What does it mean to be “saved”?

There is no more important question that can be asked than “What must I do to be saved?”

A thoughtful person wants to do whatever is necessary to be right with God. This life is brief and eternity lasts a long time.

Be sure of the grounds of your acceptance with God. Know what the Bible says about salvation.

Session 1

What must I do to be saved?

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Next: Session 2 ... What is faith? »

Session 1 … transcript

What must I do to be saved?

By "saved", it doesn't mean, "What must I do to escape the ordinary and have a better life?" It means, "What must I do to be spared from the coming judgment of God?"

“Saved” means to have legal right-standing with God … accepted as righteous … forgiven … to have the promise of eternal life.

If someone has any sense of the God who is in supreme command; who watches, and judges. If someone has any hope that there is more than this life … that there is a world and a life to come … then it is vital to settle this question: “What must I do to be saved?”

If someone has any sense of the God who is in supreme command ... who watches, and judges ... if someone has any hope that there is more than this life … that there is a world and a life to come … then it is vital to settle this question: “What must I do to be saved?”

How are we to assess our standing before God? What must I do to merit the approval of God? Is that approval based on opinion … on what I consider fair? In other words, should my standards be imposed on God? Or, will acceptance be based on the teaching and traditions of a certain religious denomination? (There are traditional ideas about salvation, in the many different streams of Christianity.) Or … are we to trust what the Bible says about how to be saved?

We emphatically reject opinion and tradition. We choose to rely entirely on the Bible … on the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. What does the Bible say?

In the New Testament book of Acts we read about a jailer who fell before the apostle Paul and asked: "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). He was a man desperate for the truth. Here is the simple answer he got: "Believe in the Lord Jesus …"

That's the condition for getting right with God. "Believe in Jesus.” Have faith in Jesus. Trust in Him. That's it … “Believe in the Lord Jesus”. Meet the condition and there is a promise that follows: "You will be saved" (Acts 16:31). That’s what the Bible says. Meet the condition, and you receive the promise.

We note in the Bible story that the man, and his family, confirmed their belief by being baptised. But baptism wasn't made a condition for salvation. And they didn't have to pass a theological test. And they didn't have to examine themselves, and first confess and repent of their sins. In accepting Jesus as Savior, they were repenting, in the primary biblical meaning of the word. They were turning to God, in Jesus Christ. They were not trying to justify themselves by presenting any merit of their own. They were turning, from reliance on self, to reliance on God, on what Jesus has done.

Believe in Jesus and you will be saved. That's what the Bible says about salvation. There are more thahn twenty verses in the Bible that present this truth. A huge weight of Scripture confirms what we are saying.

Among these verses is one of the best known Scriptures in the Bible: John, chapter 3 verse 16: "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that all who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Here again, there is a simple condition … "believe in Jesus" … and a promise for those who meet the condition: "you will live forever".

The key word is the word that is translated "believe", in most English Bibles. This word is vital for understanding. We are going to examine it carefully in the sessions ahead. However, right away it needs to be said that the people who heard, or read this word, in the original language, would have understood two things that we don't automatically get when we hear, or read, the word "believe" in English today.

The first is that the grammar of the word, in the original language, indicates a belief that is ongoing. And the second is that the "believing" that is called for is more than a mere acknowledgement. It's more than a sort of "Oh, yeah. If you say so" response.

These days, if we ask someone, say: "Are you going to the meeting tonight?” They may reply, "I believe so." And we aren't surprised if what they are really saying is: "I'm not sure. I'll try to make it." In other words, we are used to people using the English word "believe" in a vague way. But that wasn't the case with the use of this word in the original language.

Now, I do realise that this may start to sound like it's a bit hard. "Belief?" "Believe?" How can I know if I really do believe? You can. The studies that are coming will help you. They'll help with the vital question (ongoing): "Am I really right with God?"

However, there is a Bible verse that you can take on board, and hold onto, because it gives specific conditions and a specific promise.

Romans chapter 10, verse 9: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." The promise is emphatic: “you will be saved.” In fact, this is the clearest, comprehensive statement in the Bible for salvation. And the two conditions are specific: Number 1: Confess that Jesus is the Lord, and Number 2: Believe that God raised Him from the dead. The wonderful thing about this verse is that it isn't talking about a state of belief that you may or may not be sure of … it's focused on a fact that you either accept or don't … that Jesus was raised from the dead. Do you believe that? You must. Accept and believe that Jesus is alive. Alive to help you. And, because He lives, we too may live … forever.

In this brief introduction it is easy to see the importance to God of a life of faith; of an individual choosing to believe what they do not see with natural eyes.

To continue the study, go to our next video: "What is faith?"