What Must I Do To Be Saved?
By Mike Gendron
Can you think of a question any more important than the one asked by the Philippians jailer, "What must I do to be saved?" Is there any other issue in life more critical or urgent than determining where one will spend eternity? The guard of the Philippian jail must have known he was facing eternal punishment to even ask the question. He must have known that God will deal with sin either with His wrath or with His grace. The answer Paul and Silas gave to his question was very clear and profound, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." (Acts 16:30-31) Today there are 5 billion people in the world that will not accept this answer as God's truth. Many are convinced they must do more than believe. They fail to realize that "to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ" necessitates understanding the following:
Who Jesus Christ is
What Jesus Christ accomplished
What the Lord Jesus Christ commands and promises
If anyone hears the message about Christ and His Kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches it away. (Matthew 13:19) But the one who hears the Word of Christ and understands it will share the good news with many others, bringing them to a saving knowledge of Christ (Matthew 13:23). The good news is the Gospel of Jesus Christ which has the power to save all who believe it (Romans 1:16). 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. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved! Saving faith comes from hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:9-17).
Many Catholics do not understand "who Christ is" because the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church paints a different picture of Him than what is revealed in the Sacred Scriptures. Vatican Council II declares that we attain our own salvation and co-operate in saving our brothers through prayer and good works (p. 66, Vatican Council II Documents; Flannery). Was Christ merely "the gate opener" of heaven or was He the Savior? If we can attain our own salvation, then why did Christ have to die for us? Is Christ the only sinless Mediator between God and man or does He share that role with Mary as Roman Catholicism teaches? According to VC II, when Mary was "taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside her saving office, but by her manifold intercession, continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation," (page 419).
Is Jesus the only Way to the Father, or are Moslems, who reject the deity of Christ, part of God's plan of salvation as stated by VC II, (page 367). Is Christ and His Word the Truth or should we believe the Dogmas of the Catholic Church that nullify the sufficiency of His perfect sacrifice, His grace and His Word. Vatican II states, "In the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the other," (page 756).
The Scripture reveal that Jesus is the Savior who appeared "to take away sin once for all by his sacrifice" (Hebrew 9:26). Jesus is the only one qualified to save us. He has to be both God and man. Only as God could His sacrifice produce the infinite value needed to save all men, for all time. Only a man could be our kinsman-redeemer. And only a man, who lived a sinless life, could die for someone else. Otherwise he would have to die for his own sin. It is clear that God provided the only way possible for us to be saved. He became man, lived a perfect life and willingly paid the death penalty for sin that His justice demanded. "There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name in the whole world given to men which we are to be saved," (Acts 4:12). There is no other mediator between God and man, "God is one, one also is the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," (I Timothy 2:5). The importance of believing who Christ is can best be summed up by the words of Christ Himself, "You will surely die in your sins unless you come to believe who I am," (John 8:24). Those who believe salvation can be obtained by adding to the perfect, finished and all-sufficient work of the Lord Jesus Christ must repent and come to the cross with empty hands of faith, bringing nothing but their sins (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Adding human achievement to grace nullifies God's saving grace which is the only way God saves sinners (Rom. 11:6).