The Apostle Paul and Silas had been imprisoned in a Philippian jail.  At midnight, a great earthquake occurred which opened the doors and broke the shackles of all in the prison.  The jailer feared greatly for under the Roman law, if a prisoner escaped, the jailer would be executed.  The jailer sought to kill himself to spare him from the Roman execution that he would certainly face.  Let’s read Acts 16:28-30, “But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  The jailer was so glad that his earthly life had been spared and he began thinking of eternal things.  In answer to his important question, we read in Acts 16:31, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”  Some have taken this verse to mean that if a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior, his whole family would be saved.  This is not the meaning at all.

What Paul was telling the jailer was that if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, he would be saved.  In the same way, if his family also believed they would also be saved.  It seems that one of the first concerns of a new believer is to share the Gospel with his family.  He wants those closest to him to be saved.  Perhaps anticipating that, Paul tells the jailer how his family can be saved.  We then read in verses 33-34, “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, BELIEVING IN GOD WITH ALL HIS HOUSE.”  The jailer washed the stripes of these men who had been beaten unfairly.  Then, he and “all his” were baptized because he believed “with all his house.”  It is logical to assume that Paul preached to Gospel to the jailer’s family and they all believed.  How powerful is the Gospel of Christ!  We read Paul’s words in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…”

Another portion that has often been mis-interpreted is Acts 2:38-39, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  Some have thought that this portion is teaching that if one receives the Lord Jesus as their savior that the children are also saved.  Looking carefully, we can see that the ‘promised of salvation’ has been given to all who believe, to their children, and to ‘all that are afar off.’  As in Acts 16:31, the Word is teaching us that salvation is offered to us, our children, and even those who are afar off.  Scripture is clear that salvation is offered to the individual.  While many might become saved at one time, each one is saved individually according to his faith.  John 3:16 illustrates this truth.  It says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Each individual must believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved.

John 1:12-13 tells us, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  This shows clearly that we are not saved because of the salvation of our relatives (not of blood), nor can we save ourselves (nor of the will of the flesh), nor can anyone else save us (nor of the will of man).  No, for each individual, salvation comes from God as we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  How blessed it is to know that the Lord Jesus will not turn away any who come to Him for salvation.  John 6:37 assures us that, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  (363.4)