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5-144000

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    1-01. What Must I Do to be Saved?

    To many people the religious term "to be saved" has become an outworn cliché. I am bound to sympathise with that sentiment to some degree. Sometimes words in our language can be so over-used as to become virtually meaningless. So before I proceed to ask whether or not you are "saved" I am going to look at its opposite, which is to be "lost".

    A lost person may be said to be one who has "lost his way" as when on a journey. I am sure that you, like me, have experienced what it is to be lost when in an unfamiliar city. I was recently in a large European capital and got lost a number of times but with the help of a map and some advice from pedestrians, I soon found my way again.

    The word "saved", however, has a rather stronger meaning than the the idea of "finding ones way" as, for instance, along a complex road system in a big city. It carries with it the sense of "rescue" or "deliverance". Whenever humanity has gone through a crisis, often brought about by human mismanagement, it has often turned to a strong-man to save, rescue or deliver the nation. When in the 1920s Germany experienced devastating inflation, unemployment, poverty and a sense of having no national direction, and when the existing ruling parties seemed to offer no reprieve, the German people turned to dictatorship to restore order, employment, financial stability, and a sense of national direction. They chose a despot, Adolf Hitler. They weren't the first nation to make such a big mistake and you will find history littered with similar examples. The deliverers, rescuers and saviours they chose frequently led them to ruin.

    Almost every political system has failed to deliver what it has promised. Though there have been improvements in certain areas of life (Hitler restored employment, economic stablility, order and a sense of national cohesiveness) there has often been a terrible price to pay: oppression. In the religious arena we find similar results, whether it be done by a religious theism or by a irrreligious atheism. The fruits of some of the fundamentalist religions are all to evident whether it be Catholic inquisitions, Iranian Shi'ite Muslim oppression, ISIS or the genocide of the Pol Pot, Maoist or Stalinist communists.

    On paper many of the political solutions seem most reasonable, even utopian, but they have all come unstuck by one thing - human nature. No political or religious system has solved the human dilemma. One speaker at an International Communist gathering in Moscow bewailed the failure of socialism to create the "communist man". Man, it seems, just cannot be remoulded by self-will into a benificent, peaceful, and selfless being. There is something deep within him that resists reformation. But until that species called "human nature" can be dealt with, no political or religious system is going to make a bit of difference. Indeed, they have been compelled to use compulsion and force to keep man's lower nature in check, and this has invariably slipped into oppression. And so the world is trapped in a cycle of changing political powers - communist, fascist, and liberal democratic - each reacting to the other and offering a "way out".

    For a man to be "saved", then, means to be delivered from his lower nature (or "natural state") and to receive a high nature. His own efforts have been a failure, and his successes only temporary. What is the solution?

    A rather desparate man once asked:

    '" Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"' to which the apostle Paul and his traveling companion Silas answered: '" Believe in the Master Yahshua (Jesus), and you shall be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the Word of the Master to him together with all who were in his house. And he {the jailer} took them {Paul and Silas} that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptised, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in Yahweh (God the Father) with his whole household' (Acts 16:30-34).

    The simplicity of the saving act of Yahweh is shown in this passage of scripture from the Bible. And the fruits of being saved or delivered are immediately apparent. Let's review what happened.

    Firstly, the jailer identified his need. He knew that there was something seriously wrong with him inside and that he could not do anything about it himself. He became conscious of his desperate situation. A person who does not realise he is in difficulty does not usually ask for help but carries on as though everything were right with him and the world.

    Secondly, the jailer asked the most important question that anyone can ask in this life: "What must I DO to be saved?"

    Elohim's (God')s answer through His apostle is profoundly simple: Believe in Yahshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ) and you shall be saved. There are two components here: (1) BELIEF or TRUST; and (2) Belief in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Thus salvation comes about as a result of having EMUNAH (FAITH), but more importantly, faith in ONE MAN, Yah'shua (Jesus). What is means to "believe" or "have faith" we will examine presently.

    How did this man know that he should have emunah (faith) in Yah'shua? "They (Paul and Silas) spoke the Davar (Word) of the Master to him." His emunah (faith) didn't come from nowhere - it came by hearing the Davar Elohim (Word of God) taught to them. This means that he was TEACHABLE. Teachability is therefore an essential prerequisite to salvation. The man or woman who thinks he "knows it all" can never be saved because their minds and hearts are fully closed against the emet (truth). Though we are not told what Paul and Silas taught the jailer we do know from many other teaching and preaching texts in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) that the Master Yahshua (Jesus) "to all those who obey Him became the source of eternal salvation" (Heb.5:9).

    Notice that "faith" or "belief" also includes the concept of OBEDIENCE to Messiah (Christ). The emunah (faith) of a saved person is not passive - it is active. We have to do something. Notice that we are next told that the jailer "washed their wounds...was baptised...set food beforwe them and rejoiced greatly". Four remarkable things happened as a result of this man becoming "saved". His whole perspective and inner dynamic changed. A new moving power worked within him. There was an inner transformation. He hadn't just gone through the ritual of a mental exercise. His whole heart had changed. Suddenly he was washing the wounds of his captives, he was feeding them at his own home, and he REJOICED in his service. His good works were a shere pleasure to him, not a burden. He wasn't doing good to earn his salvation but he was doing good BECAUSE of his salvation...because he was now saved! Something spectacular had happened within him. There was an inner transformation of his soul. And last, but not least, he was obedient to the mitzvah (commandment) of Yahweh to be BAPTISED. This was not an optional ordinance but mandatory. And he was baptised with rejoicing.

    In many respects, this simple jailer is our model. All the essential elements of the act of salvation or deliverance are to be found in this passage. The desire to SERVE OTHERS stands out prominently - something of his selfish nature was either burned out or so set aside as to be virtually invisible. His heart was aflame with happiness. Salvation was not something theoretical but an ACTUAL OCCURENCE - an EXPERIENCE - with results that EVERYONE COULD SEE. Salvation means to have a changed life.

    You too need to "repent and turn to Yahweh" from sin. "Believe in the Master (Lord) Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)" and confess Him "before men". You are to demonstrate your salvation by being baptised. Then you, too, can rejoice. Will you admit that you need to be saved? If so, say:

    I need to be saved.

    This page was created on 13 July 1999
    Last updated on 14 February 2017

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