A Clay Jar

Encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thess. 2:12 NIV)

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

This question from the Philippian jailer is one that many ask. And that everyone should ask. What must we do to be saved?

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

Acts 16:29-34 NIV

Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown into prison and the stocks because they had healed a girl. Yet instead of bemoaning the unfairness of their treatment, they had sung and praised God well into the night. After an earthquake had freed them from their bonds, they chose to remain in prison, probably continuing in song. And that prompted the exchange in the passage above.

Acknowledging Your Need

“What must I do to be saved?” What would prompt such a question from a Roman jailer? Salvation was likely the furthest thing from his mind when he had gone to bed that evening. But during the night, listening to the singing and praise, and seeing the witness of Paul and Silas’ lives, something happened. This jailer realized something was missing from his life. And not just that something was missing. But that something was wrong. The Holy Spirit spoke to him through the witness of Paul and Silas. And he recognized his lostness and need of a savior. That is the first step to salvation. Acknowledging that you are lost and need a savior.

Cry Out To the One Who Can Save You

The second step of the jailer was to cry out, “What must I do to be saved?” He knew it was not within himself. So he cried out for help. And God used Paul and Silas to answer that cry. You may well acknowledge your need for a savior. But that in itself does nothing for you. You must take the next step and call out for God’s help.

Believe In the Lord Jesus, and You Will Be Saved

Paul and Silas’s response to the jailer was short and to the point. But it has profound implications. Believe means “to believe, put one’s faith in, trust, with an implication that actions based on that trust may follow.” It is much more than intellectual acknowledgment. The jailer had put his trust in Rome and Caesar as lord. He was being challenged to put his trust in Jesus as Lord. The challenge was to leave behind the old life and live a new life.

What must you do to be saved? Die to your old way of life and live a new life. A life of surrender to Jesus as Lord.

The Proper Response

The jailer believed, as apparently did all those in his house. Immediately they were baptized, making a public declaration of their new allegiance. And then the jailer, who had earlier put these two beaten men into the stocks, apparently without tending to their wounds first, ministered to them. He bound up their wounds. And he set a meal before them.

Believing in Jesus as Lord demands a change in a person’s life. Not to obtain salvation, but as a reflection of the change of allegiance. If Jesus truly is Lord, rather than Rome, or self, you will be different.

The Sinner’s Prayer

Nowhere in the Scripture is anyone instructed to say anything like a sinner’s prayer of confession and acceptance of Jesus. It is not a requirement for your salvation. Romans 10:9-10 does add an element to this passage, though. Paul again expresses the need to believe. But also includes an admonition to confess Jesus as Lord. Tell people what has happened in your life. Don’t keep it a secret.

But spending regular time in Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers is essential to your growth and development. If you have made Jesus Lord, read his instruction to you in the Bible. Spend time with him in prayer. And join together with other believers in fellowship, encouragement, and worship.

If you have recently come to accept Jesus as Lord, please leave a comment below. Or if you have questions about this decision, I would love to help you with it.


The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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10 thoughts on “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”

  1. Why do I have a continuing struggle with lies? There are areas of my life that it is a struggle and I need to get rid of it all! I do love our Lord but this is an area I need much prayer. How do I rid myself of this so I can be sure of Jesus not turning me away? I want to grow, rid myself of this sin in my life and I am scared of being left behind when the rapture comes.

    • A struggle with sin is common to most believers. We live in the flesh, and it continually draws us back to the world. But, as we resist it, and follow the Spirit instead, we can gain victory over it. Fill your heart and mind with God’s world. The more deeply you immerse yourself in it, the greater your ability to resist sin, including lying.

      I have hidden your word in my heart
      that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11

      • Thank you Ed. I am trying, every minute, to be a better person. This ” lie” is about me, my need to be more than I am to be accepted, be someone. This is the struggle I am dealing with. I do not lie about any other things, I stopped that with requesting Gods help in that area. It is ” me” and the need to “be something “, not better than anyone, its not that, its feeling like a failure in others “eyes” because of being told I was not good enough, not qualified by many, many people. This is the stuggle…please pray for me to overcome this darkness so that I will please God and be able to do what He created me for.

        • It does not matter what others think of you. All that really matters i what God thinks of you. And he thinks enough of you to send his Son to be you savior. Hold onto that. Be faithful to him. And don’t worry about being accepted by others.

  2. How do I know for certain that I am saved? I do not feel differently, but I am reading Gods word and trying to rid my life of sinful ways, but continue to fail?

    • Don’t depend on your feelings. They will often lead you astray. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. Belief, though, is not a one time event. It is an ongoing commitment of your life to his Lordship. You should find that your desires will more and more align with his desire for you. You will not be perfect to start if, if ever. But you should see progress in your growth as a disciple and in holiness. Just continue to be faithful, regardless of how you feel.

      • Thank you, Ed! Your support means so much! I am memorizing scripture, reading and pray throughout the day. I certainly am a work in progress, please continue to pray for me to grow in our Lord and become the person He desires to serve Him. God Bless

  3. My friend ,
    Greetings in the great name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
    Friend your articles have Changed my life , Kindly I do request to allow me use and interpret in our local language’s What Can I Do to get saved as we minister to the hurting souls in Prisons here in Uganda and Kenya .


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