If you are a Witness of Jehovah and you need some good news, then this is the page for you. What could be better news than learning that it is possible to have all of your sins forgiven… now? God’s Word, the Bible, provides for us the simple instruction of what one must do to be saved. In fact, that very question is asked in Acts 16:30.
The apostle Paul and Silas were in jail when a great earthquake struck and all of the jail cells were opened. The jailer supposed that all of the prisoners had escaped and was about to commit suicide. Shocked that Paul stops him and thankful that he was still there, the jailer asks in verse 30, “Sirs, what must I do to get saved?” (New World Translation- NWT).
Before we consider the answer, I want to point out something that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society never really addresses. Notice that whatever it is that Paul explained to the jailer, it didn’t take much time. Acts 16:33 reads, “And he took them along in that hour of the night and bathed their stripes; and, one and all, he and his were baptized without delay.” There are two phrases that indicate that the jailer was saved in a very short amount of time; “in that hour” and “without delay.” Let’s keep these statements in mind as we examine Paul’s answer in verse 31-32.
The answer that Paul gives to the jailer’s question is simple, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved, you and your household.” Paul then explains what this means to the jailer by speaking the “Word of Jehovah” to his family. Again, keep in mind the two phrases, “in that hour” and “without delay.” Paul and Silas were able to teach this man and his family what they needed to know to be saved in roughly one hour. Their response was immediate as they proved that they believed the message by being baptized.
Let’s imagine two scenarios. One person is told that he must enter into an 18 month Bible study and successfully answer more than 100 questions in an interview with an elder before he can get saved. He is also told that he must preach from door to door during that time for at least two hours per week.
Another person is told to “Believe on the Lord Jesus,” instructed in about an hour what exactly that means, then accepts the message having his sins forgiven. The first person waits 18 month before he is baptized, yet the second one is baptized right after he accepts the message. Which of the two scenarios better fulfills the two phrases, “in that hour” and “without delay?” Obviously the second scenario better fits the Biblical model.
The question we need to ask ourselves is this, if Jehovah’s arrangement for me to be saved is to “Believe on the Lord Jesus,” then what does that mean and how does that grant one the forgiveness of sin? Remember, if the question can be answered and committed to in about an hour, the answer must be simple to understand.
The simple answer can be found in three scriptural facts. 1) Jesus died for our personal sins. 2) We must reject establishing our own righteousness and subject ourselves to the righteousness of God provided through Jesus Christ. 3) Owning the righteousness of Christ gives us Jehovah’s approval.
The first fact is found in 1st Peter 2:24. The NWT states, “He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness. And ‘by his stripes you were healed.’” Jesus didn’t die for just Adam’s sins, He bore OUR sin in His body too. My sin, your sin.
The second fact is found in Romans 10:1-4. “Brothers, the goodwill of my heart and my supplication to God for them are, indeed, for their salvation. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge; 3 for, because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness.”(NWT)
There are two sets of righteousness’s spoken about in this passage; our own righteousness, which we must establish, or the righteousness of God, to which we must submit. These two set of righteousness are in contrast to one another. If you attempt to establish your own righteousness, which is described as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), you are not submitting to God’s righteousness which is found in Christ. We have to choose. Do we attempt to gain Jehovah’s approval by offering Him our dirty rags of righteousness or do we submit to His righteousness which is found in Christ?
If we choose to submit to God’s righteousness, the third fact comes to fruition in 1st John 5:11-13. “And this is the witness given, that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that has the Son has this life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have this life. 13 I write you these things that you may know that you have life everlasting, you who put your faith in the name of the Son of God.” (NWT)
Notice the tenses of the following capitalized verbs. God GAVE us everlasting life. Life IS in His Son. If you HAVE the Son, you HAVE the life. You may know that you HAVE everlasting life. Not one of these five verbs is in the future tense. The first is in the past tense and the other four are all present. Because of what God did in the past, you can have what He offers presently. How do we know this? Verse 14 assures us, “No matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.”
Jehovah God wills for us to forsake establishing our own righteousness so that we can submit to the righteousness which is found in Christ. When we do that, we own as a present possession Jehovah’s approval because He has granted us life everlasting. Put 1st John 5:14 into practice and ask Him to give you everlasting life. Jehovah is waiting to give it to you.