Church of God, New World Ministries

Difficult Scriptures

Acts 16:30-31 - Does this say Christians don’t have to keep the law to be saved – merely believe on Jesus Christ?
  1. Paul did not say all a Christian need do to be saved is believe. He told the jailor to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” But there is more to it than that.

To all men Jesus says in Luke 6:46, “Why call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things which I say?” In connection with Acts 16:30-31, we can see that Christ expects us to do the things that He says if we really believe that He is our Lord and Savior. One of the things Jesus said was, “If you will enter into life keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17).

  1. James magnifies this point by showing that faith and works go hand in hand – works are the automatic result of faith. Faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:20, 26). We show our faith by our works (Jas. 2:18).

Again, the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 2:13, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

No one is a Christian unless he has God’s Spirit in him (Rom. 8:9), and God gives His Spirit only to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

  1. The attitude of the jailor was not one of “all I have to do is believe.” Rather, it was “what must I do to be saved?” Paul could see that he was willing to obey God – willing to do whatever was required. Believing on Jesus Christ, on His message, His Word, His authority, was only one of the conditions to salvation. Paul didn’t say that was all that was necessary. Verse 32 clearly shows Paul went on to teach him what real repentance was – turning from sin – obedience to God! And after that, he was baptized (verse 33)!

Paul didn’t teach faith without works. Rather he taught faith with works – a belief that leads to positive actions.

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