Believe and Be Saved
by Emily Wickham
Locked in Prison
He worked as a prison guard in Philippi, watching over all kinds of lawbreakers. Until one ordinary day, two innocent men were thrown into his jail, and he was charged “to guard them securely” (Acts 16:23, NASB). So he banished them into a dark cell deep inside the prison walls, locking their feet into stocks. Satisfied by their impenetrable location and physical immobility, the jailer carried no concerns.
Around midnight the two new prisoners prayed and sang hymns. What in the world? They didn’t have anything to sing about from a human perspective. But they weren’t causing any harm, and in fact, their praises entertained the rest of the prisoners, which generated an easier work night for the jailer.
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Without warning an earthquake shook the entire building, rattling the earth beneath with fury. Walls caved in, floors cracked, and ceilings plummeted … “the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened” (Acts 16:26).
The jailer awakened with a start and processed the situation. Determining that all the prisoners had escaped, he decided to kill himself. After all, the higher authorities displayed no mercy in instances like this. If prisoners ran away—regardless of the reason—they held the jailer responsible.
Yet a voice cried out to stop him right as he drew his sword. “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!” Paul cried (Acts 16:28). Those words of care for the jailer’s life also communicated a miracle, restoring the jailer’s hope.
The jailer couldn’t believe it! All of those under his guard remained in place. He shook with fear like the earthquake had shaken the ground moments before. Falling on his knees in front of Paul and Silas, the jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). He recognized God’s mighty hand. Urgency filled him to “get right” with His Creator—the only true God.
Paul and Silas responded to the jailer’s earnest request with the most beautiful answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). What? That’s it? No hoops or hurdles? Correct. Simply believe and be saved.
The jailer believed in the Lord Jesus and became a new creation in Christ, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. After washing Paul and Silas’s wounds and feeding them, he “rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household” (Acts 16:34).
Hope for You
Guess what, friend? The same way of salvation holds true today. Are you distressed and without hope? Do you recognize your own sinfulness and need of a Savior? Believe in the Lord Jesus. Believe and be saved. You, too, can be made new in Christ. He’s waiting for you with open arms.
Get your Bible and a journal, read Acts 16:22-34, and answer the following questions:
- How did Paul and Silas’s imprisonment interrupt the jailer’s ordinary workday? What recent interruption has impacted your life, and how has God used it for your good?
- Paul and Silas sang and prayed in prison. What “prison” are you trapped in, and how will worship change your perspective?
- Why did the jailer try to kill himself, and how did Paul’s words make a difference? What words of life will you speak to someone today?
- Describe the moment you believed in the Lord Jesus, or if you’ve never placed your faith in Christ, what is preventing you?
- Read Ephesians 2:8-9 and explain how it touches your heart that salvation is by grace through faith.
Thanks for taking time to study the Bible with me! If this post has helped you grow spiritually, please share it with others. You are a blessing, and God has marvelous plans for you as you walk with Him.
In Christ’s Love,
Read more articles about salvation:
- Why I Don’t Need to Work My Head off by Emily Wickham
- How Can I Be Saved? by a gotquestions.org writer
Special verses about salvation:
- “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)
- “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10, NKJV).
- “Who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:9, NASB).
- “AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED” (Acts 2:21).
- “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
- “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).
- “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).
“Now I make known to you, brothers and sisters, the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, by which you also are saved, if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed down to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).