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  • Joe Steenholdt

Acts 16:25-34 - What must I do to be saved?

This passage tells of one of the most unlikely converts!

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Read Acts 16:25-34

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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 60

Q. How are you right with God?

A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.

Even though my conscience accuses me

of having grievously sinned

against all God’s commandments

and of never having kept any of them,

and even though I am still inclined toward all evil,


without my deserving it at all,

out of sheer grace,

God grants and credits to me

the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,

as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner,

as if I had been as perfectly obedient

as Christ was obedient for me.

All I need to do

is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.



A lot happens when Paul and Silas go to the city of Philippi in Acts 16:11–40. They were first encouraged by the conversion of Lydia but then pestered by a fortune-telling slave girl for days, attacked and beaten by a mob, and thrown into prison. Yet, in the middle of the night, in their cell, Paul and Silas pray and sing hymns despite their wounds and predicament. The other jailers and prison guards must have wondered about these imprisoned yet cheerful out-of-towners.

Paul and Silas were men on a mission to call everyone everywhere to repent and be baptized (Acts 17:30). They also knew who was in control and that this must have been part of the plan. Sure enough, God sends an earthquake to open the prison doors and unfasten everyone’s chains. This turn of events frightened the Philippian jailer enough to consider taking his own life, since he knew the severe punishment he would receive for all the prisoners fleeing.

Then he hears startling news from within the rubble. Paul shouts out that they have all remained. It would have been fair for Paul and Silas to run out and never look back since they were unjustly charged. But all of this was an act of God to prepare another convert. A hardened and skeptical jailer was brought to his knees and knew he needed help.

And he is immediately overcome with his spiritual need, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they take the opportunity to tell him about Jesus and point him to trust in Him, for “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Dig Deeper

Lydia was someone whose heart was opened to receive Paul’s words. In the Philippian Jailer, we read of someone who was not open to salvation until his life faced a crisis. They had different circumstances and roads to receiving the message of salvation, yet both accepted the gospel with a believing heart. In both instances, it leads them to show hospitality to Paul and Silas. Their faith leads them to love and good works.

But in neither case did they earn God’s favor. They accepted God’s gift of grace through faith. Sometimes it is hard to get gifts we feel we do not deserve or have no way of repaying the favor. However, most people are okay if they win a prize drawing they did nothing for except submit a piece of paper with their name on it. Most of us will never win an all-expense paid vacation or a game show grand prize.

The good news of salvation and a rightful entrance into everlasting life before the presence of God is the grandest prize ever imaginable. You couldn’t earn the right to it on your own, and neither do you have to rely on being “lucky” and having your name drawn. The good news is all you need to do is accept God's gift with a believing heart.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God works all things for the good of those called according to his purpose;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Confess your sins and sinfulness and put your trust in Christ and what He has completed for you in your salvation;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Ephesians 2


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