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 presentations on what is required for salvation and I often come away frustrated for what I hear, at times, is “Jesus Plus…” In this particular account we find Paul and Silas in prison and these two stalwarts for God were leading a Praise Service and ministering to others who were incarcerated. As they were singing and praying an earthquake shook the place so hard the doors of the prison fell open and their chains fell off. Obviously, this was no normal earthquake but the work of God. The guards had been napping and under Roman law if the prisoners escaped they would pay a serve penalty so rather than face the horrific possibilities the keeper of the prison 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 he ran to them asking one of if not life’s greatest question, “What must I do to be saved?” Their response was simple, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…” The promise was not only would the jailer be saved but his house would come under the umbrella of 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. Simply 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 heard an evangelist one time 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 had a sense 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 truly sorry for my sin and desirous to be free from the clutches of sin. My focus was not heaven or hell but the fact that my sinful condition was breaking God’s heart and it 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 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!