(Acts 16:25-34)

  • SIRS> We must be careful who we direct a question to! Note the wrong and right answers in Matthew 16:13-17. The wrong from men and the right from God. Remember that Satan quoted scripture (Matthew 4:5,6) out of context.
  • WHAT> A request/interrogation for specific information. Of course, the context of the question determines what information is desired or needed.
  • MUST> “to be bound or obliged to by an imperative requirement”; “not be avoided or evaded” It is interesting that this man, even in his ignorance, knew there was something he must do relative to salvation. We see the word “must” stressed in the new birth (John 3:1-7) and in faith. (Hebrews 11:6)
  • I> A basic law in life guards: Make sure you can save yourself before you can save another. No one can obey the Lord for you nor can another believe for you. Jesus, the Master Teacher, emphasized the individual responsibility in Matthew 19:16-22). The jailor was aware he must get his own life in order first!
  • DO> Now we come to an action word, i.e., verb, described as “to bring to pass, carry out, perform, execute.” This definition is exhibited in all of God’s relationships to mankind from Adam and Eve to the present. A summary of that can be viewed in Hebrews 11. Drink deeply of Hebrew 2:9 “…so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” and Hebrews 5:9 “…He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” The grace, gift, is activated by obedience.
  • TO BE SAVED> Finally, the purpose of the question, the request for specific information relative to salvation. First, we must understand why the question? He was not saved and did not know the answer!

Let’s examine the answer by a series of questions: Why was he told to “believe in the Lord Jesus”? Because he did not believe and belief/faith is a must! (John 3:16; 8:24) Why did Paul and Silas speak the word of the Lord to him and his house? They did not know Lord Jesus and amazing grace. Knowledge is the first step toward salvation and the foundation to believe. (John 8:24; Romans 10:14-17) Why did he wash the stripes/wounds of Paul and Silas? Would this not indicate a change of mind/heart? (Matthew 21:28-30) Why was he immediately baptized, he and all his household? The purpose would dictate the urgency. And that purpose is clearly set forth in the beginning of the gospel of Christ, i.e., new covenant, recorded in Acts 2:36-41. The urgency of the new birth into the body of Christ, i.e., kingdom of heaven (Galatians 3:26-29; Colossians 1:13.,14) was evident in all the conversions recorded in Acts. The letters from Romans to Revelation were written to instruct these in their walk in Truth.

The question of the jailor, like all questions, is answered from where and when they are asked. That is why the same question can have different answers, yet all be correct answers. A simple illustration would be: “What time is it?” A Biblical example would be “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17) and our current question in Acts 16:30. Different answers are obvious to the open minded: different time, law/covenant, circumstances!! The same principles apply to the thief on the cross.

Frank Parker is a resident of Sebring. Columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.

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