SIMPLE OBJECTION #6; ‘The Jailer in Acts 16 was just told to believe. “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” [Acts 16:30]
The Objection goes like this: “This is the only time in scripture that someone asks the question, ‘what must I do to be saved?’ He was told to just ‘believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ Therefore, the way to be saved is by faith only.” We answer this simple objection by just looking at the text.
JESUS was unknown to him. Was this pagan Jailer in a position at that moment to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? No, he would have to be taught Who, how, and what to believe. He still needed to hear. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” [Romans 10:17]
He ASKED how to be saved. He recognizes action upon his part. If the error about miraculous drawing to God is true, wouldn’t his response be different? The error claims that man can do nothing on his own! He asks what to DO! “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” [Romans 10:16]
He is INFORMED about who is the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke records: “they spoke the word of the Lord to him” [Acts 16:32]. They preached Jesus to him which is the Gospel [cr. Acts 8:35-36]. The urgency is present, for all of this took place the same hour of the night which is just past midnight [v25].
He LISTENED to the Gospel. If John 20:30-31 & Romans 10:17 can be trusted, the words that Paul & Silas told the Jailer were sufficient to generate faith in him. Those same words preaching Jesus certainly included the information about repentance & baptism [cr. Acts 8:34-36] for how else did he know to wash their stripes and be baptized ‘the same hour of the night?” [Acts 16:33]
He EXPEDITIOUSLY OBEYED the Gospel. The Gospel is the Death, Burial & Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see the Jailer doing exactly that, obeying the gospel having HEARD, BELIEVED, REPENTED, CONFESSING (inferred) and being BAPTIZED. [cr. 1Cor 15:1-4; Rom 6:3-4; 10:9]. The Jailer did it the SAME HOUR OF THE NIGHT! He didn’t wait until morning or until any monthly scheduling of group baptisms. If baptism is not essential to salvation, why the urgency? In Acts 8, why stop the chariot?
He REJOICED after he repented (washed their stripes) and was baptized. It was only AFTER the Jailer had heard, believed, repented and was baptized that he was able to REJOICE having believed in God. It is clear that belief & obedience truly are connected [Rom 10:16]. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” [Matt 7:24ff]
A careful examination of the context shows us that the Jailer obeyed the Gospel. When you add with this account the other accounts of those being saved in the book of Acts you will find a complete picture about how to be saved.