How Can I Be Saved?

What the Bible Teaches about Being “Saved”

Written by Greg Stiekes

This is the question a jailer once asked who lived in the ancient city of Philippi. The story is told in Acts chapter 16. This jailer was desperate. In fact, with his sword drawn, he was about to take his own life. There had been an earthquake, the doors of the prison had been opened, and he believed all of the prisoners had escaped. That was bad news for a Roman jailer! Roman law stated that the jailer who allows his prisoner to escape must pay with his own life. He preferred his own sword to the painful and humiliating death he would receive from his superiors.

But one of his prisoners, the apostle Paul, interrupted this jailer’s suicide with a shout: “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

The jailer called for a light. He ran into the dark prison to see if it were really true. Trembling, he kneeled before this apostle, overcome with relief, perhaps realizing then and there that there was something different about this man named Paul and his companion, a man named Silas. Yesterday, these men had been mobbed, arrested, and condemned for proclaiming salvation through Christ. To be beaten with rods was a horrible, torturous experience. But these men had taken their punishment patiently. Then they had been delivered over to the Jailer’s keeping with strictest orders to keep them secure. The jailer had taken no chances with these two. He had placed them in the inner prison and had bound their feet in stocks. Even then, while most men would have been cursing, Paul and Silas had spoken no harsh words. And now, here they were, these two men, having refused the opportunity to escape that would have cost the jailer his life.

“What must I do to be saved?”

Paul and Silas gave him this answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Friend, the Bible says that the only way to be saved is through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). The apostle Peter declared concerning Jesus, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

And so came the answer to that desperate Jailer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”

But what does “believing on Jesus” mean? Why would a person need to be “saved” in the first place? What is a person being saved from?

No doubt, the same kinds of questions were running through the jailer’s mind also. That is why Acts 16:32 explains, “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” Paul and Silas took time to explain the way of salvation more fully, instructing this man in the way of salvation, teaching Him the word of God, answering his questions.

As you continue to read, I would like to do what Paul and Silas did on that night so long ago: explain to you what the Bible teaches about being “saved.”

To do this, let me answer three simple questions that you may be asking in your heart: