Here is a question as old as the New Testament itself. However, regardless of age, this question and it’s answer should not be taken lightly.
What must I do to be saved? The answer is: Obey the gospel of Christ. This answer is general in it’s character; and to fully understand its meaning it is needful to look at the individual points included in obedience to the gospel of Christ. Let us look at a few examples of obedience in the New Testament.
The Keeper of the Jail:
In Acts chapter 16 when this question was asked, Paul and Silas answered clearly. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Here is a general statement much like “obey the gospel of Christ.” By reading the complete account in this chapter, it is plain to see that there are vital, individual parts required in the plan of obedience. Verse 32 includes preaching the Word. Verse 33 includes the action of baptism. Both are included in the command to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Ethiopian Eunuch:
Acts chapter 8. Philip preached “Jesus” to the man in the chariot—Verse 35. Again the statement is general in its nature. The essential parts included in the Ethiopian’s obedience are mentioned in this record of his conversion. He announced his belief by his confession of faith, and he was baptized. Here is a good example of what is included when one does believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Obeying from the heart a form of doctrine:
Romans chapter 6. Here again is a general statement. By reading the text it is plain, that individual acts of obedience are required in the “form of doctrine.” Jesus called for the new birth in his talk with Nicodemus—John 3:5. This general statement included both the “water” and the“Spirit” as parts needed for the new birth. In our present day we are required to obey the gospel of Christ. This is a statement that is general in character. The individual, vital parts of obedience are clearly taught to man today, as in the first century.
Dear Readers, let us not be content with just looking at the general headings, or general terms of the gospel. To obtain salvation all men and women must accept the individual, vital parts of obedience in order to be saved. Hearing, believing, confession of faith, and being baptized are vital parts of obedience. When the sinner meets these requirements the gospel is obeyed, a form of doctrine is realized, and the answer to the title of this article is given.
~ Wm. J. Hensley