(1)WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? (1) The Question Analyzed. “What” This word suggests that there is something required of man in being saved. He who asks the question understands this fact. (2).”Must” This word indicates that it is not a question of what “should” I, or what “may” I, but what “must” I do? It is not a matter of option. The word “must” teaches the absolute necessity of the requirement. (3) “I” It is not what God, Christ and the Holy Sprit must do, but what must “I” do. All know that the Trinity has a part in man’s salvation. God, Christ and the Holy Spirit have perfectly executed the divine part in man’s salvation. But the inquirer is not seeking to learn the functions of the Trinity. The “I” in the question denotes individual responsibility. (4) “Do” It is not what I must get, think, feel or believe. The word “Do” suggests activity on the part of man in being saved. Salvation is not a matter of passiveness, but of activity. God saves; still, man saves himself by obeying the gospel, God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16, Acts 2:40). Take the word “do” out of Christianity and you destroy it. You never read of an inspired man telling a sinner that there is nothing for him to do to be saved. (5) “To be saved.” This phrase denotes the purpose of complying with the conditions “to be saved” is the object sought by the querist, the phrase also suggests that the saving is done by another. But what must man do to be saved by the Heavenly Father? A SURE WAY TO ANSWER THE QUESTION (1). There could be no plainer, wiser and surer way to answer the question than to turn to the Bible and read the question and the answer given. If the question is found one hundred times, then read each question and answer given thereto. This would be scriptural and right beyond question; furthermore, it would present the whole truth on the subject. But we do not find the question a hundred times. We find it, substantially, only four times in the New Testament, and one of these was under the Law of Moses. (2) The question was first propounded by the rich young man who came to Jesus (Mk. 10:17). Jesus referred him to the Ten Commandments. The Mosaic Law was in force at this time, for Christ had not yet died and nailed it to the cross (Col. 2:14). It was a Jew’s duty to keep it. When the young man replied that he had kept the Law from his youth, Jesus said, “One thing thou lackest; go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” The Law of Moses had not been abrogated and he was to keep it; also, he needed to free himself of his riches which were a stumbling block to him; in addition, he was (2)directed to follow Christ, as the disciples did, and he would be better trained for work in the coming dispensation. This answer would not be given today, because it was before the New Testament had become effective (Heb. 9:16, 17). It is good for us to observe that this Jew “went away sorrowful; for he was one that had great possessions.” He seemed to be sincere in asking what to do, but he did not want to know. He only intended to obey, if it pleased him. Tragically, many are like that today. There are legions who think they want to be saved, but in reality do not. (3) The question has been recorded three times in Acts. Strangely enough, three different answers were given. Each answer was given by the authority of the Holy Spirit. All must be done. Let us study each and see the harmony in these seemingly contradictory answers. THE JEWS ON PENTECOST DAY (1) The question and its answer. In Acts.2 we read of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. The object of this was to guide and direct them into the preaching of the gospel. Jews from every nation were dwelling there. When each heard in his own tongue, the excitement ran high. Some marveled, but others made light of what they had heard and tried to pass it off by accusing the apostles of being “filled with new wine.” Peter’s sermon followed this accusation. The preaching of God’s word pricked their hearts and they asked, “Brethren, what shall we do” (Acts.2:37)? Peter replied: “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts.2:38). Why were they not told to believe? Because they had believed: so much so that they wanted to know what to do to be saved. Peter told these believers to know what to do to be saved. Peter told these believers to repent and be baptized unto the remission of sins. According to Peter, baptism is just as essential as repentance. Both are coupled together by the copulative conjunction “and” and point to the same object, the remission of sins. If repentance is unto the remission of sins, so is baptism. (2) Salvation requires more than faith and a change of heart. Not only had the Jerusalem inquirers believed, but they had experienced a change of heart. At the beginning of the event they accused the apostles of being intoxicated. Later, after hearing the gospel, they wanted to know what to do to be saved. They had believed and had experienced a change of heart but were not saved. We are sure of this, because peter did not say, as some preachers are saying, “All you have to do to be saved is just believe and have a change of heart.” No! Peter told them to repent and (3)be baptized unto the remission of sins. They believed; they had a change of heart, in a measure; but, in addition to this, they had to repent and be baptized in order for their sins to be remitted. SAUL OF TARSUS (1) Saul, latter known as Paul, is introduced as a persecutor. He is first mentioned in connection with the stoning of Stephen (Acts.7:58; 8:1). He later spoke of himself, by saying: as touching zeal, persecuting the church” (Phil. 3:6). He was exceedingly bitter in trying to stop the mouths of Christians (Acts 26:10, 11). Even though he was an unsparing persecutor, his conscience was clear. He could say, “Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day” (Acts.23:1) His conscience did not hurt, because he though he was doing the right thing (Acts.26:9). This is certain proof that man’s conscience cannot be accepted as the guide in religious matters. As long as a man thinks he is right, his conscience is clear. Saul had a good conscience, thinking he was right: but he was wrong. This is true of many good people today. (2) Saul’s question and the answer given. As Saul journeyed on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians, a light shone round about him and he heard the voice of Jesus. Jesus did not appear to Saul to pardon him, as some think, but to make him a “minister and a witness” (Acts.26:16). This miraculous event did not save him. After asking what to do, Jesus replied, “Rise and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts.9:6). Obviously, there is something to do. Saul lacked something. It was not faith; he had believed. Neither was it repentance; he was so penitent that he spent three days fasting and praying (Acts.9:9,11) while waiting to be told what he must do. Nor did he lack a change of heart: his heart had changed from a desire to persecute Christians to a desire to become a Christian. He lacked something, but it was not faith, repentance or a change of heart. No one has ever shown greater evidence of these than Saul. Was he saved? No, his sins had not been washed away. Christ said that he would be told what he must do. What was it? Ananias came to him and said, “And now why tarriest thou arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name” (Acts.22:16). This is the second answer to the question. It is plain that men are wrong in thinking that faith, repentance and a change of heart are all that God has required of man to be saved. THE JAILOR Paul and Silas were prisoners in the Philippian jail. About midnight there was a earthquake. “All the doors were opened; and every one’s bands were loosed.” The jailer was “roused out of sleep.” (4)Seeing the prison doors open, thinking the prisoners had fled, he “drew his sword and was about to kill himself.” But Saul stayed his hand. The jailor, trembling with fear, “fell down before Saul and Silas, and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts.16:30). This querist was an unbeliever. There is no evidence that he ever heard a gospel sermon. They told him to “believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house” (Acts.16:31). But the story does not end here: “And they spake the word of the Lord unto him” (Acts.16:32). Why? So that could believe (Rom.10:17). The jailor then repented (“washed their stripes”) “and was baptized, he and all his, immediately” (Acts.16:33). Saul had been told to be baptized in order to wash away his sins. Surely, he told the jailer to be baptized for the same reason. “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts10:34). THREE DIFFERENT ANSWERS TO THE SAME QUESTION, THE EXPLANATION IS NOT HARD. (1) The jailor was an unbeliever. He was told to believe. They preached to him for the purpose of producing faith. He then repented and was baptized. (2) The people on Pentecost did believe. So they were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. (3) Saul was a believing, penitent man. He was told to be baptized and wash away his sins. (4) They were given different answers, because they were at different places on the road to salvation. But all did the same things and traveled over the same road. For instance, a man asks how far it is from here to Dallas. He is told thirty miles. He drives up the way ten miles and asks again. This time, he is told twenty miles. The traveler drives up the road ten miles farther and asks again the same question. The answer again is different. He is now told ten miles. He was given three different answers to the same question. The same is true of the question “What must I do to be saved?” The unbeliever had not begun to travel the road to pardon. He was told to believe and, after believing, he repented and was baptized. The believers were not told to believe, but to repent and be baptized. Saul, the penitent believer, was not told to believe and repent; he was told to be baptized and wash away his sins. All traveled over the same road. All were converted alike. The Bible does not contradict itself. In answering the question scripturally, man must give all three answers that were given by the Holy Spirit. Man can do no more change, by divine authority; these laws of God than he can black out the sun, change the wind, or stop the snows.