Are you saved? “Well, of course I am saved.” If this answer flashed immediately into your mind when you saw this question, then you may want to continue to read this. The Bible teaches that there are some people who think they are saved, but in actuality they are not saved. In fact, did you know that Jesus himself said that there were going to be some people who think they are saved, yet will be eternally lost? Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23,
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” (NKJV)
So, I ask again, are you saved? Maybe at this point you are thinking about what you did in order to be saved. That is good. What did you do to be saved? How do you know you are saved? Perhaps your answer is like many in the religious world today who say, “Well, I prayed a little prayer to Jesus and told Him that I accepted Him into my heart and that’s how I know I am saved.” In other words, you believed that Jesus was the Son of God. This is good, because faith is necessary in order to be saved. However, is it the ONLY thing that is required on your part for salvation? In fact, Jesus acknowledged in this same scripture that there were some who called him “Lord” yet they were not saved. They believed in Jesus, but they were not saved. Are you one of these people?
Perhaps you are asking yourself now, “Well, if I can be a believer, yet not be saved, what must I do to be saved?” This is a very good question to ask. But where do we go to find the answer to this question? Should we go to our teachers at school? Should we go to our family? Should we go to the deacons? Should we go to the pastors? Should we go to the preacher? To all these questions, you must answer, “No.” In fact, in order to find out what one must do to be saved, we must accept ONLY the answer that God gives to this question. Where does God answer this question? He answers it in the Bible.
The book of Acts in the New Testament answers this question several times. The question is specifically stated three times in the book of Acts. We find it stated in Acts 2:37 in the form, “What shall we do?” In Acts 9:11 it is stated by Saul (who would later be known by the name Paul) “Lord, what do you want me to do?” It is also stated by a jailer in Acts 16:30 in the form, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” God considered this question so important that He gave us the answer to the question three times. Each time the answer is the same, though the context in which the answer is given is different.
The first place in which the answer was given, Peter told them the following: “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” (Acts 2:38). The answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” was to repent and be baptized. Isn’t it strange that Peter didn’t tell them to believe? Why would he leave out such a critical piece of the answer? Was it because they already believed? This is, in fact, the case. They heard Peter’s message and were convinced that they had crucified the Son of God; they believed! So what more did they need to do? “Repent and be baptized.”
The second place in which the answer was given, Jesus told Saul the following: “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). Did you notice something missing from this answer? Jesus did not say to Saul, “just accept me into your heart and you will be saved.? He told him that someone else would tell Saul what he needed to do. Who was this someone else and what did he tell Saul to do? We find that answer in Acts 22:16. The person was Ananias and he told Saul the following: “And now why are you waiting: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Ananias also left out the part about “accepting Jesus into your heart.” Why? Because Saul already believed. He then said that if Saul wanted to wash away his sins that he needed to be baptized.
The third place in which the answer was given, Paul himself told an unnamed man the following: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). In this answer, the man is told to “believe.” Why would this particular man be told to believe” He was told he needed to believe because he did not already believe. He needed to believe first. Notice that in the same context in verse thirty-three we read the following, “And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” Why was there a need to be baptized? Why was there a need to be baptized the same hour of the night? Why was there a need for him and all of his family to be baptized immediately? The answer is that it was necessary for them to be baptized to be saved. Notice what the next verse says in verse thirty-four: “Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” It says that he rejoiced after he was baptized. It also says that the action of being baptized indicated that they had believed. In other words, baptism is part of the expression of belief in God. Without baptism, one cannot really honestly say that one believes God. In other words until we are baptized for the remission of our sins; until we are baptized to wash away our sins; any expression of faith on our part is no different than those folks that Jesus spoke about who merely said, “Lord, Lord.” They “believed,” but they failed to do the will of the Father.
What do you need to do to make sure that you are saved today? Interestingly enough, Paul says that you can be saved in exactly the same way that He was saved. In a letter that Paul wrote to a young preacher named Timothy, he said, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” Paul said that his salvation was a pattern for everyone else. In other words, you can be saved in the same way that Paul was saved and, in fact, this is the way in which we must be saved. We don’t have to guess at how Paul was saved. We have the exact words that were used in his salvation in Acts 22:16. “And now why are you waiting: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Do you believe you were saved before you were baptized? If you do, then you are in the same category as those who cried “Lord, Lord.” Believing that you are saved when you actually are not. Remember, Jesus said that only those who “do the will of the Father” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Do the father’s will today! Don’t just hear the answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved,” but act on it. If you believe you were saved before you were baptized, then all you did was get wet. You did not put your faith in God’s word to remove your sins as God said he would remove your sins. Put your faith in God’s word today to save you through being baptized, for the remission of your sins, calling upon his name!