In Acts 16:30 a man living in the city of Philippi asked this very question, “what must I do to be saved?” The clear biblical answer he received was “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Saved From What?
Salvation is deliverance from danger
To ask the question “How can I be saved?”, or, like the man in Acts 16:31, “what must I do to be saved?” is to admit one’s need. It is not reformation that we need, or turning over a new leaf, or making new resolutions. The Bible says in Acts 4:12 that "we must be saved”. Each human being is guilty of disobeying God. The Bible calls this sin, and insists that we all need to be rescued from the punishment our sin deserves. Sin separates us from God and sin cannot be in heaven.
"It is not reformation that we need, or turning over a new leaf, or making new resolutions."
In Romans 3:19 the Apostle Paul makes a very clear statement of our condition: “all the world … guilty before God”. Guilt describes not how we feel, but rather how we stand before God. In its scope this affects everyone, as “every mouth” and “all the world” (Romans 3:19), inclusively and individually, are guilty. Our nature is sinful, with the result that we are all responsible for individual acts of disobedience against our Creator.
Our guilt is declared by God’s Law
The standard that measures and declares our guilt is God’s Law – “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). A quick look at the Ten Commandments (His Law) confirms that we have all broken God’s standard. Such undeniable guilt leaves us without excuse and demands a sentence. Just like a person who breaks a country’s laws, or a child who disobeys the school rules, so we must be punished.
In John 3:36 we read that people who do not believe on the Lord Jesus are condemned already. The wrath of God abides on them like a thick cloud ready to fall at any time. It is a dangerous position to be heading for God’s judgment. The Bible warns us to flee from coming wrath. If we are not saved, we could very soon be in hell. We are all defenceless and spiritually dead. We need someone to come and save us.
"We are all defenceless and spiritually dead. We need someone to come and save us."
Saved By Whom?
However, God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). This is the good news of the gospel. What makes this news, found in the Bible, so good? It’s the only message in the world that has the solution to man’s guilt before God. Salvation is exclusively found in the Lord Jesus Christ. He said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). This means that He is the only way to heaven, and the only One by whom we can be rescued.
The answer wasn’t invented by men or angels
The author is God Himself. The One affected and offended by our sin devised a plan which meets all His requirements and is unveiled in the gospel. There we learn how guilty men can become righteous.
The answer arrived against the background of man’s hopelessness and guilt. From heaven God has intervened in human history. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). The solution was not provided in a secret corner of the earth, or up in heaven out of view. God put His plan into operation clearly, in time and space, on a hill outside Jerusalem. God’s answer arrived in a way that was very public.