by Steven Chan
The Bible tells us in Luke 15:7 that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” There is great joy in heaven when one sinner repents. This emphasizes the importance of saving every soul; that every soul is precious in the sight of God. We need to look out to save souls – even if we only succeed in bringing one soul to the Lord.
The apostle Paul and Silas preached the gospel to the jailor in the prison quarters in Philippi at midnight after the earthquake that had caused the prison doors to be opened. The jailor had asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The answer was for them to believe in Jesus (Acts 16:31). In John 20:31, the Bible tells us that the miracles and signs were written down so “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
According to Acts 16:32-34, “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.”
The declaration that they should believe in Jesus as the Son of God was accompanied by speaking “the word o the Lord” to the jailor and all his family members. Then the Bible tells us that “immediately”, they were all baptized – thus fulfilling the terms of salvation as set out by our Lord Jesus in Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Thereafter, the jailor set food before Paul and Silas; he shared his food with them. They rejoiced because they have “believed in God” (Acts 16:34). Believing in God is more than just acknowledging that there is a God – for the demons also believe (James 2:19) but they will not be saved. “Believing in God” requires one to believe the testimony of God that Jesus is His Son (Matt 3:17; 17:5) and also to accept the gift of salvation by His grace through being baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom 6:3-5). Likewise, the Ethiopian eunuch, having believed and having been baptized, went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39). Truly there’s every reason to rejoice when one’s sins have been washed away by the grace of God. We can eat our food with gladness and simplicity of heart (Acts 2:46).
Let’s make every effort to save at least one soul for Christ in this year.