What must I do To Be Saved

This is a question we all ask ourselves. It is a question of very high importance. The answer, however, seems to be a little bit slippery. Let's look at this together and see what the Bible reveals.


Obed Ortiz

7 min read

Paul and Silas were imprisoned for preaching the gospel. That same night there was an earthquake and all the prison gates were opened and their shackles fell off their feet. The jail guard thought the prisoners had escaped. Knowing he would be executed for allowing the prisoners to escape, he was about to commit suicide. Paul and Silas stopped him telling him they were still there. The jail guard, still trembling and fearing for his life, seeing that all the gates were open and all the shackles broken, exclaimed “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:25-30)

This is a question we all ask ourselves. It is a question of very high importance. The answer, however, seems to be a little bit slippery. As important as this question is, you would think we would have a definite answer that people would follow. Yet, we look at the world today and it is quite apparent that the great majority of people on this planet have no clue about what needs to be done to be saved. There are so many religions, so many doctrines, so many different beliefs and so many individuals claiming to have their own unique and correct answers to this question. You would think the correct answer is out there somewhere. Is there really something we can do to be saved? We can see the response Paul and Silas gave the Jailer:

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)

Well, if this is all we have to do to be saved, the entire religious world population would be saved, with the exception of those who deny the existence of God. But then again, the Devil believes in Jesus Christ even more than we do. After all, he used to serve as an Anointed Covering Cherub long ago. (Ezequiel 28:14-15) Maybe the apostle John’s response would serve as a better answer to this question:

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15)

Well, there we have it. We just can’t believe in Christ, we must confess that He is the Son of God. Well, what do we do with the following:

“And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.” (Luke 4:41)

Hmm, it seems to me that just believing in Christ and confessing His sonship to His Father still does not differentiate us from demons. Well, maybe it is necessary that we acknowledge the fact that there is only one true God instead of multiple Gods as so many on this planet believe.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

All right then, it appears that if we acknowledge that God is only one God, we can attain eternal life, yes? Not so fast.

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

It appears that it doesn’t matter how accurate our belief in God is, this makes us no different than the demons who are already destined to burn in hellfire. What chance then do we have to be saved if even having the correct belief in God still renders us candidates for hellfire? Maybe it is something we have to do and not just believe.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (John 16:16)

Great, now we have the answer. We need to believe and we also need to be baptized. Heaven should now be guaranteed, right? Not quite.

“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Jesus just told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise. The thief confessed that he was being executed for crimes he was guilty of. He was never baptized. How then was he saved? Here’s another one:

“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)

Jesus told the rich man that if he sold everything he has and give to the poor he would attain perfection. By doing so, his treasure would therefore be in heaven. Ok, at least here, we’re getting somewhere. We need to be perfect.

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

There is consistency here. We are required to be perfect. But again, there seems to be a problem.

“All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:12)

“They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:3)

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

How then can we be saved if it is impossible to be perfect? The picture of salvation seems to be gloomier and gloomier, doesn’t it? There has to be an answer somewhere.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Maybe this presents a glimmer of hope. In order to enter the heavenly kingdom, we must be born again. How are we born again? Many would say we are born again by way of baptism. It appears that being born again would guarantee our place in heaven. Many believe in the adage “Once saved, always saved.” Is this true?

“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)

According to the above, being born again does not guarantee you a place in heaven. Being saved does not mean always saved because we still have a choice in the matter. We can always fall away even after choosing to be born again. What then must we do to be saved?

My dear friends, this is not an attempt to discourage anyone. This is an attempt to encourage, and lift us up. There is nothing we can physically do to earn our salvation. However, if there was nothing we can do, whatsoever, then all we have to do is sit back and watch the world pass us by and simply be uninvolved observers as God does everything to save us and we do nothing. But this too is inaccurate. We do have a part to play in our own salvation. We cannot sit idle. We are fighting a spiritual war and so we need to employ spiritual weapons.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:10-20)

What must I do to be saved? Everything mentioned above applies, but for all these things to account for our salvation, we must have a close and daily relationship with our creator. It’s not enough to just believe in the Son of God. It’s not enough to confess to the world what our convictions are. It's not enough to acknowledge that God is one singular being who has one singular Begotten Son. It's not enough to be baptized or to be born again. It's not enough to attain perfection. It's not even enough to obey all ten of God’s commandments. Although all are relevant, salvation is not attained by any of them in particular. By having an intimate relationship with our Father in heaven, one main attribute becomes the most noticeable result, “Love”.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13)

The world will recognize whom we belong to by our love. Now, just because we possess a loving, compassionate personality would not mean we are guaranteed heaven. If that were the case, then everything quoted above by the mouth of Christ and His followers would be pointless. Salvation is a gift from God. But like any gift, we must grab hold of it and grasp it tightly. Our eternity depends on it.