"Repent, and be baptised everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins."
- Acts 2:38
What Must I Do to be Saved?
It is necessary for sinners to be saved. When the Jews heard Peter preach in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost they asked, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). They had been convicted by the apostle of the sin they committed when they killed Jesus, the Son of God. So they inquired about what they needed to do in order to be saved from God's wrath. The apostle then said, "Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).
In another account of conversion in Acts 16 a man commonly referred to as the Philippian jailor asked a question similar to the one the Jews asked Peter after another preacher, Paul, had preached Jesus to him. He said, "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:29). There is implied in the question "What must I do to be saved?" an action a sinner must take in order to be saved and become a child of God. This action comprises five simple steps that make up God’s plan of salvation revealed in the New Testament. We usually summarise those steps this way.
Step 1: Hear the Gospel
We must hear the gospel of Christ. Without first hearing the gospel one cannot know he is a sinner in need of salvation. The New Testament teaches that all responsible adults are sinners indiscriminately (Romans 3:23).
Step 2: Believe the Gospel
It is imperative that we believe the gospel message. In answering the Philippian jailor Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved you and your household" (Acts 16:31). It is essential to believe that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus paid in His death the penalty for the sins of mankind. One had to die to pay the price for sin because "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Jesus' death on the cross provided man salvation from the consequences of sin.
Step 3: Repent of Sin
Sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1, 2). It is man’s fundamental problem. If we are not willing to repent we cannot have a relationship with God who hates sin and punishes sinners. Repentance means a change of mind whereby one decides to turn away from past sins to God with the desire to make a constant effort to sin no more (John 8:11).
Step 4: Confess Faith in Christ
We have in Acts, the book of conversion, an example of a man from Ethiopia who confessed faith in Christ this way, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37). A believer must confess Christ before men and be willing to tell others about the Lord (Luke 12:8). The Bible teaches that confession is made with the mouth (Romans 10:9).
Step 5: Be Baptised
Is baptism necessary in order to be saved? Many people have been told it isn't . But Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned"(Mark 16:16). Please note that baptism is burial or immersion in water. Baptism is for believers, not infants. Because infants are incapable of believing they don't qualify for baptism. Baptism can only take place when one has completed the first four steps.
At the Brighton church of Christ we believe that a penitent believer must live faithfully with God after he or she has been baptised. We emphasise this point because many believe that once you are saved you will always be saved even if you quit obeying God. This belief is at variance with God's Word. Jesus said, "Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). Eternal salvation depends on faithfulness to God (Hebrews 5:9).