Acts 16:25-34 – “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” NKJV
I have heard so many explanations on what is required for salvation that I often get frustrated that what I hear, at times, is “Jesus Plus….” In this particular account, we find Paul and Silas and others in prison, and these two stalwarts for God were leading a Praise Service and were ministering to others who were incarcerated. As they sang and prayed, an earthquake shook the place so hard that the prison doors opened, and their chains fell off.
This was no typical earthquake but the work of God. The guards had been napping, and under Roman law, they would pay a severe penalty if the prisoners escaped. Rather than face the horrific possibilities, the prison keeper prepared to commit suicide. He would have carried out the act had it not been for Paul.
The man was so moved by what had happened that he ran to them, asking one of, if not life’s most important questions, “What must I do to be saved?” Their response was simple, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ….” The promise was that not only would the jailer be saved, but his house would come under God’s protection and salvation.
THEN… So many times, we miss the “then” of Scripture. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and all who were in his house. They presented the Gospel, which is the Good News. The Bible teaches that we are to repent, believe, confess, turn from sin, and be baptized.
I once heard an evangelist tell people that because they were not crying as he deemed they should, they were not saved and had not repented. Some incredible soldiers in the kingdom of God have testified that they had little emotion when they encountered the Lord, realized their guilt, confessed, and repented. Most of them have declared that emotions came later but the guilt lifted at that time.
In my own experience, had I followed the directive of this evangelist, I would have concluded that I did not receive the Lord that faithful night. I felt as if I were walking on air. I sensed that a heavy load was lifted from my shoulders and a peace that I could not describe or explain settled over me.
I was not in tears but was genuinely sorry for my sin and desirous to be free from the clutches of sin. My focus was not on heaven or hell but on my sinful condition breaking God’s heart, which broke mine. I was guilty and wanted to go in the opposite direction in life. I confessed my sin, repented, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and GOD SAVED ME. I was baptized later! The plan is simple, and the work on the Cross is finished. It is Jesus, not Jesus plus. Salvation is a gift, not an earned reward. You will never be good enough, but you can be free through His grace!
God bless you as you go through this day!