospel, not just once, but every day. We must repent for our unbelief and rest in all that Jesus accomplished at the cross.

What a loving and gracious Father that He would make believing our primary task. He wants us to rest in His perfect plan of salvation. Just behold Jesus for all that He is. The obedience that He desires and transformation of our lives is a natural result of our beholding.