By Not Known
People become Christians in different ways. Some believe in Jesus after a slow,
gradual and barely visible process. For others, it is a faster, more dramatic and
very visible process.
Acts 16:22-34 tells the story of a fast conversion. As we read it, we see a jailer
walk five steps to salvation.
Step one – conviction. The jailer was told to guard some prisoners and
thought that they had fled. His dutiful response was suicide. But his
prisoners were Christians. They had not fled and they interrupted his
deadly plan. In some way, this led him to realise his need of salvation and
to ask how to find it.
Step two – evangelism. The jailer’s question was given the simplest
answer. He must believe in Jesus and that would lead to salvation. This is
the heart of the Christian message. Salvation is found only in Jesus and
the one necessary response is to believe in him rather then to believe in
ourselves or in other gods.
Step three – instruction. It is irresponsible to push people into a shallow
conversion. God’s word was told to the jailer so that his response would
be informed, well-considered and solidly based.
Step four – baptism. Baptism does not make a person into a Christian.
However, baptism is an important public declaration and demonstration of
the faith in Jesus that saves. This public act is a testimony to others and
helps confirm the faith of a new convert.
Step five – new life. Conversion is not an end but a beginning. The
converted jailer now starts to live a changed life. Joy in God replaced
suicidal thoughts. His prisoners became his brothers in the Lord as he
shared table fellowship and served their needs.
We don’t all go through these steps in this order. But three things are essential:
We must hear, understand and accept the message about Jesus.
We must put out personal faith in Jesus and Jesus alone.
We must live our that faith in the new life of a Christan person.
Have you done these three things? If not, let today be the day!