Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 10, 1955
NUMBER 39, PAGE 2-3b

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Charles L. Heron, Arlington, Texas

If you have gone so far away from God that you no longer have any interest in your soul, and if you do not believe in the all-sufficiency of the Word of God, then the reading of this article would be a waste of your time. On the other hand, if you have a consciousness of your sinful condition, and a longing to be a better person, and if you are willing to let the Bible speak and the opinions of men tumble, then the time you spend in reading this may prove to be the most profitable of all.

Importance Of This Question

There is not a more important question! No question relative to human governments, social or political parties, one's health, the making or investing of money, foreign policy, national security, or even national or personal survival is comparable in importance with this question. Man's happiness here and his salvation hereafter will depend upon his learning the scriptural answer to this question, and in acting soberly and seriously toward it. Seeing it is all-important, let us ask Jehovah to guide us in a study, not of what men have had to say in the various creeds, but what Inspiration teaches.

Every student of the Bible knows that regardless of the sort of sin one has committed, he can be saved if he will; but it so happens that those of whom we have any record were all of the very highest type morally. Even those to whom Peter addressed himself on the day of Pentecost thought they were doing right in taking the life of our Lord. To them Peter said, "I know that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." (Acts 3:17.) Before Saul of Tarsus became a Christian, he had sought to please God. Like others, he was ignorant of what God required. He was very sincere in his persecution of the Christians — so much so that his conscience was completely clear in the matter. He verily thought he was serving God. Before his conversion Cornelius also had been a "devout" man, "one that feared God with all his house" and one who "gave much alms to the people." In spite of all this, however, something was lacking. Just as soon as he learned what was lacking, he began to do what was necessary to supply the lack. Not one time did he mention that he was a good man morally, and always had been. He had not thought of trying to be commended for his morality.

Not only of those on Pentecost, of Saul of Tarsus, and the Roman centurion, Cornelius, but likewise is it true of all the others mentioned in the Book of Acts; they were people of excellent character, of high moral principles. Lydia and the Philippian jailor are good examples; so also is the Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8. He was earnestly trying to worship God acceptably when he was directed by the man of God as to what he must do to complete his obedience. Bear in mind, Dear Reader, that all of these people were persons of high moral standards and clean character. They were seeking to know what to do, and they were unbiased and perfectly honest. Such must be the spirit always of those who, inquire of the Lord what to do to be saved. Not until one comes honestly and sincerely seeking a Bible answer can he know what to do to be saved.

The Proper Attitude

It will be noticed that all those whom we have mentioned were aware of the fact that they were lost. This was essential. No man will likely seek information concerning his salvation if he does not recognize that he is lost and unsaved. There is no sermon or lesson or exhortation that will be appreciated by those who "feel like they are saved. There was never a more terrible doctrine preached by the advocates of any false doctrine than the idea that one is saved if he "feels like it." There is 7.10 such teaching in God's word.

There Is Something To Do

In most of the creeds of men the idea of the necessity of one's doing anything is ridiculed. Many have long taught that there is nothing that man can do; that God will save him, or damn him eternally according to his own good pleasure, and that this decision on God's part was made from all eternity. Even before the creation of the world. But we recall that Jesus said, "Blessed are they that DO his commandments." (Rev. 22:14.) And again, "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21.) In view of such statements, we conclude that the makers of the creeds are wrong; Christ is right.

In outlining to man what is required of him in order to be saved Jesus has said, "Ye must believe that I am he . . . ." This means man must believe everything said in the Bible concerning the Son of God. I must believe in his divine Sonship, and hence we find the Apostles all teaching the necessity of faith. (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 1:16; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:37.) For the man who will not believe, there is no hope. Faith is the first step.

Repentance is also taught as an essential element in salvation. (Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9.) This is the second step.

Jesus called upon men to confess him before men. (Matt. 10:32.) He made clear that those who would not confess him before men would be denied by him before the Father. This is the third step.

Finally, Jesus commanded men to be baptized. (Mark 16:15, 16; John 3:5.) Faithful gospel preachers in every age since then have taught the necessity of baptism. (Acts 2:38; 8:36, 40; 10:43; 16:33; 18:8; 19:1-16; 22:16.) This is the fourth step.

It is not at all difficult to see why one must Believe; why he must Repent; why he must Confess faith in Christ. With human understanding we can grasp all of these. It is not so easy to see the need for baptism. Multitudes of people have fallen right here. Because they are unable to see any connection between the cleansing of the soul and the submitting to baptism, they have declared baptism non-essential and unimportant. But just like Israel and the marching around Jericho, Naaman and the dipping in Jordan, and numerous other examples, we are to obey the voice of God. This is that which brings the blessing. Peter tells us that baptism is not for the purpose of washing filth from our bodies, but is for the purpose of having a good conscience before God. (1 Pete 3:21.) No man's conscience can be good until he has obeyed that which God commands.

Because we have used the Bible, and not human creeds, to supply the answer to the question, 'What must I do to be saved?', we ask you who read these lines to study what has been here written, and give a complete obedience to the will of God. In the doing of this you will be happy as you live upon this earth, and, most of all, you will be saved eternally when the toils and labors of this life are over.