“What must I do to be saved?” (Act 16:30). This question was asked by a jailer in Philippi long ago. It came from a heart convicted by sin at a time of desperation and despair. It was the right question at the right time and directed to the right people. He was a heartbeat away from losing his life and, more importantly, his soul for eternity.
From the praise in the prison to the powerful earthquake, God was working in a marvelous way to awaken this man to his greatest need – salvation. This jailer was humbled by the Holy Spirit to the point of repentance that he might learn the answer to this all-important question. Out of love for this man’s soul, Paul and Silas seized the opportunity to share the gospel with the jailer. The kindness of God leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4).
Thankfully, this question has been raised to God by countless lost sinners since that midnight hour. Each believer in Christ can recall their time of desperation and despair while under deep conviction of sin. We knew that we would perish without salvation because we were lost. Our situation seemed hopeless and helpless. We were deeply humbled by the Spirit of God. God commands all people everywhere to repent (Act 17:30). Before conversion to Christ, there must be conviction of sin. This is the work of the Holy Spirit alone and not of any man. The jailer understood his ruin, and now he just needed the remedy.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Act 16:31 NKJV). In saying these words, Paul and Silas directed this man to the person and work of Christ. What light must have filled his sin-darkened soul! In a moment of time, this man passed from death to life (Joh 5:24). Having received Jesus Christ as his Savior, he received from God eternal life, forgiveness of sins, the assurance that he would never perish, and so much more!
He was saved and instantly became a new creation in Christ. He would never be the same. When God saves a person, He changes the desires of the heart and then the deeds of a life. The jailer washed the wounds Paul and Silas received from their beating earlier in the day. He brought the word of the Lord to his family by bringing Paul and Silas into his home. His entire family believed and was baptized that night. They rejoiced together over their new-found faith in Christ.
Oh, that there would be more who would ask themselves life’s greatest question today! Like Paul and Silas, I would direct your heart to the finished work of Christ. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1Pe 2:24 KJV). May you rest where God rests; payment for sin was made in full. God’s righteous demands in regard to our sin were fully met by Christ on the cross. God is completely satisfied with the work of His Son. Are you?
“It is finished!” yes, indeed,
Finished every jot;
Sinner, this is all you need
Tell me, is it not?