Only the saved will enter the kingdom of Heaven
Published 11:38 am Friday, April 1, 2022
BY TONY HOSS
If you were asked “Are you saved?” What immediately comes to your mind? For most it is the answer “YES.” But we should know that the Bible teaches that not all people who think they are saved, will be saved. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” Matthew 7:21-23 KJV.
Now, I ask the question again, “Are You Saved?” What did you do to be saved? How do you know you are saved? Many in the world would give an answer like this, “I prayed a prayer toJesus and told Him that I accepted Him into my heart and that’s how I know I am saved.” There is no doubt if you did this, you believe in Jesus as the Son of God. But is belief in Jesus all that is needed to be saved? Remember, Jesus said, there were some who called him “Lord” yet they were not saved. In fact, Jesus is confessing that they believed in Him, but they were not saved. Our goal should be to ensure that we are saved, and if that is your goal the next questions are obvious. If I can believe in Jesus and still be lost, how do I know when I am saved? Some go to their families, teachers, friends, members of the church, leaders within the church such as elders, deacons, or preachers. While all these may be good people, they are not to whom we should go for the answer to such an important question. If one is serious about their soul the only place they can go is to God. He is the only one that answers such an important question without bias. And God gives the answer to this all-important question in the Bible.
In the book of Acts the question is repeatedly asked. It is asked in Acts 2:36, Acts 9:11, and again in Acts 16:30. The answer to the question is of such importance that God gave us three examples to follow. In Acts 2:36 the question was “What shall we do.” In Acts 9:11 and 22:10, Saul asked, “What shall I do Lord.” Then in Acts 16:30, the jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved.” While the question was asked three times, God gave only one answer. The context of the question was different each time, but the answer was the same.
Those on Pentecost in Acts 2, were told to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. It is interesting that Peter didn’t tell them to believe. He didn’t tell them this because they were already believing. Through Peter’s sermon that day they realized, they believed the one they had put to death upon the cross was the Son of God, Jesus. So, in their belief they asked the question and were told to repent and be baptized.
In Acts 9, Our Lord told Saul, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” In this case there was no simply asking Jesus into his heart, there was teaching that needed to be done and Jesus sent Saul to Ananias to be instructed concerning his salvation. Ananias gives the answer to the question in Acts 22:16. Ananias told Saul, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” There was no merely asking Jesus to come into his heart. At this point Saul believed, but there was something else to do. His sins needed to be washed away in baptism. It is also clear that this was equivalent to calling on the name of the Lord. That is, he was at that point yielding to Jesus and His commands.
In the next case, the apostle Paul told the jailer, “… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). There is a difference between this man and those in the previous examples. That he had not yet fully believed is obvious because that is what he was told to do. In the same context we find that he believed and upon his belief we read, “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway” (Acts 16:33).
There was a need to be baptized in the same hour of the night. Why? The man and his family needed to be baptized to be saved. Next, we read, “And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:34). The truth is glaring in this verse. Part of believing in Jesus included baptism. Not as an outward sign of an inward belief but as obedience to a command. He was baptized for salvation because he believed Jesus was the Son of God. If he had not been baptized for the remission of his sins, he would have been like those Jesus spoke of when they said, “Lord, Lord,” and yet failed to follow Him in obedience. Belief alone is not enough to please God but rather a complete submission to His commands.
What do you need to do to make sure that you are saved today? Paul says that you can be saved in the same way that He was saved. In a letter that Paul wrote to a young preacher named Timothy, he said, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
In his letter to Timothy, Paul stated that he was a pattern for those that would believe on Jesus (1 Timothy 1:16). Paul said that anyone can be saved just as he was saved. Thanks be to our great God that we do not have to guess how Paul was saved. In fact, this is the way all men were saved in every example in the New Testament and is the way that man can be saved today. If you believe in Jesus as the Son of God, then why not do what those did in Acts 2, what the jailer did in Acts 16, what Paul did in Acts 22? Arise and be baptized in the name of Jesus. Are you willing to do the will of God? Are you willing to fully submit to Him? If so, then why not be baptized calling on the name of the Lord?
(Tony Hoss is minister at the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton.)