Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 13, 1952

"What Must I Do To Be Saved?"

Roy Burgess, Atlanta, Georgia

Salvation, remission of sins, forgiveness, born again, translated, justified, sanctified, washed, or made free from sin — all these are words used in the New Testament describing God's child, or one who has been added to the church of Christ. If you have lost interest in a subject like this, it is possible you are slipping. Be careful! The road downward is a slippery one.

Dear sinner friend, will you take time enough to open your Bible and see what you must do if you are ever prepared to meet God? Remember, this life will soon be over. Time is fleeting. No man can bring back one single hour. The only time you have is right now. If you fail to prepare in this life, you will not have a chance after death. As you die so will you be raised. Whether prepared or not, you will meet God. Why not be wise and consider your standing now?

This is a New Testament subject. You will not find the answer to it in the Old Testament. Men did not have to do back there what you must do now. They died before Jesus came. If they died, having done what God had commanded them to do, they were saved. If they died in disobedience to God, they died unprepared and without any promise or hope of salvation. What the thief on the cross was told to do or not to do can in no wise affect your salvation. Because after the thief was gone, and Jesus arose from the dead, a new religion was preached; new conditions of salvation were proclaimed, and every responsible soul must obey those new conditions to be saved or forgiven.

God does not have dozens of laws of pardon. He has given only one law for the alien (unbaptized) person and one for the erring (backsliding) Christian. The alien had to hear, believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, repent of his sins, and be baptized in Jesus' name for the remission of those sins. If one does this, then God will recognize that one as a child of God, saved, and sanctified. In the days when the gospel was being first proclaimed there was no seeking to get God to come down in some mysterious way and give a man some "better felt than told" sensation. There was no "mourner's bench" in God's plan then, and there is no such thing today. Can you imagine God begging us to accept the simple gospel and be saved, and then requiring us to beg him to save us; his word clearly teaches that when we obey him, we have his promise of salvation. He is not willing that any should perish, but wishes that all should come to repentance.

If you are willing to study the cases recorded in the Book of Acts, you will find the following:

  1. The Pentecostians. (Acts 2) Three thousand people saved.
    1. They heard of Jesus
    2. Believed confidently
    3. Repented of their sin
    4. Were baptized in the name of Jesus

Jesus had promised, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16) These people had fulfilled the conditions, and they now enjoy the fulfillment of his promise that they are saved.

  1. The Eunuch (Acts 8)
    1. Heard of Jesus through Philip's preaching
    2. Showed his faith by being...
    3. Baptized on a simple confession

Here we see the Holy Spirit, the angel, and the preacher all having a part in the experience. But neither the angel nor the Spirit worked on the sinner; both of them addressed themselves to the preacher. We need not look for any such miracles in conversion today. These great miraculous events simply 'confirmed the word," and provided that the sinner and the word should come together. We have the word today, confirmed for us beyond all further need. Miracles are not necessary any longer. All that is needed now is for the sinners to hear the word and obey it.

  1. The Samaritans (Acts 8)
    1. Heard of Jesus
    2. Believed
    3. Were baptized

Miracles were wrought by Philip; but the people were converted by the simple gospel, not by miracles.

  1. Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9)
    1. Heard Jesus directly
    2. Believed and trembled
    3. Arose and was baptized to wash away his sins. (22:16)

In this case we see Saul falling to the earth (not struck down!), and Jesus spoke to him, but did not give him the instructions concerning the things necessary for him to do. Rather, he told him to go into Damascus, and that it would be told him there what he MUST do. Ananias was the one who told him, "Arise and be baptized." When Saul obeyed the command given through Ananias he was saved; not before. If he was saved on the Damascus road, then he was a saved man without having his sins washed away!

What church did these people join? All of them (Pentecostians, Samaritans, the eunuch, and Saul) were "saved." But not a single one of them joined any church. There was only one true church then (as there is only one now) in existence, and the Lord added them to that church. (Acts 2:47) No man should "join" any church today; just obey the divine commands of the Savior to (a) hear the gospel, (b) believe in Him as the Son of God, (c) repent of all sins, (d) confess Jesus as the Son of God, and (e) be buried through baptism for the remission of sins. if you do these things, you have God's promise of forgiveness and salvation from all past sins.

Then, once having rendered this primary obedience, discharge your whole duty as a Christian. When this life is over, and the great reward is given, you will surely be among the redeemed. Blessed hope!!


Debate On Atheism

James D. Bales is scheduled to meet Mr. Wortman in Albany, Georgia, June 6,7 and the afternoon of the 8. The proposition will be: Resolved that naturalism furnishes a rational explanation of the universe and a basis for morality. It is difficult to get atheists to sign a proposition which accurately states their own position. The above proposition does. However, it remains to be seen whether or not Mr. Wortman will actually endeavor to prove this proposition or whether he will attack faith in God and the Bible.