Act. 16:30-33 30”And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house. And they spoke unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”
In the pagan culture of Philippi, “diviners” or “soothsayers” were quite common. As we’ve seen throughout the Book of Acts, demonic activity disguised as magic was always in opposition to the Gospel, but conquered time and again by the power of God. After many days of the slave girl’s annoying shouting, Paul finally cast out the demon in the name of Jesus. This angered her masters who had just lost their “fortune telling” business.
“When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he heard this place them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.” (Act. 16:19-24)
The ancient forum at Philippi was probably the location where Paul and Silas were dragged before the Roman officials and beaten. The two were then thrown in prison and secured in stocks. Are you following along? Stay with me.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Act. 16:25-28)
Then, the jailer asked the important question “what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Act. 16:30-31).
I don’t know if you ever thought about this but when this event took place there was no New Testament, there was no book of Acts. Jn. 3:16 had now yet been recorded, nor any of the four gospels. All of the recorded events had happened but had not been recorded. So, whatever the Apostle Paul told him was The answer to his question and the only answer. Paul could not say, also check out the book of Hebrews or the book of John, or Act. 2:38, none of this had been written. Do you find this denominationally challenging?
It seems a direct answer from God’s greatest preacher would be sufficient. The jailer didn’t know he was talking to the man who would eventually write half of the New Testament. What greater source could he have found to ask the world’s most important question? At the most critical time in this man’s life, facing death and eternity by his own hand, he cried out “What must I do to be saved?”
Does it bring to mind the thief on the cross? Not only did the thief face eternity in a manner of minutes, there was nothing he COULD DO to be saved apart from believing! That’s the only thing he could do! When he did, he received an immediate confirmation from the Lord Jesus Himself. By the way this incredible event had not been recorded, at this time, it had happened, but was not yet written. Most likely the imprisonment in Philippi was about 51 AD. At this time only the book of James – 50 A.D.
It would be more than 15 years before the gospels were recorded, 40 years before the book of John. The very book that records this would not be written by Luke until 64 AD.
So what’s the point?
Why do people make it so difficult to be saved? Anyone you talk to has a personal, though, not biblical opinion about salvation. It could not be more simple than Jesus has made it and Paul has proclaimed it. The other point is why do people want to make it conditional and make eternal life temporary? I don’t get it. I really don’t.
Why do people use the term “cheap grace”, because they want to include works and evidence as conditions for God’s Promise to be true. Grace is anything but cheap it cost God His Son’s sacrificial death. It doesn’t cost you anything, you can’t buy, or bargain to get it, and you can’t make it be any less than it is. It is God’s completely free unearned gift. You cheapen it when you think you had something to do with receiving it or keeping it!
Why would eternal ever be anything but eternal. How does everlasting become anything but everlasting. Cheap grace, says “I have to contribute something for this to be true.” Somehow that seems almost blasphemous to me.
Once a person receives Christ. That person is forever saved, it is never based on their earthly performance after that! If you call it anything else but “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND YOU WILL BE SAVED” you are misled by the flesh. If saved, always saved. 105 times the words eternal and everlasting are used in relation to salvation. We should feel secure in God’s promises. I do!
If there is something you must do to be saved and receive everlasting life, other than believe… Something you must do to keep it, we are reading different Bibles. God made salvation so that anyone in any situation can receive it, and He keeps everyone, the Father that gave me to Jesus is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them from the Father’s Hand. One touch, one time!
One confession, everlasting possession
As the great pastor Dr. E.V. Hill said, “Thank God for Jesus”!
Just for Jesus,