“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” [the Jailer asked Paul and Silas].

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Acts 16:30-31 (NIV)

Did Paul and Silas tell the jailor the truth? Is that all we have to do to be saved? To believe in Jesus Christ, or is there something more to it? Even John 3:16 tells us we need only believe and be saved, doesn’t it?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NIV)

The world is full of people who believe in God but aren’t saved. I believed in God before I became a Christian, but that wasn’t enough.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

James 2:19 (NIV)

Believing in Christ as the Son of God means believing in the Gospel message.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NIV)

Within the belief that Christ died for your sins, you must then repent of those sins. The gift of salvation is offered to everyone who repents. The repenting part is where we accept the gift because believing in Christ means accepting our role in his death. Let’s look at an example of someone in Scripture who believed but didn’t repent.

Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

Acts 8:13 (NIV)

In Samaria, there was a sorcerer by the name of Simon. He believed when he saw what Philip the Evangelist was doing: performing signs and wonders in the name of Jesus. Yet, Simon was a Christian in name only. As we see later on, when the Holy Spirit was given at the laying on of hands.

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money…Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Acts 8:18,20-23 (NIV)

Peter saw that Simon hadn’t repented of his sins. Even when Peter tells him to repent, Simon does not. While Simon believed that wondrous miracles could unfold in the name of Jesus, he was only interested in power and glory.

Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

Acts 8:24 (NIV)

Simon asks Peter to pray for him so none of the bad things Peter mentioned would happen. However, Simon could have turned to the Lord and repented, and those things would have been turned away. Yet, Simon didn’t have a repentant heart.

The sad thing about Simon is that he probably spent the rest of his life thinking he had been saved. It’s also sad because some people claim to be Christian but have never repented of their sins. They may have said words to that effect, but their lives haven’t changed because their spirit didn’t change.

If that’s you, or you’ve never asked the Lord to be your Savior and forgive you of your sins, then pray with me to accept the gift of salvation today.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.